Cecilia will develop and coordinate a robust strategy to further the work of the Conservancy’s Restoring America’s Forests Program and related projects through direct interaction with Congressional members and staff, U.S. government agencies, a wide variety of national and regional stakeholders and relevant members of the private sector. She will also be the chief contact within the Conservancy for external affairs issues related to the USDA Forest Service. Cecilia currently serves as the policy analyst for the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters, where she represents 21 state forestry directors (and their agencies) from the northeast, Midwest and DC. Prior to NAASF, Cecilia worked on national forest issues for The Wilderness Society. She has degrees from the University of Maine and West Virginia University. She will be in the Arlington, VA worldwide office of TNC.
This past summer I spent 6 weeks studying in Granada, Spain, and I can say without a thread of doubt that it was one of the scariest, but most rewarding decisions I have ever made. To give you a little background information, I have always had a weak spot for the Spanish language; I fell in love with it at the young age of 11 when I first began studying it in grade school. Now, here I am, almost ten years later, more fascinated than ever before with the language and everything that it represents. When I decided to attend the University of Maine, I also decided that I would pick up a Spanish minor. I did this – not only because it made perfect sense and would give me an edge in the business world – which I would eventually be joining, but also because I was not even remotely ready to give up on my dream of being able to speak two languages fluently. I deeply felt that I needed to complete a minor – to prove to myself that I had what it took to dedicate myself to a whole different culture and way of life.
Something I did not expect, however, was how hard it was going to be for me to complete this minor as well as all my other desired degrees if I were to spend a semester abroad, as I also am pursuing a double major in Economics and Ecology and Environmental Science, with a concentration in Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and Natural Resource Management as well as a minor in Renewable Energy Policy. It became clear to me that because I did not have enough room in my academic years to spend an entire semester abroad, I was going to have to go for a summer. I found the perfect program in Granada, Spain, where I would take 6 credits worth of intensive Spanish – the perfect fit for me, as all I needed was another 6 credits to finish my minor, and intensive language classes were exactly what I wanted to work towards my goal of becoming fluent in the language.
So I packed my bags and flew to Spain, and it was undoubtedly the best summer of my life. Granada, where I lived, is a small southern Spain city, where most people do not speak or understand English- including my host family! I was only an hour bus ride away from the beautiful Spanish coast, as well as the breath taking Sierra Nevada mountain range. While in Granada I took classes five hours a day five days a week. I was studying the proper grammar of the language, but at the same time taking conversation classes during which we were forced to use our Spanish to talk about everyday topics as well as current events.
The highlight of my experience, however, happened outside the classroom. I volunteered 3 days a week at a local orphanage, where I taught English lessons to children that ranged from ages 4-11. Although I was there to teach them, I always walked away feeling that they had been the ones teaching me – not just about the Spanish language, but about life. It’s not possible to put into words the feeling I got when I watched the face of one little girl named Maria who I became quite close with, light up when I would tell her she had done a great job reading a book to me. It was in that orphanage that I was truly forced to put my Spanish to the test again and again, and it was in that orphanage where I grew the most as a person.
From the bottom of my heart, I truly feel that studying abroad results in life experience that you cannot gain any other way. When you are on your own in a country that is new and undiscovered to you, every hour of every day is an adventure. The self-confidence you gain from knowing that you willingly chose to walk straight into the unknown, and you conquered that unknown, is completely irreplaceable.
Image Description: Spain Abroad Host Mom
Image Description: Spain Abroad girl
Image Description: Spain Abroad kids
Monday, October 28, Dr. Caroline Noblet will be presenting Economics, Psychology, and Sustainability: Oh My! at the University of Southern Maine Portland campus.
For more information, visit http://people.usm.maine.edu/gramlich/colloquium/fall13/noblet/, and to register, please visit http://www.jeffgramlich.org/colloquium/registration/fall13/noblet/forms/form1.html
Haley’s work studying the effectiveness of Maine CDC’s (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) fish consumption advisory for at-risk women is forthcoming as a research article in the journal Environmental Research
Can fish consumption advisories do better? Providing benefit and risk information to increase knowledge. Haley Engelberth,Mario Teisl, Eric Frohmberg, Karyn Butts Kathleen P. Bell, Sue Stableford and Andrew E. Smith
Humans exposed to methylmercury (MeHg) can suffer from adverse health impacts, e.g., serious neurological damage; however, fish is also a good source of omega-3 fish oils which promotes infants’ neurological development. Because eating fish is the primary mechanism of MeHg exposure, federal and state agencies issue fish consumption advisories to inform the public about the risks of eating contaminated fish. An advisory’s purpose is to provide information to consumers to increase their knowledge of specific product attributes; however, the difficulty in communicating both the risks and benefits of eating fish leads readers of fish advisories to over-restrict their fish consumption. Because the effectiveness of fish consumption advisories are not often evaluated by states, we help fill this gap by evaluating the effectiveness of Maine’s fish consumption advisory in terms of improving knowledge.
