Advisory Group Bios

Kerry Donovan

Colorado State Senator

Kerry Donovan is a Colorado State Senator representing Senate District 5. She currently represents Chaffee, Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Lake and Pitkin counties. Kerry values informed decision-making that is respectful, attentive, and above all, representative. In the Capitol, Kerry tries to be a detail orientated legislator who will listen to anyone willing to sit down in the spirit of common ground. Kerry has worked for the Vail Valley Foundation and was director of the Minturn Community Fund – both non-profits focused on serving local communities. Before running for state office, she served on the Vail Town Council and was Director of Academics for the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

Benét Duncan

CIRES Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado Boulder

Benét Duncan is Managing Director at Western Water Assessment, and she is responsible for directing and managing the daily and long-term activities of the operations of WWA, setting strategic direction for the program in consultation with the PI team, and interfacing with sponsors and stakeholders. She also conducts research at the intersection of science and society, with a focus on sustained climate assessment and better connecting scientific information related to weather and climate with decision-makers. Prior to assuming the Managing Director role, Benét was Western Water Assessment’s Climate Assessment Specialist, one of a small network of scientists across the country working to advance sustained climate assessment. Prior to joining WWA, Benét worked at the science-policy interface with the California Ocean Science Trust. There, she collaborated with scientists, managers, and stakeholders to develop usable science around California’s coast and ocean, with a particular focus on marine protected areas and climate change. Prior to that, as a postdoctoral fellow in UCAR’s Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise (PACE) program, Benét led development of ocean climate change indicators for Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The project brought together over 50 researchers and managers, and it led to the first set of climate change indicators specifically developed for a national marine sanctuary. Benét received her MS and PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, and her BS in Atmospheric Science from the University of California Davis.

Lisbet Finseth

University of Colorado Denver, Anshutz

Lisbet Finseth is the Senior Manager of Advocacy for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, where she works on facilitating communication and collaboration between individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS), Colorado legislators, and the health care policy. Although currently in advocacy, Lisbet is a scientist who researched developmental myelination and signaling pathways impacting the progressions of MS for the last 7 years at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. In addition to her passion for science, she strived to build communication and collaboration between the science world and the legislative world. She was President of Project Bridge, a Colorado-based group that trained early-career Colorado scientists on science communication and policy, a leader within the National Science Policy Network which connected scientists from across the nation on science policy at the Federal level, and worked with the Federation of American Scientists to develop science advisory councils for members of congress. In Lisbet’s career, she continuously strives to combine her passion for science with the development of evidence-based policy.

Chelsea Nagy

CIRES Earth Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

Chelsea Nagy is a terrestrial ecologist with a PhD from Brown University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Chelsea’s background in interdisciplinary studies has guided her research interests to include measures of ecosystem structure and function as products of human-ecosystem interactions. One of Chelsea’s current research projects is looking at the combined effects of invasive grass species and altered fire regimes on carbon storage across U.S. ecosystems. Her dissertation examined the influence of land use and management practices on riparian forest structure and composition, secondary forest regrowth, and soil carbon storage in the Brazilian Amazon. Chelsea uses a combination of geospatial analysis, remote sensing, ecosystem modeling, and field studies in my research.

Dan Powers


Dan Powers is the Executive Director of CO-LABS, a consortium of more than 30 federal research laboratories & joint university institutes, and their ecosystem in Colorado of technology-oriented companies and economic development organizations. Nurturing an informed evolution of society is his mission; the spectrum of brilliant scientists and technologists in the CO-LABS network are a huge national asset he works to engage in crucial projects to benefit humanity. A University of Colorado-Boulder alum, he has 25 years’ experience in policy assessment and public engagement for government agencies and economic development organizations. He’s who Malcolm Gladwell would call a connector: Dan loves to find the “right people” from different professional and civic realms who should be introduced to each other. Since joining CO-LABS in 2016 he’s brought together thousands of people with an interest in scientific discovery and technology commercialization via lab tours, awards events, workshops, conference calls and other relevant gatherings. He now champions how taxpayer-funded scientific research is the taproot of innovation necessary for America’s national security and global leadership, and is always looking to create situations where people get to say “wow, I never thought of that before”.

Paty Romero-Lankao

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Paty Romero-Lankao joined NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center in 2018 as a senior research scientist in joint appointment with the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, where she is a research fellow. From a behavioral science perspective, she examines the interactions among people, mobility, the built environment, and energy systems, as well as their resilience to disruptive events. Previously, she worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where she examined crucial intersections between urbanization and risks associated with food, energy, and water systems along with related governance and the capacity of these systems to adapt to and mitigate climate risks. Throughout her career, she has played leadership roles in various interdisciplinary and international research projects, resulting in several research grants and some 120 peer-reviewed publications. She served as co-leading author in one of the working groups contributing to the Nobel Prize-winning Fourth Assessment Report published by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In addition to her international work for organizations such as the IPCC and Future Earth, she is a steering committee member of the U.S. Carbon Program and the Boulder County, Colorado-based BoCo Strong initiative.

