Brenda Bowen Appointed Chair, Department of Atmospheric Sciences

The College of Science and the College of Mines and Earth Sciences (CMES) are pleased to announce that Professor Brenda Bowen has agreed to serve as the next chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, beginning July 1, 2023. She will continue as the Director of the GCSC while serving as chair and will replace John Horel who has been at the helm of ATMOS for five years.

“Brenda Bowen is an internationally prominent researcher and an experienced academic leader,” said Peter Trapa, Dean of the College of Science. “Bowen’s vision will guide the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in exciting new directions.”

Darryl Butt, out-going dean of the CMES, wrote to his colleagues, “As most of you know, Brenda is a dynamic leader on campus who has a collaborative vision of academics and research. I am really looking forward to watching the synergy between departments in our merged college structure as you all continue to break down barriers of academics and, as I like to say, make two plus two equal something greater than four.”

Said Bowen who begins her tour as chair on July 1, 2023, “I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Chair of Atmospheric Sciences.  I look forward to leading ATMOS in a way that creates stronger connections between our departments and the College of Science as a whole. My goal is to build on the department’s leadership in advancing field stations and long-term field-based science, commitment to conducting and advancing community-based research with highly significant societal relevance, and dedication to training students for careers of the future.”

An interdisciplinary geoscientist, Bowen explores the links between sedimentology, geochemistry and environmental change, particularly in extreme environments.  Recent work is focused on how surface process, groundwater flow and geochemical change impact landscape evolution in human-modified systems using field observations, satellite and airborne remote sensing and a range of lab-based analytical techniques including geochemistry and microscopy.

In addition to her geologic research and teaching, Bowen works to facilitate interdisciplinary sustainability research, practice, and academic programs that address critical issues related to understanding global change and creating sustainable solutions related to energy, resources, climate and equity.

ATMOS is the leading program of weather and climate related research and education in the Intermountain West and is recognized internationally for its expertise in cloud-climate interactions, mountain meteorology, climate physics and dynamics, weather and climate modeling, and tropical meteorology. The department, which celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year, houses research and teaching endeavors that provide the knowledge and tools needed by society to address the challenges posed by hazardous weather and climate change in the 21st century. The department is a student-centered department with faculty who are dedicated graduate student mentors and classroom instructors. Several of ATMOS professors have won college or university-wide teaching awards. For more information, read the department’s 2023 magazine Air Currents.

This article was originally posted on the College of Science website.

2022-23 Faculty Awards

Pictured above, L-R: Lauren Barth-Cohen, Brett Clark, Brian Codding, Kenneth Golden

At the close of the 2022-2023 academic year, the University recognized the contributions of outstanding faculty who affiliate with the GCSC:

  • Kenneth M. Golden, distinguished professor, Department of Mathematics, received the Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch prize in teaching.
    • “Having more than 40 years of classroom experience to perfect the art of teaching, 80-plus publications in academic and scientific journals, more than 500 invited lectures and having presented three times in front of the United States Congress, Dr. Golden has amplified what it means to be a teacher by not only being at the top of his field but also by creating a safe and inclusive environment where students can be challenged to reach their full potential.”
  • Brett Clark, professor, Department of Sociology, received a Distinguished Research award.
    • “Brett Clark’s research broadly examines the human dimensions of environmental change. This includes analyzing the social drivers of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and industrial pollution; studying the political-economic, historical and environmental conditions that influence the emergence of ecological problems; and assessing how the structure and organization of militarism contributes to unique forms of environmental degradation. He is one of the leading scholars developing and employing social metabolic analysis as a means to investigate environmental issues such as climate change and overfishing.”
  • Brian Codding, professor, Department of Anthropology, was recognized for Distinguished Teaching.
    • “Brian is outspoken about his desire to increase opportunities for students from many backgrounds. He takes students seriously and is able to encourage discussion and ideas from a multitude of students from different life and educational experiences. Beyond actively seeking out diverse opinions and opportunities for students to work with him, Brian regularly works to facilitate a supportive environment within the department. He repeatedly advocates at faculty, departmental and college levels for educational opportunities, programs and resources that support student success both inside and outside of the classroom.”
  • Lauren Barth-Cohen, assistant professor, Department of Educational Psychology, was honored with an Early Career Teaching award.
    • “Dr. Barth-Cohen has been a leader in the College of Education in developing high-quality science education curriculum for her individual courses and in advancing college initiatives in STEM offerings. She has led multiple efforts to help solidify and grow the College of Education’s relationship with the university’s Center for Science and Math Education (CSME) and currently serves as a CSME faculty associate. She has been an exemplary faculty member who is dedicated and has made significant contributions to the undergraduate and graduate education at the department, college and university levels.”

