Lamont Weekly Report, February 5, 2021

     Hello Friends, I was very happy this week to circulate the Lamont Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Report which I received from the Task Force co-chairs Gisela Winckler, Kailani Acosta, and Benjamin Keisling.  If you have even glanced at it, you can appreciate the depth of thought and work that went into creating this inspiring document.  I look forward to next week’s Town Hall (on Friday) where we will officially launch the next phase of our DEI and anti-racism activities—where the baton will be passed to the Directorate, and indeed all of us, to take the next lap in this ongoing journey.  I am deeply grateful for the efforts of so many committed members of our community and want to specifically thank the Task Force members here:  in addition to the three above, this includes Susana Adamo, Jacky Austermann, Robin Bell, Elva Bennett, Michela Biasutti, Benjamin Bostick, Billy D’Andrea, Nicole deRoberts, Vicki Ferrini, Jonny Kingslake, Angela LoPiccolo, Galen McKinley, Jenny Middleton, Lauren Moseley, Linette Sandoval-Rzepka, Hannah Sweets, Yutian Wu and Dominique Young.  Thank you also to Art, Kuheli, and Jerry McManus in their ex officio roles.

     You may recall that I circulated the Lamont Strategic Plan last November 16th.  (Shortly I will circulate a more nicely formatted and illustrated version.)  The challenge of translating the recommendations of these two vision documents into actions and outcomes, and thinking about how to take the next steps forward, is front and center on the Directorate’s agenda and you will be hearing more from us in the weeks ahead.  The strategic plan is already playing a critical role in guiding our development efforts, as well as our integration into the newly formed Columbia Climate School.  Having such a thoughtful and comprehensive roadmap, combined with the DEI Task Force report, is an invaluable resource as we move confidently into the future.

     As many are aware, February is Black History Month, and thank you to Kuheli Dutt for letting us know about the many relevant events and resources around the CU campus (link here).  Also at this link, you can find a slideshow “Celebrating Black Scientists” that was compiled by graduate students Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, Kailani Acosta, and Elise Myers. Thank you for sharing your slidedeck with the entire Lamont/EI community!  Kuheli also had a Correspondence piece published in Nature Geoscience this week as a follow up to her widely-cited article on racism published last year.  It is great to see such global leadership from our campus on the critical issue of racism in science.  Another group on our campus is engaging nationally with the Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) program sponsored by NSF and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  Lamont’s “pod”, one of 100s around the nation, finished up their first session on Racism and Definitions. They read a paper, watched an interview, and produced two deliverables, including pod guidelines and a pod agreement with the leadership of the Lamont campus.  I am happy to pass on periodic updates from the group (thanks Rachel Lupien!) in hopes that others may want to follow along in lieu of active pod participation.  The large number of Lamont pod members (~70) is testament to the importance of this subject in so many people’s professional lives.

     I hope you were able to tune in to last night’s panel on “Youth Climate Activism in Action”, part of the Columbia Climate Conversations Initiative.  Moderated by Columbia College Sustainable Development student Lauren Ritchie and organized by Benjamin and Kailani, the panelists shared their perspectives on activism, experience, and agency. A recording of the event will be posted here if you missed it.  

     A big shout-out to two of Arlene Fiore’s students, Madankui Tao and Colleen Baublitz, who won best student oral presentation awards at the AMS meeting earlier this month. They won 1st and 2nd places, respectively, in the Atmospheric Chemistry student oral presentations competition.

     Jacky Austermann welcomed a new postdoc to her group this week. Her name is Kerry Callaghan and she’s joining us after getting a PhD from the University of Minnesota. Her thesis was on “Computing water flow and storage in complex landscapes” and she’ll be working with Jacky to model groundwater and lake storage over the last deglaciation.

     I recently met with the Lamont Alumni Association Board and am happy to point everyone toward their small corner of our Lamont website which holds a new message from this dedicated group of Lamont supporters.  The group is planning two events for spring 2021, both aiming to enhance networking between our current students and alumni. From Board President Christa Farmer, “I hope you will join us in our ongoing support for LDEO and its mission. If you can think of any way you would like to get involved with the Alumni Association, please contact me or Stacey Vassallo in the Development Office.”

     Speaking of Lamont super-fans, I heard yesterday that a long-time friend of Lamont passed away recently—his name was Donald Beane and he worked in the finance sector.  I didn’t know him but he loved Lamont and made a bequest to the Observatory that came as a complete surprise.  His daughter shared with us that her father was so proud of his affiliation with Lamont and spoke of it often to her and her sister.  “(He) believed the smartest climate scientists in the world were at Lamont”—that made me smile!  Thank you, Donald, RIP.

     I’ll wrap up with a hearty HURRAH!!! for the team in Buildings and Grounds.  They have been working like mad all week to clear a mountain of snow from our roads, parking lots, buildings and pathways.  I ran into Ricky on campus yesterday and he confirmed a high level of exhaustion.  Thank you all for all you do!   And thank you to the mystery person(s) who built the snowperson in front of Marine Bio Lab, a view I enjoyed while having a socially-distanced meeting sitting in the sun on the outside rocking chairs. 

     Have a peaceful weekend. 









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The Atlantic

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