RISA CLIMAS inducts 2018 Environment & Society Fellows

The University of Arizona-funded fellowship announced the 5 new graduate students for 2018

  • 8 January 2018
  • Number of views: 301
RISA CLIMAS inducts 2018 Environment & Society Fellows

The University of Arizona offers the Environment & Society Fellows Program to graduate students from any degree-granting program. It awards fellows with up to $4,750 for work that is focused on the connection between environmental research and decision making and is supported by the University of Arizona Office of Research, Discovery, & Innovation and the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, or CLIMAS (A NOAA RISA team). Fellows complete a project of their choosing that is based in environmental research and falls under the categories of scoping research, dissertation/thesis work, a discrete 1-year project, outreach, and/or network building.

The 2017 fellows were Sneha Balakrishnan, Becky Brice, and Danielle Johnson:

Sneha Balakrishnan studied the role of marginalized women in the collective farms in Kerala, India. Here, the agricultural systems that are in place are highly vulnerable to variations in rainfall, temperature, and sea level. She focused on how these women are affected by climate change, as well as the impact of development initiatives on women’s ability to deal with climate-related risks. Read more about her project here: http://www.climas.arizona.edu/about/people/sneha-balakrishnan

Becky Brice chose a more local project, studying the indicators of surface water resources in the Chuska Mountains. The snowpack in the Chuskas provides water for agriculture and community use in the Navajo Nation’s most populated area. In recent years, both snowpack and surface water in the region has declined, and a lack of past hydroclimatic records makes it difficult to anticipate water availability. To solve this problem, Brice has employed satellite imagery to generate a long term record of lake levels in the Chuskas, which will be used alongside historical accounts and estimations of lake levels to examine the relationship between the low surface water and snowpack levels. Read more about her project here: http://www.climas.arizona.edu/blog/climate-and-water-resources-chuska-mountains

Danielle Johnson investigated climate-related perceptions in the communities of the Kaipara Catchment in New Zealand. This is a poor, rural, coastal area that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and likely to experience increased tropical storm, flood, and drought events in the near future. Previously, no research had been conducted concerning the impact of climate change on local communities. She used community interaction to gauge public opinion in regards to understanding the risks and vulnerabilities associated with climate change. This data will be used to develop a summary of community concerns, priorities, and aspirations that will be given to the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG) in order to create a climate adaptation framework for the region. Read more about her report here: http://www.climas.arizona.edu/blog/beginning-understand-climate-change-kaipara-catchment

CLIMAS recently announced the following list of 2018 fellows and their projects:

  • Tamee Albrecht - Use-inspired science for groundwater governance: examining processes of science production, transfer and use in the US-Mexico border region.
  • Sophia Borgias - Rights and resistance in a resource colony: The struggle for water and sovereignty in the Owens Valley of California.
  • Stephanie Doerries - Estimating survival and abundance of the endangered Sonoran pronghorn.
  • Rachel Murray - Socio-hydrological governance of springshed development: a use-inspired comparative analysis of project effectiveness in three northern Indian states.
  • Marie-Blanche Roudaut - Integrated Knowledge for Assessing and Monitoring Land Degradation in Northern Ghana.





Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


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