Using Science to Engage the Public.
Tracey Holloway was a student when she knew that a career in science would be her pathway to fulfilling a lifelong goal of public service to others. “I realized during my college years that becoming a scientist offers me a wonderful opportunity to do interesting, challenging work that makes a difference.”
“Everyone benefits when we work together, and I know science and scientists are a vital part of making an impact in the world around us.
Today, Dr. Holloway is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She uses satellite data and develops computer models to study air quality and the impact of pollution on climate change around the world. As deputy director of NASA’s Air Quality Applied Sciences Team and team lead for the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, she is recognized as a leading researcher into the links between air quality, energy and climate change.
But research is only part of her story, and she credits the work of AAAS and its leadership in helping scientists interact with the public.
“Public engagement is as vital a part of my work as a scientist as the research I do—and that every scientist does,” she says. “AAAS is at the forefront in encouraging scientists to connect with the public, including agency officials, elected leaders, educators, the private sector and citizens.”
Professor Holloway works with local, state and federal agencies, not only to provide scientific data and research that the agencies use to make policy decisions, but to learn from them. “Being able to help them understand the capabilities and applications of our work, and at the same time for us as scientists to better understand what tools the agencies and policymakers need in their work is a great outcome for everyone.”
One example of using science to engage the public? Dr. Holloway led a team working with stakeholders in government and the private sector. Focusing on understanding worldwide changes in nitrogen dioxide emissions, her team helped build a dialogue and productive stakeholder engagement. “We were able to make science a central part of this ongoing conversation and create a bridge between the parties.”
Holloway is also a founding board member of Earth Sciences Women’s Network (ESWN). With nearly 3,000 members in over 50 countries, ESWN helps women and young scientists connect and build their careers. She cites the importance of building networks in the development of successful, fully engaged scientists.
“AAAS is at the forefront in encouraging scientists to connect with the public, including agency officials, elected leaders, educators, the private sector and citizens.”
AAAS recently recognized Professor Holloway’s work and potential by naming her one of its inaugural Public Engagement Fellows of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science. In this role, she will continue to develop her skills as a researcher who speaks for the scientific community to better serve the public.
“Everyone benefits when we work together, and I know science and scientists are a vital part of making an impact in the world around us. And when I walk into a conference or meeting with my AAAS credentials, I’m part of something bigger.”
Engaging the public, building bridges, and advocating for science.
Tracey Holloway is the voice of science.
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