Anne Kapuscinski Is Chair of Union of Concerned Scientists


Professor Anne Kapuscinski says she is looking forward to helping connect the Union of Concerned Scientists with a younger generation of scientists, whose enthusiasm for sustainability she sees in her students’ research. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Anne Kapuscinski, a professor of environmental studies and the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Sustainability Science, assumed the chairmanship of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) board of directors on Oct. 28. She is the first woman to serve in the role.

“Anne is a pioneer in her field and we are thrilled she will be channeling her vast intellect and creativity into this position,” says UCS President Ken Kimmell.

Kapuscinski is a leader in sustainability science, or the interactions between the natural world and social institutions such as economics and policy, and how those interactions support the goals of meeting present and future generations’ needs, reducing poverty, and conserving the planet’s life support systems. Her research focuses on integrated food and energy systems.’

Kapuscinski, who joined UCS’s board of directors in 2002, replaces Jim McCarthy, a professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; McCarthy served as UCS board chair for six years.

Kapuscinski has been a scientific adviser to the U.S. secretary of agriculture under three administrations as well as to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the European Union Food Safety Agency, and the state of Minnesota. She has served on several U.S. National Academy of Sciences committees and received numerous awards for her work.

The professor says she is looking forward to helping connect UCS with a younger generation of scientists, whose enthusiasm for sustainability she sees in students’ research. “I’ve seen a major upswing of student involvement in these issues,” she says. “I feel I’m well positioned to give feedback as UCS staff expand their reach to younger scientists.

“I deeply value how effective UCS is—synthesizing the best science, conducting insightful analyses, communicating incredibly well, and making science-driven recommendations. It’s a combination that leads to significant, needed changes in the policy arena.”