By Caitlin Looby, Climate Communications Writer
Stereotypical graduate students spend their days toiling away on esoteric details isolated inside the walls of an ivory tower. But at UC Irvine, a new educational program developed by ecology professor Steven Allison is breaking down these walls to help address climate change. Allison’s Climate Action Training (CAT) program strives to prepare graduate students for relevant careers in climate and sustainability.
Reaching across campus
What makes the CAT program unique is its interdisciplinary approach. Graduate students from programs like Anthropology and Engineering learn and work alongside each other, bringing together different viewpoints and methods to tackle climate change.
Kelly Ramin, a CAT participant in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, believes that “by engaging with people in other fields, I’ve been able to see alternative approaches to combat the same problem.”
On the other hand, students in the social sciences see this as an opportunity to engage in discourse.
“I now feel comfortable approaching someone in the hard sciences to discuss climate change, and I certainly wouldn’t have done that before,” said Master’s student Mark Newmann.
Climate solutions are not specific to a single field; it is important that scholars look beyond traditional academic boundaries. This inclusivity—a cornerstone of the CAT program—is crucial for finding effective climate solutions.
Danilo Caputo, an English student specializing in Shakespearean drama, observes that “no matter what disciplinary background you come from you have a set of skills that can be applied in unexpected and meaningful ways.”