The results suggest the advisory successfully increased women’s knowledge of both the benefits and risks of consuming fish while pregnant. The advisory also increased their ability to differentiate fish by their MeHg content, knowledge of both low and high-MeHg fish and knowledge of detailed attributes of seemingly substitutable goods, such as white tuna, light tuna and pre-packaged salmon. People who did not read the advisory lack the knowledge of how to identify fish that provide: health benefits like Omega-3 fatty acids, or health risks like MeHg; reading the advisory reduces this lack of knowledge. Readers increased ability to make specific substitutions to minimize risk while maintaining the benefits of fish eating suggests the advisory has the potential of reducing MeHg-related health risks while avoiding the drop in fish consumption show in other studies.
Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Water and Land Use for Concentrated Solar Power Plants with Different Energy Backup Systems; by Sharon J.W. Klein and Edward S. Rubin
Concentrated solar power (CSP) is unique among intermittent renewable energy options because for the past four years, utility-scale plants have been using an energy storage technology that could allow CSP plants to operate as a base-load energy generator . No study has directly compared the environmental implications of this technology with more conventional CSP backup energy options. We compare the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption, and direct, onsite land use associated with electricity production from CSP plants with wet and dry cooling and with three energy backup systems: 1) minimal backup (MB), 2) molten salt thermal energy storage (TES), and 3) a natural gas-fired heat transfer fluid heater (NG). Plants with NG had 4-9 times more GHG emissions than TES plants, and TES plants had twice as many GHG emissions as MB plants. Dry cooling reduced water consumption by 71-78% compared to wet cooling. Larger backup capacities had greater water consumption while NG plants had lower land use impacts.
Stephanie Whalley and Binod Neupane (EES MS and PhD students, respectively – both working on the National Science Foundation Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) project) were accepted to the Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which they will be attending over the next 2 weeks through a partial scholarship offered by the SISE and funding from the SEP project. More info from SISE’s website:
“The vision for the Summer Institute is to integrate basic energy sciences research and innovative energy technologies into society through informed individuals who can make educated decisions on energy at the personal and civic levels, and in energy related fields like science, technology, economics, behavior, policy, planning, and entrepreneurship.
SISE will give the next generation of professionals in science, technology, government, and business knowledge of basic energy science and its relationship with other disciplines to address the rapid advances it brings to the scientific, technical, and cultural foundations of society. It will promote the inclusion of basic energy science research into entrepreneurial endeavors by future scientists, business leaders, and policy makers. It will also foster awareness of the interdisciplinary issues in society, industry, and technology that shape the ultimate outcome of basic energy science discoveries.
SISE is referred to as a “summer intensive” and “energy boot camp.” Participants are in lectures from 9AM to 5PM everyday, and they often attend evening activities. Participants are expected to spend the majority of their free time working with their research groups, often into the late hours of the night. Participants will spend the better part of a 24-hour day working and learning.”
MDF is pleased to present our first Quarterly Economic Report, Productivity in Maine. Produced in partnership with the University of Maine’s School of Economics, this series of quarterly reports further explores the economic indicators in Measures of Growth In Focus, a reliable and trusted annual report issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council.
Improving Maine’s relatively low level of worker productivity is critical to moving Maine’s economy forward. This first report explores in detail the reasons for, and impacts of, Maine’s comparatively low worker productivity, and serves as the basis for future papers in the series.
Productivity is driven in large part by available physical and human capital. Based solely on our level of educational attainment, Maine would be projected to perform much better than we currently do in output per worker. Maine’s rural nature and industry and occupational mix also play a role. Improving our productivity requires us to identify the types of jobs and industries that can thrive in less urbanized areas and invest in the skills, education, R&D, and innovation that support them.
Sarah Morehead’s paper on psychological distance won second place at the 2013 joint conference (sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics; the International Association for Research in Economic Psychology; and the International Confederation for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics and Economic Psychology) in Atlanta Georgia.
Stacia’s paper “Acceptance and support of the Australian carbon policy”, has been accepted for publication in Social Justice Research. Stacia worked on this paper with Iain Walker, Research Group Leader for the Social and Behavioural Sciences Group at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) - Australia’s national science agency. Stacia was in Australia as part of an Endeavour Award Fellowship.
The school links an international, transdisciplinary team of climate scientists, economists, philosphers, statisticians, engineers, and policy analysts to answer the question, “What are sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate risk management strategies?”
The week-long summer school fosters opportunities for collaboration and to provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with a solid foundation in the broad, multidisciplinary knowledge, tools, and methods of the diverse fields participating in the network.
The school will offer sessions on Earth system science, policy analysis, uncertainty quantification, coupled and integrated assessment. Participants will also gain hands-on experience with key methods and tools for robust decisionmaking and to enhance cross-disciplinary communication and more effective collaborative research among participants.