Caroline Nickerson (she/her)Executive Director, Florida Community Innovation; Advisor, SciStarter; PhD Student, University of Florida
- CEE-Change Fellow
Caroline champions citizen science, public service, and civic technology to people of all ages, all around the world, through educational, nonprofit, and academic efforts.
Caroline (she/her) is the executive director and co-founder of Florida Community Innovation (FCI). FCI serves Floridians by empowering the next generation with the skills to build high-quality tech and media products that move the needle on access to services and social issues. Part of her vision with the program was to empower computer science and public affairs majors, many of them first-generation college students who might not normally have access to professional opportunities like this. Their flagship project is the Florida Community Resource Map, which will connect Floridians to food banks, job resources, and more. Another project is GoBituary, which is a historical education tool—an app and related programs—that they're creating based in the Miami City Cemetery.
For her PhD at University of Florida (UF), she focuses on studying public engagement in climate mitigation. She’s currently planning synchronous, online, livestreamed programs for people across Florida about what members of the public can do to mitigate climate change, and is running these programs in partnership with UF/IFAS Extension. She’s also working with UF on public engagement research about a certification for pollinator-friendly plants sold in retail stores like Home Depot and Lowe's (to let consumers know if plants are **actually** pollinator friendly); on community engagement work for an AI project with the NSF related to precision agriculture (working to make agriculture is more environmentally sustainable, by leveraging the best AI tech and drones); and on a project related to international students' experiences with food insecurity (a lack of access to healthy/sufficient food).
Caroline also works with SciStarter, running programs to connect people from all around the world to real science they can do through citizen science—usually having everyday citizens collect or analyze data for health, environmental, and astronomy projects. She has worked on SciStarter's youth programs with the Girl Scouts and Broward County Schools, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs (including with Verizon), with libraries across the country including the Los Angeles Public Library, with SciStarter’s Syndicated Blog Network (which encompasses the Discover Magazine platform), as well as on large-scale programs with multiple federal agencies (including NASA, NOAA, and the National Library of Medicine) and global groups (including the United Nations Environment Programme).
Some fun facts: Caroline majored in Chinese as an undergrad, both her parents are statisticians, and she used to do friendship programs/pageants! She was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida and the grand prize scholarship winner at Miss Earth USA 2021 as Miss Louisiana Earth.
About Caroline’s Community Action Project (CAP)
Caroline is currently planning synchronous, online, livestreamed programs for people across Florida about what members of the public can do to mitigate climate change, and is running these programs in partnership with UF/IFAS Extension. She wants people watching these programs to walk away with an understanding of how they can mitigate climate change and make their community more resilient to climate change and other environmental problems. She’ll be testing these calls to action at the county level.