Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California

Isabella O'Brien

Isabella O’Brien is a political science and public relations student with a concentration in environmental studies at the University of Southern California. She is the Ocean Youth Ambassador for the European NGO LemonSea. Her scientific research on the mitigation of ocean acidification as well as the remediation of lake calcium decline using the calcium carbonate from recycled waste seashells has won her national and international recognition and awards including the Google Science Fair, Canada Wide Science Fair, Top 25 Environmentalist under 25, Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leader and the Canadian Museum Nature Inspiration Award.

Listen to her interview with Nature Labs

Critical Thinking Questions

  • Should scientists stay in their lane: research a question and come up with answer, letting others debate and advocate? Or is that view antiquated?
  • Are some of the problems we face in society the by-product of the fact we have shackled our scientists?
  • Have we failed to allow those who understand the science the best advocate for the solutions they have determined?
  • Is the issue our interpretation of what a scientist should be? Or do we need more scientists-turned-advocates to be as transparent as Isabella?

More on Isabella

Read about her work: Aquatic Osteoporosis: Remediating the Emerging Problem of Lake Calcium Decline, Dundas teenager earns national award for environmental advocacy, Ocean Acidification Combatted by Canadian Google Science Fair Finalist

Watch videos about her research: 2018 Youth Nature Inspiration Award, Aquatic Osteoporosis - Remediating the emerging environmental problem of lake calcium decline, Ocean Acidification - Can shell recycling buffer the effects of Ocean Acidification?

Favourite BookBad Blood: the Secret and Lies of a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyro and Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg by Kate Evans

Favourite Documentary: Icarus (on Netflix)

Favourite Website: Environment | The Guardian