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University News

Acclaimed Researcher Talks Climate Change, Biology, and Poverty at GCU

beach aerial climate change effect

Respected scholar, educator, and researcher Catherine N. Duckett, Ph.D., will address the question, “Is Climate Change an Emergency?” as she talks about its effect on biodiversity and on people. Her lecture takes place Tuesday, October 30, at 2:00 p.m. in the North Dining Room at Georgian Court University. The event is hosted by the GCU Department of Biology and the Office of Student Life, and is free and open to the public.

“We will start with an introduction to why the climate change we see today differs from that of the past but mostly focus on the expected impacts,” says Dr. Duckett, an associate dean for the School of Science at Monmouth University.

The expert entomologist brings decades of research and teaching experience to her talk at GCU, which is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Dr. Duckett’s perspective on the intersection of science and the real-life costs associated with climate change mirrors that priority.

Climate Change and the Poor

Catherine Duckett

“A very unfair portion of the economic and social costs of climate change and its effects fall on the poor and disenfranchised, and that resonates with GCU’s core values,” says Louise Wootton, Ph.D., the university’s director of sustainability.

“Indeed, it goes to the heart of why GCU’s sponsoring organization, the Sisters of Mercy, are so passionate about fighting for environmental justice: It’s not just because we are asked to be stewards of creation in its own right,” said Dr. Wootton, also a marine biologist and professor at GCU.

“It’s about the fact that inevitably whatever environmental issue you look at, from the contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, to the low-lying homes ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans; it is over and over again the poor who suffer when the environment is compromised by human activities,” she says.

Putting an Understanding of Climate Change to Work—for Good

Dr. Duckett, who also co-directs the peer mentoring program in Monmouth’s School of Science, uses her insight to improve lives. In addition to her scholarly focus on the evolution of tropical flea beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae), she now teaches courses on humans and the environment, the science and politics of climate change, and sustainability of the food system.

“I am interested in giving people more information and intellectual tools to be change agents,” says Dr. Duckett, a former National Science Foundation fellow who has worked at the Smithsonian and Rutgers University. At Rutgers, she was associate director of the Office of Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, and she served as program manager of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, an open-access data resource on marine biodiversity.

“Climate change biology and agriculture seem to be areas where my scientific expertise and my interests intersect the most,” she says.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,200 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 14 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by Money.com and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at HazletGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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