Aparna Bamzai serves as the University Assistant Director for the South Central Climate Science Center hosted at the University of Oklahoma. Established in 2012 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Center provides decision makers in the region with the science, tools, and information they need to address the impacts of climate variability and change on their areas of responsibility. The Center supports big thinking, including multi-institutional and stakeholder-driven approaches to climate variability, change, impacts, mitigation, and adaptation research.
In her role, Aparna oversees the day-to-day operations of the Center and facilitates dialogue between researchers and natural and cultural resource managers. Her professional interest lies in understanding how to frame scientific questions and projects in order to provide actionable results. On a given day, she can be found doing anything from planning a training or workshop, to writing a video script, creating reports or promotional materials, or revising a proposal. She also works on the education and mentoring of students – primarily through an annual summer internship program for undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities (see video below), but also recently through the development of a new inter-disciplinary course for undergraduates titled “Managing for a Changing Climate.”
Aparna has a B.S. in Statistics and Mathematics from Virginia Tech, a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University with a focus on Global Environmental Change, and completed the coursework towards her PhD in Atmospheric Science from UC – Berkeley. Her academic research in the past has predominantly focused on atmosphere-soil moisture interactions. She recently began to pursue her PhD part-time through the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma, with a focus on observing and understanding evapotranspiration using satellite remote sensing.
Aparna joined the Earth Science Women’s Network in 2010, and it has been a vital resource in both her professional and personal development. She has been inspired by and gained invaluable knowledge from the other women in the group.
Outside work and school, Aparna enjoys reading and has completed anywhere from 40-65 books a year since 2012. Her favorite recent reads include The Martian by Andy Weir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Aparna is a fledgling member of Toastmasters International, a group that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. She is also a runner who hates running, but loves listening to podcasts while running!