As part of FracTracker’s staff spotlight series, learn more about the newest member of the FracTracker team, Erica Jackson, and what she’ll be working on in the Pittsburgh tri-state region with us.
Time with FracTracker: Today is Erica’s fourth day
Education: University of Pittsburgh
Office Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Title: Community Outreach and Communications Specialist
What will you actually do in that role?
I’ll be working to share FracTracker’s resources with the public. This includes developing online content, providing tools and trainings for communities affected by fossil fuels, and partnering with other environmental organizations and researchers in the area. Much of my work will be on the community-scale, focusing on oil and gas development in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
I’m also here to assist with grant reporting, data analysis, mapping, and the many other activities that keep FracTracker running. Since today is my first day, I suspect I’ll have a better idea of these projects pretty soon!
Previous Position and Organization
Predoctoral Fellow in the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC), at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (Pittsburgh, PA)
How did you first get involved working on oil and gas issues / fracking?
I’ve always been interested in fossil fuel issues due to their connection with climate change, however it was not until I began researching their public health impacts that I was inspired to pursue opportunities to work in this field. Living in Pennsylvania where fracking occurs in backyards, it’s hard to ignore the risks oil and gas pose to the public, or the amount of activism and interest this topic generates. Working at CHEC was a great opportunity to familiarize myself with this issue and the data out there, as well as gain a better understanding of environmental health concerns. I’m always looking for ways to protect natural resources while also promoting healthy and sustainable communities, and working on oil and gas issues is a perfect way to do that.
What is one of the most impactful projects you are excited to be involved in with FracTracker?
I’m excited to partner with and support communities in the Ohio River Valley impacted by oil and gas. This region is at a critical point in its history, where the decisions being made now will shape the wellbeing and sustainability of the area over the next century. It’s challenging and contentious, but at a point where open data and clear communication of risks involved is vital – I’m looking forward to enhancing these efforts as a part of FracTracker.