Wonder makes us tackle today's BIG environmental challenges

As part of our mission, we strive to find solutions to diverse environmental challenges. And we do that in many ways. From uranium mining and algae blooms to environmental justice and climate policy, the science is just as diverse as the people behind it.

Stay tuned as we release videos from Fall 2019 onward.

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    • Meet Kathy, a climate and water policy expert with a mission to mentor future generations.
  • A Dancing Scientist
    • Meet Jesus Solis, a graduate student who dances in-between the worlds of art, science and loving yourself.
  • Science For All
    • Meet Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, one of our faculty focused on environmental health who wants to shift the paradigm of citizen science.
  • Deciphering Deadly Algae
    • Meet Dr. Jean McLain and graduate student Robert Lynch—these environmental microbiologists make a surprising discovery about deadly algae in an small man-made Arizona wetland.
  • The Making of A Metalhead Scientist
    • Meet Brenna Bourque, a self-proclaimed metalhead and environmental science major who remains determined in the face of unforeseen setbacks in both science and life.

Anxious young generations are committed to solving the climate crisis. Kathy shows them there is a path forward in One Nation Under Science.

Watch this climate and water policy expert mentor future generations of scientists and policymakers.

Meet Kathy. She’s not only the Director of Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions and professor in the Department of Environmental Science, working for over 25 years on water issues and advising The White House on climate policy, but also a mother and a grandmother. 

“Working with young people is very important. Many of them are anxious about the climate crisis. They do have a role in the solution and there is a path forward.”

Kathy cares about the future of our world, and wants to encourage kids and students--especially women in science--to use their technical expertise, passion for policy and knack for communication to move science and policy forward. 

Meet Jesus in A Dancing Scientist, who dances in-between the worlds of science, art and loving yourself. 

Environmental contamination affects underrepresented communications. Watch this dancing scientist work to change that.

Meet Jesus. He is—and always will be—a dancer. But he lives between many worlds: as an immigrant, first-generation college student, LGBTQ community member, writer, mental health advocate, and scientist.

“I’m appreciative of science, and all that it’s taught me... Everything is connected,  and everything affects somebody somewhere.”

As the oldest child in a Mexican-American household, Jesus grappled with translating complex scientific information about lead contamination to his family. This instilled a desire to make science accessible to all people, especially underrepresented communities and people just like himself. So, he uprooted his life for graduate school at the University of Arizona, working with Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta and Project Harvest, a citizen science project focused on local communities living near contaminated sites.

Everyone is a scientist in their own wayScience For All shows how we are changing citizen science.

One environmental scientist is shifting the paradigm of traditional science.

Meet Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta. She wants to change the way we do science to better address environmental injustice. 

“You can address injustices through the democratization of science.”

Mónica and transdisciplinary research team work with four Arizona communities through the co-created citizen science project, Project Harvest.

This community science project looks at the quality of rainwater harvesting systems of communities living near either active or legacy mine sites, or other potential sources of pollution. At the same time, they evaluate environmental health literacy. Relying heavily on peer education and culturally sensitive strategies, the Project Harvest team shows how how anyone can be a scientist.

Come investigate harmful algal blooms in Tucson's Sweetwater Wetlands in Deciphering Deadly Algae.

See science as it happens--sometimes unexpected discoveries can lead to big solutions.

Meet Dr. Jean McLain. For the past decade, this environmental microbiologist as tackled the environmental challenge of what makes algae in our water bodies suddenly become deadly.

“We’ve identified something that is preventing toxic algal blooms from occurring. And the next step is to find out what is that something.”

Through water sampling, microbiological analysis and collaboration with local municipalities, Jean and her graduate student Robert Lynch discovered that something in recycled water (reclaimed water) of the City of Tucson's Sweetwater Wetlands seems to inhibit toxin production.

As warming climate and increasing pollution from agriculture makes these harmful algal blooms more frequent and widespread on a global scale, these environmental scientists might have a clue in a small, desert wetland.

In The Making of a Metalhead Scientist, we follow Brenna on her winding path to environmental science.

Watch this self-proclaimed metalhead scientist find her path in environmental science.

Meet Brenna. A talented artist and environmental science major who loves all things outdoors, metal music and cats. Because of her unconventional path, Brenna remains audacious in the face of unforeseen setbacks and feels empowered by science.

“Microbiology is working with the magical and the invisible. Everything is details. It takes time and practice and patience… and being kind to yourself. Especially if you fail, which can happen a lot in science.”

She helps our faculty Dr. Paul Carini better understand the microbes beneath out feet. Limited understanding of the smallest organisms in our world hinders our ability to handle these environmental challenges, like shifting climates, contaminated water and increasing drought. One day, she hopes to use her knowledge of microbiology in bioremediation--using microbes to treat the contamination of soil and water.

We partnered with Landmark Stories, a small documentary team powered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, to offer an intimate glimpse into what drives today’s scientists to solve some of the biggest environmental challenges we face today.