BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—When they announced the creation of the fellowship that bears their surname, Burnell “Burney” and Barbara Fischer said they wanted up-and-coming researchers and scholars within the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs to have the support they need to conduct vital research.
“The future,” Burney said, “is in their hands.”
For Kim Novick, that future is now. The O’Neill School announced today (April 30) that Novick, associate professor and director of the school’s Ph.D. program in environmental science, is the recipient of the 2020 Fischer Faculty Fellowship. The award comes with a $20,000 stipend annually over the course of three years, and is matched by the O’Neill School in the form of an annual course release.
An environmental scientist whose work blends concepts from meteorology, ecology, and hydrology, Novick’s work has been particularly focused on land-atmosphere interactions, such as how climate variability affects vegetation, and complementary processes by which plants alter the climate at local to global scales.
“Without understanding how plants and the atmosphere interact, we cannot confidently predict future carbon and water cycling, which injects large uncertainty in our prediction of future temperature and precipitation,” Novick said.
The Fischer Fellowship will help Novick steer her focus toward ecological issues that could have more immediate solutions.
“Looking forward, I aim to transform my lab’s focus away from the goal of predicting ecosystem carbon uptake in 50-100 years, and toward applying our theoretical understanding of ecosystem function to practical and pressing problems that need solutions now,” she said. “Support from the Fischer Fellowship will greatly facilitate this transformation.”
Novick has several projects underway and proposed, ranging from the cooling effects of reforestation in the eastern United States to new approaches for monitoring and forecasting drought for specific crops and forest types.
The Fischer Faculty Fellowship will allow Novick to support a graduate assistant or postdoctoral researcher, and the annual course release will provide what Novick called the most valuable resource of all—time to conduct new research.
“I’m excited and inspired by the work Kim is doing,” Burney Fischer said, “and I look forward to seeing her use this fellowship to further her already outstanding work.”
Novick is the second recipient of the fellowship, which was first awarded to Professor Adam Ward in 2019.
About the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington
The O’Neill School (formerly SPEA) is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2021 "Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs" by U.S. News & World Report, O’Neill ranks first in the country. Additionally, six of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including the number one nonprofit management program.