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Jelili Adebiyi

Jelili Adebiyi
Department: Community Sustainability
adebiyij@msu.edu

Biosketch: Adebiyi Jelili Adegboyegba, otherwise known as Gana, is an international student and world citizen from Nigeria. Educated on three continents (Africa, Asia, and North America), Gana has earned a National Diploma in Agricultural Engineering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Nigeria. He also obtained an M.A, in History and Civilization from a renowned university in Malaysia. Gana also completed dual master’s degrees in Community and Regional Planning and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Presently, Gana is a third-year PhD Candidate in Community Sustainability, a rare and unique interdisciplinary program at Michigan State University that allows him to design self-suited program of study. Gana also doubles as ESPP and Mott Fellows and is associated with four graduate specialization certification programs. These are Environmental Science Policy Program, Gender, Justice, and the Environment, International Development, and Ecological Food and Farming Systems. Gana’s research interests include system dynamics, ecological farming systems, organic agriculture and food security in Africa, alternative development strategies, sustainable planning and smart growth, as well as social justice. Gana’s scholarship draws on qualitative and quantitative approaches. He loves reading, playing football, community development service, and is passionate discussing the path to re-working the narrative of Africa as a developed continent.

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Christina Azodi

Christina Azodi
Department: Plant Biology
azodichr@msu.edu

Biosketch: I have long been fascinated by the complexity and elegance of plants at the molecular level, but it was my concern for the issue of sustainably feeding a growing population that inspired me to pursue a doctorate in Plant Biology at MSU. The philosopher and politician Roberto Unger once wrote, “The greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different.” When it comes to sustainable food production,clarity and imagination come when scientists, farmers, engineers, consumers, industries, and policy makers all work together. The ESP Specialization will help prepare me to engage with such an interdisciplinary group. My research interests are in nutritional quality of crop plants and how they respond to stresses caused by climate change such as drought, increased pest populations, heat waves, and less predictable weather patterns. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, received my BA in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a minor in Environmental Science from Middlebury College in Vermont, and worked as a research assistant at The Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Science in Ithaca New York for two years.

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Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell Rizzolo
Department: Sociology
belljes2@msu.edu

Biosketch: am a Ph.D. Student in Sociology with specializations in Animal Studies, Environmental Science and Policy, and Conservation Criminology. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Northwestern University. My current research areas include trans-species psychology, discursive representations of wildlife, the sociopolitical dynamics of conservation initiatives, wildlife tourism, and the illegal wildlife trade. I'm particularly interested in the detrimental impacts (on both the environment and on individual animals) of the trade in wildlife "products" such as bear bile, ivory, and tiger parts. I hope to understand how cultural perceptions and consumption patterns can be changed to be more wildlife-friendly. I care deeply about finding solutions to environmental problems, such as wildlife poaching, that respect the rights and wellbeing of individual animals. In addition, I am currently the Director of the Asian Elephant Program at the Kerulos Center (www.kerulos.org), where I conduct research, training, and outreach on cultural attitudes towards elephants and psychological indicators of elephant trauma and health in wild and captive settings across Asia. Through my academic research and my work at the Kerulos Center, I seek to integrate an understanding of wildlife psychology into the conceptualization and practice of conservation.

More on Jessica Bell »

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Elise Breshears

Elise Breshears
Department: Economics
breshea2@msu.edu

Biosketch: Elise is focusing on environmental economics and econometrics. Her primary area of interest is the economics of energy efficiency and forestry management. She has masters and bachelors degrees in economics from Portland State University.

 

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Dylan Brewer

Dylan Brewer
Department: Economics
brewerdy@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a first year PhD student in the Economics department. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia with double majors in Economics and Foreign Affairs and a minor in Math. My research interests lie in the intersection of property rights economics and environmental externalities. Applying market tools to the environment can have impressive results in affecting positive environmental stewardship. I am interested in studying property institutions that allow individuals to turn environmental quality into an asset. When it is profitable to take care of the earth, people tend to come up with great ways to do so. In the past, I have contributed to research projects studying private conservation easements and city-grid land demarcation.

