Fulbright Impact in the Field Alumni Panel: Climate Change and Environmental Justice
Fulbright alumni apply the skills and experiences gained during their Fulbright exchanges to advance their careers, to positively impact their fields, and to make a difference in their local and global communities. The Fulbright Impact in the Field series aims to bring together alumni with extensive expertise in a particular topic to provide insight, inform the audience, and bring new, global perspectives to the discussion.
This “Fulbright Impact in the Field: Climate Change and Environmental Justice” panel will convene scientists, researchers, and other professionals involved in combating climate change. They will discuss the latest scientific and policy developments; how their Fulbright experiences enhanced collaboration within the international scientific community; and how the new ideas they brought back with them benefit their institutions and communities.
Moderator and Panelist Bios
Tim McDonnell (2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya): Tim McDonnell is a climate and energy journalist at the global business magazine Quartz, covering the people, companies, technologies, and policies driving—or impeding—the clean energy transition. McDonnell was a 2018 National Geographic Explorer to Bangladesh, formerly on the staff of NPR and Mother Jones, and has contributed bylines in The New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Slate, IRIN, Wired, The Huffington Post, Nautilus, Grist, Audubon, Sierra, and elsewhere. As a 2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya, McDonnell studied climate change’s impact on food security in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria.
Amber Ajani (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student to American University from Pakistan): Amber Ajani is a Climate Fellow at the UN Climate Change secretariat and a recipient of the UNFCCC-UNU Early Career Climate Fellowship. Ajani has teaching and conservation experience in environmental education, climate change, integrated coastal management, and environmental journalism. She has worked with International Union for Conservation of Nature, Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, Greenpeace USA, Subh-e-Nau Magazine, Shehri Citizens for a Better Environment, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. As a 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student, Ajani completed a master’s degree in environmental science from American University.
Shalanda Baker, JD (2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico): Shalanda Baker, JD, is a leading expert on environmental and energy law. She is Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2018, she co-founded the Initiative for Energy Justice to support the delivery of equity-centered energy policy research and technical assistance to policymakers and frontline communities across the country. As a 2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico, Baker researched energy reform, climate change, and its impact on Indigenous rights in Oaxaca.
Dr. M Jackson (2015 Fulbright U.S. Student to Iceland, 2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Iceland): Dr. M Jackson is a geographer, glaciologist, TED Fellow, Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, and National Geographic Society Explorer. Jackson has worked for decades in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities, and is the author of two award-winning science books, The Secret Lives of Glaciers (2019) and While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change (2015). Jackson travels widely giving public talks and lectures on climate change and women in science. As a Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar to Iceland, Dr. Jackson studied glacial change.
Dr. Greg Poelzer (2015 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, 2021 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Co-Lead Scholar): Dr. Greg Poelzer researches comparative politics and policy related to Indigenous relations, energy and resource development, and capacity-building in the North. He is Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) and the Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Flagship Initiative Lead at the University of Saskatchewan. He is co-director of a multi-million-dollar Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant for 17 Indigenous and Northern communities. As a 2015 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, Dr. Poelzer studied Arctic energy policy and governance from a First Nations perspective in the Energy Working Group.