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Fellow Highlight: Meaghan Guckian

Sunday, December 2, 2018
Photo credit: Dave Brenner

    “I’ve always been really fascinated by people – how we make decisions, how we communicate with one another…ultimately, why we do the things that we do, ” remarks Meaghan describing her path to her current work with the NE CASC. Meaghan is a doctoral candidate at UMass Amherst. Her research and interests are grounding in applying insights from the behavioral sciences—psychology, communications, and decision-making—to address environmental dilemmas. With the NE CASC , Meaghan has predominantly worked on the Early Career Climate Communications and Networking project with NE CASC Science Coordinator Michelle Staudinger and affiliated investigator, Ezra Markowitz. The goal of the project is to contribute to the Department of the Interior and the USGS's priority to train the next generation of scientists and resource managers. Their contribution towards the initiative has been to create a national early career communication platform, the Early Career Climate Forum (ECCF), to facilitate and increase information sharing and networking across the CASCs and consortium institutions.

    The ECCF is an online science community, which maintains multiple platforms, including a blog-focused website, topical listserv and social media accounts. The website provides ECCF users with a centralized directory of career- and science-related resources (e.g., information on diversity in STEM, writing and speaking tools), a CASC-focused publications page, and a recurring blog that features over 130 posts from more than 60 different authors representing all the regional CASCs and headquarters. Meaghan has helped coordinate the bi-monthly blog which features myriad posts from students and researchers ranging from anecdotes about research and methodological approaches, perspectives on women in STEM to best tenets for communicating about science. The goal of the platform is to engage a diverse array of students, scholars and early career professionals across the U.S. in a way that allows them to engage with one another, to share their trials and tribulations as researchers and people, and to help them to discover “their role as scientists navigating the intersection of management and climate.”

   As scientists are increasingly expected to distill and share their science with diverse audiences, ‘providing early scholars with a platform and space to learn about themselves as communicators and from their peers is paramount,’ she says. Meaghan’s work with the ECCF ties directly to here underlying interests in promoting effective communication and increasing public engagement with science. She graduated from St. Lawrence with a focus on environmental psychology and further pursued her interests in environmental behavior and communication while receiving her Master’s degree from the School of Earth and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Passionate about both people and the planet, her research continues to explore how people talk about environmental issues and furthermore, examining whether and how various forms of interpersonal interactions manifest to maintain, create and/or transform context-dependent social norms. In analyzing the results of an ECCF user survey, Meaghan notes that, ‘It has been a positive experience and space for ECCF community members to interact, and importantly, has provided many with a sense of community and a sense of hope for the future of climate science.’ 

View the Early Career Climate Communications and Networking Project Page here >>

View Meaghan Guckian's profile here >>


Early Career Climate Forum Blog posts by Meaghan Guckian

The winds of change? Extreme weather events and public opinion on climate change

Crafting stories at the 2016 Northwest Climate Boot Camp

From scarcity to inclusion: The continued need for women in science

The Future is Waiting, Just Around the Riverbend