The passport for Dr. Jenna Jambeck, FL A ’96, must be covered in stamps and her personal vehicle is probably due for an oil change – like, yesterday.
During the last week of October Jambeck was in 3 different cities. She was in Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School for a workshop addressing plastics in the Arctic. Along with other invited guests, Jambeck was in Washington, DC, at a Congressional Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee hearing: A Sea of Problems: Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Oceans and Wildlife. Then – perhaps, one of the most important events she attended – she was at home in Athens, Georgia, where she is a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA), so she could go Trick-or-Treating with her kids. (Photo Credit of Jambeck: UGA/Andrew Tucker)
“Don’t Be Afraid To Try A New Approach“
That is a subsection headline that appeared in Forbes Magazine’s article on National Geographic’s Women of Impact documentary. This portion highlighted the creative ways people have developed to meet the demands placed on them from hurdles and surpass expectations.
She, along with fellow researcher Dr. Heather J. Koldewey, lead Sea To Source Expeditions studying plastic pollution in waterways. (Currently researching the Ganges River.) Their new approach balancing family and field works because each of these researchers share the lead job. They start and finish the expedition together but swap in between to balance their jobs with their families.
“By sharing the job we can completely dedicate our time while we’re here, then we can go back and see our family,” said Dr. Jambeck.
Jambeck has traveled to 13 countries as part of her research.
Follow Jambeck’s research efforts on Twitter at @JambeckResearch
Need an expert on plastic trash?
Dr. Jambeck has spent more than 20 years working on the issues associated with solid waste. In 2010, she and co-creator, Kyle Johnsen, also from UGA, developed the mobile app Marine Debris Tracker while partnering with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI), located within the College of Engineering at UGA.
A primary goal of SEA-MDI was to use innovative technologies and unique expertise to add culturally relevant outreach tools and information to the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
The app, Marine Debris Tracker serves a dual purpose as a way to spread awareness of marine debris, and as an easy to use and simple tool for marine debris data collection. In 2015, funding from 11th Hour Racing (A Program of The Schmidt Family Foundation) has allowed SEA-MDI to expand the tracker as a culturally relevant outreach and data collection tool for the sailing community.
Is marine debris a preventable problem? Jambeck thinks it is.
In 2016 and again in October 2019, while testifying before government subcommittees, Jambeck made her case. She advocates for reduction in plastic production, the use of innovative materials and product design to reduce waste generation, improvement of waste management and litter capture, and reduction of input into the ocean. For a full summary of her 2016 Senate Subcommittee statement, “Marine Debris and Wildlife: Impacts, Sources and Solutions,” click here. To read Jambeck’s opening statement from the U.S. House of Representatives Hearing in October, “A Sea of Problems: Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Oceans and Wildlife,” please click here.
Tau Bate Running For
Democratic Presidential Nominee
Michael R. Bloomberg, Maryland Alpha ’64, announced on November 24 through a news release from his campaign, that he will pursue the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. A graduate from Johns Hopkins with a degree in electrical engineering, he was initiated into Tau Beta Pi in March 1997 as an Eminent Engineer.
In the news release, he is described as “an entrepreneur, mayor, and philanthropist, Mike has built a career following data, bringing people together, and putting progress over partisanship.”
He is a 3-term former New York City mayor, founder of Bloomberg L.P., Bloomberg News, and Bloomberg Radio. According to the campaign’s news release, Bloomberg has given away $10 Billion to charitable causes, and Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world.