Alize Carrere


Adapt and Thrive: Living in a Climate Changed World


With the persistence of climate change, people across the world are experimenting daily with different adaptive methods on the ground. At a time when doomsday narratives dominate the current climate conversation, adaptation plays an increasingly vital role for both its practical application and as a hopeful reminder of our resilience as a species.

Alizé Carrère, a National Geographic Explorer and cultural ecologist, will share her experience from the field and remarkable examples of human adaptation that she has witnessed firsthand. With support from National Geographic, Alizé is documenting case studies in places such as Madagascar, Bangladesh, India, Norway and the United States to create a web series that reveals human ingenuity and resourcefulness in the face of environmental adversity. Collectively, her story is far grander than the sum of its parts; it is one that reminds us of the single most important trait that has allowed for survival for as long as life has existed on earth.

Raised in a treehouse in Ithaca, New York, Alizé’s childhood primed her for a unique perspective on what it means to innovate and adapt in response to environmental change. After moving to Montreal to complete a B.A. at McGill University in Environmental Sciences and International Development, she spent time living in Panama before returning to McGill to complete an M.S. in Bioresource Engineering. During this time, she lived in the Middle East working on water resource management and electronic waste between Israel and Palestine.

In 2012, Alizé received support from National Geographic to conduct research in Madagascar, where she spent several months uncovering an unlikely agricultural adaptation in response to severe deforestation. Learning of farmers who were turning erosional gullies into fertile pockets of farmland, her work evolved into a greater story of creativity and resourcefulness amongst the oft-repeated narrative of climate doom. She continues to spearhead research on innovative adaptations to climate change and is working with a film team to highlight the remarkable resilience of the human species.

Most recently, Alizé has been working with Lindblad/National Geographic Expeditions designing and leading expeditions aboard the National Geographic Orion.

Roger Conner


Science & Society: Myths, Mayhem and Strategic Misunderstandings
– What STEM Stakeholders Need to Know
Presentation and Panel Discussion


Advances in technology and online information sharing have led to increased public access to scientific information – both credible and not – and to the proliferation of highly sophisticated efforts to deliberately misinform the public about many of the most timely and important issues at the intersection of science and society.

Come learn what K-16 educators and other STEM stakeholders can do to guide today’s students – and tomorrow’sworkforce – as they navigate an online environment where sound scientific facts can be indistinguishable from fiction to the untrained eye.

In this session, a panel of research experts will address topics that ignite confusion and debate amongst nonscientists – topics such as the impact of humans on climate change, vaccine safety and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – and they will provide recommendations and strategies for guiding young minds through the process of sifting scientific fact from fiction.

Scientists participating in the panel discussion are:

  • Martha A. Alexander-Miller, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Director of the Center for Vaccines at the Extremes of Aging at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
  • Justin Baumann, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Fred Gould, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Professor of Agriculture; Co-Director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University.

Roger Conner, a member of the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science, a grassroots movement to achieve a national, cultural shift toward increased understanding of what science is, who scientists are, what they do, and why science matters, will facilitate the interactive session.

Attendees will leave with a clearer understanding of what the public does and does not know about some of the leading controversies in science, and they will have a clearer understanding of agnotology, or the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. Most importantly, K-16 educators and STEM stakeholders will leave this session with strategies that can be implemented immediately after the conference to help reinforce research realities with K-16 audiences and the general public.

Caren Cooper


Citizen Science: How Ordinary People
are Changing the Face of Discovery


Think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries?

Think again.

All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process through something called Citizen Science. And for those whose careers involve preparing students to become well-rounded adults, this not only means successfully preparing young people for future career paths, it also means introducing them to life-long hobbies – hobbies such as sports, music and theater. Through Citizen Science initiatives, science can be a life-long hobby, too. Caren Cooper, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, will discuss how Citizen Science challenges old notions about who can conduct research, where knowledge can be acquired, and even how solutions to some of our biggest societal problems might emerge.

In addition to her faculty appointment at NC State, Caren is assistant head of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. At NC State, she is part of an interdisciplinary team of faculty in the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Leadership in Public Science, and she mentors conservation biology graduate students within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Caren is author of Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery, and she is director of research partnerships with, the largest searchable repository of Citizen Science projects.

When not introducing the world to Citizen Science, Caren devotes her time to research that focuses on birds, public stewardship of birds, and community pollution monitoring and mapping (sometimes with birds!).