We are pleased to announce that Alexa White, an ecology and evolutionary biology Ph.D. student, has received the Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award. The Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award is awarded to individuals or teams who have developed an innovation, intervention, or program within the last three years that supports equity in areas of STEM.

Women in Science and Engineering presented this award in early April to White. This award is part of a larger awards ceremony by WISE, the Willie Hobbs Moore Awards

White co-founded the AYA Research Institute in 2021 with with her colleague, Adria Peterkin, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This think tank creates tools for the Just Transition, including Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, and Energy Justice.

“AYA's mission is to help the U.S. government make decisions about environmental, climate, and energy justice by coming up with new and useful suggestions informed by scientists and engineers of color,” said White. “We teach scientists and engineers how to ethically engage with communities.”

AYA conducts environmental justice public policy research to fill the current gaps in knowledge and address past, present, and future environmental atrocities. AYA prioritizes using community-driven data and rigorous impact analysis. Currently, this program is continuing to expand. 

“This year we facilitated a collaborative project with fellows and the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) to make environmental justice screening tools more accurate and useful to policymakers nationwide,” said White.