Category: Colleges and universities

Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program

Apply by December 20.

To advance climate adaptation science and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields, the Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program brings undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty together with CASC partners to cultivate the next generation of climate scientists.

Immersive Undergraduate Research Experience 

The global climate is changing rapidly, already impacting both human and natural systems. Over the next few decades, changes in temperature, precipitation, and climatic variability are expected to drive even more change. As impacts become more pervasive, human and natural systems will accelerate adaptation. To face these challenges, the world needs a diverse group of leaders versed in the challenges of climate adaptation, aware of the multi-disciplinary nature of impacts, representative of the nation, capable of strong communication, and interested in policy-relevant science. 

The goals of the Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program are to: 

  • Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)  
  • Cultivate the next generation of climate scientists 
  • Foster climate science programs at Minority Serving Institutions (Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal College and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions) 

Environmental Justice Video Challenge for Students

Phase one deadline: Apr 1, 2022 by 11:59 PM EST
Informational webinar: Dec 6, 2021, noon ESTRegister here
For more information

Background

Many communities face greater environmental exposures and public health risks due to a history of inequitable environmental policies and access to the decision-making process. Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. 

EPA and partners have launched the Environmental Justice (EJ) Video Challenge for Students to enhance communities’ capacity to address environmental and public health inequities. The goals of the challenge are to: 

  1. Inspire students at accredited colleges and universities in the United States and its territories to work directly with communities in the identification and characterization of EJ challenges using data and publicly available tools, and
  2. Help communities (including residents and other stakeholders) address EJ challenges and/or vulnerabilities to environmental and public health hazards using data and publicly available tools. 

Eligibility

  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students (18 years and older as well as international students under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 102(2)(F)) enrolled in accredited institutions of higher education (including community colleges) across the United States and its territories.
  • At least one (1) faculty advisor is required to serve as a mentor to teams participating in the Challenge.
  • Only teams who submitted videos in Phase 1 are eligible to participate in Phase 2 of the Challenge.
  • There must be at least one (1) team member from Phase 1 who participates as a team member in Phase 2 of the Challenge. This is to help with continuity in cases where students graduate prior to Phase 2 completion.

The Challenge

This EJ Video Challenge for Students is structured in two separate phases, each with their own timelines.

Phase 1

The goal of Phase 1 is for students to create a video to demonstrate innovative approaches to identify and characterize an EJ issue(s) in a select community using data and publicly available tools. Students will submit a video that meets requirements outlined in the Video Submission Requirements – Phase 1 section below.

Students are strongly encouraged to work in teams and identify and collaborate with community organizations that may bring important understanding and perspective to the EJ challenge(s) the community is facing.

Check out EJ Video Challenge: Tools and Data Resources for ideas to get started. Students are welcome to use other data and publicly available tools that are not already listed.

Phase 2

In Phase 2, students will develop a video to display how they used data and publicly available tools to identify strategies and opportunities to address an identified EJ issue(s) and worked with a community-based organization(s) to inform strategies for intervention and/or facilitated effective community engagement and advocacy on the EJ issues. Details on the specific requirements and prizes for Phase 2 will be shared at a later date.

A professor was accused of sexual harassment and resigned. At his next university, it happened again

Read the full story from Vice.

Faculty members accused of misconduct are often allowed to leave with their reputations intact and resume the same behavior at other institutions—at the expense of students.

The U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and MathWorks announce the EcoCAR EV Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors and MathWorks today announced the launch of the EcoCAR EV Challenge, the latest DOE-sponsored Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series. The program, which will kick-off in fall of 2022, is now accepting applications from universities with ABET-accredited engineering programs.

EcoCAR is a premier collegiate automotive competition aimed at developing a highly skilled clean mobility workforce that reflects the diversity of our nation, by providing hands-on experience designing and building next generation mobility solutions to meet the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry.