Outstanding undergraduate research mentors:

  • Dr. Sara Grineski is a prominent scholar of environmental justice and asks questions about how environmental issues affect the health of individuals and communities. She is also a scholar of “mentorship” and has developed best practices for mentorship. She has mentored countless Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Scholars and Summer Program for Undergraduate Research Scholars and utilized NSF and NIH funding to support research experiences to underserved undergraduate students, emphasizing their pathways toward graduate school and research-intensive careers. Her mentor structures have resulted in a number of publications and presentations that feature student co-authors.
  • Dr. Gannett Hallar has been successfully mentoring undergraduate researchers at the University of Utah since 2016. Her mentees participate in the Hallar Aerosol Research Team (HART) making connections between the atmosphere, biosphere, and climate. Her mentees have successfully received awards such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Wilkes Scholars. Her commitment to mentoring includes her role as a faculty fellow with Utah Pathways to STEM Initiative (UPSTEM), training in inclusive teaching and mentoring strategies. As stated by Dean Darryl Butt, “Dr. Hallar is a world-class mentor. Her dedication to our undergraduate students comes naturally, but she is also very deliberate in creating a structure of experiential learning that is inherently unforgettable.”
  • Dr. Sarah Hinners works with undergraduate researchers in various contexts (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Scholars–UROP, honors program, independent study, SCIF, research assistants, and Campus as a Living Lab). She encourages undergraduate involvement in research-oriented SCIF projects. In addition to direct mentoring of undergraduate student researchers, Dr. Hinners has dedicated considerable effort to cultivating opportunities for student research via Campus as a Living Lab. Department Chair Stacy Harwood states, “Undergraduate students enjoy working with Dr. Hinners because she creates opportunities for impactful hands-on research experiences.”

Quoted from original articles in At The U: Exceptional Faculty; Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentors

Faculty recognized for critical research efforts during the pandemic

These GCSC faculty affiliates were recognized for their efforts on critical health and social justice issues brought on, or exacerbated by, the COVID-19 pandemic.


The following is excerpted from a story by Rebecca Walsh in At the U.

Some of the best long-term, basic research is often made immediately relevant by current events.

The COVID-19 pandemic and social justice disparities have transformed everything from the way Americans buy groceries to how we work and play. University of Utah faculty are responding with innovative projects that explore virus transmission, unequal access to healthcare, and how members of our community talk about their lives during a time when the country faces critical social issues.

With those forces in mind, University of Utah Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed has named a new cohort of Banner Project recipients—nearly two dozen researchers, teachers and librarians who are working to generate new knowledge and document this extraordinary time in human history.

“The faculty members working on these projects deserve recognition for taking on some of the thorniest problems facing our society,” Reed said. “This scholarly work will help us improve COVID-19 treatments; weather this global health crisis; expand access to health care; and bridge the social, economic and racial differences that divide us.”

The Banner Project recognizes mid-career faculty who are intellectual and thought leaders, not only at the U, but also in the community. “The goal is to put faces to the world-class scholarship, groundbreaking discoveries, unique innovations and creative works generated by our scholars,” Reed added.

