Four Gund Institute Graduate Fellows have received National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) awards for their research on coral reefs, Amazon conservation, social responses to climate events, and urban agriculture.
Alison Adams, Tatiana Gladkikh, Eva Kinnebrew and Aaron Schwartz, all PhD students in UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, are on research teams awarded Grad Pursuit projects by SESYNC, a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary research center at the University of Maryland.
SESYNC’s Grad Pursuit projects bring together graduate students from multiple institutions to conduct interdisciplinary research.
“The most unique thing about these projects is that they’re entirely conceived and led by graduate students,” says Adams. “We design and execute the entire project from start to finish.”
Adams is the co-leader of a six-student research team investigating how media narratives impact policy action regarding coral reefs, which are critically endangered. Her team includes students from Oregon State, Arizona State, the University of Delaware, and the University of Exeter. Follow the project on Twitter at @CoralStories and #CoralStories.
Schwartz is a co-leader of a team of six students analyzing how social responses to extreme climate events are changing over time and across countries. Schwartz’s team includes students from the U.S., China, and South Africa.
Kinnebrew will investigate the relationship between agriculture and conservation in the Amazon Basin. Her teammates hail from the University of Arizona, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, UC Davis, and Florida International University.
Gladkikh's team will explore the role of urban agriculture in urban ecosystem services and livelihoods, focusing on three cities in Latin America. Her team includes students from Purdue, Penn State, the State University of New York, and the University of Maryland.
SESYNC’s Grad Pursuits project will support the student researchers with travel funds, technical support, and a $2,000 honorarium for each student upon completion.
One of last year’s SESYNC Grad Pursuits project recipients, Gund Grad Fellow Courtney Hammond Wagner, researched household capital as an indicator of adaptability and innovation amongst farming households at risk to climate change impacts in India. Her work was recently published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
The next SESYNC Grad Pursuit request for proposals is expected to be announced this summer.