Jordan Kern, is an Assistant Professor in the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program on Global Environmental Change and Human Wellbeing in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. His group studies dynamic natural-human systems in order to: (1) improve understanding of new risks to people and the environment across sectors (e.g., food-energy-water) and scales (e.g., from individual watersheds to the entire U.S.); and (2) develop novel approaches for mitigating these vulnerabilities. His research is broadly focused and highly interdisciplinary, bridging energy systems and water resource systems analysis, environmental science, and finance/economics. Using computational modeling, operations research, and a wide range of analytical and statistical tools, his group builds ‘systems’ level models that can provide assessments of physical, environmental and financial risk to decision makers, and help inform the design of optimal management and capital investment strategies.
Much of Kern’s work is ultimately aimed at supporting real-world decision-making regarding management of/ investment in natural resources and critical infrastructure, and he frequently interact with and collaborate with real stakeholders (e.g,. electric power utilities, water managers). He aims to provide students with modeling and analytical skills and sector-specific knowledge– as well as a professional network spanning academia, government, and the private sector– that they can leverage to pursue a range of post-graduate employment opportunities.
He is a co-investigator on multiple NSF Innovations and the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) and Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems (CNH2) projects, and is is a co-investigator on a DOE-funded project on Integrated Multisector, Multiscale Modeling (IM3), as well as other DOE-funded projects addressing sustainable design of critical energy infrastructure. As a veteran of several large, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary research projects, Kern is enthusiastic about supporting the convergence research vision of STEPS and looks forward to applying new tools and conceptualizations towards the STEPS 25-in-25 mission.
Kern earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He holds a MS and PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering, also from UNC. After completing his PhD, Kern worked as a research assistant professor at UNC’s Institute for the Environment, before being hired at NC State in 2018 as a member of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Global Environmental Change, a team of scientists who focus on understanding, confronting and overcoming the challenges that global environmental change will pose for human well-being, and which provides leadership to bridge research programs across NC State’s colleges that increase the visibility of NC State in the field of global environmental change.