Blog Archives

Plastics Technology Conference 2017 by Edgar Castro-Aguirre

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 | Author:

I would like to thank the Environmental Science and Policy Program for supporting my attendance to the Plastics Technology Conference ANTEC® 2017 in Anaheim, California from May 8th to 10th, 2017. At the conference, I presented my poster titled “Bioaugmentation with Geobacillus accelerates the biodegradation rate of poly(lactic acid) films under simulated compost conditions” which showed part of my Ph.D. research focusing on the biodegradation mechanisms and end-of-life scenarios of poly(lactic acid).

ANTEC® 2017 highlighted interdisciplinary efforts in the research, development, and commercialization of plastic materials from academic, industrial, and governmental representatives. At the conference, I had the opportunity to attend the biodegradable polymers and blends session as well as the Plasticity forum in which an interdisciplinary group of experts shared their experiences regarding plastic sustainability and inclusion in the circular economy. The experts discussed the current opportunities and challenges related to recycling, resource recovery, waste reduction, and environmental footprint of plastics.

Sharing experience and knowledge with landscape ecologists by Hongbo Yang

Friday, May 05th, 2017 | Author:

The Annual Symposium of the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) offers a great opportunity for landscape ecologists around the world to share their knowledge and experiences. I am truly grateful to receive the ESPP Travel Fund which afforded me to attend this symposium in April 2017, in Baltimore, MD.

Honggo Yang (Fisheries and Wildlife, ESPP) presents  his research in Baltimore.

Hongbo Yang (Fisheries and Wildlife, ESPP) presents his research in Baltimore.

At this symposium, I gave an oral presentation titled Post-disaster recovery of human well-being in biodiverse areas: drivers and implications. This talk focuses on my effort to evaluate livelihood adaptations after natural disaster in biodiverse area and quantify their effects on social and ecological recovery outcomes. This work is important because the number and impacts of natural disasters have been increasing globally, posing a great threat to biodiversity and human well-being in many areas around the world. With a better understanding among natural disasters, livelihood adaptations, and recovery outcomes, management agencies may be able to develop effective strategies to balance the demands of socioeconomic development and ecosystem conservation after natural disasters. This presentation was well-received as it generated meaningful questions, comments and discussions. In addition to this presentation, I also helped to organize a workshop in the conference. In the workshop, I assisted to introduce an award-wining framework and toolbox that participants can apply to their own socio-environmental research.

Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Multidisciplinary Fields by Yike Shen

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 | Author:

Thanks for the ESPP travel grant, I gave my first conference talk in Crystal City, Virginia on March 24, 2017 at American Society for Microbiology’s (ASM) Conference on Innovative Microbial Ecology for Mitigation of Antibiotic Resistance and Bacterial Diseases. American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society consisted of 48,000 scientists and health professionals. I presented our research on Distribution of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Surface and Overhead Irrigated Greenhouse Lettuce. Agricultural practices are one of the important aspects of mitigating antimicrobial resistance. It is important for us to understand emerging contaminants such as antibiotics, antibiotics resistance genes distribution in fresh produce we consume everyday. By understanding difference agricultural practices such as irrigation methods and reclaimed water quality, we can ameliorate the risks of our food being contaminated. This conference is new and multidisciplinary. I enjoyed wonderful talks and posters on food, agriculture, medicine, computer science strategies to mitigate antibiotic resistance. It was eye opening for me, and I learned a lot beyond my discipline on antimicrobial resistance. It was a beautiful time in Washington D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is in the same week. I get the chance to cycle around and see beautiful cherries. Fantastic conference.

International Society for Environmental Ethics by Zachary Piso

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 | Author:

Thank you to ESPP for making it possible for me to attend this year’s International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) sessions at the 2017 EasternAmerican Philosophy Association (APA) conference.This was my first time attending ISEE, and I found the community to create space for interdisciplinary explorations of environmental ethics, and to welcome topics of conversation that I’ve not engaged at other environmental ethics conferences. I was grouped on a panel titled “Identity, Community, and Ecological Democracy,” with a fellow graduate student Anthony Chackal speaking on the role of place in creating identity and well-known environmental ethics scholar Roger Gottlieb presenting from his new book on “The Possibilities of Ecological Democracy.” My own talk was on the ethics of using social science in environmental science, policy, and management, particularly its use in social-ecological systems science, in keeping with Berkes’ and Folke’s call for a social science for “people management.”

Zachary Piso

Zachary Piso

Genetic engineering, genetic modification or agricultural biotechnology, does the term matter? By Nagwan Zahry

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 | Author:

First of all, I’d like to thank ESPP for supporting my trip to the Society of Risk Analysis meeting. It was a great experience to present my study to many scholars who work in the field of risk communication. I also received valuable feedback and advice from scholars, scientists, and fellow graduate students. My presentation entitled “r?” examines whether framing novel technologies influence consumer behavior.


