Science Network Mentor Program


My Experience with the Science Network Mentor Program: Finding the Path to Advocacy that Works for You

Jessica Susser, , UCS

About 12 years ago, in the basement of a poorly-attended Jewish temple in upstate New York surrounded by stale goldfish crackers and glasses of apple juice, my 15-year-old self was torn between listening to Al Gore’s video-taped message that climate change was the biggest issue of our time and not wanting to be persuaded by anyone about anything, especially not in a semi-religious setting. Since then, I’ve pursued undergraduate and graduate degrees in ecology, worked on several studies documenting the effects of climate change on the natural ecosystem, and taught courses on climate change and environmental sciences to challengingly politically diverse classes of students in the Midwest. In retrospect, Al Gore (with backup from sad, skinny polar bears floating on melting ice to melancholy music) did make a serious impression on that 15-year-old. Read more >

Photo via <a href="https://www.goodfreephotos.com/">Good Free Photos</a>
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Women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory pose for a photo in mission control in honor of Women in Science Day. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fighting for a Diverse and Equitable STEM Workforce in Colorado

Marian Hamilton, , UCS

In the state of Colorado, there are just over two million women, making up 53% of the enrolled undergraduate population and 50% of the workforce. However, women account for only 33% of those graduating with degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and hold only 26% of STEM jobs in the state. Colorado is not unique – this disparity in STEM education and employment is a nation-wide trend. This disparity begins early, with difference in male and female student interest in STEM showing up as early as middle school, by some estimates, and female students being more likely to self-describe themselves as “bad at math” as early as second grade. These differences in encouragement and interest have broad-reaching, profound, and lifelong implications for women’s economic security, career advancement, and workforce readiness compared to their male counterparts. Read more >

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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons

If You Smell Something, Say Something: Identifying Local Natural Gas Leaks

Sarah Salois, , UCS

Walking my dog around my neighborhood one day, I caught a whiff of something very clearly – gas. At first, I noted the smell but assumed it was a fleeting odor and chalked it up to urban living. But soon I realized there was nothing fleeting about it.  I take the same route each day, and it became clear that specific locations  persistently smelled strongly of gas. Internal alarm bells went off in my head as I calculated the amount of gas necessary to be detected outside, in open air, uncontained. I asked my neighbors and the local utility company about the leaks – surely, I was not the only one who had noticed the smell, which led to my next question, what was being done about it? I was surprised to find that my neighbors had actually been smelling the leaks and alerting the utility companies for years. YEARS. I was shocked, and I wanted to know more.

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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons
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Photo: US Marines

The Time Has Come for Stronger Investment in Water Infrastructure – Especially for Underserved Communities

Sara Schwartz, , UCS

When news of the Flint water crisis broke headlines, 21 million people across the country relied on water systems that violated health standards. Low-income communities, minority populations, and rural towns disproportionately deal with barriers to safe water. Drinking water challenges are complex: failing infrastructure, polluted water sources, and low capacity utility management are all part of the issue. Read more >

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Art by Micah Bazant

Weathering the Storm: Building Community Resilience in Environmental Justice Communities

Amee Raval, , UCS

In 2015, It Takes Roots convened a delegation of climate justice leaders to participate in mobilizations at the COP21 in Paris and proclaimed “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm.” When I first heard this statement, I was struck by the vivid imagery it evoked. I envisioned a tree with roots that, despite a powerful rainstorm, swirled, connected, and clenched with fortitude into the depths of its rich soil. I imagined branches growing and the emergence of leaves bearing fresh fruit. Read more >

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