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Blazing a Trail: A Journalist’s Journey to Follow as Dr. Sierra (Weigman) Brown Speaks on the Intersection of Cosmic Research and Indigenous Environmental Policy

Dr. Sierra (Weigman) Brown, a former student of the State University of New York at Fredonia, is set to deliver a talk titled “From Planetary Geochemistry to Indigenous Environmental Policy: Charting Career Paths Across the Cosmos with Code” on Friday, April 5. The event will take place at noon in Houghton Hall Room 025 and is open to all who wish to attend.

Dr. Brown is currently employed as a Staff Scientist and Research Software Engineer at Million Concepts, LLC. She received her B.S. in Geophysics and Geochemistry from SUNY Fredonia in 2016, followed by M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences from Brown University in 2018 and 2022 respectively. During her graduate studies, she focused on remote sensing and geochemical modeling of the Martian surface.

Dr. Brown has been involved in scientific and technical work for various NASA missions, including Curiosity, Perseverance, and VIPER. As the lead developer of the Planetary Data Reader tool, she has made it easy for scientists to access NASA data with just one command. Additionally, she has contributed significantly to various other top-tier planetary science software libraries.

As an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Nation, Dr. Brown incorporates the practice of “Two-Eyed Seeing” into her work to offer a unique perspective that integrates indigenous and western knowledge systems.

Recently, she has been more actively integrating her native heritage into her work and is currently leading a NASA Transform to Open Science Training grant project called “Knowing the Sky: Building Open Science Skills through Native Knowledge Practices.” Dr. Brown was honored with the NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize for her efforts in supporting underrepresented groups in space technology development.

In future work plans, Dr

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