December 14, 2021

It was quite the blustery morning for three IGC fellows, Jennifer Brousseau, Tyler Weiglein, and Isaac VanDiest, to grab a coffee with GCC Affiliate and Assistant Professor of Environmental Health and Policy Dr. Ryan Calder. It was a delightful time that covered topics such as where you can find a warm place in Canada, how to tailor work to various audiences,  and how the science-policy relationship varies greatly by field and location. As this was the last IGC coffee conversation before the semester ends and we all were gearing up for conferences, reflection on the past year and our desire to get back to presenting work in person were also topics of conversation.

Dr. Calder’s work was of particular interest to the three of us, each of who has a desire to use science to inform public policy. The story of Dr. Calder challenging the science of government reports on the impacts of hydroelectric power was not only inspirational but a great starting point for discussions on how to use good science to support a conclusion that could have real world implications. This also led us into discussions of how to effectively message important scientific principles so that action can be taken (e.g. how might you convince a local coastal government that investing in raising roadways is worthwhile as a form of climate adaptation?).

Our discussions ranged a number of subjects in our hour together, but as the time flew by and we headed our separate ways I left with a renewed sense of excitement for my work and future directions as a scientist.

Written by Isaac VanDiest, IGC Fellow and PhD student in Biological Sciences

Fellows with coffee