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Jessica Brunacini

Jessica Brunacini
Department: Community Sustainability
brunaci1@msu.edu

Biosketch: Jessica's area of interest is climate change adaptation in indigenous communities. She is currently studying under Dr. Kyle Whyte. She received a masters degree in environmental conservation education from New York University and a bachelors degree in studio arts from University of New Mexico.

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Alaina Bur

Alaina Bur
Department: Sociology
buralain@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a PhD student in the sociology department. I am interested in the question of how African communities can acquire, secure, and collectively manage clean water resources in the coming years. This question will become increasingly important as the continent is anticipated to double its population in the coming decades. Previously, I received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with minors in African studies, French, and International Relations. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I performed monitoring and evaluation research for a local NGO’s borehole-drilling initiative in rural Kenya, specifically evaluating the effects of a community borehole installation on women’s health perceptions, productivity, and subjective well-being.  More recently, I have studied the efficacy of the borehole committees that are responsible for the long-term management of these boreholes. I hope to continue my research on sustainable collective management of water resources in Africa as I pursue my PhD in sociology at MSU.

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Edgar Castro

Edgar Castro Aguirre
Department: Packaging
castroag@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a Ph. D. student at the School of Packaging (SoP) working in Dr. Auras research group. I studied Electromechanical Engineering in my home country, Mexico, and later I received my M.S. in Packaging at the SoP. During my Masters studies, I designed and constructed a system to assess the aerobic biodegradation of polymers under composting conditions. I am currently working on a multidisciplinary research project that seeks to understand if the addition of nanoparticles to biodegradable polymers affects their biodegradation rate and overall biodegradability, and if the presence of nanoparticles in the material affects the microbial population present in the compost environment. My interest in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program emerged because I consider vital to translate scientific research findings into solutions for the contemporary environmental issues and actions that benefit both the society and the planet.

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Meghan Charters

Meghan Charters
Department: Sociology
charter2@msu.edu

Biosketch:

Research Areas: Environmental Sociology, Animal Studies, Human-Wildlife Conflict, Risk Theory, Risk Perception & Communication, Conservation, Sustainability, Climate Change and Social Media Studies
Selected Publications:

Whitley, C., Gunderson, R., and Charters, M. (forthcoming). Public Receptiveness to Policies Promoting Plant-Based Diets: Social Psychological and Structural Influences. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning.

McCright, A. M., Charters, M., Dentzman, K. and Dietz, T. (2015). Examining the Effectiveness of Climate Change Frames in the Face of a Climate Change Denial Counter-Frame. Topics in Cognitive Science. doi: 10.1111/tops.12171

McCright, A. M., Dentzman, K., Charters, M., & Dietz, T. (2013). The Influence of Political Ideology On Trust in Science. Environmental Research Letters, 8(4), 044029

Curriculum Vitae: Download

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Noleen Chikowore

Noleen Chikowore
Department: Community Sustainability
chikowo1@msu.edu

Biosketch: I have enrolled for a PhD in Community Sustainability as a Fulbright Scholar from Zimbabwe. Due to rapid population growth, urbanisation and an increase in consumerism of packed goods, the amount of non-biodegradable waste has increased over time. This is not only in Zimbabwe but Sub Saharan Africa as whole. Hence communities are the focal point to establish and achieve environmental sustainability. My graduate research is to understand community dynamics (values, perceptions and attitudes) as a mediator that can encourage or discourage pro environmental behaviour in managing household waste. This will influence sustainable waste management environmental policies. My other areas of research interests focus on environmental justice, environmental psychology, urban communities’ resilience and adaptation to climate change and how these influence environmental sustainability of urban communities in Zimbabwe. I completed my Master of Arts in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Zimbabwe and a Bachelor of Arts Dual Honours in Geography and Literature in English from the Catholic University of Zimbabwe (CUZ).I have taught undergraduate Geography courses at CUZ .After my graduate studies I intend to re- join the academia and promote environmental policy and planning research that enable communities realize their potential in influencing environmental sustainability. The exposure to different specialization to the ESPP is an excellent opportunity to explore how best a multidisciplinary approach can influence environmental policy and planning.