John Lin named Earth Leadership Program Fellow

GCSC faculty affiliate John Lin, professor of atmospheric sciences, has been named a 2021 fellow of The Earth Leadership Program. The program recognizes mid-career academic researchers who focus on environmental and sustainability issues and provides them with an opportunity to develop as global leaders to bring their expertise to effect positive change. Dr. Lin will join a global network of scientists, researchers, and innovators engaged in transdisciplinary research that will be needed to support rapid transformations towards sustainability.

Lin has been an innovative and collaborative researcher since being recruited to the U of U (with the help of the GCSC) in 2012. His Land-Atmosphere Interactions Research (LAIR) group studies phenomena that impact climate and the environment such as air quality, greenhouse gases, and wildfire emissions.

Lin says his selection as a fellow reflects the quality of research at the U in studying climate change and air pollution. “As importantly,” he says, “the Earth Leadership Program recognizes the potential for work at the U to provide solutions to these issues by working with stakeholders and the public at large.  This is testament to the efforts in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences as well as the many, many wonderful members of the Global Change and Sustainability Center across campus.” (quoted from an article in @theU. Click link to read further.)


This leadership training program “provides opportunities for Fellows to learn leadership skills and to practice them in a dynamic setting. The network of trainers, mentors, and peers promotes relationships that are meaningful and may lead to new professional opportunities. The value for each Fellow is in building these connections and in becoming inspired and confident that our research has purpose and impact on the world.” Sharon K. Collinge, Executive Director of the Earth Leadership Program.


GCSC seminar: disaster resilience in an unjust world

By Maria Archibald, Sustainability Office

As climate-induced wildfires rage across the West and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten our communities, many of us have disaster on the mind. How will we respond when disaster strikes close to home? How will we recover? How can we build our communities to be resilient in the face of crisis?

In her upcoming Global Change & Sustainability Center seminar, “A Grassroots View of Disaster Recovery,” Dr. Divya Chandrasekhar will explore these questions, as well as examine what it means to be disaster resilient in a complex, uncertain and unjust world. Chandrasekhar, associate professor in City & Metropolitan Planning and an urban and regional planner who has studied disasters across the globe, is particularly interested in the importance of community autonomy to the recovery process.

Because disasters impact every dimension of our lives, from our collective economy to our individual psychology, disaster recovery must happen at the grassroots level—from the bottom up.

“When you say a community has recovered, it means every individual in that community should have recovered in some meaningful way,” Chandrasekhar says. This can only happen when individuals have agency and power in their own recovery process, so she cautions fellow urban planners and other eager outsiders to take care in their recovery work. Without a deep understanding of the community’s needs and capacities, their efforts will be irrelevant or even harmful, she says. Her call to action? Engage communities in deciding their own futures.

While one might think that a person who spends her life studying disasters would feel rather pessimistic, Chandrasekhar says she finds great hope in her work. While disasters inflict trauma and tragedy, they also present an important opportunity.

“Disasters shake up existing structures,” Chandrasekhar says. “They don’t just destroy your building, they smash government structures. They smash patriarchy.” If a community is ready to address these underlying issues, the recovery process presents a good opportunity to demand justice and build resilience, she says. Climate change and COVID-19, which have hit communities of color and under-resourced communities the hardest, demonstrate that oppressive structures like racism and colonialism cause the effects of disaster to be felt disproportionately.

“The process of going from recovery to resilience requires addressing those larger structural issues,” Chandrasekhar says. “There can be no resilience unless there is social justice.”

So, amidst the grief, the anger, and the loss that disaster brings, Chandrasekhar finds hope—hope for healing, for a more just future and for resilient communities that can withstand disaster.

Whether you’re an organizer doing mutual aid in your neighborhood, an urban planner hoping to better engage communities in your work, or an individual searching for hope in this trying time, Chandrasekhar’s talk will have something for you. Join us from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, September 1 at as she explores the complexity of disaster recovery and calls for social justice as the only path to true resilience.