“The EcoCAR EV Challenge provides the ultimate training ground for future engineers and business leaders to work on some of the toughest technical challenges facing the automotive industry,” said Kristen Wahl, director of the AVTC program at Argonne National Laboratory.  She added, “Students not only gain an unparalleled experiential learning experience, but also highly coveted jobs with top employers. EcoCAR also enables multidisciplinary collaboration across a university and serves as a catalyst for automotive-related curriculum and R&D.”

Up to 14 North American teams will be selected to participate, with four years to design and engineer a next generation battery electric vehicle that utilizes automation and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-appealing features. The competition will also challenge teams to apply innovative solutions to address equity and electrification challenges in the future of mobility and implement advanced powertrain, charging, and thermal systems to use grid electricity intelligently.

Teams will follow a real-world vehicle development process to meet rigorous technical milestones throughout the program and will compete head-to-head with other teams in annual competition finals, with the series culminating in the summer of 2026.

“EcoCAR provides the resources to transform a university’s engineering school to be on the cutting edge of engineering education”, said Wahl. “The challenges EcoCAR students will face and learn to overcome will ultimately contribute to their future as leaders in the automotive industry.”  

For more background about the EcoCAR EV Challenge, please visit ecocarEVchallenge.org.

About EcoCAR EV Challenge:

EcoCAR EV Challenge is a premier collegiate automotive engineering competition that will challenge up to 14 North American universities to engineer a next-generation battery electric vehicle with connected and automated features to meet energy efficiency targets and customer needs for a personal consumer market application. The four-year program will reflect industry-best practices with expanded focus on model-based design, vehicle connectivity, and automated controls development. EcoCAR will include a major focus on equity in mobility and DE&I in STEM to help foster clean energy mobility solutions and opportunities for all.

Managed by Argonne National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy and co-headline sponsored by General Motors and MathWorks, this government and industry partnership will build the clean energy workforce of the future by enabling the next generation of engineers and business leaders to help solve our nation’s toughest mobility challenges.

Contact: Kimberly DeClark, EcoCAR, (202) 441-0096

Job announcement: Director, Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Application deadline: November 23, 2021
View the full job posting.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign invites applications for the position of Director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) to provide visible and compelling leadership ensuring the Institute’s position as a world leader in sustainability, energy, and environmental research; educational and outreach programming; and campus sustainability development. The Director will plan strategies to address grand challenges from varying perspectives and deliver internationally competitive results for the benefit of science and society.

Atlanta community resilience project seeks to become model for energy equity

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The 30314 ZIP code of west Atlanta, home to the neighborhood of Bankhead, is one of the most energy-burdened zip codes in the city. Residents pay five times more for electricity and gas than their neighbors in Buckhead in north Atlanta do, despite making an average annual income that is five times less, according to a 2021 report by Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance.

The ZIP code also happens to be home to the Atlanta University Center (AUC), the world’s oldest and largest association of historically Black colleges and universities that includes Spelman College, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Clark Atlanta University. Morehouse College is the future location of a first-of-its-kind on-campus resilience center that will be supported by a solar-powered microgrid. In the event of a grid-scale power outage, the resilience center is being designed to operate on battery-stored solar power, providing essential resources to students and residents of the surrounding community.

Land acknowledgments meant to honor Indigenous people too often do the opposite – erasing American Indians and sanitizing history instead

A portion of a map that erases the borders Colonial powers drew, and shows instead the Indigenous territories, treaties and languages of North America. Native Land Digital, CC BY-SA

by Elisa J. Sobo (San Diego State University), Michael Lambert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Valerie Lambert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Many events these days begin with land acknowledgments: earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples.

And many organizations now call on employees to incorporate such statements not only at events but in email signatures, videos, syllabuses and so on. Organizations provide resources to facilitate these efforts, including pronunciation guides and video examples.

Some land acknowledgments are carefully constructed in partnership with the dispossessed. The Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle describes this process:

“Tribal elders and leaders are the experts and knowledge-bearers who generously shared their perspectives and guidance with the Burke. Through this consultation, we co-created the Burke’s land acknowledgement.”

