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Stay curious, and I’ll see you in the Spring…

6 Mar

I’m signing off for one month while traveling in Europe as a 2012 Marshall Memorial Fellow. I’ll be visiting Brussels, Stockholm, Rome, Sarajevo, and Berlin to learn more about energy, science, politics, and culture beyond our borders.

The Marshall Memorial Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for emerging leaders from the United States and Europe to explore institutions, politics, and culture on the other side of the Atlantic.  American and European Fellows each visit five cities during the 24-day program. They meet formally and informally with a range of policymakers, prominent community members, and local MMF alumni.  During the trip, each Fellow also has the opportunity to explore his or her individual professional interests beyond the group programs, which focus on a range of domestic and international policy areas.

Innovation: A Video Interview By Springbox

17 Feb

For the third chapter in Springbox’s Innovation in Austin series, they invited me in to chat about science, sustainability, and innovation.

More from Springbox’s Innovation in Austin series here →

Video: My Interview With CNN

14 Feb

To The Young Scientist

6 Feb

Science is what you make of it.

When I was an undergraduate, my profession did not exist.

Look for opportunities and fill a new niche.

Science changes every moment.

Incorporate your experiences into emerging fields.

Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled.

Stay flexible. Never be bored. Follow what’s fun.

Don’t worry about other people’s expectations for you.

Set your own.

Surprise yourself.

My New Job: Director Of UT’s Project on Energy Communication

1 Feb

After 1.5 incredible years with The Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, I’m very sad to say goodbye to The Webber Energy Group. Dr. Michael Webber and his team are some of the brightest and most forward-thinking individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I feel extremely privileged to have been part of the WEG community where students are clearly developing an interdisciplinary understanding of the sector while gaining the technical expertise to have a tremendous impact. If they represent tomorrow’s energy leaders, I’m very hopeful for the future.

I’m thrilled to announce that today I begin a new position as Director of UT’s Project on Energy Communication at The McCombs School of Business Energy Management and Innovation Center. I’m moving across campus to lead the UT Energy Poll – an exciting new initiative involved in understanding public perceptions of energy, and in turn, use that information to inform policymakers and various stakeholders–including you. Why does it matter? The way we feel about energy influences voting behavior, consumer choices, and legislative decision-making.

And consider this: Right now, only 14% of Americans think we’re headed in the right direction dealing with energy issues:

It will be interesting to see how that changes over time with new policies and increasingly efficient technologies in the US and abroad.

With so many great people, projects, and programs here, I’m tremendously excited to get started!


23 Jan

In this message posted on her website, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announces plans to step down from Congress. I hope she continues to make great strides in her recovery and will look forward to her return to public service.

The Marshall Memorial Fellowship

12 Dec

I’m very happy to share the news that I’ll be a 2012 Marshall Memorial Fellow through the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Here’s a look at the press release:

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) announces today that 50 emerging American leaders representing 18 states and the District of Columbia have been awarded the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) for 2012. During the 24-day traveling program, MMF fellows will develop extensive knowledge of political, economic, and social institutions in the United States and Europe and will speak with leaders about key issues on both sides of the Atlantic.

The MMF program educates emerging American and European leaders on the importance of the transatlantic relationship and encourages them to collaborate on a range of international and domestic policy challenges. Fellows are selected through competitive nationwide and regional processes and come from politics, government, media, business, and the non-profit sector. American fellows spend 24 days traveling to five cities across Europe, learning about the institutions and people that drive Europe’s cities, regions, countries, and multilateral systems through meetings with local counterparts.

I am really looking forward to the experience next Spring where I’ll be able to learn a lot more about policy in Europe. You can read about the program here.

Launching “Books I ♥”

28 Nov

Speaking of holiday book ideas, I’m pleased to announce a cool new feature at Culture of Science..

On the top right, you’ll see a new tab called Books I ♥ where I’ll be highlighting favorite titles by outstanding authors. Many of these books will be composed by science writers, but others may be included because they inspired me, made me laugh, or even changed my perspective a bit.

Kicking off Books I ♥ are six incredible reads by some of my favorite writers–and two of them contribute to the science blogosphere. Go take a look..

This list will continue to grow as I review new books and add old ones dear to my heart. So check back frequently. Readers are encouraged to add your own detailed recommendations in comments.

Story Of A Rescue Dog

22 Nov

At the Austin Pets Alive adoption center

Yesterday David and I adopted a small yet-to-be-named (YTBN) dog from Austin Pets Alive (APA). He had been set to be euthanized before being pulled from the shelter. The little guy is three years old and was abandoned by previous owners who clearly never cleaned or cared for his basic needs. He’s a reminder that anyone can get a dog, and many people do who should not. YTBN is very nervous, yet desperately craves human contact and affection.

The first trash can full of hair, leaves, twigs, and more..

I spent several hours last night carefully cutting through many inches and years of matted hair around the little guy’s neck and throughout his body packed with prickers, sticks, and who knows what else. A mountain of white and tan dreadlocks piled up as he got smaller and smaller during the process. His paws are sore and his tail was so heavy it dragged behind him. Now that it’s trimmed up, he hasn’t stopped wagging it–for what’s likely the first time in a long time. Soon I’ll find a professional to take care of the rest.

I need a name.

YTBN didn’t sleep through the night so your resident blogger is terribly tired this morning. He’s here for a trial period to make sure he gets along with our first rescue Happy. So far he’s been rather aggressive, but that’s probably out of fear.

And so I’d like to remind readers that if you see an animal abused or neglected, please report it. In YTBN’s case, even mildly observant neighbors should have recognized this particular pup had been suffering for years.

I welcome advice on the one to two dog transition and the adoption of dogs who have had a rough start. Or share your own rescue story in comments.  And, of course, suggest a name for this little fella..

A Note About School Assignments

22 Oct

Dear student readers,

I regularly receive requests for interviews as class assignments and am always glad to discuss science literacy, marine policy, new media, journalism, or careers. I have two requests:

  • If you email to me–or anyone–requesting help with a school project, it’s not advisable to include that you’re doing it last minute and need answers that day.
  • Do not write later that your incomplete or failed grade is my fault for not answering your email immediately.

The first occurs at least once a month. The second less frequently, but more than it should.

That said, I do love hearing from you and am often extremely impressed with your questions and ideas so keep them coming.