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September 11, 2023

The USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers are thrilled to announce that Dr. Stephanie “Steph” McAfee will be the new Regional Administrator of the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. A state climatologist and longtime CASC collaborator, Steph brings years of research and climate extension expertise to the Regional Administrator position (formerly known as “Director”).

A woman with grey streaked hair and glasses stands in front of a tree-lined path
Photo of Stephanie McAfee.

Steph is joining the CASC network from the University of Nevada Reno, where she served as an Associate Professor and a State Climatologist for the Nevada State Climate Office. In these roles, she helped people across Nevada access quality climate data, including summarizing and disseminating information and serving as a point of contact for the public.  

Steph first encountered the CASCs in 2012, when she conducted postdoctoral research with the Alaska Climate Science Center (now known as the Alaska CASC). Since then, she has worked with the Alaska and Southwest CASCs on topics such as drought, wildfire, and stream flow.  

“Since my PhD, I've been working on climate issues across western North America, from the Southwest all the way up to Alaska,” Steph says. “The Southwest CASC is a really good fit for the kind of research and climate services experience I’ve had.” 

As a State Climatologist, Steph is an expert in matching people from all sectors, from urban planning to conservation, with the climate science they need. 

"It's about learning about what people need by listening more than talking,” she says. “Making sure that the science and the products reflect those needs.” 

In Nevada, many of the questions she gets revolve around drought and drylands. But Steph knows there is a whole world of climate adaptation questions to tackle in other ecosystems.  

“There are so many things that I'm looking forward to about the Regional Administrator position,” Steph says. “But I think one of the things that I'm most excited about in my new role is being able to engage on a broader variety of climate adaptation questions. Thinking about climate issues from the coasts to the high mountains to the dry Great Basin is really interesting.” 

In her free time, Steph enjoys hiking and knitting. She is currently trying to keep up with a surge of babies among friends and former graduate students and is working her way through a mountain of knit baby blankets and ponchos.

Map of the Southwest CASC showing consortium members
Map of the Southwest CASC region and consortium members. The SW CASC serves the states Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada. The SW CASC consortium includes the University of Arizona (Host), University of California-Davis, University of California-Los Angeles, Desert Research Institute (Nevada), Colorado State University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Utah State University.

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