Dr. Philip Higuera is an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences at the University of Montana where he leads the PaleoEcology and Fire Ecology Lab. As an expert on forestry, wildfires, fire ecology and climate change, he can provide insight on how wildfires have grown in strength with climate change and how forest ecosystems are adapting.
At the PaleoEcology and Fire Ecology Lab, Higuera studies forests across western North America and researches how fire activity has responded to climate change, both in our recent past and throughout history. His work also examines how forest ecosystems have reacted in turn to these drastic changes. In 2018, he was named as a “highly cited scientist” by Clarivate Analytics for papers published over the last decade.
Higuera has a PhD in Forest Ecology from the University of Washington in Seattle, a Masters in Forest Ecology from University of Washington in Seattle, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Environmental Studies and Geology from Middlebury College.
His work focuses largely on the Rocky Mountains range but extends as far as Alaska.
Location: Missoula, MT
Expertise Field: Forestry, wildfires, fire ecology, climate change
Kiho Kim is a professor of Environmental Science at American University. His work focuses on how environmental drivers, such as climate change and nutrient pollution, impact coastal ecosystem health.
At the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Kim has examined the origins and spreading of diseases. He has worked with the British Council in promoting international networking for young scientists, and was an advisor to the Coral Disease Working Group of the World Bank.
Kim is a member of the Environmental Literacy Committee of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington D.C.
He completed two terms as a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies (USA) and as an officer of the International Society for Reef Studies.
Areas of Expertise: Environmental Science, Biology, Marine Conservation
Regina Shih is a Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation where she leads the Climate Change and Health Group. She conducts research in three primary areas: environmental health, aging, and mental health.
Shih has led environmental health projects to develop a toolkit to improve older adults’ resilience to climate change, to identify chemical exposures following climate change-related storms and flooding, and to estimate the health effects of lead exposure and ambient air pollution. She has been cited in outlets such as NPR, CNN, and US News and World Report.
Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
Areas of Expertise: Environmental Health, Climate Change, Dementia, Long-Term Care, Substance Use, Neighborhoods and Health
Maxine Burkett is a professor of law at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She is also the co-founder and senior advisor to the nonprofit Institute for Climate and Peace.
Burkett is an expert in the law and policy of climate change, with a specific focus on climate justice, climate litigation, climate-induced migration, and climate change, peace, and conflict. At the Wilson Center, Burkett works with the Environmental Change and Security Program on climate impacts in frontline communities, including small island states, and climate change and foreign policy.
Her work has been cited in several news and policy outlets, including BBC Radio, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Nature Climate Change.
She serves on the boards of Blue Planet Foundation, The Climate Museum, ELAW, and Global Greengrants Fund. Burkett is also a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, the Lancet Commission for Reparations and Redistributive Justice, and the American Law Institute.
Areas of Expertise: Climate policy and law, climate-induced migration
Mustafa Santiago Ali is the senior vice president of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip-Hop Caucus., a national non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip-Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change.
He previously served for 24 years at high-levels within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has worked with over 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health and economic justice reforms. At the EPA, he served as the Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice and Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. Ali has been a guest lecturer at Yale University and George Washington University, to name a few. He is also a former instructor at West Virginia University and Stanford University in Washington.
Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University
Areas of Expertise: Climate, Environment, Community Revitalization, Environmental, Health, and Economic Justice
Nicole Hernandez Hammer is a sea-level researcher who works for the Union of Concerned Scientists as their Southeast Climate Advocate. Her work focuses on the mobilization of the Latino community to better understand and address climate change. Hammer has studied the effects of climate change in different environments, particularly among Hispanic populations that reside near coastal shore lines and are vulnerable to flooding because of rising sea levels. She has co-authored several papers on the impact of rising sea levels in South Florida and has been featured in The New York Times, Al Jazeera America, and The Washington Post among other media outlets. She can be heard on this Morning Edition story discussing the usage of the term “climate change.”
Sea-level researcher, Southeast Climate Advocate for the Union of Concerned Scientists
Areas of expertise: Climate Change, Climate Change Advocacy Among Latino Populations
Erika Zavaleta is an expert in Environmental Science. She is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research concentrates on conservation, biodiversity, and climate change. Erika Zavaleta serves on the boards of EcoAdapt, The Tropical Forest Group, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fund. She works in Telluride, Colorado from fall to winter, and Santa Cruz, California from spring to summer.
Ben Chou analyzes policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program in Santa Monica, CA, where he works on issues relating to climate change and water resources as part of the water and climate team. Chou’s work has focused on how local and state governments and the federal government are preparing for the water-related impacts of climate change.
Prior to joining NRDC in 2011, he spent three years working on drinking water regulatory issues at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. He also has worked previously at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University and with the Climate and Air Program at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Chou graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and received his master’s degree from Columbia University in 2007.
Water Policy Analyst of the Water Program at Natural Resources Defense Council
Areas of Expertise: Water Infrastructure and Climate Change Resiliency, Urban Water Efficiency for Drought Management, Importance of Soil Health for Agricultural Climate Resiliency