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Catalyst Fellowship Program

The AGCI Catalyst Fellowship Program is designed to allow researchers to develop timely explorations of global change research within AGCI's flexible institutional structure. Over the course of a 12-month period, Catalyst Fellows collaborate with AGCI staff and others in their cohort to cultivate an innovative project proposal that explores a societally relevant aspect of global environmental change. This arrangement is intended to enable activities aligned with AGCI's mission that may not be possible in other settings and to help foster new cross-disciplinary connections among participants.

Questions about the AGCI Catalyst Fellowship Program can be directed to Research & Education Coordinator, Elise Osenga at eliseo (at)


2018 AGCI Catalyst Fellows

From left to right: Kristin Baja, Martina Caretta, and Rongkun Liu

Kristin Baja Kristin Baja is the Climate Resilience Officer for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). In this role, she is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation, and build capacity to take action. Kristin directly supports cities by facilitating deeper relationships between local governments and other stakeholders while advancing learning, collaboration, and momentum around climate resilience and equity. Kristin has over a decade of experience in climate resilience, climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, floodplain management and equity. Kristin holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. In 2016, Kristin was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

During the fellowship, Kristin will be developing a concept for a regional program that would focus on connecting municipalities and stakeholders with resources for community adaptation and resilience to climate change.

Martina Caretta Dr. Martina Angela Caretta is an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Geology and Geography Department at West Virginia University. Martina is a feminist geographer working at the intersection of water and gender using participatory methodologies. Her works have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. She has worked as a consultant for UNESCO and the World Bank and has recently been nominated as Coordinating Lead Author for the 6th IPCC Assessment Report.

Throughout the fellowship, Martina will be exploring what tools and methods exist or can be designed to effectively teach climate change while overcoming socioeconomic and cultural barriers that may pose a challenge to undergraduate student's learning.

Rongkun Liu Rongkun Liu is a PhD student in Environmental Social Sciences at The Ohio State University. His research interests encompass knowledge engagement, risk and resilience, and coupled human and natural systems in mountain environments. Rongkun holds a B.A. in international relations from Peking University, and a M.A. in global environmental policy from American University in Washington, D.C.

For his work during the fellowship, Rongkun will be delving into the questions of whether and how traditional ecological knowledge and practice systems can be paired with current scientific knowledge to promote community resilience to natural disasters.

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