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.

Students initiate study on air pollution and unhoused people

Who in city government tracks the environmental effects of air pollution on people experiencing homelessness? When students in the 2019 Global Changes and Society class looked into it, they found that there was not an office with that responsibility. Initially, students set out to change that missing piece. But those efforts have now also resulted in a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, as part of a special issues “Addressing public health and health inequities in marginalized and hidden populations.”

The project-based course Global Changes and Society (SUST 6000) features guest lecturers with expertise in research related to global changes and sustainability. In this course, students from different disciplines Identify a theme or focus area, begin to learn the language and approaches of other disciplines around the theme, explore perspectives and approaches of different stakeholders, and develop a team project. Recognizing that there are disproportionate environmental impacts on certain socially and geographically vulnerable communities in the Salt Lake Valley, students in the 2019 class developed projects to address some of these issues.

The student group with members including Angelina DeMarco and Rebecca Hardenbrook (GCSC Fellow 2018-19) noted that during poor air quality events such as inversions, wildfires, and heightened ozone periods, residents are urged to stay indoors when possible, but people affected by homelessness don’t have the luxury of escaping indoors on short notice to avoid poor air conditions. But it appeared that no-one had researched the effects of poor air quality on this population.

Read about the research project these students developed with GCSC faculty affiliates Daniel Mendoza (Atmospheric Sciences and City & Metropolitan Planning) and Jeff Rose (Parks, Recreation and Tourism) in At the U.

GCSC Seminar – Sara Yeo “The Science of Science Communication”

 “The Science of Science Communication”  sara k. yeo, Assistant Professor, Department of communication, university of utah

4:00 pm | 210 ASB

  • Abstract: Communication is crucial as science becomes increasingly enmeshed in society. As scientists and communicators, we have often relied on intuition when communicating about our work to public audiences. In this talk, I first articulate the importance of empirical science communication research in service to the practice of engaging publics in conversations about complex topics. Then, I offer a sampling of my recent research projects and directions for the future of the science of science communication.


GCSC Seminar – Kari Norgaard “Climate Change as Strategic Opportunity: Imagination, Responsibility, and Community”

“Climate Change as Strategic Opportunity: Imagination, Responsibility, and Community” – Kari Norgaard, DEPT. of Sociology, U. of Oregon

Climate change poses profound ecological, social and political crises, but also opportunities to re-imagine our responsibilities to one another and the natural world and to create community. This talk draws upon fieldwork on climate denial and Norgaard’s present climate adaptation work with the Karuk Tribe.

GCSC Seminar – Ananya Chatterjea – ” Choreographies of Resistance: Dancing Ecosystems”

” Choreographies of Resistance: Dancing Ecosystems”– Ananya Chatterjea, Professor of Dance, University of Minnesota

Read more about Dr. Chatterjea’s work here.


In this talk, I will trace the intimate relationship between embodied and environmental sustainability as I have come to understand it in my creative research. What might be some specific methodologies of choreographing eco-feminist stories from the perspective of women artists of color? I will refer to some of my recent choreographic works in order to identify the complex conceptual frames and staging strategies that I have had to work with in order to offer critical and nuanced images of the entanglements of bodies of women of color, the environment, and questions of equity.


Ananya Chatterjea is a choreographer, dancer, and thinker whose work brings together Contemporary Indian dance, social justice choreography, and a philosophy of #occupydance. She is Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre (www.ananyadancetheatre.org), a Twin Cities-based professional dance company of women artists of color. The company’s work, described as “people powered dances of transformation,” includes concert performances and participatory performances in non-traditional spaces, where audiences become co-creators of movement explorations with the dancers. Ananya is the recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship, a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, and a 2016 Joyce Award (with The O’Shaughnessy Theater). Ananya is currently writing her second book, Heat, contestations in line, about re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from a location in the global south. Ananya recently received the Sage Outstanding Dance Educator Award (2015) and an NPN Creation Fund Award (2016) and the National Dance Project Production Grant (2017) for Shyamali (2017), her most recent work about women and dissent.