Environment Initiative names 3 faculty members as fellows

The University of Oregon’s Environment Initiative has named professors Danny Pimentel, Greg Dotson and Marsha Weisiger as their 2023 faculty fellows.

The Environment Initiative Faculty Fellows Program provides funding to faculty members to complete a project that contributes to the goals of the initiative. The program aims to enhance transdisciplinary research and advance the initiative’s guiding principles.

“The faculty fellows program was one of the first investments we made as part of the Environment Initiative,” said Executive Director Adell Amos, “I am so proud that we are able to support faculty whose work exemplifies the principles that guide the EI and our efforts to build a just and livable future.”

As a fellow, Pimentel will use virtual reality to make a global problem like climate change into an experience on a personal level. He aims to connect people with climate change stories and encourage young people to pursue science and become environmental problem solvers.

“I’m excited to continue exploring how individuals and organizations can use immersive experiences to enact social and environmental change,” said Pimentel, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication. “I’m fascinated by studies that explore how virtual reality experiences affect humans psychologically and emotionally.”

Dotson will work towards situating the Environment Initiative in the community of researchers, policy advocates and policymakers who are focused on climate mitigation in the energy sector.

“I’m delighted to be selected,” said Dotson, an associate professor in the School of Law. “It means I’ll have opportunities to focus on making progress and work across the university’s disciplines in a meaningful way that addresses real challenges.”

With the time released through the fellowship, Weisiger will advance several projects focused on environmental history that analyze and interpret the ways humans and nonhuman nature have shaped each other over time.

“I will use this opportunity to help foster interdisciplinary collaborations among the University of Oregon’s renowned programs,” said Weisiger, the Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair of U.S. Western History in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I plan to connect the environmental humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences to address the climate crisis and other pressing environmental issues of our times.”

The Environment Initiative focuses the intellectual energy and work of faculty members, students and community partners on working toward a just and livable future through transdisciplinary research, teaching and experiential learning.

Applications for 2023-24 Environment Initiative Faculty Fellows will be considered on a rolling basis through the final deadline of May 1, 2023. Those interested in applying can learn more on the program webpage.