Climate at the National Academies


Amanda Purcell is a Program Officer for the National Academies’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC). She graduated from American University in 2008 with a B.S. in physics and mathematics, and immediately after began working for BASC, supporting projects on a variety of aspects of climate and global change. While continuing to work at the National Academies, she returned to AU to obtain an M.A. in mathematics (2013; focus in logic). Amanda is current staff co-lead for the Climate Communications Initiative and lead for the Committee to Advise the US Global Change Research Program. She also provides general support for BASC’s oversight and convening capacities and coordinates the institution-wide Climate at the National Academies newsletter and web presence. In her non-work life, Amanda is a certified USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach and home-fermenter of a delicious ginger beer.

Holly Rhodes is a program officer in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. She is study director of the Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice, and the director of the Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Research. She also serves as co-lead staff on the Climate Communications Initiative. Rhodes has also directed or contributed to other projects of the National Academies that include the Workshop on the Early Care and Education Workforce, the Science of Family Research Dissemination project, and the consensus studies that produced the reports Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda, The Value of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences to National Priorities: A Report for the National Science Foundation, and Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood. Prior to her work at the National Academies, she was deputy project director at RTI International for the national Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research program. She holds master’s and doctorate degrees in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael Hudson grew up in Roanoke, VA and in 2014, graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a B.S. in Geographic Science concentrating in Environmental Conservation, Sustainability, and Development with a minor in Environmental Science. After graduating, and without a clear career path, Michael pursued nonprofit work in Roanoke and joined AmeriCorps while working alongside a local nonprofit, The Advancement Foundation, as a community and economic developer. Harnessing that passion for nonprofit work and a background in environmental sciences, Michael moved to Washington, DC in January 2015 to pursue a position combining the two. It was then he briefly worked for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign before gaining full-time employment at the National Academies and BASC/PRB. Outside of work, Michael enjoys exploring DC, cross country skiing, happy hours, and the mountains of the Blue Ridge Valley.

Leyla Balimtas is a Communications and Media Associate for the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS) and the Policy and Global Affairs Division (PGA). Her primary responsibilities include promoting report releases, and study, committee, and roundtable activities and events through targeted outreach pitches, e-newsletters, and social media campaigns. She oversees the DELS and PGA websites and is fundamental in creating communication and derivative products (briefs, infographics, and videos) for Academies projects and publications. Prior to starting her work with the Academies in August 2017, she held positions with the Center for International Environmental Law and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Leyla graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication – Public Relations and minors in Sustainability Studies and Spanish Language and Cultures.

Rob Greenway is a Program Associate with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the Polar Research Board. He is responsible for facilitating the report production process for the two boards and also maintains the BASC and PRB websites. In addition, he is an accomplished guitarist and composer. Rob received his AB in English in 1986 and his MeD in Language Arts Education in 1988, both from the University of Georgia.

Amanda Staudt directs the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) and the Polar Research Board (PRB) at the National Research Council. Amanda leads strategic planning, guides project development, and provides institutional oversight for both boards. From 2007-2013, Amanda was a Senior Climate Scientist at the National Wildlife Federation. In this role, she focused on communicating climate science and impacts with key decision makers and the general public, developing the intellectual and practical foundation for climate-informed conservation, and advancing climate change science education. She served on the steering committee for Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, and was an editor of Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice, a 2014 guidance produced by an expert workgroup including representatives from government, nonprofits, and academia. Prior to her time at NWF, Amanda was a Senior Program Officer for BASC, where she directed the Climate Research Committee and a number of high-profile studies, including the fast-track review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan, and studies on weather research for surface transportation and radiative forcing effects on climate. She also spear-headed the development of the Academy's first booklet on climate change targeted to public audiences. Amanda received her B.A. cum laude in environmental science and engineering from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from Harvard University.