Student and Early Career Member Spotlight

Science and Society is excited to feature the work of our student and early career members. If you would like us to highlight your work (or know someone who should be highlighted), please fill out our survey and we'll be in touch.

July 2021: Art @ the Science

We invite ARTISTS and CREATIVES both at the AGU 2021 Fall Meeting and in the periphery to experience the science presented at the conference and to gain inspiration for new works or recall related works they have already created. 

Promoting wider sharing and openness, ideas that are celebrated in the arts and design communities, has inspired us to launch AGU Art @ the Science. This collaborative initiative is a new provocative way of engaging media and art to accompany and enrich science. A coalition of the Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST), the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS), and Flourishing Salons are working with scientists and artists worldwide to create a model for engaging artists through scientific conferences and facilitating the convergence of art and science.  

Art @ the Science is a model for engaging creatives through scientific conferences and for facilitating the convergence of art and science, via a social media campaign by creatives posting their works related and in response to the science at the conference. It creates the space, through "living documents," for exchange between the creatives and the scientists and weaves connections along the way. The model recognizes the opportunity of social media to be a different medium of exchange, one outside of the conference meeting rooms where the preconceptions and mindsets are different and perhaps a forum for new discourse. We are in the early stages of planning an in-person event for the AGU 2021 Fall Meeting and welcome your contribution. Please reach out to the Flourishing Salons to learn more, become involved, or to bring this concept to a scientific conference that you will be attending (ryan.mcgranaghan[at]gmail[dot]com).

  • Ryan McGranaghan
    Principal Data Scientist, ASTRA LLC

  • Clio Flego
    Digital Content Curator, Art @ the Science

  • Danielle Siembieda
    Managing/Creative Director, Leonardo/ISAST

  • Kathryn Semmens
    Science Director, Nurture Nature Center
    Art and Science Track Lead, AGU Science and Society Section

September 2020: Ian Bolliger


Institution: Rhodium Group
Position: Climate Data Scientist
Contact Info:
Tell us about your science and society experiences: I am an interdisciplinary environmental data scientist with a background in natural hazards, climate change impacts, geospatial analysis, remote sensing, economics, and global health. In my research, I quantify risks from extreme events in a changing climate, and I use this knowledge to evaluate strategies that mitigate and adapt to these changes. I blend large-scale observational data with insights from lab experiments, and I pair geophysical models with econometric estimates and optimization models. In one example, I lead a team of data scientists, hydrologists, and economists forecasting costs from hurricane-driven flooding and wind damage in the 21st century. In another, my colleagues and I develop a machine learning-based feature extraction algorithm that facilitates the use of remote sensing data for efficiently monitoring numerous socio-environmental metrics at a global scale. Learn more about this work here, here, here, and here. Recently, my co-authors and I applied familiar tools to a different field, joining econometric and epidemiological models to quantify the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on the spread of COVID-19.

July 2020: Sarah Alexander


Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Position: Graduate Research Assistant
Contact Info:
Tell us about your science and society experiences: Communities worldwide suffer from variabilities in climate, such as drought or flood. These variations threaten livelihoods, creating food and water insecurity, and prompting public health concerns – particularly in areas with a single rainy season. Scientists have developed ‘seasonal climate forecasts,’ or ways to predict in advance the climate conditions expected the following season (wet or dry), which may assist farmers’ agricultural decisions. Yet, this information is under-utilized. Our research uses multiple methods from engineering, science communication, and sociology to develop a way to communicate climate information to farmers in Ethiopia for integration to decision-making. By engaging directly with our target audience, we developed a highly visual forecast bulletin and public engagement sessions to help potential users understand seasonal climate forecasts. This novel approach bridges the gap between scientific forecast development and integration to decision-making for increased resilience, food, and water security for communities vulnerable to climate variability. This work is part of an NSF PIRE project. More details about my work can also be found at the Water Systems and Society Research group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.