Meet a Social Scientist: Dr. James Elsner from the Department of Geography

What is your name?
Dr. James Elsner

What kind of work do you do for the College?
I am a professor in the geography department at Florida State University. I teach, do research and engage in service in the department, profession and community.

Why did you decide to become an academic? 

I’m a first-generation academic. In fact, I was the first in my extended family to get a college degree. I got the bug when I was an undergraduate. I realized then that I could discover new things about the weather using scientific thinking. The secret was to be organized, thoughtful, and well-read.  Throughout graduate school I become increasingly interested in writing and teaching about the science and technology of weather and climate. 

What do you find most fulfilling about your job? 

I still find writing and teaching about weather and climate exciting, but training students in how to do these things is the most fulfilling to me. I’ve been fortunate to have had some outstanding students over the years who allowed me to grow as an advisor. I treasure these experiences. 

What are you working on or teaching right now that has you excited professionally? 

I’m working to build a new interdisciplinary graduate program in Climate Solutions that can take students from a range of disciplines and teach them how to engage with a variety of stakeholders in finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program curriculum is shared between the College of Social Science and Public Policy and the College of Engineering with additional contributions from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, and the new College of Entrepreneurship. 

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