The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has recognized University of Arizona PhD candidate Lydia Jennings and former post-doctoral associate and KC Donnelly Awardee Dr. Aditi Sengupta for their outstanding work by selection for the “2019 Voices for Science” program. Now more than ever, communicating the value and impact of Earth and space science to policy and other decision makers, journalists, and public audiences is critically important.
AGU’s Voices for Science program supports and fosters a network of exceptional science-communication and science-policy advocates to amplify the voice of science and build valuable dialogs and relationships with communities, journalists and stakeholders.
Lydia and Aditi were selected from a highly competitive applicant pool based on demonstrated leadership and the potential to positively influence the local community.
Lydia is from the Pascua Yaqui and Huichol Nations, and a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science, with a Minor in American Indian Policy. Lydia works in Dr. Raina Maier’s Environmental Microbiology Group to identify soil health biogeochemical indicators of soil reclamation, in order to make modern mining reclamation more effective and cost efficient. Additionally, Lydia is interested in how policy has placed many mines on/or bordering tribal nations and extraction on public lands. Lydia states of the experience “As an Indigenous woman, I am delighted to use this platform as a “Voice of Science” to increase visibility of Indigenous scientists, and how we are not just the “subject” of scientific inquiry, but rather, are continuing our traditions of scientific practices held within cultural and environmental knowledge. It’s also an amazing opportunity to engage with a variety of researchers and together learn how we can make our research accessible to a range of audiences.”
Aditi is a soil microbial ecologist with research interests spanning soil microbial ecology, hydrobiogeochemical shifts in oligotrophic soils, carbon biogeochemistry, and science communication. She is currently a post-doc at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she seeks to quantify functional responses and community assembly processes of surface and sub-surface microorganisms. As a woman soil scientist of color, she is particularly aware of the need for adequate visual representation of women scientists in STEM fields. Her passion for science communication is aimed at making science more approachable, giving voice to her love for science to the broader community, and encouraging female K-12 and undergraduates students to pursue science as a career.
Voices for Science provides its participants not only resources (skills-building workshops and on support in conducting and organizing outreach opportunities) but also and expense paid travel to Washington, D.C. for an April workshop and to San Francisco, CA for the AGU Fall Meeting in December. Lydia will also have the opportunity to network and collaborate with the scientist selected for this year’s program and the members of the 2018 inaugural class.
Join us in congratulating Lydia and Aditi! Well done!