7 Distinguished Scientists To Serve As US Science Envoys

The U.S. Department of State has selected seven distinguished scientists to serve as U.S. Science Envoys.

They are Dr. Drew Harvell, Dr. Jessica Gephart, Dr. Christine Kreuder Johnson, Dr. LaShanda Korley, Dr. Prineha Narang, Frances Seymour, and Dr. Kyle Whyte.

Drew Harvell is Professor Emerita of Cornell University, Affiliate Faculty University of Washington, and Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Dr. Harvell’s research on sustainability of the oceans has taken her from the coral reefs of the Caribbean and Pacific to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. Her current research focuses on health of top predators and seagrass meadows in the transboundary waters of the Salish Sea. Her recent book, Ocean Outbreak, details infectious epidemics in the ocean and solutions that benefit people and biodiversity.

Jessica Gephart is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Science at American University. Her research focuses on how environmental shocks disrupt seafood trade.

Christine Kreuder Johnson is a Professor of Epidemiology and Ecosystem Health and Director of the EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics at the University of California. Her work is committed to transdisciplinary research to characterize the impacts of environmental change on animal and human health and guide public policy to mitigate pandemic threats.

LaShanda Korley is a Distinguished Professor in Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. Korley is a global leader in using biologically inspired and sustainable principles for the molecular design, manufacture, and valorization of functional polymeric systems.

Prineha Narang is a Professor and Howard Reiss Chair in Physical Sciences at UCLA where she leads an interdisciplinary group in quantum science and technology.

Frances Seymour is an expert on tropical forests and climate change. She is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute, Chairs the Board of the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions, and is lead author of the book, Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change.

Kyle Whyte is a professor in the environmental justice specialization at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on Indigenous peoples’ rights and knowledge in climate change and conservation planning, education, and policy.

The scientists are approved by the Secretary of State. They travel as private citizens to engage internationally with civil society as well as government interlocutors. Science Envoys help inform the Department of State, other U.S. government agencies, and the scientific community about opportunities for science and technology cooperation.

The 2023 cohort was selected because of their expertise in key issues facing the world today and will focus on these priority areas during their service which include Ocean Conservation and Marine Protected Areas; Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing; One Health and Zoonotic Diseases; Plastic Pollution; Quantum Information Science and Technology; Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change; and, the Nexus of Environmental Science and Indigenous Knowledge.

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