Rachel Licker is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Princeton University’s Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in Environment and Resources with the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rachel says, “I have been extremely lucky to have an amazing set of mentors both at Wisconsin and Princeton, including the spectacular ESWN Founding Board Member, Tracey Holloway. Tracey introduced me to ESWN while I was doing my Ph.D. and helped me to network with researchers at Princeton, which led to my current postdoc!”
Rachel’s research examines the effects of climate change on globally important agricultural regions, as well as human migration patterns. For her postdoc, she is carrying out research on the effect of climate on human migration patterns in South Africa. While a Ph.D. student, she examined the social and climatic drivers of crop yield patterns in Eastern and Western Europe. For this research, she employs a range of interdisciplinary methods. For example, she is currently building statistical models using observed climate data in concert with household surveys.
Rachel also has a strong interest in working at the science-policy interface, as well as science communication and outreach. She spent much of the first two years of her postdoc working as a Chapter Scientist and Contributing Author with the IPCC Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. In particular, she worked with the “Emergent Risks and Key Vulnerabilities” chapter. Rachel “absolutely loved the experience, and enjoyed learning how to synthesize and assess scientific research for policymakers. It was also exciting working with an international team of experts from a range of disciplines.”
Rachel says, “ESWN is an incredible organization through which I have met a ton of fantastic researchers. And I run into members wherever I go! ESWN provides a really easy way to connect with people when I am at meetings and conferences, because I often see familiar faces from the website or newsletter. I have also found the discussions about professional development and work-life balance to be very valuable. I think those discussions send healthy messages to us early-career researchers – it lets us know that it is not just okay to think about work-life balance, it is very important!”
Rachel is currently involved with ESWN in a few different capacities. She does the graphic design for the annual newsletter (thank you, Rachel!) and is co-chairing a new regional contacts and get-togethers committee with Maria Tzortziou. She has also been partnering with Sara Duncan of Rutgers University to organize regular happy hours for the Central New Jersey region. Rachel has really enjoyed all of these interactions, and again, has met a number of wonderful women in the process!
Rachel adds, “Beyond work, I really enjoy traveling and spending time outdoors. In addition, I recently completed a yoga teacher training program, and am looking forward to teaching on the side. Maybe we can add yoga classes to the list of AGU ESWN events!”