Antarctic journey inspires conservation, collaboration and climate advocacy

July 1, 2020

BIDS Data Science Fellow Váleri Vásquez was among a delegation of women who traveled to the Antarctica Peninsula last winter as part of a global leadership initiative that promotes the influence and impact of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

As part of the 2019 expedition, Vásquez was one of nearly one hundred women, from over 30 countries, who represented a multitude of disciplines related to climate change, including the marine sciences, oceanography, wildlife biology, public health, energy, astronomy, biosecurity, and botany.  For Vásquez, the opportunity "emphasized the importance of science-informed leadership and allowed us a glimpse of the rich biodiversity we were there to learn how to protect.”  

Vásquez already has an impressive portfolio of accomplishments related to climate change and environmental advocacy.  Having worked for the U.S. State Department as an adviser on international climate policy, she helped broker negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which led to the Paris Agreement and furthered global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. As a master of science student in the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley, she modeled human health–related economic costs of carbon dioxide emissions. And now, as a PhD candidate, Váleri develops and applies computational models to study the human health benefits and potential ecological impacts of gene drives, an approach to genome engineering that has been proposed to mitigate the spread of vector-borne disease. 

The delegation commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, a multinational agreement that preserves the entire continent for the peaceful pursuit of collaborative science. Many researchers and policy advisers view the treaty as an inspiring example of international cooperation.

Rausser Breakthroughs Magazine - Spring 2020 - A Mission South - Photo by Iryna Dronova -header-image


A Mission South: Delegation of women in STEMM tour Antarctica
May 20, 2020   |    Kari Lydersen   |    Breakthroughs, Rausser College of Natural Resources

Featured Fellows

Váleri N. Vásquez

Energy and Resources Group