Our vision at Rowan Institute is a future of strong and resilient leaders, grounded in human rights, integrity, and planetary stewardship, who make transformational change on our finite and rapidly warming planet. We view compassion, equity, and community as fundamental core principles in leading and communicating.
The mission of Rowan Institute is to provide the leadership and communication skills leaders need to change the direction of policies and outcomes for institutions, businesses, and communities.
Train public leaders to function in today’s world through integrating scholarship and social justice into public leadership at all levels.
Teach STEM (science, technology, education, and math) and education professionals how to communicate complex, socially-vital information, with the goal of protecting public interests and reducing risk and cost.
Prepare organizations to incorporate equity and data-driven insights into their strategy, leadership, and public communication.
Advocate and act for anti-racism and anti-colonialism
Advocate and act to redress societal and environmental damages from greed, profiteering, and corruption
Center the values of community building and collective action
Use science and information
Stand up for human rights
Center marginalized voices
Listen with radical empathy
Demonstrate radical transparency
Acknowledge mistakes and make direct action to work towards accountability and reparation
Take risks: now is the time to engage in the most difficult and polarized public conversations
FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dr. Sarah Myhre (she/her) is a scientist and public advocate for human rights. Dr. Myhre, a paleoceanographer with expertise in social and ecological decision-making, is at the frontlines of addresing of rapid climate change. She is a Kavli Fellow with the National Academy of Science. Dr. Myhre is a senior fellow at Project Drawdown researching carbon drawdown solutions in the global ocean. See her CV here.
Dr. Myhre is also a national thought leader in the field of climate science communication and public leadership. She is a vetted public communicator and strategic advisor, with more than a decade of work across scientific, educational, non-profit, and governmental sectors. Her writing bylines can be found in Newsweek, the Guardian, The Stranger, and LiveScience.
She is also a feminist leader, grassroots organizer, and activist. She is a founding board member of 500 Women Scientists, the founder and collaborative leader of the Seattle chapter of 500 Women Science, and a board member of FutureWise. Indeed, Dr. Myhre is an unapologetic advocate for a values-into-action framework for equity, transparency, and justice in climate leadership.
Changing who leads and how
Dr. SaleemuL Huq
Dr. Saleemul Huq (he/him) is the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD) since 2009. Dr. Huq is also a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED), where he is involved in building negotiating capacity and supporting the engagement of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in UNFCCC including negotiator training workshops for LDCs, policy briefings and support for the Adaptation Fund Board, as well as research into vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the least developed countries. Dr. Huq has published numerous articles in scientific and popular journals, was a lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and was one of the coordinating lead authors of ‘Inter-relationships between adaptation and mitigation’ in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007).
Dr. Farhana Sultana
Dr. Farhana Sultana (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, where she is also the Research Director for Environmental Collaboration and Conflicts at the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflicts and Collaboration (PARCC). Dr. Sultana is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary scholar of political ecology, water governance, post‐colonial development, social and environmental justice, climate change, and gender. Her research and scholar-activism draw from her experiences of having lived and worked on three continents as well as from her backgrounds in the natural sciences, social sciences, and policy experience. Prior to joining Syracuse, she taught at King’s College London and worked at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Author of several dozen publications, her recent books are The Right to Water: Politics, Governance and Social Struggles and Eating, Drinking: Surviving. Dr. Sultana graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University (in Geosciences and Environmental Studies), and obtained her Masters and PhD (in Geography) from University of Minnesota, where she was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Board members of Rowan Institute provide scientific and public leadership to direct our organizational mission, vision, goals, and culture.
Priya Shukla (she/her) is a PhD student based at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory studying the effects of climate change on shellfish aquaculture. She received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Management at UC Davis and earned her Master’s in Ecology from San Diego State University. Priya uses science communication to bridge issues concerning social justice, rapid environmental change, and the scientific community.
Tyler Valentine (he/him is currently an undergraduate student in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. He has conducted a variety of research in the fields of planetary science and space technology ranging from understanding the surface dynamics of asteroids to investigating methods of extracting water from extraterrestrial bodies. Tyler has given speeches at the 2017 Seattle March for Science, 2017 Seattle March for Truth, and 2018 TEDxUofW Conference. Beyond his speaking engagements, Tyler is the co-founder of a student-led STEM educational outreach organization at UW; he is an executive Board member of the Black Student Union at the UW, and he serves as the Dean’s Office Liason for the Student Advisory Council of the UW College of the Environment. While he is in love with his research, Tyler’s true passions are best encapsulated by the African Philosophy of Ubuntu and the African proverb “Ubuntu ngumtu ngabanye abantu” (“A person is a person through other people”).
Barbara Clabots (she/her) is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersection of gender equality and the environment. She received a Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education to complete her Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. She was the first to document the impact of women's involvement in marine protected areas. Barbara is also a Senior Research Affiliate at Ladysmith Ventures and advises Washington Women for Climate Action Now. She incorporates both quantitative and qualitative research methods across a variety of disciplines. She developed five datasets quantifying gender inequality in the environmental sector the Global Gender Office for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. She is an editor for Sightline Institute and was acknowledged as a 2015 “Young Green Leader” by Washington Conservation Voters. Her analyses and advocacy pieces are published in the Seattle Globalist, Yes! Magazine, and The Establishment. Barbara’s approach to environmental solutions is both evidence-based and feminist, and she speaks frequently on this intersectional approach to climate equity.
