Ecological Issues

Throughout the semester we have introduced a series of interviews with scientists that have made a career out of addressing environmental topics. Please view (or re-view) a minimum of three interviews that resonate with you and write your response paper following the tasks below.
In this assignment you will:
❖ Briefly highlight three Meet the Experts interviews that were most impactful to you.
❖ Describe the overall message that emerges from this set of interviews about the function of science in society. What motivates and drives their creativity and research? How did they choose the career path they are on?
❖ Present a concise and coherent response that connects these interviews with the environmental issues we have addressed in class.
❖ Reflect on how these experts’ stories change your own perspectives or the way you think about scientific work and environmental issues.

  1. IDENTIFY AND SUMMARIZE THREE MEET THE EXPERTS INTERVIEWS (~1-2 paragraphs suggested) – 5 Points
    Take some time to revisit the interview videos available on Canvas. Select three interviews that were especially meaningful to you and allow you to reflect on the field in new ways.
    Some possible ways to synthesize the interviews and identify key takeaways include:
    ● What are some of the most meaningful commonalities or differences among these experts? This could be with respect to a particular issue, in their approach to research more broadly, or even in their career pathways.
    ● What do their perspectives illustrate about the range of scientific disciplines or about the interdisciplinary nature of real-world scientific work?
    ● How did each of these experts become experts in their fields? What drove them to pursue this career path or these issues?
  2. ANALYSIS & SIGNIFICANCE: What themes or insights emerge in these three interviews and why are they important to you? (~3-4 paragraphs suggested) – 9 Points
    Make a case for why this particular group of interviews is especially important. Some questions to guide your thinking about significance or impact include:
    ● How does the work of these three experts expand our knowledge of the field broadly, or influence potential solutions or approaches to a certain topic?
    ● What novel or distinct perspectives do these experts bring to the field or to a particular environmental issue or topic? Why are these perspectives important?
    ● How does their work intersect with other areas or issues (e.g., business, politics, policy, engineering, health)? Do these experts present similar or diverse relationships with other areas?
    ● What are common misconceptions and stereotypes that their work could help address?
    ● How do these experts use their work to address environmental impacts in particular communities or tackle issues related to environmental justice or activism?

Be sure to incorporate concrete examples from the interviews, as well as from lectures and discussions where appropriate, to illustrate and support your points.

  1. CONNECT TO THE COURSE (~1-2 paragraphs suggested) – 3 points
    Briefly highlight how the interviews you selected connect to the topics addressed in lecture or discussion. This does not mean simply stating, “person X does Y and we discussed Y in lecture,” but rather discussing how their research helps to add another dimension to the topics discussed in lecture.
  2. RELEVANCE & REFLECTION: How do these experts’ stories change your own perspectives or the way you think about this topic? (~3-4 paragraphs suggested) – 8 points
    Reflect on the relevance of these different perspectives on your own life and select one or two specific examples of how they change or reinforce your current thinking. Some areas you could consider include:
    ● How do these perspectives connect with your own path through your coursework and/or towards a future career?
    ● How have these interviews and perspectives changed (or reinforced) your thinking about environmental science or particular environmental issues?
    ● How do these perspectives push us to think differently about who does science and the pathways into science, or change how you envision what it means to be an environmental scientist or work in the environmental field?
    Ground your reflection in concrete examples or details to help to illustrate a shift in your thinking and the connections between the expert perspectives and your own life.
    Once you have written a draft, re-read it for consistent tone, grammar, and spelling.
    ● Do you have examples to illustrate your points?
    ● Are your ideas well-connected? Do you have any “stray” pieces that don’t clearly fit?
    ● If you read it out loud, does the message flow and read clearly?
    Your paper should be 3 pages maximum, following standard 1” margins, and 12-point font. Please include a meaningful title to your paper and include both your full name and discussion section number when formatting your work for submission.
    Citation Guide
    Remember to cite the experts you are referring to in your text as well as in references at the end of your paper. It is common for scientific writing to refer to personal conversations, interviews, letters/emails, or other non-peer reviewed work in academic papers to link thoughts to a source that could be potentially revisited in the future.
    When referring to a specific interview or thought shared by a particular expert, please use the following in-text citation (1), where 1 is the first of the three Meet the Experts interviews.
    Please put them in the order you first refer to them and not the chronological order we have in the syllabus (although it could potentially be the same order), and list the three interviews you selected for this assignment in the follow manner:
  4. Full last name of interviewee, full first name (use a semi-colon to separate multiple-person interviews), topic of lecture or interview (something short and meaningful), Environ 201, Meet the Experts Interview Video. Accessed: Month, Day, Year.

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