“We’re having a 50 year anniversary of the moon landing in the U.S. this year, in which the technologies used to achieve that are still not largely available, and have still not transformed the energy systems in the U.S., and that’s an interesting paradox to look at.”
Valerie Olson researches contemporary sociocultural processes that remake what counts as environments. Her current projects focus on how social groups use the system concept to perceive, organize, and control spatial relations, particularly on large scales. This focus allows her to follow the ways people relate to sites, things, and processes they do not experience directly and which are categorized as outlying or beyond human. She serves on UCI interdisciplinary research teams and campus initiatives such as Water UCI, the Salton Sea Initiative, the UCI OCEANS Initiative, and the UCI Community Resilience program.