Summertime Standouts: Kate O’Dell

Science policy possible path for study after summer colloquium

Kate O’Dell and another student from the AMS Policy Colloquium meet with Kelvin Droegemeier, the president's science advisor.
Kate O’Dell and another student from the AMS Policy Colloquium meet with Kelvin Droegemeier, the president’s science adviser.

Kate O’Dell’s air quality research has led to an adventurous and informative summer that may affect her career path.

O’Dell attended the American Meteorological Society’s Summer Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C., in June, and she studied atmospheric aerosols with the field’s leading experts from July 22 to August at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

“I learned that our government and the entire legislative process is much more complicated than I imagined,” O’Dell said about the AMS Policy Colloquium, a 10-day immersion in the policy process and timely weather and climate-related topics.

O’Dell found there are many avenues through which scientists can inform policy, including congressional staffers with doctorates in STEM fields, lobbyists that advocate for science-based policy, and scientists that work at the State Department on climate diplomacy.

The colloquium offered graduate students an opportunity to meet policymakers and decision makers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. O’Dell even spoke with Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Kelvin Droegemeier, the president’s science advisor, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

O’Dell said the colloquium greatly increased her interest in science policy. She is now considering potential career paths in science policy after finishing her Ph.D., and she’s looking into policy courses at CSU this fall.

“A great way to continue improving our air quality is by maintaining a strong connection between scientists and policymakers,” she said.

“A great way to continue improving our air quality is by maintaining a strong connection between scientists and policymakers.”

— Kate O’Dell

O’Dell also was accepted into the highly competitive Sao Paulo School of Advanced Science on Atmospheric Aerosols, where she’ll study with top atmospheric aerosol researchers and other young researchers from around the world. She’ll participate in theoretical classes, practical experiments and poster sessions, as well as visit research institutions. The program accepted only 100 students out of 500 applications received from 67 countries.

“I’m excited about this in-depth learning opportunity, and especially excited to gain hands-on experience with several aerosol measurement technologies through field trips and measurement projects in Sao Paulo,” O’Dell said.

About Summertime Standouts

Summertime Standouts is an annual feature on SOURCE that highlights students who made an impact this summer around the globe, across the country, and even close to home.

Check out more Summertime Standouts at source.colostate.edu/summertime-standouts-2019.