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Climate Year Speaker Series

Climate Year: Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences 

The Climate Year Speaker Series is a monthly or more series of cross-disciplinary conversations highlighting climate-related work across the University. Each session will cover a different climate change challenge, featuring up to three speakers from different departments or offices at Drexel, followed by a moderated panel discussion. To see upcoming Speaker Series events, check out the Sustainability Events Calendar.

Speaker Series Archive

Climate Change and Urban Health

Climate change has major implications on human health, especially in urban settings. Speakers on this panel discuss topics including links between heat and mortality, impacts of urban design on climate vulnerability, city-wide adaptation strategies, and implications for health equity. Our speakers include: Dr. Jerry Fagliano who gives an overview of climate change and health in the urban setting; Josiah Kephart, who discusses heat, vulnerability and mortality; Ione Avila-Palencia who discusses climate change and urban design; and Leah Schinasi who discusses city-wide adaptations to address greening and equity issues. The panel is moderated by undergraduate Health Service Administration major, Meghan Conroy.

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Averting Climate Disaster: Technology, Society & Politics

Getting to carbon neutrality will require transformational changes in technology, society, and politics. Our panelist discuss what is needed in technology development and decision-making, communication strategies, and political scenarios and social movements to most effectively address accelerating climate change. The panelists include: Jason Baxter, Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering; Suruchi Sood, Associate Professor of Community Health & Prevention; and Christian Hunold, Professor of Politics. Sherif Khalifa, graduate student in Chemical & Biological Engineering, moderated the panel.

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Infrastructure + Health: The Impacts of COVID and Climate on Transportation

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our perspective and habits when it comes to transportation, the sector responsible for about a third of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Shifting transportation habits have implications for our greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions, mobility options for vulnerable communities, and the health and wellness of dense urban populations.

Dr. Ana Diez Roux, Dean of the School of Public Health and Director of the Urban Health Collaborative, Dr. Mimi Sheller, Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, and Dr. Shannon Capps, Associate Professor in Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, will discuss these dynamics from the public health, engineering and social science perspectives. They will share their work in these fields and participate in a panel discussion, moderated by environmental science student, Akilah Chatman.

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Climate Risks from Headwaters to Coast

With the opening of Gideon Mendel: Drowning World at the Academy, we have become even more cognizant of how overwhelming climate events around the world, including flooding, affect humans. In this Climate Year Speaker Series and Academy Town Square event, two Drexel faculty members share their areas of research exploring the impacts and risks of climate change, and participate in a moderated discussion addressing audience questions. Stefanie Kroll, PhD, Academy of Natural Sciences, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Sciences, will speak about her project of understanding headwaters structure, function and resilience to climate change. This will include defining headwaters and why they matter to watersheds, as well as water quality in large rivers. Franco Montalto, PhD, College of Engineering and Center for Public Policy, will define and describe the challenges associated with compound flood risks in coastal communities. These include the stress that increasingly intense precipitation, rising sea levels and coastal surges pose on obdurate infrastructure. The panel is moderated by Erin Wright: Environmental Studies and Sustainability Major, Drexel ‘22

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Sustainability on Campus

In this lively discussion of sustainability initiatives from the business operations side of Drexel, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Julie Jones, Vice President of Real Estate and Facilities Alan Greenberger, and Associate Vice President for Business Services Don Liberati discuss the past, present and future of campus sustainability. Moderated by Grace Zaborski.

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The Student Experience at the UN Climate Conference

Every year, the United Nations holds a Climate Change Conference, also called a Conference of Parties, or COP. Delegates from nearly every country in the world convene at COP to deliberate what they will do to address the climate crisis. In this iteration of the Climate Year Speaker Series, Beth Martin of Washington University in St. Louis (who serves as a focal point for the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) constituency to the UNFCCC) gives an overview of COP, RINGO and how to follow along with the negotiations. Following this overview, a panel of alumni from Drexel University and Washington University in St. Louis discuss their experiences at previous COP events, COP's influence on their academic and professional endeavors, and lessons learned for students who would like to engage in climate action. Panelists include: Julia Greensfelder, legislative and policy analyst for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Washington University in St. Louis alum), Noah Hagen, transportation planner with Gorove Slade in Washington DC (Washington University in St. Louis alum), and Denise Kelly, project manager for Dunedin, a small coastal city in Florida (Drexel University alum). This panel is moderated by Adam Zahn, director of Global Engagement in Drexel University's Office of Global Engagement.

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Careers in Climate Change

Are you looking for a career in climate change or sustainability, but not sure where to find them? It is not easy finding a job that aligns with what we're passionate about, but it is possible! Learn from this panel of incredible Drexel alumni that are working in this field they care about and are continually learning how to balance their climate change and sustainability ideals with their careers in this Climate Year Speaker Series event. Alumni panelists include: Collin Cavote ('15), CEO and Founder of Biome, a company that designs and builds modular green walls; Maura Jarvis ('16), Community Outreach Specialist for the Philadelphia Water Department; Kaya Gentile ('20), a sustainability analyst at Hines-JPMC incorporating sustainability into all facets of facilities management of the JPMorgan Chase real estate in NYC; and Emma Snelling ('21), a Materials Science and Engineering PhD student researching sustainable packaging applications from industrial food waste. The discussion is moderated by Liz Schwartz, senior Co-op advisor in the Steinbright Career Development Center.

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Global Council of Climate Leaders

Students in professor of politics Ali Kenner's fall term class "Cities and Climate Change" present the work that they did during the term to create a "Global Council of Climate Leaders."

Check out the exciting ways that Drexel students and faculty are addressing the climate crisis. You'll find some great ideas for integrating impactful learning experiences into your teaching (if you are a faculty member) and ideas for meaningful ways to engage with climate problem solving (if you are everybody).

The students' work is archived on their course website.

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