Kirsten Schwarz, associate professor of urban planning, has been named a program director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology. In the new role, she will help select which research projects are supported by the foundation’s $8.8 billion budget. Schwarz, one of only three scientists selected by the NSF’s environmental biology division from a nationwide pool of applicants, “has already made significant contributions to the program through her scientific expertise in urban ecology,” said Kendra McLauchlan, the program’s director. Schwarz’s scholarship at UCLA focuses on environmental hazards and amenities in cities, ranging from lead contamination in soil to how shade can improve health by reducing the extreme effects of heat. Her new responsibilities include interacting with potential principal investigators, forming and facilitating merit review panels, and recommending funding decisions. “I’m grateful for the support that NSF has provided to my career, and I’m especially looking forward to connecting new researchers with the programs that can support and expand their work,” Schwarz said. “Most of all, I’m looking forward to learning from new colleagues and playing a small part in supporting great science with the broadest possible impacts.” Schwarz has a joint appointment in the environmental health sciences department of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and is a faculty affiliate at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. She has taught at UCLA since 2020.