Danielle Jensen-Ryan

Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Awards 2018

Danielle Jensen-Ryan, a recent doctoral candidate in anthropology, is recognized for her innovative work in environmental policy. She asks fundamental but previously neglected questions about how policy decisions are made and where science might belong—if at all—in the hierarchy of influences. In her dissertation, she integrated two methods typically applied in isolation: a meta-synthesis of published case study data in Georgia to explore the formal features of a science-policy interface and ethnographic research to understand the informal factors shaping water policy. Her current work includes an ethnographic analysis of three case studies, allowing her to explore the internal dynamics of Georgia’s water-policy process. In another study, she found an outsized influence of informal factors on water-policy outcomes with decisions guided by social capital, established relationships and existing power relations. After her postdoc, she will serve as grants director with the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation to help fund health care programs in Wyoming.