That acknowledgment reads:

“We stand on the lands of the Coast Salish peoples, whose ancestors have resided here since Time Immemorial. Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place—alive and strong.”

Land acknowledgments have been used to start conversations regarding how non-Indigenous people can support Indigenous sovereignty and advocate for land repatriation.

Yet the historical and anthropological facts demonstrate that many contemporary land acknowledgments unintentionally communicate false ideas about the history of dispossession and the current realities of American Indians and Alaska Natives. And those ideas can have detrimental consequences for Indigenous peoples and nations.

This is why, in a move that surprised many non-Indigenous anthropologists to whom land acknowledgments seemed a public good, the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists requested that the American Anthropological Association officially pause land acknowledgments and the related practice of the welcoming ritual, in which Indigenous persons open conferences with prayers or blessings. The pause will enable a task force to recommend improvements after examining these practices and the history of the field’s relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives more broadly.

We are three anthropologists directly involved in the request — Valerie Lambert of the Choctaw Nation and president of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; Michael Lambert of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and member of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; and EJ Sobo, an American Anthropological Association board member charged with representing interests such as those of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists. We’d like to further illuminate this Indigenous position, not from the association’s perspective but from our perspective as scholars.

‘What was once yours is now ours’

No data exists to demonstrate that land acknowledgments lead to measurable, concrete change. Instead, they often serve as little more than feel-good public gestures signaling ideological conformity to what historians Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder have called – in the context of higher education’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts – “a naïve, left-wing, paint-by-numbers approach” to social justice.

Take, for instance, the evocation in many acknowledgments of a time when Indigenous peoples acted as “stewards” or “custodians” of the land now occupied. This and related references – for example, to “ancestral homelands” – relegate Indigenous peoples to a mythic past and fails to acknowledge that they owned the land. Even if unintentionally, such assertions tacitly affirm the putative right of non-Indigenous people to now claim title.

This is also implied in what goes unsaid: After acknowledging that an institution sits on another’s land, there is no follow-up. Plans are almost never articulated to give the land back. The implication is: “What was once yours is now ours.”

Additionally, in most cases these statements fail to acknowledge the violent trauma of land being stolen from Indigenous people – the death, dispossession and displacement of countless individuals and much collective suffering. The afterlives of these traumas are deeply felt and experienced in Indigenous communities.

But because non-Indigenous people are generally unaware of this trauma, land acknowledgments are often heard by Indigenous peoples as the denial of that trauma. This perspective is reinforced by a tendency to cast Indigenous peoples as part of prehistory, suggesting that the trauma of dispossession, if it happened at all, did not happen to real or wholly human people.

Further, land acknowledgments can undermine Indigenous sovereignty in ways that are both insidious and often incomprehensible to non-Indigenous people.

For example, non-Indigenous people tend to seek local “Indigenous” affirmation of their acknowledgment performance, such as by arranging for a conference blessing or Welcome to Country ritual. Such rites often feature the voices of people who, in Indigenous Studies scholar Kim TallBear’s words, play at being Indian – that is, those who have no legitimate claim to an Indigenous identity or sovereign nation status but represent themselves as such.

A man dressed in Native American clothes, Iron Eyes Cody, giving President Jimmy Carter a Native American headdress. Neither man was Native American.
Actor Iron Eyes Cody, left, with President Jimmy Carter in 1978, built a decadeslong career on pretending to be Cherokee. He was of Italian descent. AP Photo/Peter Bregg

Sovereignty and alienation

Appropriation of American Indian and Alaska Native identity by individuals who are not members of sovereign tribes, referred to as “pretendians” by actual American Indians and Alaska Natives, is endemic. Actor Iron Eyes Cody, for instance, built a decadeslong career on it despite his Italian heritage.

