Throughout the scholarship year, Carson Scholars work closely with several UArizona 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.

Hea-Ream Lee Headshot

Hea-Ream Lee (Lead Mentor 2024-2025)
Lecturer, Department of English

Hea-Ream Lee, MFA, is a writer interested in science and the natural world and the ways they transect human experiences. She has a background in biology and received an MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Arizona, where she edited fiction for Sonora Review. She currently teaches in the English department as a lecturer at the UA. Hea-Ream’s work has appeared in Shenandoah,, Popula, Hobart, and others, and she has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference and the Wormfarm Institute. Her current project is a book about seed banks and longing. As a former Carson Scholar, Hea-Ream understands the value of an interdisciplinary space dedicated to teaching the art of science communication. She is thrilled to be returning to the program as a mentor to the next generation of Carson Scholars.

Rachel Gallery Headshot

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.

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Kevin Bonine, Ph.D.
Director, Education Initiatives, Arizona Institute for Resilience
Professor, 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 about 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. Other efforts are focused on equitably scaling undergraduate research engagement across the UArizona campus, including via the Vertically Integrated Projects program. Kevin has served on the boards of directors of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Friends of Saguaro National Park.


In addition to working with faculty mentors, Carson Scholars also receive peer mentorship from former Carson Scholars who are still in graduate school. Carson Alumni Peer Mentors are selected from the previous year's cohort and provide support to our Carson Scholars, Faculty Mentors, and Program Coordinator. 

Emily Waggoner Headshot

Emily Waggoner
Ph.D Student in Molecular and Cellular Biology
2023-2024 Carson Scholar

Emily Waggoner grew up in Bend, Oregon. Her passion for the ocean started in her room reading and was quickly solidified when she volunteered for a marine biologist studying gray whales. Since then, Emily has sought out any opportunity to expand her experience with ocean sciences, from working at an aquarium and in a marine sediment lab to being a skipper onboard ecotours in Oregon and Scotland. She pursued a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Scientific Visualization at the University of Southern California. Her curiosity for the open ocean led her to Dr. Solange Duhamel, who was in New York at the time. Within a year, Dr. Duhamel and Emily landed at the University of Arizona in the molecular and cellular biology department. Emily's Ph.D. focuses on oxygen-producing marine microorganisms and the clever ways in which they obtain nutrients for growth. Following her Ph.D., Emily hopes to pursue a post-doctoral position in a marine biochemistry lab. As a Carson Scholar, Emily was thrilled to be in a group of folks across disciplines coming together under our shared interest in the environment. 

Kira Harris

Kira Harris
Ph.D Student in Geography
2023-2024 Carson Scholar

Kira Harris is from a small town in southeastern Ohio. A combination of interests between physics, chemistry, and the mystery of the natural world had her pursue a B.S. in Earth Sciences with a focus in Earth Systems at the Ohio State University. She found the field of paleoclimatology, the reconstructing of past climates, while working as an Education and Outreach Intern at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Alongside creating science communication and outreach tools like the Virtual Ice Explorer, Kira has developed a passion for teaching others about how we use evidence from the environment as clues to understand the past. She pursued a M.A. in Geography at the University of Arizona where she used biomarkers in ocean sediments to reconstruct ocean temperatures in the past, and their relationship to the North American Monsoon. For her Ph.D., she will continue to uncover the history of precipitation in the North American Southwest using biomarkers in different environmental archives. After the Ph.D., Kira aims to pursue teaching in the Earth sciences, and to continue using organic geochemistry to investigate the past. Throughout her time in the fellowship, Kira greatly appreciated the exposure to so many avenues and examples of science communication through other Carson Scholars’ work using both written and spoken word.



Diana Liverman Headshot

Diana Liverman, Ph.D.
Regents’ Professor, School of Geography, Development and Environment

Diana Liverman is the founder of the Carson Scholars program. Her research focuses on the human dimensions of global environmental change, particularly climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and climate governance. She also works on the political ecology of environmental management in the Americas. Her current projects include work on climate justice including the role of women in climate science, climate and poverty in Tucson, and earth system boundaries. She has been an IPCC lead author, an Earth Commissioner, advisor to the mayor of Tucson on climate justice, and is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Listen to Dr. Liverman's long podcast interview with UA student news about her career here.
High Country News journalist Maya Kapoor interviews Diana Liverman on climate justice here.



Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation

College of Engineering 

College of Science Galileo Circle

Graduate College

Arizona Institute for Resilience

Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment & Social Justice

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences