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CiteMe: Smart Science at your Fingertips

The 10th annual GPPN Conference, hosted by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, featured students' solution oriented ideas and prototypes to address public policy challenges identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To participate, each GPPN member school carefully selected up to five student teams to present their projects and compete for the GPPN prize. The result: 32 teams from around the world met in Paris to showcase their ideas on how to solve some of the most pressing global challenges of today.


Our natural environment cannot be preserved and protected solely by the few people in charge of doing so: it will take all of us, in all parts of the world. We all need to find ways to help, and all stakeholders need to be engaged in the stewardship process. CiteMe is a mobile application that provides non-experts with the tools they need to engage in data collection activities that contribute to ongoing citizen science initiatives. CiteMe’s purpose is to save financial resources and leverage human ones by creating collaborations between these stakeholders - citizen scientists – and empowering land management agencies, regional communities and governments, private landowners, cities and metro areas, tourism operators, tourists, boy and girl scouts, seniors, children, student organizations, and other visitor groups. The CiteMe platform educates its user base about the natural world while ensuring that citizen-generated data are reviewed by experienced peers or users and thus are screened and validated so that useful data can be delivered to research organizations in a consistent, unified, and actionable format. Finally, CiteMe’s overarching goal is to bring the scientific process out of its ivory tower by presenting scientific research in simple terms. CiteMe reconnects citizens with their environments through a challenging, fun, and rewarding process that clearly identifies local problems and allows participants to see the results of their contributions.

Meet the team

Alexei Gittelson is a fluent French and Russian speaker, agricultural economist, international affairs specialist, and Fulbright Scholar. He spent three years in Russia and Eastern Europe researching the socioeconomic and political drivers of crop residue burning as an agricultural land management technique. Mr. Gittelson has also worked for the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and volunteered to research alternatives to deforestation in Ecuador. He is now pursuing a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University, from which he will graduate in 2017. In his spare time, Mr. Gittelson is developing documentary on rock-and-roll culture during the Soviet Union.

Johnathon A. de Villier is a published biologist whose research focuses on the physiological dynamics of host-parasite relationships in confers. Mr. de Villier graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Classical Studies and later worked as a field and laboratory research assistant for the United States Forest Service, where he studied the long-term impacts of fires and bark beetle infestations on forests across the western United States. Mr. de Villier will graduate with a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University in 2017.

Interested in learning more about the GPPN programs and degrees? Find out here!


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