IU Bloomington geologist named 2015-16 Jefferson Science Fellow

  • April 28, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington geologist Michael Hamburger has been named a 2015-16 Jefferson Science Fellow. He will spend the academic year in Washington, D.C., working on science policy issues with the U.S. State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Jefferson Science Fellowship Program is a competitive program that selects midcareer and senior scientists to work as science advisors on foreign policy issues. Administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the program builds capacity for science expertise within the federal government.

Hamburger, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, conducts research on the relation of earthquakes to global geological processes, earthquake hazards and volcanic activity.

“I am thrilled to be offered this opportunity to work with a group of distinguished scientists from across the country to help address science policy issues of global scope,” Hamburger said. “The Jefferson Science Fellowship will allow me a unique opportunity to combine my professional experience in earth sciences with a long-standing interest in global environmental, energy and hazard mitigation policy.

“I’m certain that it will be an intense period of education and reflection, and I’m excited by the opportunity to bring fresh ideas and expertise back to my teaching and research here at IU.”

The State Department created the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program in 2003 as a new model for engaging the academic science, technology, engineering and medical communities in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Following the fellowship year, the fellows return to their academic careers but remain available to the U.S. government for short-term projects.

“Michael has been an outstanding ambassador for Indiana University through his work in science education and outreach and his leadership of campus sustainability initiatives,” said Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The Jefferson Science Fellowship is a great opportunity for him to engage in science policy issues at a national and international level. I am excited for Michael and certain that his experience in Washington will benefit the College and the university.”

Hamburger will learn details of his assignment this summer but expects it will be related to his background in natural hazard mitigation and his interest in global environmental issues. Final approval of the fellowships is subject to recipients passing a State Department security clearance.

He will be the first Jefferson Science Fellow from IU Bloomington.

Gabriel Filippelli, professor of earth sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was a Jefferson Science Fellow in 2013-14. He served as a senior science advisor for the State Department, engaging with scientists around the U.S. and the world to craft science policy to protect Arctic and Antarctic environments in response to climate change.

“The experience was extremely valuable from a personal and professional standpoint,” he said, “as I learned how well-crafted U.S. foreign policy is, and have had many opportunities to discuss these topics in seminars and classes at IUPUI.”

Filippelli served as a reviewer this year for Jefferson Science Fellowship applicants.

“Michael clearly stood out for his deep and broad experience at IU,” he said. “He will shine in the State Department.”

Hamburger is the author of dozens of papers on seismology, volcanology, tectonics and earth science education. He has active research programs focused on earthquake-generation processes in the Philippines and the Wabash Valley seismic zone in Indiana and Illinois, and a global study of hazards associated with earthquake-triggered landslides.

He co-chaired the IU Bloomington Task Force on Sustainability, which led to the creation of the Office of Sustainability, and co-chairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board, which advises the office.

The State Department and USAID expect to host about 12 Jefferson Science Fellows for 2015-16. The fellowships last from mid-August 2015 to August 2016.

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