Demographic data suggests that pretendians outnumber real American Indian and Alaska Natives by a ratio of at least 4 to 1. In some cases, pretendians persist in their claims in the face of clear documentation to the contrary.

When non-Indigenous people allow pretendians authority regarding land acknowledgments and blessing ceremonies, it irreparably harms sovereign Indigenous nations and their citizens. The most threatening message communicated by these acts is that American Indian identity is a racial or ethnic identity that anyone can claim through self-identification. This is not true.

American Indian identity is a political identity based on citizenship in an Indigenous nation whose sovereignty has been acknowledged by the U.S. government. Sovereign Indigenous nations, and only these nations have the authority to determine who is and is not a citizen, and hence who is and is not an American Indian or Alaska Native.

Anything less would undermine the entire body of Indian Law, undoing tribal sovereignty. As Rebecca Nagle of the Cherokee Nation explains in “This Land,” American Indians and Alaska Natives would effectively cease to exist.

And so, particularly when they perpetuate misunderstandings of Indigenous identities, land acknowledgments done wrong are heard by Indigenous peoples as the final blow: a definitive apocalyptic vision of a world in which Indigenous sovereignty and land rights will not be recognized and will be claimed never to have really existed.

Respect and restoration

Land acknowledgments are not harmful, we believe, if they are done in a way that is respectful of the Indigenous nations who claim the land, accurately tell the story of how the land passed from Indigenous to non-Indigenous control, and chart a path forward for redressing the harm inflicted through the process of land dispossession.

What many Indigenous persons want from a land acknowledgment is, first, a clear statement that the land needs to be restored to the Indigenous nation or nations that previously had sovereignty over the land.

This is not unrealistic: There are many creative ways to take restorative measures and even to give land back, such as by returning U.S. national parks to the appropriate tribes. Following from this, land acknowledgments must reveal a sincere commitment to respecting and enhancing Indigenous sovereignty.

If an acknowledgment is discomforting and triggers uncomfortable conversations versus self-congratulation, it is likely on the right track.

Elisa J. Sobo, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, San Diego State University; Michael Lambert, Associate Professor of African Studies and Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Valerie Lambert, President of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community

Read the full post at the GCI Nexus blog. I’m a proud member of the leadership committee for this project.

My name is Dr. Jonathon Moir and I am thrilled to be writing to you today as the new Program Manager for the Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCTLC). The GCTLC—an online platform set to launch in 2023—is a joint initiative announced in December by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and Beyond Benign that will help revolutionize the way green chemistry educational resources are shared and further catalyze collaboration, networking and mentorship among educators, students, industry stakeholders and community members.

Research culture

Hypercompetition. Overwork. Career instability. Lack of diversity. Discrimination. Misconduct. These are just some of the characteristic problems of current academic research culture. Despite the strain these issues place on researchers, improvement have been slow to emerge due to the complex network of interactions between all the parties involved in academic research – including funders, universities, publishers and the researchers themselves.

In this collection, Chemistry World looks more closely at these issues from the viewpoints of the people affected by them and highlight some of the solutions being proposed to make academic research environments healthier and happier places to do science.

Diving deep: A fresh look at internships & fellowship opportunities

Read the full story from William & Mary.

In the summer of 2020, the murder of George Floyd sparked demonstrations across the U.S. in support of the countless minorities, specifically Black people, that have been subject to police brutality. For many people, these demonstrations shed light on systemic racism and institutional inequalities that are pervasive throughout the U.S. and around the world. People started actively seeking ways to be involved, show support, and/or make an impact in their communities. For a small team within the Sea Grant and Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), this included solidifying plans for a National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES Planning Grant proposal that would “develop a national ecosystem that nurtures the growth, persistence, and success of students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.” The group named the project COME IN (Coastal, Ocean, and Marine Enterprise Inclusion and Network-building), and I was lucky enough to get involved with their team as a Sustainability Ambassador through the William & Mary Office of Sustainability this past spring.

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