Urpi Ruiz Angeles (she/her)
“I was born in Cusco, Peru, I come from Quechua and Aymara descendants. Cusco is a city known for its rich culture and beautiful landscapes. It was there that I learned to appreciate and give back to the earth. My earliest memories are of my great-grandmother teaching me how to peel a potato, and our family friend teaching me how to make adobe walls. In the Quechuan culture, the children learn through watching. I remember the distinct earthy smell of my city and the gentleness of the people when handling the earth; because of my upbringing, I feel connected to it. These experiences shaped me to be environmentally conscious. Now that I am older, I understand that my family are environmental scientists; it is because of them that I want to continue the legacy of being a protector of the environment.
After spending my first ten years in Peru, I moved to Seattle; it felt like a whole different planet. There were skyscrapers instead of adobe houses, no brown slopey mountains in sight, and for the first time ever, I lived by large bodies of water. Growing up in Seattle was a challenge. When I was 11, my mother got a divorce as a result of domestic violence. From that point onwards, my family had unstable housing. My mother tried her best to raise us as a single mother: we've slept in shelters, friends' houses, a youth home, a car, and even a tent on the freeway, and still went to school the next morning. Because of these living conditions, I was able to meet people who were in a similar situation. Families who were trying to move forward with their lives but were challenged because they did not live in the best environment. I've experienced homelessness for such a long time that I can relate to and understand their struggles. In a way, I am grateful to have experienced homelessness, because I can now advocate for people to have better living environments in order to have better lives.
My time at Seattle Central has given me the opportunity to grow academically as well as practice my leadership skills. At Seattle Central, I joined TRIO, MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program. I'm also part of the RST (Ready, Set Transfer!) program, and I made the Dean's List during the spring of 2017. In the spring of 2017, I was awarded the Wayne & Jean Tice Endowed Scholarship, and the Costco Diversity Scholarship in Fall 2018. I am a Phi Theta Kappa member since 2017 and was the Seattle Central College SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) President for 2018. As a SACNAS member, I attended two of the yearly SACNAS conferences. I was also able to volunteer at events, such as the Engineering Mentor Night the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) club runs yearly. I volunteered as a recruiter coordinator and as the awards ceremony speaker at the Science Olympiad held at Seattle Central College. I was also given the opportunity to design the logo for tutor vests at the University of Washington's EAC (Engineering Academic Center). Being highly involved at Seattle Central has prepared me to thrive in an academic environment.
Although I couldn't change my fate as a child, I can do so now that I am an adult. I am continuing to fight to stabilize my living situation and grow roots in the community that will sustain my passion to be an advocate for our planet. As we speak with more urgency about climate change, and as we face its consequences, it is my dream to be at the front lines of this issue. I am excited to become a part of the Rowan Institute community, so I can help others -- and our planet -- flourish and thrive.”
Sarra Tekola (she/her) is currently working on her PhD in Sustainability at Arizona State University. Her undergraduate research was on the physical elements of climate change, where she interned and researched for EPA, NOAA and the Washington State Department of Ecology. She has also worked on the political side of sustainability as a legislative aide for a Seattle City Councilmember. To put the knowledge into application her dissertation works on the social side of climate change focusing on creating the cultural change Western society needs to successfully implement climate solutions. She is investigating the connections between climate change and colonization, and how the colonial trauma Western countries have affects our ability to address climate change today and how decolonization can be a climate solution.
Sarra is also a climate and racial justice, direct-action activist from Seattle. She is the cofounder of Women of Color Speak Out, a group that works to help the environmental movement become more accessible to people of color. Sarra continues to be involved in environmental and racial justice activism on the frontlines in Phoenix, working on both police brutality and indigenous land rights. Her activism has been featured in Democracy Now, CNN, Rolling Stone and was named by Outside Magazine as one of the “30 under 30” in 2016.
Dr. juniper Simonis
Dr. Juniper L. Simonis (they/them) is a Data Analyst in the Weecology Labat the University of Florida; Founder, Owner, and Lead Scientist of DAPPER Stats, a data science consulting firm focused on conservation biology and management; and an adjunct scientist in the Conservation & Science Departmentat the Lincoln Park Zoo. They received their PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biologyfrom Cornell University and their BS in Integrative Biologyfrom the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Simonis’ research focuses on combining dynamic mathematical models, computational techniques, and long-term data to study organismal populations and forecast species’ responses to environmental change.
In addition to their science, Dr. Simonis is a public educator, an advocate and mentor for young scientists and entrepreneurs, and an activist for inclusive, safe, and supportive work environments. They are presently a member of the 500 Women ScientistsLeadership Team and have served on leadership committees for an LGBTQ alumni organization, multiple athletic associations, research ethics bodies, and an employee inclusion task force. Dr. Simonis is also a lifelong athlete of many sports and is a current (and three-time) world champion roller derby (WFTDA) skater with the Rose City Rollers.
Gabi Serrato Marks
Gabi Serrato Marks is a PhD candidate in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where she focuses on past climate change. She uses stalagmites from Mexico to examine hydrological change in the last 6,000 years. She received her BA in Earth and Oceanographic Science from Bowdoin College. Outside of research, she’s a freelance science writer, Community and Audience Developer for Massive Science, and a patient advocate. Her experiences as a Mexican-American, disabled, queer woman shape her science research and communication.