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Jordan Wilkerson


When I was a kid, I always got in a huff when I saw someone littering. As I grew older, this huff transformed into a broader concern about our planet that pushed me to study environmental science in college. Now a PhD student at Harvard University, I work with airborne devices that directly observe the air enveloping our planet - and how humans are changing what it's made of. Though I focused on litter at my local playground as a kid, the devices in my research nowadays scan humanity's impact on the atmosphere far and wide. In one project, we used a low-flying airplane to measure greenhouse gases released from Arctic soils, which are thawing rapidly from man-made climate change. In another, we used a high-flying balloon to measure ozone-damaging chlorine gases in the stratosphere, the residue of man-made refrigerants humans released in huge quantities for decades. Outside of research, I'm an editor for Science in the News (SITN), a graduate student organization where aspiring scientists discuss the latest scientific research with the broader public. I'm also a frequent SITN writer, where I've written on a variety of topics such as nuclear power and HIV prevention. In one of my more recent articles, I even discuss how plastic litter has spread across our oceans. Childhood me would be proud.


Headshot of Jordan Wilkerson
Jordan Wilkerson

Harvard University

Fellowship Sponsor: Heising-Simons Foundation

Fellowship Host: The Dallas Morning News