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Sinchan Roy Chowdhury

Sinchan Roy Chowdhury
Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
roycho12@msu.edu

Biosketch:Sinchan joined Dr. Jay Zarnetske's Watershed Science and Hydroecology lab as a PhD student in August 2016. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Bengal Engineering and Science University. He also completed his master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering and Management from the Indian Institute of Technology at Guwahati in Spring 2016. He is working on the Hyporheic Microzones project.

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Min Gon Chung

Min Gon Chung
Department: Fisheries and Wildlife
chungm13@msu.edu

Biosketch: My area of interest is interdisciplinary studies between ecology, statistics, socioeconomics, and geography to integrate multiple disciplines and techniques. I am particularly intrigued by studying the interactions between ecosystem services, human well-being, and their linkages in Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS) I am especially interested in continuing my research in mapping and valuing ecosystem services with a modern spatial analysis method, and in bridging together socioeconomic data with ecological models by using statistical models. I would like to suggest scientific guidelines for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Zach Curtis

Zachary Curtis
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
curtisza@msu.edu

Biosketch:There’s a quote by Albert Einstein that reads, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Zach brings this worldview to his current pursuit of a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Michigan State University. His goal: Help communities develop and better understand water resource sustainability — at  a time when water resources are threatened and under growing duress locally, nationally and abroad. Zach, a native of mid-Michigan, will utilize groundwater and watershed modeling for his PhD research of a water resource hazard in “his own back yard”—brine upwelling into lowland and coastal areas of Michigan. Zach’s love for science has taken him from point A to pursing a PhD. Everything in between(i.e., a BS degree in Astrophysics; summer research in Boulder, Colorado; brief graduate studies at Boston University and a MS degree from MSU in Environmental Engineering) has prepared him for the next step in his academic career. In addition to his research, Zach has served as a Teaching Assistant for the CoRe Engineering program in the College of Engineering and enjoys serving as a boys’ and girls’ soccer coach at a local high school.  Hiking/camping, live music and live sports, and photography are just a few of his personal interests.  

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Riva Denny

Riva Denny
Department: Sociology
rchdenny@msu.edu

Biosketch: Riva is ABD in the Department of Sociology where she is writing her dissertation on nutrient management decisions in US agriculture. In addition to the ESPP specialization, she is also in the Ecological Food and Farming Systems (EFFS) specialization. A native of Athens, GA she came to MSU by way of Massachusetts, Arkansas and Alabama. She attended Boston University as an undergrad, majoring in cultural anthropology, then spent a year and a half volunteering with Heifer International at their learning center at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR where she facilitated experiential education programs on poverty and hunger and was able to experience sustainable agricultural practices first hand. From there she went to Auburn University in Auburn, AL, completing her master's degree in rural sociology in 2012. She wrote her master's thesis on the differences between red meat inspection regulations at the state and federal levels and the implications that these differences have for small slaughterhouses and local meat production and distribution systems. In her free time Riva enjoys gardening and going on walks with her dog.

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Ida Djenontin

Ida Djenontin
Department: Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences
djenonti@msu.edu

Biosketch: Ida Nadia Djenontin is a Benin Republic citizen and a first-year PhD student in Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. She holds a Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) degree -with track in Natural Resources and Governance- from the University of Arizona. Prior to that, she obtained a master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences (with Rural Economy and Sociology as Major) from her home country. She has a cumulative 7 years of research and development experience. Ida’s work focuses on Agricultural and Natural Resources Management, especially natural resource-based livelihoods development and natural resource governance aspects. As such, her past researches included, inter alia, analyses of the use of trees and forests ecosystems services to adapt to climate change in the Sahel West Africa. She also worked in a research team to analyze the REDD+ policies arena in Burkina Faso, from a Global Comparative Study Program on Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and forests Degradation. Recently, she gets involved in research activities on Sustainable Land Management and the related issues of land rights and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa; on the understanding of how local governance can play with climate change adaptation in developing countries (Mali); and on the paradigm of Coproduction of Knowledge to increase the usability of Climate Science worldwide. Building on that research diversity and professional background, Ida’s current research interests lie at the intersection of development and environmental management, specifically natural resource management and governance in Sub-Saharan Africa. She will streamline her PhD research toward understanding, from different and combined perspectives, how agricultural and forested lands –viewed under a landscape lens- can be sustainably restored and managed in order to contribute to the triple goal of protecting biodiversity, addressing climate change, and achieving food security. To attain that, she aims at learning and applying the adequate theories and methods to understand the physical, human, and political dynamics associated with the governance of such landscapes toward fostering sustainable and transformative farm-forest landscapes.

