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Make an Impact on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Social Justice.

Join us on the project “Co-Creating Capacities to Understand, Visualize, and Mitigate Climate-Change Impact Cascades and Inequities in Central Mexico,” in partnership with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), funded by the National Science Foundation.

Earn your master’s degree from globally ranked and recognized Clark University. Join our interdisciplinary team of faculty and graduate students as a member of the second research cohort and collaborate with the first cohort for transformative team-based work.

Project Background and Details

In 2022, “Co-Creating Capacities to Understand, Visualize, and Mitigate Climate-Change Impact Cascades and Inequities in Central Mexico” was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program (award #2230723).

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The project involves nine Clark faculty from the Department of Sustainability and Social Justice, Graduate School of Geography, and Becker School of Design & Technology (BSDT). Our partners in Mexico include faculty from the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Laboratory for Sustainability Sciences (LANCIS), Institute of Atmospheric Sciences & Climate Change (ICAyCC), and Program for Climate Change Research (PINCC), as well as the Mexico City government and local communities.

The project co-creates and integrates four components:

  1. A regional climate-change atlas using web-based GIS to map and spatially analyze climate, water, food/agriculture, ecosystem, health, and livelihood conditions
  2. A system dynamics model (SDM) to represent interactions among these sectors, impact cascades (one sector’s impacts propagate through others), the unevenness of impacts across populations/landscapes, and the simulation of alternative futures
  3. An eXtended Reality (XR) platform that allows stakeholders to inhabit those futures virtually to chart sustainable, socially just, climate-resilient pathways
  4. A research/practice-based suite of courses that Clark and UNAM students take together — including field research with local community partners

Interdisciplinary stakeholder co-creation is central to the work. Cohorts of Clark students spend months in the field, living and working with community partners and UNAM peers, which results in a transformative team-based experience.

Choice of Degree Paths

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Five experiential learning opportunities are available, aligned with five of our highly regarded master’s degree programs:

M.S. in Environmental Science & Policy: Co-create knowledge and decision-making capacities with partners from local communities and the Mexico City government.

M.S. in Geographic Information Science: Develop and pilot a regional climate-change atlas, co-created and co-owned by our community and government partners.

M.A. in International Development: Be part of a social-technical enterprise that represents a new  co-creation paradigm for sustainable development work.

M.A. in Community Development & Planning: Build relationships with communities impacted by climate change by working alongside them to build collective capacity to understand and respond.

MFA in Interactive Media: Help develop an exciting eXtended Reality (XR) platform that allows diverse groups to visualize and interact with alternative climate/development futures.

Who Should Apply

We welcome fluent Spanish speakers to apply, including Latinx students for whom Spanish is a first language, as well as individuals with significant experience working in Spanish-speaking countries or communities through the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Teach for America, or similar organizations.

Fellowships Available

  • Each year, six fellows will be granted awards covering 75% of tuition charges for the 12-course research track of their degree program
  • While at Clark, all fellows receive a monthly stipend based on six to eight hours per week of research with project faculty
  • All fellows will receive funding for six months of field research in Mexico, including round-trip airfare and a monthly stipend

Degree Timelines

12-course M.S. or M.A. in the Department of Sustainability and Social Justice

  • Enter fall 2024 at Clark
  • Work spring/summer 2025 in Mexico
  • Finish fall 2025 at Clark

15-course MFA in the Becker School of Design & Technology

  • Enter fall 2024 at Clark
  • Work spring/summer 2025 in Mexico
  • Finish fall 2025 and spring 2026 at Clark

Application Process

Please consult the links below for more information on programs and the application process.

Priority Application Deadlines:

  • February 15, 2024, for fall 2024
  • August 15, 2024, for spring 2025

For more information on the research project and fellowship opportunities:
Contact Professor Tim Downs for more information.

For more information about the application process:

Timothy Downs

We focus on climate change impacts on water, health, agriculture, livelihoods, and ecosystems. We want to know who is most impacted now, who will be in the future, and how to mitigate those impacts for a climate-responsive future.

Professor Tim Downs

Contact Information

Department of Sustainability and Social Justice

Office Location