2006-07 Energy, Environment & Natural Resources (EENR) Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Garrick Louis took a general leave from serving as associate professor of systems and information engineering, and civil engineering at the University of Virginia in order to accept a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Center for Environmental Research. He did not expect the university to grant him tenure status during his absence–but happily that’s what happened. “I expect the prestige of this fellowship influenced that decision somewhat,” says Garrick, a native of the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Garrick, who earned his PhD in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, viewed the fellowship as a good opportunity to explore the policy side of his work on sustainable infrastructure. As part of his work at the EPA, Garrick visited five grantee sites–in Massachusetts; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; and Puerto Rico–on behalf of the Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability Program, to identify and evaluate cases of innovation for sustainability, such as land use sustainability, smart growth models, harbor pollution prevention programs, and tradable credit systems for storm water management.
Garrick presented his survey results in an oral presentation, a written report, and an article currently targeted for the Journal of Environmental Management. He co-authored another paper on transferable development rights with the grantees from one of the projects, which has been submitted to the Journal of the American Planning Association.
Other highlights included serving on the Sustainability Outcomes and Indicators Working Group that produced a report on energy indicators for the EPA’s Innovation Action Council in the spring of 2007, and organizing and co-chairing the 2006-07 AAAS Sustainability Fellows Group.
Despite these successes, there were challenges. Garrick says the hardest part of his fellowship involved leaving behind his wife and three children, ages 7 to 12, in Charlottesville, VA. “I commuted home on weekends, but being absent for most of the kids’ school year was stressful,” he says. “In retrospect, it would have been a richer, more enjoyable experience for everyone if my family had experienced Washington with me.”
After completing his fellowship, Garrick returned to his family and his now-tenured teaching position at the University of Virginia.