Nagwan Zahry, doctoral student in Advertising and Public Relations, presented her work at the Society of Risk Analysis Conference in San Francisco this winter.

Besides the presentation, the meeting was a great opportunity to meet professionals from academia, governmental organizations (FDA), and industry. This was a great platform for networking and exchange of information about job opportunities in academia and industry in addition to the pros and cons of each domain.

A shot in the arm by Zachary Curtis

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 | Author:

As they grind through semester after semester of ups and downs, even the most highly-motivated PhD students need a shot in the arm once in a while. This past December, I received mine by attending the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA – thanks in large part to the ESPP travel grant award. With over 24,000 attendees, AGU’s fall meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world, presenting research that includes everything from hydrology, to global environmental change, to even heliospheric physics. The atmosphere feels electric as you walk into any of the three enormous convention halls housing the event, and although networking with colleagues and presenting my research were the primary purposes of attending AGU 2016, simply skimming through the thousands of posters was very refreshing – and not to mention very informative, too!

Zach Curtis and Dr. Phani Mantha (MSU CEE) at the AGU fall meeting

Zach Curtis and Dr. Phani Mantha (MSU CEE) at the AGU fall meeting

Promoting exchange among scientists studying every aspect of aquatic sciences by Kateri Salk

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 | Author:

In March 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences Meeting. The biennial Aquatic Sciences Meeting is the largest of several meetings ASLO hosts, attracting several thousand scientists from around the world and across a wide range of freshwater and marine disciplines in biology, geology, chemistry, environmental science, and water resources policy. This year, the conference was held in Honolulu, Hawaii and was themed Mountains to the Sea, with the goal of promoting exchange among scientists studying every aspect of aquatic sciences. ASLO also emphasizes scientific stewardship that leads to the advancement of public awareness and management of global water-related issues. As an active participant in this meeting, I was able to relate my own disciplinary research in aquatic biogeochemistry to global interdisciplinary issues relating to society’s role in aquatic nutrient loading, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and the policy actions that can be taken to support water quality.

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Global hydrology and modeling at a national conference by Farshid Felfelani

Wednesday, March 01st, 2017 | Author:

Doctoral student Farshid Felfelani (Civil and Environmental Engineering) presented his work on global hydrology and modeling at the AGU 2016 meeting

My name is Farshid Felfelani. I am a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department working with Dr. Yadu Pokhrel as my advisor. I attended the ‘2016 AGU Meeting’ held in San Francisco, CA in December 12 thru 16. American Geophysical Union (AGU) is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders which makes it highly interdisciplinary. This meeting provides discussions of emerging trends and the latest research from across the globe. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published. As a PhD student, I have just started my 2nd year of the PhD program in the field of global hydrology in CEE Department. For PhD students like myself, attending the meeting itself was a tremendous opportunity not only to learn about new research directions in the field but also for networking with scholars around the world. This year’s meeting was even more beneficial to me because my paper was accepted for an oral presentation, which is not very common for early-stage PhD students. So, it was my honor to represent MSU in such important interdisciplinary meeting. By participating in this year AGU Meeting I reached the following goals:

AGU Meeting: An Entrance into a New World by Dustin Kincaid

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 | Author:

Every year in December, hoards of Earth and space scientists from every discipline imaginable migrate to San Francisco, California for the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). In December 2016, I joined approximately 24,000 other scientists and science professionals for my first AGU experience.

Dustin Kincaid is a PhD student in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Dustin Kincaid is a PhD student in the Department of Integrative Biology.

If you didn’t balk at the number of attendees I mentioned, then you come from a very different world than me. I normally attend the annual meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), a smaller gathering with a typical attendance of less than 1,000 individuals. The annual SFS meeting is familial, supportive, and focused on disciplines within my field of freshwater ecology. I know, or am one or two degrees of separation from, almost everyone at the meeting. And I leave the meeting feeling reconnected with good friends and colleagues and reinvigorated to do good science.

Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance by Cheng-Hua Liu

Friday, January 13th, 2017 | Author:

I would like to express my appreciation to Environment Science & Policy Program (ESPP) for supporting me to attend the 2016 ASA, CSSA & SSSA International Annual Meetings on November 6-9 in Phoenix, Arizona. To receive the ESPP Conference Travel funding is a great honor, and I am deeply thankful to the selection committee for choosing me.


Cheng-Hua Liu, (Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences/ESPP) attended the 2016 ASA, CSSA & SSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

The ASA, CSSA & SSSA International Annual Meeting is a well-organized interdisciplinary scientific conference, which offers an excellent opportunity for scientists from agronomy, crop science, soil science, and related disciplines to present their discoveries and learn about the latest research. The theme of this year, “Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance,” focuses on how people can optimize ecosystem and agricultural system resilience across local and global scales to overcome the extreme environmental conditions.