Obviously, this is a weird time to be celebrating starting a new job. I am very lucky to be starting a job that I can do from the safety of my home, especially with daily news of rising death rates and infections, coinciding with rising unemployment rates and many people struggling to pay their basic expenses. With this weighing on my mind, I have thought about how to use my fortunate position to the greatest public benefit.
The current pandemic has brought to the forefront how vital the use of science and evidence-based decision-making is. We have seen varying responses from governments around the world, with similarly varying results. These cases provide insight into how not acting according to the best possible science can have potentially devastating outcomes. I am proud to be joining E4D, and its associated networks, which have been doing great work to aid and amplify scientific responses to COVID-19 and which have been working for years to create transparent and evidence-based governance. Now I am excited to be a part of the effort to continue this push for increased evidence-based decision-making and increased transparency in how decisions are made.
A little about me! Right now I am finishing up my PhD in Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough – hopefully by September 2020. I also hold an undergraduate degree in Physics and a Masters in Climate Change. My PhD focused on four invasive fish species, known popularly as “Asian carp”, where I worked to inform prevention efforts in the Great Lakes basin. The experience included exposure to working with different stakeholders and government groups across federal and state/provincial governments, in both the USA and Canada. This exposure was mostly positive, although it alerted me to larger scale problems that impede the transfer of knowledge from researchers into policy and into demonstrable results.
My research passions are varied and ever changing. I have broadly been interested in environmental science, specifically in climate change, hydrology, and invasive species. Throughout my research career, I have tried to work across disciplines to make my research policy relevant. More recently, I have done work evaluating how science turns into policy, work which I am excited to continue in my current position. All of these experiences and education have led to a varied background and unique perspective that I am excited to bring to E4D.