Many people are working remotely in the mid-valley, including someone in Corvallis who is helping President Joe Biden make decisions on climate and the environment as a member of his administration.

Jane Lubchenco, a distinguished professor at Oregon State University with a long list of professional accomplishments, added another big item when she became the first deputy director for climate and environment in U.S. history on March 19.

“I am thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to work for a president who values science and is focused squarely on tackling COVID and climate change, accelerating economic recovery and paying special attention to environmental justice,” Lubchenco said.

While Lubchenco, who served as undersecretary of commerce and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Obama administration, said she was excited about the appointment, she knows she’s getting started during a busy time.

“There are so many crises that are affecting working families, and there are multiple opportunities to solve more than one crisis at once,” Lubchenco said.

When asked about pressing issues and goals, she cited some examples that hit close to Corvallis.

“The climate crisis affects our lives in so many ways like the extreme weather like we’ve seen here in Corvallis,” Lubchenco said. “Our recent ice storm or the wildfires that displaced so many Oregonians and gave us the worst air pollution in the world. The climate also affects not only our health and our well-being, but the economy.”

Lubchenco had a hand in the formation of the TRACE program at OSU, a groundbreaking initiative measuring community prevalence of COVID-19 in various locales throughout Oregon by administering COVID-19 tests and monitoring wastewater.

As much as a university news release about Lubchenco being “on loan” to the Biden administration acknowledged her prominence at OSU and within the scienctific community at large, the announcement from the White House heralded her arrival in the newly created role.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with Dr. Lubchenco to work toward an equitable future that is prosperous and sustainable for all,” Alondra Nelson, White House deputy director for science and society, said in the government news release.

Article was originally published by the Corvallis Gazette-Times.