Interfaces of Global Change fellows attend the Woods Institute in Washington, DC

The Woods Institute Science & Policy Seminar

By Tamara Fetters

Good science and good policy should go hand-in-hand, yet the path from collecting data to constructing policy can seem nebulous and abstract. Many scientists find themselves wondering: What is the role of science in the decision-making process? How does our science impact policy?

This past week, scientists in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGC IGEP) set off for Capitol Hill ...

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Cathy Jachowski and VDGIF capture rare footage of hellbender nests and eggs

Hellbenders! The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) tagged along with Cathy Jachowski and Bill Hopkins to learn more about how these unusual animals live and how they guard their eggs. This VDGIF video features some rare footage of hellbender egg collection and underwater use of artificial nest boxes!

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Postcards: IGC students participate in the Blue Ridge Parkway BioBlitz

In mid-September, Ben Vernasco, Leah Novak, and I participated in the National Park Service’s Blue Ridge Parkway BioBlitz near Rocky Knob in southwestern Virginia. The goal of the BioBlitz is to inventory as many species as possible in a 24 hour period, including plants, invertebrates, and wildlife. The Park Service uses these surveys of biodiversity to serve their mission of preserving natural resources – they need to know what is there in order to ...

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IGC Fellows sponsor social media campaign and booth at the Virginia Science Festival in Blacksburg

vascifestThe Virginia Science Festival features a full month dedicated to STEM events happening around Virginia. The goal is to “provide families with hands-on experiences, live performances, interactive demonstrations and techno entertainment that will inspire a wonder in science for all ages.” On Saturday, September 26th, the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP at Virginia Tech sponsored a booth at the Blacksburg Science Festival called “Why I Care For Nature.”

According to IGC Fellow, Tamara ...

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IGEPs discuss Merchants of Doubt documentary

merchantsThree Virginia Tech interdisciplinary graduate education programs (IGEPs) recently met in Torgerson Hall to discuss the documentary film, “Merchants of Doubt”. ...

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The Interfaces of Global Change IGEP welcomes eight new Ph.D. fellows

The Interfaces of Global Change Program will begin its third year with a banner recruitment class of eight new Ph.D. students! A private reception to welcome the incoming class of 2015-16 was held on August 26, 2015 in the Fralin Hall Atrium.

Meet our new fellows:

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Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard historian and author, to give 2015 Distinguished Lecture

From VT News:

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 25, 2015 – Naomi Oreskes, a world-renowned science historian who focuses on understanding scientific consensus and dissent in relation to environmental science, will visit Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

She will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia ...

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Think Piece: What makes a graduate superstar?

As the new academic year starts, it is timely to reflect on characteristics that help make a student successful in graduate school.  Raw intellect is only one part of a more complex recipe for success.

Characteristics of Graduate School Superstars

“Graduate school can be a traumatic experience. Some graduate students spend their time complaining about a heavy work load, uncaring attitudes of faculty, or constant pressure of being evaluated. These students quickly begin to devalue their graduate education, deny its ...

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“Science Girls!”: IGC Fellows host K-5 summer campers

August 6, 2015

IGC Fellows Tamara Fetters and Heather Govenor recently hosted a research tour in Derring Hall for a group of summer campers from the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV). The K-5 summer camp, called “Science Girls!”, featured women working in STEM-related fields, and included field trips and presentations from women who currently work in those fields.

Tamara and Heather showed the girls around the Derring Hall “lizard room”, a brown anole colony, and talked about anole ecology ...

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Jon Doubek receives the Leo Bourassa Award

Jon Doubek has received the Leo Bourassa Award from the Virginia Lakes and Watershed Association for his research on the effects of anoxia on water quality in Virginia reservoirs. This award was chosen based on his contributions to the field of water resources in the commonwealth of Virginia and goes to the top graduate student doing water research in VA!

Jon has been monitoring the water quality of several reservoirs in southwestern VA the past two summers. Jon ...

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Postcards from the field: Angie Estrada in Panama

August 1, 2015
Postcard from Angie Estrada

“Hi All!

For the past six weeks, I have been working on collecting data for my first season and it has been super exciting! Fieldwork is much more intense and exhausting than you can imagine, but at the same time it is really fun and I have learned so much. I got to see amazing frogs, snakes, monkeys, birds, sloths and even humpback whales during my visit! I also realized that I am the luckiest person to be able ...

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Postcards from the field: Maya Wilson studies swallows in the Bahamas

July 12, 2015
Postcard from Maya Wilson

“I am just finishing up my four-month field season in The Bahamas! Overall, it has been a success!

I am here studying the Bahama Swallow, a poorly known and endangered bird species that only breeds on three islands in the northern Bahamas. I was here last summer for two months, but this is my first full season as a PhD student. I have spent most of the time on Abaco Island with my field ...

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Tony Timpano’s proposal funded by OSM: stream ecosystem responses to surface mining

A project proposal submitted by IGC graduate student, Tony Timpano, to the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining has been successful! This funding will support one full-time research associate for 12 months and one graduate student for two semesters to continue research on salt pollution (salinization) and selenium in headwater streams affected by coal mining in VA and WVA. Congratulations, Tony!

TITLE:
Stream Ecosystem Response to Mining-Induced Salinization in Appalachia

 

PROJECT GOALS

  • Assess long-term temporal patterns of chemical and biological changes in salinized Appalachian headwater ...
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IGC Fellows Estrada and Medina work on issues that address declining species worldwide

Video: In the rainforests of Central America, a research team studies a skin disease that may be the tipping point for amphibian life on the planet.

From VT News

As the clock ticks, populations of endangered species decline and threaten the functioning of healthy ecosystems.

Pollution, hunting, habitat degradation, climate change, and invasive species have dealt blows to global biodiversity. Climate change alone is putting one in six species on Earth at risk of extinction, according to a meta-analysis of 131 published studies ...

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Ben Vernasco studies the social dynamics and physiology of dancing birds

From Fralin Spotlight

by Cassandra Hockman

Ben Vernasco knew he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in conservation biology while studying tropical birds in Peru. After his trip, he got in touch with his mentor, Brandt Ryder, a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

Ryder and his Virginia Tech colleague Ignacio Moore, an associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Science, had just received a National Science Foundation ...

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IGC Fellows engage students at elementary school science fair

The Interfaces of Global Change Graduate Student Organization participated in a recent science fair at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School in Blacksburg. Some of the IGC Fellows served as judges and evaluated the nearly 70 Gilbert Linkous poster presentations. Other fellows operated a photo booth called “Kids Curiosity”. Equipped with plenty of lab and field gear, our graduate students encouraged kids to dress up as scientists and check out some of the cool tools that were on hand.

See the photo gallery below–looks like everyone was having ...

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Tony Timpano is investigating the impacts of coal mining on Appalachian streams

Tony Timpano is an IGC student and a Ph.D. candidate in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. His field research is centered in the Appalachian “coal country” of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia.

Tony is interested in understanding how coal mining affects stream water quality and aquatic life. Ultimately, he hopes that his research findings will help guide policies on monitoring and managing salt pollution in streams.

“I want to improve the science of water quality management to enhance the capability of regulators to ...

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Cathy Jachowski’s hellbender research is featured on VT Vimeo

Cathy Jachowski is a Ph.D. candidate in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change interdisciplinary graduate education program at Virginia Tech.

“Growing up in Kentucky, I learned the value of maintaining clean and healthy rivers, lakes and streams for both people and wildlife. As humans, we have all contributed to changes in land use patterns, climate and various types of pollution. These changes can affect the quality of ...

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