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2018 Student Conference on Global Challenges: Climate & the Environment Recap

March 6, 2018

On March 1, 2018, the Office of International Programs hosted the 11th Annual Student Conference on Global Challenges with the focus of Climate & the Environment. Over 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended the globally-themed conference to discuss challenges such as providing people with clean, safe, efficient, and affordable energy, and countering the negative effects of climate change both locally and globally. The conference offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to share their research and engage in critical reflection and dialogue on how climate change and the environment is shaping our global context within the diverse disciplines of health, education, science, human rights, medicine, law, media, economics, politics, development, and history. 


Executive Vice President and Provost M. Brian Blake opened the day with remarks on the importance of student research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as a way Drexel students can work to address global challenges. He highlighted that the Conference provides students with an opportunity to share their research and academic expertise with others in a conference format. 

Throughout the day, six interdisciplinary student panels featured research and projects from undergraduate and graduate students on topics related to Climate & the Environment. Out of over 70 abstracts submitted, a cross-departmental committee selected 31 presentations. Presentations ranged from the effects of climate change on women in Guatemala to the use of Novel Xmenes in creating potable water to urban health in a changing climate, and many more. For a full list of presenters and topics, click here. 


The conference featured keynote speaker Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, who delivered an address titled "Climate Justice and Human Rights: Advancing Systems Change from Local to Global."  


All conference sessions can be viewed on YouTube at the following links: 



The conference concluded with poster presentations and an awards reception, where exceptional panelists were awarded the Presentation Award – a new initiative from the Office of International Programs, Office of Undergraduate Research, and the AJ Drexel Institute for Energy and the Environment. Recognized students qualify for  up to $500 in travel reimbursement to present their work at a domestic conference within the year. Congratulations to our award recipients! 


Global Climate Justice and Human Rights

Mridul Awasthi | "The Issue of South-East Asian Haze" 


Global Science and Technology

Ryan Beneduce | "An Exploration of the Sustainable Biological World" 


Global Governance, Policy, and Industry Trends

Caitlin Cooper | "Chile Post-Privatization: Implications for Water Governance in the Context of Climate Change" 


Global to Local Community Solutions

Samantha Stein and My Nguyen | "At the Intersection of Planetary and Community Health: Developing Iteratively-Informed Healthcare Strategies to Accommodate a Changing Environment and Mobilize Multi-Level Care" 


Global Media, Arts, and Cultures

Charisse Y. Laws and Jaydn T. Stepick | "Storm Surge: How the Media Could Change the Conversation by Covering the Economic Impact" 


Global Health and Sustainability

Mariah Mennano | "The Effects of El Niño on WASH and Health in Lesotho" 


For more information about next year's conference, follow the Office of International Programs on Facebook, sign up for the Office of International Programs' quarterly newsletter, and check back on our website in early 2019!