Dartmouth IGERT Fellows Are Washington Bound

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Three graduate students are headed to Washington, D.C., to attend the 10-day American Meteorological Society (AMS) Summer Policy Colloquium, beginning June 1. IGERT Fellows Julia Bradley-Cook, Alexandra Giese, and Gifford Wong were chosen to attend.

AMS Policy Colloquium participants

Ross Virginia, right, director of the Institute of Arctic Studies, with AMS Policy Colloquium participants, from left, Gifford Wong, Alexandra Giese, and Julia Bradley-Cook. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“This is a highly competitive and select group of scientists who show promise in shaping climate and environmental policy,” says Ross Virginia, principal investigator on Dartmouth’s National Science Foundation-sponsored IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program.

The focus of the IGERT program at Dartmouth is polar environmental change, and it is administered through the Institute of Arctic Studies at the John Sloan Dickey Center For International Understanding. Virginia is director of the Institute of Arctic Studies and the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science.

The AMS says the colloquium targets graduate students, faculty, and professionals in the atmospheric sciences. “By arming tomorrow’s leaders with expertise in the policy process, the science community will be more engaged with decision makers, helping ensure that society’s policy choices take full advantage of available scientific knowledge.”

“I believe the colloquium will provide the knowledge and perspective necessary for me to evaluate the suitability and realities of a career as a climate scientist in foreign affairs,” says Giese. “Further, it will offer a formal foundation of policy-relevant atmospheric and earth science topics; afford a chance to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills with fellow attendees; and provide a powerful network of representatives across sectors and government offices.”

The AMS sessions are designed to provide an overview of policy basics and how decisions are made that influence the course and future of atmospheric science. The colloquium will also provide opportunities for participants to talk with the federal officials, Congressional staffers’ and others who make those decisions.

“The AMS Summer Policy Colloquium is important because it will complement my current PhD experiences with applied examples of the interplay between science and domestic policy and provide an opportunity to see how some policy issues may benefit from a scientific perspective,” says Wong. “I think the colloquium provides a great opportunity for science-oriented people interested in participating at the intersection of science and policy to become more conversant with policy-oriented partners and decision makers.”

“Given the relevance of science to decisions that are made in Washington, D.C., it is increasingly important that scientists have the skills to engage and work with policy makers,” says Bradley-Cook. “The colloquium will give us these skills through an introduction to fundamentals of science policy, discussions with science policy experts, hands on exercises, and networking with like-minded students and professionals.”