Sophia Chau is an Environmental Science Major and Sustainability Minor with wide-ranging interests and a surprising number of research projects on her plate. Last summer saw her doing field work at Sandhill Wildlife Area in Wisconsin, studying the habitat of the endangered Karner blue butterfly. She is also researching and coauthoring a book chapter on climate change adaptation policies for ecosystems with Professor Debra Javeline of Notre Dame's Political Science department.
Throughout her senior year, she is engaged in her sustainability capstone project, titled The Vulnerability Reduction Credit: A New Standard to Facilitate a Global Adaptation Marketplace. "The Vulnerability Reduction Credit can provide a basis for developing an adaptation market to meet adaptation goals, similar to how carbon credits are traded and used in carbon markets to meet mitigation goals," explains Sophia. "It can also translate the impact of adaptation investments into more meaningful terms than monetary value such as the number of lives saved by a particular adaptation project."
Her capstone project is a collaboration with the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, which is focused on building resilience to climate change as a key component to better prepare humans and their environment for the coming century.
This spring, Sophia will be a TA for Sustainability Principles and Practices, the Sustainability Minor's gateway class. She is looking forward to the opportunity to mentor younger students who are getting started in the Sustainability Minor.
After graduating, Sophia plans to pursue graduate research on climate change's impact on ecosystems and ways to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. "My career goal," she says, "is to work at the intersection of science, management, and policy."