USAEE Case Competition

Proud to be advancing to the final round of the 2021 United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) case competition. This year’s prompt had competitors do a deep-dive on the ethics and technologies associated with carbon direct removal (CDR) as a means of mitigating international emissions.

Our team was comprised of five members of the ZERO Lab at Princeton. We considered equity, capability, and cost-effectiveness in order to propose a framework for fair and efficient allocation of international CDR responsibility. Our team will present alongside one other finalist team on November 8th.

ZERO Lab – In Person!

After a year and a half of working remotely with this wonderful cohort, we recently finally assembled in person for the first time. I have been fortunate to work with such driven and accomplished colleagues; I am thrilled that the time has come to continue that work (safely!) face-to-[masked]-face.

Princeton Citizen Scientists

I was recently elected the president of Princeton Citizen Scientists for the 2021 – 2022 school year. This coming year, our group aims to:

  • Lead a Wintersession course on science communication for Princeton undergraduates. This class would be a collaboration with Princeton Insights.
  • Resume our annual trip to Washington DC, where PCS members discuss science advocacy issues of interest with representatives on Capitol Hill.
  • Host a seminar session with colleagues from Germany and abroad, comparing climate movements across the globe.
  • Continue the efforts of the PCS RISE taskforce, which was funded for a survey on the sources of systemic injustice in science and academia.
  • Work with science advocates at Rutgers University in order to establish a firm local intercollegiate advocacy network.

This past year, PCS has taught me so much about science advocacy. I eagerly anticipate the ability for PCS to gather in person post-pandemic, and look forward to seeing what comes from our work over the upcoming academic year.

PECS and STEP

I am thrilled and honored to have been awarded two fellowships yesterday.

The first is through the High Meadows Environmental Institute’s Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program (HMEI-STEP). I was awarded the fellowship for my proposed STEP thesis project, Examining Reforestation Potential of Agricultural Land in the Continental United States. I will be advised by professor David Wilcove, and will be using this thesis as an opportunity to think more deeply about the political and economic implications of placing biological carbon sinks on farmland in the US.

The second fellowship is a two-year position with Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS). This fellowship will be an opportunity to meet monthly with a suite of peers and professors to discuss our work and current progress in the field. PECS will also involve community outreach, and will be a fantastic opportunity for enhanced discourse on and off campus.

I have been working towards these programs for a few years now, as they seemed like the perfect opportunity to get involved with climate policy. I eagerly await the chance to work with many respected colleagues through both of these awards.

QCB Colloquium

When my cohort was asked to sit in on Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB) colloquium talks upon arrival on campus, my primary reaction was abject terror: I was a nervous public speaker, and I couldn’t imagine getting to a place in my research where I could speak calmly and confidently like the second-years were doing for all of us. My colloquium talk yesterday felt extremely full-circle, and was exciting evidence of the progress I have made during this pandemic. It has been inordinately rewarding to see the strides my classmates have made in exploring research topics that interest them. An interdisciplinary field certainly promotes great diversity in problems explored.

Princeton Citizen Scientists General Interest Meeting

PCS will be hosting a GIM on April 14th, 2021. We will be discussing projects / events completed this academic year, as well as plans for the future and upcoming PCS elections. Please reach out to me by the morning of April 14th for information on accessing the virtual meeting. More information available on the PCS announcements page.

Tufts Students in Biological Computation

It was exciting to speak yesterday to current Tufts students interested in computational biology! It is always a joy to hear from colleagues researching a wide array of vital questions. CompBio is a particularly interdisciplinary field – in my experience, this tends to breed healthy cooperation and collaboration in the community.

Glad to see clubs are popping up to address this field! No organizations like this existed when I was a Jumbo.

Passed Qualifying Exams

Last week, I passed my Quantitative and Computational Biology qualifying exams. This means that I am officially a PhD candidate. I picked up a master’s degree along the way, too! These exams have been on the horizon for so long – it felt fantastic to face them. It feels equally fantastic to put them behind me so that I can finally turn to the research that I have been preparing to do for the past two years.

My research will be in mathematical decomposition. I will be applying algorithms to linear programming problems with relevance to climate change. It is wonderful to be working on problems that are so critically important and potentially impactful. And I am thrilled that I get to do this work alongside a team of passionate and accomplished collaborators / coworkers.

PCS Immigration Policy Memo

Three Princeton Citizen Scientists colleagues and I have co-authored an immigration policy memo in response to newly-proposed, xenophobic immigration restrictions proposed by the current presidential administration. The memo has been sent to federal representatives and is available for download through the PCS website, here. The memo has also been promoted by the Princeton Graduate Student Government!

This task force was a vital learning experience for a scientist who is trying to crack her way into public policy. It was a pleasure to work with so many devoted students over advocacy of such a crucially important issue.

Environmental Justice Task Force

Through Princeton Citizen Scientists (PCS) and in collaboration with the Princeton Office of Sustainability, I have started a graduate environmental justice task force. A group of around 10 Princeton students and I have been working hard to try to answer questions about environmentally sustainable and just food procurement.

From a PCS ListServ communication: “Environmental justice is the notion that the burdens of pollution and production are shared unequally across communities globally.  This leads to systemic inequality and injustice to overburdened communities, who are often socioeconomically disadvantaged.”

Studying environmental justice poses a bit of a challenge to a STEM-oriented student: whereas sustainability can easily be quantified through metrics like carbon emissions or energy usage, environmental justice is a bit more subjective; it’s hard to put a specific number to measurements of environmental justice. Because of this, it can be difficult to perform an objective study on the all-around ethics of a farm or food production company. It has been enlightening to speak with peers from other departments on the subject: this project is a healthy exercise in social justice and argument construction.