EnviSci Grad Student - Tara Illgner - in the news

February 7, 2022


1) COVES Fellowship: I was selected as a COVES fellow last summer, and assigned to work on Science-Policy with the Virginia Legislature's Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS).

As a COVES Fellow, I mostly worked with the Division of Legislative Services (DLS), who are the attorneys that curate and craft the language of legislation within the parameters of established Virginia law. The 3 main projects that I worked with JCOTS on were the new (1) Virginia Consumer Data Privacy Act (VCDPA), (2) Child Protection Online Bill, (3) VASEM Coastal Flooding Report. In the last month of the Fellowship I was able to broach the topic of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies for Virginia. In probing Virginia’s history with CCS tech, I was surprised to find little-to-no developments or discussion in this area. I was aware of an exciting new zero-emission power-generation CCS technology, Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, in operation in Texas through the NET Power company based in neighboring North Carolina, and so I invited NET Power to speak with myself and the DLS staff. Given the success of that meeting, and with the support of the DLS,  further meetings have since taken place to discuss this technology with key members of JCOTS. For several months, I continued to serve as the liaison between JCOTS and NET Power. In August, I authored an Issue Brief about CCS technology options for Virginia and beyond. The Issue Brief is now a permanent part of the VA legislative record. In September, I presented the contents of the Issue Brief to the full JCOTS meeting


2) DiploUS: From Feb-Oct 2021, I was selected to write a Science-Diplomacy training module on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Change (SDG 13) to prepare multinational diplomats for their roles in the 2021 United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) and the Conference of the Parties (CoP26).

3) Article in Medium's SciTech Forefront section:  In September, I published an article in Medium's SciTech Forefront about carbon-sequestration technology options in alignment with the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).
4) GEO Art Competition: In December, I was selected as one of the winners of the international Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Art Competition!
GEO is an international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland that works toward greater satellite observation coverage of Earth.
“Winners were selected by 3 distinguished judges: Nicole Stott, artist, astronaut, and earthling; Jeremy Donovan, Aboriginal artist and musician; and Claudio Munoz, illustrator and writer from Chile”

We will be attending the GEO Art Gala to discuss the winning artwork on February 7th, which will be livestreamed on their Youtube channel here.