Picture of Stephanie Pfirman

Stephanie Pfirman

Department Chair & Professor of Environmental Science

Barnard College

F21 Class of 1996

Stephanie Pfirman is Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 and Martin Hirschorn Professor and chair of the Barnard College, Columbia University, Department of Environmental Science. Throughout her career, Pfirman has been engaged in Arctic environmental research, undergraduate education, environmental policy strategies and public outreach. Current interests include understanding changes in Arctic sea ice, and development of women scientists and interdisciplinary scholars. A member of the National Academy of Science’s Polar Research Board, Pfirman is also president-elect of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors and co-PI of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Advancing Women in the Sciences initiative of the Columbia Earth Institute. The first chair of the NSF's Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education, Pfirman oversaw analysis of a 10 year outlook for environmental research and education at NSF. Pfirman also chaired NSF's Office Advisory Committee to the Office of Polar Programs. Prior to joining Barnard, Pfirman was a senior scientist at Environmental Defense where she worked with the American Museum of Natural History to develop the award-winning exhibition “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast.” She was also research scientist at the University of Kiel and GEOMAR, Germany; staff scientist for the US House of Representatives Committee on Science; and oceanographer with the US Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Pfirman received a Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering, and a BA in Geology from Colgate University.
Environmental Programs at Liberal Arts Colleges: Findings and Recommendations for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
To Thrive and Prosper
An essay on how “to thrive and prosper: hiring, supporting, and tenuring interdisciplinary scholars” outlines a set of principles addressing the several stages of a faculty career– from appointment on– that need attention if the community is to realize its objectives of fostering interdisciplinary research and learning. It outlines how to shape structures and incentives that reflect and nurture an interdisciplinary culture.