Welcome to
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) brings together the science of the natural world with the science of human behavior and decision-making to find solutions to complex environmental problems. We convene science teams to work on broad issues of national and international relevance, such as water resources management, land management, agriculture, species protection, among other areas of study. By supporting interdisciplinary science teams and researchers with diverse skills, data, and perspectives, SESYNC seeks to lead in-depth research and scholarship that will inform decisions and accelerate scientific discovery. SESYNC is funded by an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation. Learn more about SESYNC.

Could Climate Change Keep Kids Out of School? A Q&A with Environmental Sociologist and Demographer, Heather Randell

November 1, 2016

SESYNC Postdoctoal Fellow, Heather Randell

Could Climate Change Keep Kids Out of School? A Q&A with Environmental Sociologist and Demographer Heather Randell



Education is seen as a key tool for building resilience to climate change in the developing world. But new research shows that climate change could also make it harder to keep kids in school and ensure they get the best out of their time in the classroom. 

Heather Randell, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) studies the relationships between environmental change, development, and human health and wellbeing. Her research focuses on the social processes underlying migration, the links between development and rural livelihoods, and the social and health impacts of environmental change. 

In the November issue of Global Environmental Change, Randell and co-author Clark Gray of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published the results of a study on how climate variability competes with schooling in Ethiopia and could lower adaptive capacity for generations. “Investments in education serve as an important pathway out of poverty,” they write, “yet reduced agricultural productivity due to droughts or temperature shocks may affect educational attainment if children receive poorer nutrition during early childhood, are required to participate in household income generation during schooling ages, or if households can no longer pay for school-related expenses.” 

SESYNC fellow Lisa Palmer talked with Randell about the study, why it’s important, and what comes next. The Wilson Center published an edited excerpt of their conversation on the New Security Beat blog

Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 

Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance


Addressing antimicrobial resistance:

Report says antimicrobial resistance threatens human and planetary health; authors call for United Nations to reframe action on antimicrobial resistance as the defense of a global common resource.


Subscribe to SESYNC RSS