Author Archive

Hot times in Tucson with Tony Van Witsen

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Author:

Tony Van Witsen, PhD student in Journalism and ESPP

ESPP student Tony Van Witsen traveled to beautiful (but hot) Tucson Arizona in June to present his research at the annual conference of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.  Tony is interested in the intersection of media messages and environmental issues, particularly how media messages about science affect what we think of as controversial or not.  His analysis of newspaper stories about a water controversy in Oklahoma showed conclusively that water users in two different media markets were receiving measurably different messages about the dispute, which may have had the effect of shaping their attitudes in different directions.  When he wasn’t conferencing, Tony fed his appetite for running with early morning jogs across the beautiful University of Arizona campus, with the sun just peeking over the foothills.

ESPP student wins outstanding presentation award

Thursday, September 07th, 2017 | Author:

Thanks to the support from ESPP I was able to attend the ASABE Annual International Meeting in Spokane, Washington from July 16-19, 2017. I did an oral presentation based on my research titled: “Climate Change Impacts Analysis of Grazing Dairy Production”. This study identifies the most resilient pasture composition for a representative grazing dairy farm in Michigan to reduce the impacts of climate change on production while improving farm economics. The attendees were very interested in my work and I was able to do a lot of networking for my future academic career. Furthermore, the meeting had very relevant topics for my research and I was able to learn a lot from different researchers and experiences. In addition, I won the award for Outstanding Natural Resources and Environmental Systems (NRES) Oral Presentation, in which I competed with more than 90 graduate students from all around the world. Thank you very much ESPP for you student travel grant support!

Deep dish pizza, jazz music, and architecture! Dipti Kamath reports back on Chicago

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 | Author:

Dipti Kamath (Civil and Environmental Engineering & ESPP)

Deep dish pizza, jazz music, and architecture!  Yes, Chicago is the place I am talking about, as Chicago was where I went to the last week of June. The Windy City was hosting the 2017 joint conference of the International Society of Industrial Ecology and the International Symposium on Sustainable Science and Technology.

ESPP student Lin Liu selected to speak at the International Agriculture and Rural Development conference

Monday, June 19th, 2017 | Author:

I was selected to attend the 53rd Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development annual conference through the Future Leaders Forum scholarship program. The conference was held in Washington D.C. in June 3-8, 2017. During my trip to D.C., I gave a talk on spatial evaluation of maize yield across Malawi. Thanks to the conference, I had opportunities to hear various perspectives from leading research institutes, organizations and private companies on securing food and eliminating poverty for the global community. In addition, I was able to interact with the other eleven fellows who also attended the conference. I would like to thank the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP) at Michigan State University for partial funding to support my trip to Washington D.C.. I also would like to thank ESPP for offering training on interdisciplinary collaboration and public communication.


Learning lessons in human-wildlife interactions through a tigress by Brad Peter

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 | Author:

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) hosts one of the largest gatherings of geographers in the world. This year’s conference was held in Boston, Massachusetts, home of Paul Revere, Dr. Seuss, and some rather boisterous tea parties. The event is always exciting, bringing together geographers from myriad perspectives to interact and share their work. I happen to be somewhat of a traditional geographer, one that loves to make maps and transform data into scientific knowledge, but the breadth of the discipline spans the research gamut. Each time I attend I learn of new ways geographic principles are being applied. This year, I learned a bit about human-wildlife interactions through the story of a community-revered tigress named Machali at Ranthambore National Park in India, a bit about remote sensing and terraforming Mars, and a lot about cartographic design and information visualization. The versatility of the geographer’s craft is never mundane.

Looking ahead to a world of climate smart agriculture by Jelili Adebiyi

Monday, June 12th, 2017 | Author:

The ESPP provided me with a part funding to support my participation at the 57th annual conference of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Develop (AIARD). The AIARD consists of U.S. and internationally-based members who have devoted their careers to global agricultural development and hunger alleviation. The 57th annual conference of the AIARD was focused on the theme, “Looking Ahead: A World of Climate Smart Agriculture”. The conference attracted stakeholders from the Congress, universities, private sectors and international development organizations such as the DAO, FAO, World Bank, and IFPRI. There were also international participants, including from the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development AWARD and ICRISAT.

Jelili Adebiyi presents his research at the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development

Jelili Adebiyi paneled a session along with Kimberly Flowers, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Moderator), Marty Matlock, University of Arkansas, Vara Prassad, USAID Innovation Lab, Muhammad Ibrahim, and CATIE, Mark Rosegrant, IFPRI.

ESPP student elected to Board of Directors of AIARD

Monday, June 12th, 2017 | Author:

ESPP would like to congratulate Jelili (Gana) Adebiyi on his election to the Board of Directors of the Association for the International Agriculture and Rural Development, an association devoted to global agricultural development and hunger alleviation. Jelili, a doctoral student in Community Sustainability and Environmental Science and Policy, was elected to the board during their conference in Washington, D.C.

Jelili Adebiyi (ESPP and Community Sustainability)

Jelili Adebiyi (ESPP and Community Sustainability)

“This has presented with the opportunity to enhance my professional and managerial skills. During my membership of the board, I will work with fellow FLFers to initiate practical programs that will revolve around addressing a major agri-food issue in a developing country. Overall, the conference provided me the opportunity to network and to learn from senior colleagues in the field of international agriculture and rural development,” Jelili said.

Dam sanitation issues in the Amazon by Cristina Gauthier

Monday, June 12th, 2017 | Author:
Cristina Gauthier  is a student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences

Cristina Gauthier is a student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences

As a PhD student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences with a strong background in Environmental Engineering, my research focuses on the environmental and social impacts of dams in the Brazilian Amazon.

Hydroelectric power accounts for 65.2 percent of the total domestic electricity generated in Brazil.  This has led to heavy investments in hydroelectric development within the Amazon Basin, which holds 42.2 percent of Brazil´s hydroelectric potential. The most recent and largest hydroelectric project in the region is the Belo Monte dam, third largest hydroelectric dam in the world. The prevalence of septic systems in the Amazon region, coupled with the widespread use of water wells, and a rising water table from the dam construction which blocks water flow, has created sanitation and health concerns for communities upstream of the dam. These sanitation issues are expected to reoccur in Amazon communities facing future dam construction projects.

Honolulu – a fitting place to present research on seabirds by Kaycee Morra

Tuesday, June 06th, 2017 | Author:

Mahalo to ESPP for granting me a travel award that facilitated my participation in the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) 2017 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii! I finished the analyses required for my dissertation mere weeks before the meeting began, making ASLO my first opportunity to give a talk—“Persistent Foraging Segregation Between Closely-spaced Seabird Populations”—that predominantly featured my own data. This was a significant achievement after four years of persistent effort in the lab, refining challenging techniques.

ASLO 2017 was held in the beautiful Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. By Kaycee Morra

ASLO 2017 was held in the beautiful Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. By Kaycee Morra

Does irrigated agriculture increase malaria? By April Frake

Monday, June 05th, 2017 | Author:

Are efforts to mitigate food insecurity increasing malaria vulnerability? Irrigation systems are expanding across Africa to improve food insecurity, particularly given changing climate. While research has demonstrated a 2-4-fold boost in crop productivity, the transformation of the landscape for irrigated agriculture is associated with increasing malaria vulnerability for those living within close proximity to irrigated agricultural schemes. The research I am undertaking serves as a critical examination of the dynamic changes in irrigated agriculture on malaria vulnerability across Malawi.


April Frake is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences. She researchers medical geography, infectious disease transmission in Africa.