Kirsten Schuchman

University of Colorado Office of Government Affairs

Kirsten Schuchman is CU Boulder’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Policy and Advocacy in the Office of Government and Community Engagement. In this role, she serves the campus and its leadership in its work to strategically develop, drive, analyze and coordinate regional, state and federal government policy, as well as state outreach efforts, in partnership with the CU system office of government relations and other external partners. She advises and helps members of the campus navigate the legislative process and political world, and provides leadership on cross-campus efforts to increase civic engagement. Prior to coming to CU Boulder, Schuchman was in the CU system Office of Government Relations, where she served as associate vice president and lobbyist to the state legislature on behalf of all of CU’s campuses. Earlier in her career, Schuchman worked in administration at the University of Michigan, where she received her master’s in higher education, and received a bachelors degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Virginia. Kirsten is a Colorado native who loves to spend time with her family and friends enjoying the outdoors and all that her great state has to offer.

Ray Scott

Colorado State Senator

Ray Scott is a republican member of the Colorado State Senate representing District 7 since January 2015. Senator Scott began his work career with Conoco as a terminal manager and later with Williams Energy in Colorado and New Mexico. At the State Capitol, Senator Scott works to reduce regulations that stifle growth, oppose new taxes on Colorado’s middle-class families, and fights to prioritize funding for safer roads and bridges in our state. He is a fierce supporter of fossil fuel development as these industries are the backbone of Mesa County and thousands of good paying jobs all over Western Colorado.

Heidi Steltzer

Biology and Environment & Sustainability at Fort Lewis College

Heidi Steltzer is a Professor of Environment and Sustainability at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, where she is the coordinator for the Environmental Science Degree Program. Heidi is a lead author for the chapter on High Mountain Areas in the 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and an advocate in AGU’s Voices for Science program launched in 2018 to promote communication about the value and impact of Earth and space science to decision makers, journalists, and public audiences. Heidi has spent 25 years conducting field studies on mountain and Arctic hill slopes in Colorado, Alaska, Greenland and recently China. Heidi earned her BS in Biology at Duke University. Her doctorate is in Ecosystem Ecology from University of Colorado at Boulder.

Suzanne Tegen

Center for New Energy Economy, Colorado State University

Suzanne Tegen is the Assistant Director at the Center for the New Energy Economy where she works for Colorado’s 41st governor, Bill Ritter, Jr. and helps host the Clean Energy Legislative Academy for state legislators. Prior to joining the Center, Tegen managed the Technology, Engineering and Deployment Group for wind and water power at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where she spent 14 years. She has authored technical reports on economic impacts from renewable energy projects and researches domestic clean energy workforce and the equitable transition from fossil energy to clean power. She has provided testimony for the State of Colorado and Colorado Energy Office, has participated in National Academy of Sciences research, and served as a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was awarded the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Mid-career Award. Her interests include local, domestic and global energy policy, climate change, environmental justice, and communicating science to decision-makers.

Kadida Thiero

Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) at UCAR

Kadidia Thiero leads and manages the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) Program and affiliated efforts. The SOARS program, based at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, CO; has been increasing the diversity of the atmospheric and related sciences for 23 years. This flagship Program is designed to support students from backgrounds, traditionally under-represented in the geosciences, to enter and succeed in graduate school and STEM careers. Prior to SOARS, Ms. Thiero served as Outreach Coordinator for the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS); a multi-institution Cooperative Science Center, led by Howard University. Ms. Thiero managed and supported all K-12 programs, and coordinated the undergraduate summer internship program (USIP); as well as NCAS’ national high school weather camp, CAREERS, in the summer. Prior to teaching at the University of the District of Columbia’s Community College, Ms. Thiero worked as the Community Liaison with The Education Trust. She managed the community work, and produced materials in English and Spanish for use as tools, in advocating for equity in secondary schools. Kadidia Thiero graduated from Howard University with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature; and received her MA in Latin American Studies from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Christine Wiedinmyer

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Christine Wiedinmyer is the Associate Director for Science for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, overseeing the science portfolio of CU Boulder’s largest research institute with a focus on managing CIRES research in service to NOAA, its primary partner. Her own research has focused on the emissions of trace gases and particles to the atmosphere and how these emissions impact atmospheric composition, air quality, and climate. She also investigates the effects of global change on these processes, such as how land cover and land use change alter the fluxes of trace gases to the atmosphere and how changes in technologies and behaviors alter emissions. To accomplish her research goals, Wiedinmyer integrates laboratory experiments, in-situ measurements, remote sensing observations, and a suite of modeling tools. Wiedinmyer developed the Fire INventory from NCAR (FINN), a high resolution global fire emissions model now used by local, regional, and global chemical modelers to better quantify the impacts of fire emissions on atmospheric composition, both in hindsight and forecast model applications. Wiedinmyer, who has published more than 125 peer-reviewed papers, earned Thomson Reuters “highly cited researcher” status in 2014. Wiedinmyer also helped found the Earth Science Women’s Network and now serves on the organization’s board.