Kat Owens Intro

Welcome President-Elect, Kat Owens!

Kat Owens was elected to the President-Elect (2020-22) and will transition to AESS President for a two-year term beginning 2022.

Kat Owens is an associate professor in the department of Politics, Economics, and International Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut where she is also director of the University Interdisciplinary Studies program. 

Owens’ work crosses the social and natural sciences, seeking to link environmental science with policy. In 2015, working under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, she created a open source college course on marine debris. In this experiential course, students used scientific methods to collect and catalog debris from Connecticut’s shoreline, and then shared the results with state-level policy makers. In 2016, Owens was one of fifteen inaugural faculty to join ENACT (The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation), created by Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. In ENACT courses, students conduct research, create policy briefs, meet with lawmakers, and write opinion editorials advocating for or against bills in the state legislature. Through funding from the National Geographic Society while on a Fulbright Nehru grant, she worked in 2019 to train stakeholders in Thiruvananthapuram, India in data collection and policy-advocacy methods. A second project, also sponsored by National Geographic (currently postponed by COVID19), will entail similar work in Tororo, Uganda. 

She started attending AESS meetings in 2016 after years of trying to find an association or society that appreciated and supported interdisciplinary work. She was thrilled to find a welcoming community of vibrant and talented researchers, teachers, artists, and advocates in AESS. Kat lives with her husband, three children, dog, and six chickens in central Connecticut.