Born in Brooklyn, Walt Robinson grew up on Long Island and in Maryland. He majored in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with B.S. and M.S. degrees in 1977. Following a year as a cosmic radiation observer at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and some subequent travel, he entered graduate school at Columbia University. He completed his PhD in 1985. His dissertation research, carried out under the supervision of Dr. David Rind at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, addressed the dynamics of planetary waves in the stratosphere. Following three years as a post-doc at the University of Washington, he joined the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois, where he was sequentially assistant, associated and full professor, with an affiliate appointment in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 2006 Robinson moved to the National Science Foundation, where he served as a program director in the Climate and Large-scale Dynamics Program. He came to NC State in 2009 and served as department head from 2011 to 2016.
Roberto Mera was born in Ecuador and grew up in New Orleans. He attended UNC Asheville for his undergraduate work and received a BA in atmospheric science in 2003. He attended NC State for graduate school and received his PhD in 2010. His postdoc work was done at Oregon State University, where he worked on simulations of extreme events in the US West Coast. He joined the Union of Concerned scientists in 2013 as a Kendall Science Fellow in climate attribution. His work entailed analyzing specific carbon emissions to determine how they are affecting global temperatures and extreme heat events. He returned to NC State in 2017 to serve as the CCS Program Coordinator.
Kara Piarulli graduated from the Climate Change and Society Master’s Program in 2018. She received her B.S. in meteorology from Millersville University and was excited to combine that knowledge with climate through the CCS program. Her 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.
Robert Bennett is a recent graduate from the CCS program. Robert received his undergraduate degree in political science and a minor in environmental science at NC State. and joined the CCS program gives to advocate for environmental policies that address the global issue of climate change. His ACE was with APWA NC Sustainability committee and focused on North Carolina Environmental Advisory Boards (EABs) or their equivalent on how they can adopt better policies to deal with climate change.