Meet the researchers and staff involved in our non-degree programs.
Thaddeus Pawlowski is an urban designer and the Director of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University. He has a masters in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a 2015 Loeb Fellow at Harvard. In partnership with 100 Resilient Cities and the Rockefeller Foundation, he developed the Resilience Accelerator, which brings together local leaders and global experts to drive the implementation of resilient projects around the world. He has worked in disaster planning at New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, long term adaptation strategies at NYC Planning and helped the city to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Simon Mason has been involved in seasonal climate forecasting research and operations since the early 1990s. He was a member of the drafting team for the High-Level Task Force on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and was an overall author for the GFCS Implementation Plan. He has been heavily involved in capacity building activities, including leading the development and support of the Climate Predictability Tool (CPT). Mason has extensive experience in helping to establish and evaluate the Regional Climate Outlook Forums, and works closely with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to promote the definition and adoption of forecasting and verification standards, through engagement in relevant WMO Expert Teams and through the WMO Capacity Building Workshops. Mason has worked closely with various user groups, most notably in the health and disasters communities. Through these collaborations he has recently co-authored a book on climate information for public health action, and has worked with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre to identify the potential for use of seasonal and weather forecasts for humanitarian action. Mason joined the IRI in 1997, working initially at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he helped to develop the IRI’s seasonal forecast system, and moving to Columbia University in 2003. Prior to joining the IRI, Mason was deputy director of the Climatology Research Group at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa, where he developed empirical models for predicting southern African rainfall variability.
Nick Frearson is a Senior Electronics Engineer at the Lamont Observatory of Columbia University in New York City and holds a BSc in Electronic Engineering from Northumberland University in the UK. He is currently the lead designer and Co-PI on a major program developing systems to monitor and anticipate volcanic eruptions. He has spent many years working in remote places as diverse as Antarctica to Java in Indonesia. He is passionate about recording and understanding the evolving state of the planet. He is a specialist in sensor development and has developed systems from radars that probe the hidden depths of the ice in Antarctica to systems that monitor pollution in our inner cities. He has worked in major corporations, fast paced, high tech companies and academia. His current interests include providing high resolution, near real-time data from remote sites across the planet to help scientists monitor and anticipate the risks associated with major events from volcanic eruptions to hurricane evolution to sea-level change.
Mélody Braun is a Senior Staff Associate at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Her work focuses on the design/support of strategies to improve integration of climate information into decision making processes to increase preparedness, response and resilience to climate impacts. She is particularly interested in systemic and transdisciplinary approaches to bridge the gap between decision makers, climate scientists and policy makers.
Mélody Braun graduated with a double master’s degree in engineering and management of the environment and sustainable development from both the universities of Troyes (France) and Sherbrooke (Canada) in 2010. She then graduated from Paris 13 university with a master’s degree in humanitarian action and NGOs with a specialization in management of extreme environments, in 2011. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth science.
Lisa Goddard is a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and leads IRI’s research efforts on understanding and predicting climate change on the 10-20 year horizon. She is also an adjunct associate professor in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Goddard is a globally recognized expert on El Niño and La Niña, decadal prediction and near-term climate change. She sits on the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the U.S. National Academies of Science, as well as four others. She also co-chairs CLIVAR, which advises and coordinates international research on climate and the oceans under the World Climate Research Programme. In 2007, she developed PACE, a national post-doctoral program that explicitly links recent climate Ph.D.s with decision making institutions.
Josh DeVincenzo is a Project Coordinator and Instructional Designer at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University. His focus is on developing learning experiences associated with training projects that navigate disaster preparedness, response, recovery and resiliency. He has written extensively about policy issues in relation to COVID-19. He has also taught instructional design courses at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to working at the NCDP, Josh worked as the Learning & Development Specialist at Fifth Third Bank in their Learning Solutions and Technology division. He hopes to create accessible and quality educational programming that benefits the common good at scale. He holds a master’s degree in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and is currently a doctoral student of Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University.
John Furlow joined Columbia University’s International Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) in May 2017. As Deputy Director for Humanitarian Assistance and International Development, John works with IRI’s scientists to help apply their research and expertise to decision making in public health, agriculture, infrastructure planning and other vital sectors.
