Jessica Weinkle

science, risk, politics... and society

 
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Bio

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  I am also the program coordinator for the Masters of Coastal and Ocean Policy.  

My research focuses on the nexus of science and policy particularly in the area of risk, insurance and natural hazards. As an overarching theme, My work brings attention to underlying power dynamics- who wins and who loses- in the production and use of information about risk. Most recently, I’ve become interested in the way characterizations of risk result in classifications of people and in turn, the moral and political constructions of social groups. Current projects also include an appraisal of science advice about coastal risk in North Carolina.  

As a teacher, much of my effort is focused on bringing students’ awareness and understanding to their choices, intentional or not, in the types of information they consider relevant to a particular policy issue. At the undergraduate level, I explore the use of Diversity and Inclusion exercises as an instructional tool about personal values and worldviews and in turn, political conflict. At the graduate level, I encourage students to understand (and take responsibility for) their claims to expertise as an eventual graduate and their implicit or explicit interest in influencing political processes. For all students, I encourage them to think critically about their frames of reference, understand politics as a necessary and desirable attribute of a healthy democracy, and to aim for higher order goal of human dignity.

I earned my doctorate from the University of Colorado Boulder where I studied at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.  I also have a Master of Arts in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Bachelors of Science in Zoology from the University of Texas at Austin.  

I grew up on Miami Beach, Florida and have since, traveled quite a bit nationally and internationally.  I love practicing yoga, and Crossfit, enjoying the outdoors- in the ocean, the mountains, the desert, or the garden- working the agility field with my dog Dade, and snuggling with my dog Brando.