PI-CASC joins CASC network for Early Career Workshop

In mid-October, graduate students, post-docs, and early career researchers joined CASC staff for a few beautiful days in Albuquerque, NM, for the CASC Network’s first Climate Adaptation Early Career Workshop (ECW). The goals of the workshop were to use interactive sessions to increase the participants’ knowledge and foundational skills around the development and delivery of actionable climate science, including offering different research methods and exploring the understanding and application of science ethics for working with stakeholders and partners. ECW was also an opportunity for participants to develop and expand their professional networks.

A room full of young researchers at tables watch a slide presentation“I think this event is the most significant thing the CASC network has done for capacity building this year,” said Ryan Boyles, lead organizer for the ECW. “Overall, I’m thrilled with how our team planned and executed this workshop.”

For the over one hundred participants, each session began with an interactive ice-breaker, followed by informative in-person and remote presentations, panel discussions, and plenty of time for questions and group discussions throughout. Half-day sessions included: introduction to actionable science, research methods to support the planning process, research ethics and diverse community engagement, science communication, and intentional mentoring to develop a successful career path.

“It was the first place where I saw how environmental justice, policy, and science came together to work on something bigger than all of us,” said Annie Chien, an Earth and Planetary science graduate student at UH Mānoa. “This conference gave me a lot of wiggle room to reimagine my own thesis and project in a way that benefits the majority and seeks justice for all.”

PI-CASC supplied important support throughout the event, with Brad Romine and Rachel Lentz helping organize and facilitate several sessions, and Katy Hintzen co-presented a Hawaiian perspective on Indigenous engagement. Beth Lenz coordinated the participation of five Graduate Scholars from across PI-CASC, including Annie Chien, Stephanie Mladinich, Kevin Faccenda, Walter Bolger, and CJ Paulino, as well as past PI-CASC post-doc, and now new ASU faculty member, Katie Kamelamela.

Five graduate students poseStephanie Mladinich, a graduate scholar studying mosquitos and avian malaria at UH Hilo, said she “liked how holistic the topics were, from climate models, to working with community, to finding mentors and science communication.”

A crowd watches a woman speaking before a table in a decorated courtyard with a native painting as a backdropBecause the timing of the workshop overlapped the 2022 Southwest Adaptation Forum, ECW participants had a bonus event joining with SAF attendees at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, where emerging Indigenous leaders held a fascinating panel presenting their perspectives on using cultural fire.

“The ECW was a fantastic opportunity for networking and learning about career possibilities in climate adaptation science,” said Kevin Feccenda, a botany graduate student at UH Mānoa concerned with fire-prone invasive grasses.

One of the most impressive elements of the workshop was the engagement throughout the room as participants threw themselves into all the activities, sharing their ideas and perspectives with each other.

With so much positive feedback on the program and networking opportunity, the event is likely to be offered again in a couple years, when we look forward to engaging with a new cohort of early career researchers looking to the future of climate adaptation.

Full group staged photo in hotel lobby area with floating balloons