Prior to coming to IRI, John designed and led the Climate Change Adaptation Program in USAID’s climate change office. He advised the government of Jamaica in the development of its national climate change policy and its climate smart agriculture sector plan. John also led a project to develop Jamaica’s agro-climate service, which produces a seasonal forecast tailored for farmers and disseminated by text and agriculture extension workers. John helped launch the Climate Services Partnership in 2011. In 2015, he worked at the US Department of State designing and managing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network as part of US preparations for the UN Climate Conference in Paris.
Joán's work is situated in the threshold where sociopolitical processes led by youth community leaders meet with the production of spaces of peace in areas where violent conflicts are rampant. He focuses on understanding the ways youth leaders make sense of violent conflicts, and on how they construct practices and technologies to respond peacefully to the dynamics of such conflicts. He is also interested on how the concrete practices and technologies designed by community youth leaders can inform and further develop academic approaches to peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and leadership; and on how the work of youth leaders can benefit from applying some of the practices and theories that are produced in academia. In short, his work lays where theory and praxis melt. Part of his work at AC4 looks to develop qualitative and quantitative methods to monitor and evaluate the impact of the work led by the youth community leaders with whom we work. In addition to his work at AC4, he is also an adjunct professor of cultural anthropology at City College and Lehman College, CUNY.
Hayley is a senior program manager at the Earth Institute, where she works with senior leadership and faculty to design, execute and communicate strategic priorities of the Institute. Her broad experience includes project management, event planning and outreach, and developing data-driven analyses in support of operations and management. She has also taught in the sustainability management program at the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University. She has co-authored case studies, white papers and articles on environmental policy and sustainability.
She previously worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the Climate Change Adaptation Program, and at the nonprofit Pure Earth. Martinez has an MPH in Environmental Health Policy from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, and a BS in Psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Kago Nebie is a postdoctoral research fellow. She works on interdisciplinary research projects at both the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, to study the impact of climate variability on food security and migration in West Africa. Elisabeth received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University and a B.A. in International Public Relations from Université Libre du Burkina. Elisabeth consulted for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and The Friends of Burkina Faso Network on climate adaptation projects in Africa.
Dara is a Senior Geographic Information Specialist and an Environmental Educator. Her work at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, supports interdisciplinary research projects involving the integration of socioeconomic and environmental data to create data and map products, and applications for distribution to comprehensive and diverse user communities. Dara’s research focus is on local, regional and global geospatial data management and applications for sustainable development.
Dale Willman has spent his lifetime thinking in images, as both a reporter and photographer. The best writing, after all, is about setting scenes, creating images and telling stories. So is the most captivating photography. Through his work and personal travels, he has reported and taken photographs on five continents. Willman's subject interests are broad, ranging from human interest studies to photography in conflict zones. Willman is also an award-winning news anchor, editor, reporter and trainer with decades of experience working around the world. During more than 15 years in Washington, DC he worked for NPR, CBS and CNN. During the first Gulf War he reported from London for NPR, providing coverage for an IRA bombing campaign, and he anchored the only NPR Newscasts ever broadcast from overseas. As a trainer Willman spent a year recently in South Sudan working with the staff of a local radio station. He was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2010, spending a year in Indonesia where he researched noted naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. As a photographer he has sold photos to clients around the world. Willman is currently the founder and Associate Director of the Resilience Media Project at the Earth Institute of Columbia University and continues to anchor NPR newscasts occasionally. He also documents the world around him through his photographic work. Willman lectures also around the world on media and science literacy issues.
Cassie Xu is the Associate Director of Non-Degree Education and Outreach Programs at the Earth Institute. In this role, she leads the development, implementation, and management of non-degree educational, outreach, and training programs and activities associated with the Earth Institute. These activities include professional learning programs for adult learners, educator training efforts, pre-college programs, and curriculum development for K12 learners, among others. She holds a dual role with Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where she has oversight of existing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) efforts for K12 students and educators and public audiences.
Dr. Fisher-Yoshida is Co-Executive Director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) and Director of the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) program, both housed in the Earth Institute at Columbia University. In her role at YPS she has been working to develop systemic approaches to building more effective communities through youth leadership in Medellín, Colombia, using a Social Lab approach. She is also a professor of Professional Practice at the School of Professional Studies at Columbia. Beth Fisher-Yoshida teaches classes in negotiation, conflict resolution, and conflict analysis.