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National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Board on Environmental Change and Society


Staff Listing 


Mary Ellen O'Connell, Acting Director, (202) 334-2607
Paul C. Stern, Senior Scholar, (202) 334-3005


Mailing Address

Board on Environmental Change and Society

The Keck Center of the National Academies

500 Fifth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001


Fax: 202-334-3751

Staff Biographies (alphabetical)  


Staff Mary Ellen OConnell  Mary Ellen O'Connell, Acting Director

Mary Ellen O’Connell is Deputy Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) and the Acting Director of the Board on Environmental Change and Society. She was previously the Deputy Director of two DBASSE boards, the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences and the Board on Human-Systems Integration. She started in DBASSE in 2001 as a senior program officer and has directed or co-directed studies for multiple boards on a wide range of topics including an evaluation of disability and rehabilitation program outcomes, home health care, prevention of mental emotional, and behavioral disorders, reducing underage drinking, assessing and improving children’s health, ethical considerations for research, and an evaluation of international education programs. She has also planned workshops on topics including field evaluation in the intelligence context, benefit-cost methodology, student mobility, welfare reform, and children and gun violence. She came to the National Academies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she spent eight years in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, most recently as director of state and local initiatives. She previously served as Director of Field Services for the Department of Public Welfare in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mary Ellen has a B.A. (with distinction) from Cornell University and a master in the management of human services from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Staff Paul Stern  Paul C, Stern, Ph.D., Senior Scholar

Paul C. Stern is a senior scholar at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, working primarily with the Board on Environmental Change and Society, formerly known as the Committee on Human Dimensions and Global Change. His work at the National Research Council has included directing studies on climate and global change, such as Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate (2009), Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Priorities (2005), and Global Environmental Change: Understanding the Human Dimensions (1992), and he has been involved in the suite of America’s Climate Choices studies. His work has also included studies on international security issues that have produced reports such as International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War (2000) and a three-volume series on Behavior, Society, and International Conflict (1989–1993). His research interests include the determinants of environmentally significant behavior, particularly at the individual level; participatory processes for informing environmental decision making; processes for informing environmental decisions; and the governance of environmental resources and risks. He is coauthor of the textbook Environmental Problems and Human Behavior (2nd ed., 2002) and of the 2003 article “The Struggle to Govern the Commons,” which won the 2005 Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Psychological Association. He holds a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Clark University, all in psychology.




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