The Ken Kennedy Institute's November Member of the Month, Dr. Sylvia Dee, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences.
Dr. Dee's research interests are in paleoclimate, climate dynamics, earth system modeling, and global change.
Dr. Dee earned her PhD from the University of Southern California in Earth Sciences, and her BSE from Princeton University in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
What is your favorite book?
As a child I loved reading The Merlin series by T. A. Barron, which really sparked my love for environmental conservation; and, of course, Harry Potter! I was lucky in high school to have a segment in Latin American Literature. We read The House of Sprits by Isabel Allende, which remains one of my favorite books to this day!
How do you explain your research in one sentence?
I study how climate change interacts with natural patterns in the climate system to produce extremes in temperature and rainfall, which give rise to hazards such as floods and drought.
What is your favorite aspect of your research?
It is critically important to study the rates and magnitudes of climate change that will ultimately directly impact our species (and has already affected many others). Earth’s habitability is directly threatened by human activity, and my research helps refine projections of what those threats are, the timing of their onset, and how we can mitigate them.
What challenges do you see in your research that you didn't expect?
The biggest barriers that I encounter as a junior scientist are unfortunately systematic work-culture issues that so many of us deal with in academia. These issues run the gambit of bullying and micro-aggressions, family leave policies, and apathy toward progress in diversity in inclusion. We have important work to do in STEM to ensure women and underrepresented minorities are supported and nurtured as equals.
What is a favorite experience with the Ken Kennedy Institute or describe a time the Ken Kennedy Institute supported you in the past?
I have really enjoyed getting to know the other members of the institute; it is constantly inspiring to see how my colleagues are applying data science techniques to solve such a wide array of pressing problems! It is a great honor to have the opportunity to discuss ways I can move my own research group forward with these cutting-edge techniques outside my own field.