Applied Climate Experience
The Applied Climate Experience (ACE) is the capstone project for the CCS Master’s degree. It is an opportunity for hands-on experience with a variety of hosts ranging from NOAA to communication leaders in the industry. We pair students with mentors from climate-sensitive fields at the beginning of the program in their desired field of study and career path. This exposes students to exciting opportunities to display their talents and network with potential employers.
The ACE project is designed to be flexible for the student. The student may choose to work on it throughout the school year or limit it to the summer after classes have ended. Most students choose a project during the spring semester and are done by the end of the summer.
Some of the current and past projects are listed below.
2019 ACE projects
Robert Bennett’s ACE was with APWA NC Sustainability committee and focused on North Carolina Environmental Advisory Boards (EABs) or their equivalent and will on how they can adopt better policies to deal with climate change.
Albana Berisha’s ACE was with the NC State Climate Office. She worked on the Risk Analysis for importations of Fruit flies (Family: Tephritidae) through non-commercial commodities examined from Port of Entry and Field Detection data in the United States.
Jonathan Chan’s ACE was with NC State University’s Sustainability Office. His work was to aid in outlining a new strategic planning process for the university to increase the scope and relevance of climate action at NC State University in drafting a second climate action plan.
Ashlyn Shore’s ACE was with the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. She worked on developing the CASC’s Tribal Resources WebApp and Webpage.
Daniel Spruill’s ACE was with the NC State University’s Sustainability Office. His project was to work with various NCSU stakeholders to find the communication framework and solar plan of action which will lead NCSU forward as a leader in climate action.
2018 ACE projects
Lydia Campbell’s ACE project was with NC State University’s Department of Public Administration. She investigated the transition from agricultural crops to solar power generation. The study finds that landowners focused on maximizing profit under changing climate conditions may want to consider when growing crops might be more profitable than solar lease payments, or when solar may be more advantageous.
Veronica Fall’s ACE project was based at the State Climate Office of North Carolina. She worked on predicting the harvest date of blackberries using “growing degree day” as a variable with implications for the development of a harvest prediction model.
George Murdisson’s ACE project was based at the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. He worked on an oral histories project focusing on drought and extreme weather in the Caribbean. The objective was to learn and document the human emotions, experience, and knowledge boundaries for people who are at greater risk of climate change related events such as droughts and increasingly large and powerful hurricanes.
Kyla Bloyer’s ACE project was based at the NC Sea Grant. She worked on the development of a plan for Nag’s Head, NC to introduce effective strategies in favor of coastal resiliency and against the threat of sea level rise and rising groundwater table and its implications for public health and safety.
2017 ACE projects
Kara Geiger’s ACE project was based at the State Climate Office of North Carolina. She studied the sensitivity of livestock heat stress to climate change and variability. Specifically, she focused on dairy cattle and how lactation, fertility, and reproduction are affected.
Christian Erickson’s ACE project was with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh NC. He worked in the visual investigate lab to produce an interactive presentation exhibit on invasive species and climate change. The particular species of focus was the Lionfish.
Eric Wright’s ACE project was done in collaboration with the State Climate Office of North Carolina. He investigated the sensitivity of blackberry production to climate variability. Understanding how climate variability affects maturity dates of blackberries can help blackberry producers in North Carolina manage production risks, optimize yields, and coordinate delivery of products to fresh markets.
Crystal Yelverton’s ACE project is with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, under the direction of Mary-Stuart Torbeck. Crystal was responsible for the publishing of an op-ed that was submitted and printed by the Progress-Index newspaper in Petersburg, VA (circulation: 12,937) as well as an LTE that was submitted and printed by the Richmond Free Press (circulation of more than 35,0000). Crystal was selected as one of the presenters for the Sierra Club’s Defend Not Defund Science: The Importance of Climate Science Roundtable event. She was responsible for the creation of a lesson plan for teachers to educate students on climate related issues as well as environmental injustices for Project WET and Learning Tree. While there she created a children’s e-book for the Sierra Club that explained what climate change was, who and what will be impacted and how individuals can make a difference in their communities and the world.
Kara Piarulli’s ACE project was with NOAA NCEI for the development of a climate and weather data lesson that students at the high school level were exposed to, allowing them to learn more about climate change. This lesson also allowed for an investigation on the best approach for teaching about climate change as well as some of the resources that are available for teachers and the general public.