Four UA faculty members selected as Udall Center Fellows for 2017-18

05/17/17 04:39:pm

Four UA faculty members selected as Udall Center Fellows for 2017-18

The Udall Center Fellows Program, which is entering its 28th year, announces the selection of four UA faculty members as 2017-18 Fellows.

This year’s four Fellows come from three colleges: Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), the College of Science, and the James E. Rogers College of Law.

The Fellows from SBS are Brian Mayer, an Associate Professor in the School of Sociology, and Susan Swanberg, an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism. The College of Science representative is Valerie Trouet of the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research. The Rogers College of Law Fellow is Melissa Tatum, a Research Professor of Law.

Professor Brian Mayer is an environmental sociologist who has studied the social production of environmental-health risks and the contestations that emerge around environmental problems in the areas of science, policy, and medicine. His work has examined the role of community activism and participation in the identification and management of potential environmental-health risks. His pioneering scholarship has on resilience and disaster planning has clear policy relevance. His proposal for next year merges his interests in community disaster resilience, Native American resilience, and regional poverty reduction. For more on Prof. Mayer’s work, see

With a degree in law, a Ph.D. in Genetics, and working experience as a journalist, Professor Susan Swanberg brings a richly diverse background to her position. She is a science journalist whose Udall Center Fellows project is titled “Spinning Science: Science Journalism’s Role at the Interface of Science and Public Policy During the Birth of the Atomic Age.” In particular, she will be crafting mini-biographies of three 20th century science writers. Prof. Swanberg’s site is at

Professor Valerie Trouet, a dendrochronologist, also will be working on popularizing science, like Prof. Swanberg. Her proposed book, “Treestory: the history of climate, society, and forests as written in trees,” is arguably the first broad audience book on tree-ring research. Her work, to be published by Johns Hopkins Press, is a timely narrative intertwining dendrochronology, climate variability, ecosystems, and human societies. The site for Prof. Trouet’s lab is at

Professor Melissa Tatum has devoted most of her career to studying how law and culture in Indigenous communities relate to cultural aspects of heritage, knowledge, appropriation, and property. Her work bridges the intersection of law, socio-legal studies, anthropology, intellectual property, environmental and natural resource protection, public lands, and religion. As a Fellow, she will work on “Spaces of Indigenous Justice” as a project. See Prof. Tatum’s site at

The Udall Center Fellows Program in a nutshell

The Udall Center Fellows Program is preparing to enter its 28th year. Over this time, the Center has hosted 144 University of Arizona faculty fellows from 42 departments and centers in 10 colleges. The program offers a semester off from normal teaching, thus allowing for creative policy-relevant scholarship and pursuit of funds. (See “Udall Center Fellows, 1991-2017”).

From the start, the purpose of the program has been to encourage high-quality scholarly work on aspects of public policy. The number of disciplines represented reveals the breadth of public-policy work on campus. From sociology to hydrology, law to public health, psychology to mathematics, and geography to ecology -- faculty from all these fields—and more—have participated, enriching policy dialogues on and off-campus.

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