Throughout the scholarship year, Carson Scholars work closely with several UA Faculty Mentors who provide hands-on training and other resources to develop skills, strategies, and products to effectively convey the value of their research and enhance their skills in communicating science to a variety of audiences. The program is administered by the UA Institute of the Environment.
CARSON SCHOLAR PROGRAM FOUNDER
Diana Liverman, Ph.D.
Regents’ Professor, School of Geography and Development
Diana Liverman is the founder of the Carson Scholars program. Her research has focused on the human dimensions of global environmental change, particularly climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and climate policy and mitigation in the developing world. She also works on the political economy and political ecology of environmental management in the Americas, especially Mexico. Her current projects include work on climate justice (including the role of women in climate science, climate and poverty in Tucson, and climate in the new Sustainable Development Goals), a study of the environmental impacts of NAFTA+20, societal response to megadrought, and the human dimensions of climate services and climate information provision. She was the co-designer of the new international research program, Future Earth.
CARSON SCHOLAR PROGRAM MENTORS
Kevin Bonine, Ph.D.
Director, Education & Outreach, Biosphere 2
Joint Faculty in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Kevin studied Economics, Ecology, and Evolution during college. His Ph.D. research focused on evolutionary physiology in lizards. Recent research on reptiles and amphibians includes Gila monsters and canyon treefrogs, with emphasis on natural history, ecology, population genetics, and conservation. Kevin has taught many well-regarded UA courses and works to facilitate scientific communication and understanding broadly – including at Biosphere 2 which receives almost 100,000 annual visitors. A believer in experiential education, Kevin teaches a popular three-week field course that explores our region from atop our sky-island mountains down to the Gulf of California. In 2012 he received a UA Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award and was named a Haury Faculty Fellow soon after. Kevin is also Director of Outreach Initiatives in the UA College of Science and serves on the boards of directors of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Friends of Saguaro National Park.
Christopher Cokinos, MFA
Associate Professor, Department of English
Christopher Cokinos has been writing about nature and science since he wrote a 2000 memoir and natural history about extinct North American birds called Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds. He's interviewed wildlife biologists, physicists, astronomers and engineers, and, along the way, found some were better than others at conveying both passion and precision about their work. Those experiences, combined with concern about climate change, led Chris to be part of the initial group of trainees at what is now the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. He brought a newly ignited desire to help teach science communication when he arrived at the University of Arizona in 2011. Since then, he's taught "sci-comm" classes, organized and co-facilitated faculty workshops and been a mentor or lead mentor for the Carson Scholars program.
"The Carson Scholars program has been, in some ways," he says, "my intellectual home ground, where my interests in creativity, communication and science can co-exist. It's deeply gratifying to see Carson Scholars blossom as communicators."
Now at work on essays about the Moon, Chris is the author of multiple other works, some of which have taken him far into the field, including a meteorite expedition in Antarctica. He is a winner of a UA Graduate Professional and Student Council Mentor of the Year Award. For the Carson program, Chris focuses on helping students with public speaking, pitches and writing personal essays. His own public outreach experiences are wide and varied, including an interview on "All Things Considered," op-eds for the Los Angeles Times and answering difficult questions asked by children at planetariums.
Chris's faculty bio can be found here.
Rachel Gallery, Ph.D.
Joint Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Rachel Gallery is an Ecologist and an Associate Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Ecology and Evolutionary Department at the University of Arizona. Rachel earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. from American University. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford University and a Staff Scientist at the National Ecological Observatory Network before joining the UA faculty in 2011. She leads a research group that has published 25 papers on the ecology of plants and soils in response to fires, land use change, and climate change. Rachel is an Associate Editor for the journal Functional Ecology and regularly speaks at local outreach events and international conferences. A 2017 Tucson Public Voices Fellow, Rachel is learning how to write and pitch ideas through the OpEd Project. She serves on the Leadership Team of the 500 Women Scientists, a not-for-profit organization whose mission aligns with her personal mission to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible.
Andrea K. Gerlak, Ph.D. (Lead Mentor)
Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development
Associate Research Professor, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy
Andrea Gerlak's research interests are in the fields of public policy, institutional theory, natural resource management, and water governance. Her research addresses conditions supporting collective action, the interface between science and policy, and institutional change and adaptability in large-scale ecosystem settings in the United States. In international transboundary settings, she studies the role of intergovernmental organizations in cooperative institutional arrangements, scientific knowledge and information sharing in global water governance, and issues of equity and justice.