Impact Spotlight: Alison Meadow and Gigi Owen

  • Published: Monday, March 8, 2021

Learn about two 2020 ARIS fellows from the University of Arizona and their impact project


As part of our 2020 ARIS fellowship, Gigi Owen and I have written a guidebook on societal impacts aimed at natural and physical scientists. The guidebook defines and provides examples of societal impacts from climate change research as well as methods for how to plan for, measure, and document those impacts.

We hope the guidebook gives researchers in the natural and physical sciences, particularly those working in climate science, with a set of tools and language that will build their skills for engaged research, document and evaluate their impacts, and help them communicate effectively about the impacts of their research in funding proposals, public communication, and in performance and tenure reviews.

Ultimately, we hope that synthesizing an easy-to-use societal impacts evaluation framework will encourage more university administrations to incorporate societal impacts, alongside academic impacts, in performance reviews and community engagement efforts.

Alison Meadow, PhD
Associate Research Professor, University of Arizona
2020 ARIS Fellow

Alison Meadow
Alison Meadow, PhD
University of Arizona

Theme song
This question has completely stumped me! Depending on my mood, I might say "I Won't Back Down" (Tom Petty), "The Bug" (Dire Straits), or something Indigo Girls-y.

Quarantine recipe
Homemade yogurt (so much easier than I thought!)

Hobbies
Masters swimming, running, hiking, and reading.

Book or podcast
I love podcasts -- there are so many podcasts to choose from! A current favorite is Laughter Permitted with Julie Foudy. But, for a really crazy story, I have to recommend Wind of Change.

Pathway
A winding road for sure! I have always been interested in applied and community-engaged research. I've worked to find ways to integrate my background in action research, Indigenous studies, and climate change adaptation. That has meant I've needed to create my own position that gives me the flexibility to keep my hands in a lot of different projects. My diverse experiences continue to inform and strengthen my work on both societal impacts evaluation and the practice of climate change adaptation.

Community meaning
The ARIS community has made me feel so validated. It's been incredible to work with so many people who value "real-world" impacts as much as I do and who are finding their way through academia while holding this value -- that our work should directly contribute to our communities -- so dear.


Gigi Owen
University of Arizona, Climate Assessment for the Southwest
2020 ARIS Fellow

Gigi Owen
Gigi Owen
University of Arizona

Theme song
Does the background music to the Great British Bake Off count?

Quarantine recipe
I've been making a Red Curry Lentil Dal with roasted Sweet Potatoes by Lidey Heuck at NYTimes Cooking at least once a month. It's bright and comforting.

Hobbies
My hobbies used to be playing bass in a metal band called Scar Eater, playing the theremin in a surf band, and playing roller derby, but in the past year, I've taken up watercolor and drawing instead. My passion for baking continues to remain strong. I'm currently looking for the best vegan baking recipes, so please let me know if you have one!

Book or podcast
Everyone should read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I listened to the audiobook, which is read by the author, and it has changed me.

Pathway
I wanted to be an ecologist, but soon discovered that I was more interested in the relationships between people and their environments. That took me from measuring buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert toward the field of Political Ecology, which looks at the political, cultural, and economic drivers of environmental issues. I also quickly discovered that doing applied and community-based environmental research could have great influence on policies and decision making. Now a large portion of my research interests include breaking down and communicating about the pathways to impact.

Community meaning
To find a community of people who are driving academic research toward societal impact has been so powerful. I have often felt like an outsider in the academic realm -- joining ARIS has provided an innate sense of belonging that I'd been missing.