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Ran Duan

Ran Duan
Department: Media and Information Studies
duanran420@gmail.com

Biosketch:Ran Duan is enrolled as a Ph.D. student in MSU’s Media and Information Studies program with a concentration in Journalism. Ran received her B.S. in journalism and mass communication from Shandong University, China. She has spent one year in news center in China Central Television as an intern reporter and has been as volunteer in Ghana for environmental protection work in the summer of her junior year. During her graduate study at MSU, she participated in various research projects with Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and has been actively working on her own research ideas. She has presented her work at Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies in January, 2014. Her current research interests lie in the intersections of environment, communication and society, including, but not limited to, media coverage of environmental affairs, public controversy over environmental policies, and public engagement with environmental, science and risk issues. She has a particular interest in the coverage of China’s environmental issues in Chinese and US media.

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Matthew Flood

Matthew Flood
Department: Fisheries & Wildlife
floodmat@msu.edu

Biosketch:

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Chanse Ford

Chanse Ford
Department: Geological Sciences
fordchan@msu.edu

Biosketch: I’m a Ph.D. student working in Dr. Dave Hyndman’s lab in the Department of Geological Sciences. My research interests include shallow groundwater, groundwater-surface water interactions, isotope hydrology and integrated land-use/hydrologic modeling. I received my B.S. in Geology from the University of Southern Indiana in 2014, where my research involved quantifying groundwater discharge in the streambed of a groundwater-fed stream through the use of some personally constructed seepage meters. I completed my M.S. at Western Michigan University in 2016. My thesis project examined the same stream, the White River in Manistee National Forest, through stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. Currently I am researching how warmer winters are affecting the snowmelt regime here in Michigan and what that will do to streamflow. My long-term research interests involve examining the effects of our changing climate on hydrology and water resources. In my free time I enjoy hiking and camping with my dog, Charlie, and cruising down country highways on my motorcycle.

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Kathryn Frens

Kathryn Frens
Department: Fisheries & Wildlife
frenskat@msu.edu

Biosketch: Kathryn is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University. Her dissertation research focuses on the intersection of land use policy, wildlife conservation, and human wellbeing across large landscapes. She is particularly interested in combining information and methods from across disciplines to do research that informs policy, and also gets enthusiastic about well-written papers and other effective communication. Kathryn graduated from Hope College in 2006 with a degree in biology and writing, and subsequently received an M.S. degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Since then, she has worked on wildlife research projects around the country.

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Shivan GC

Shivan GC
Department: Forestry
shivangc@gmail.com

Biosketch:I come from the Himalayan country, Nepal, whose economic wellbeing is closely tied to its natural resources. The motivation to work for environmental conservation while addressing the need for forest products guided me to join undergraduate program in forestry in my home country. I came to the US to garner wider knowledge in forestry and completed my master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The research focus during master’s program was to understand the role of nonindustrial private forest landowners in wood-based bioenergy production in the United States. Since then, I have worked on several different projects related to wood-based bioenergy in Michigan.
I am further interested to explore the potential economic and environmental impacts of emerging bioenergy industries at the local, regional and state level. I am positive that the coursework I take during PhD enrollment in forest resource economics will enrich my understanding in a policy-oriented perspective and help me address the interdependence between human economies and natural ecosystems. My research interests range from exploring economically feasible sites for energy plantation in Michigan through application of GIS technology to assessing the availability of woody biomass from Michigan’s non-corporate private forests through contingent valuation as well as building input output models for bioenergy industries in the State. 

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Mahlet Garedew

Mahlet Garedew
Department: Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
garedewm@msu.edu

Biosketch:I was born and raised in Ethiopia and came to MSU as an undergrad to study Material Science and Engineering. I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees from MSU in Material Science and Engineering. I am currently a Ph.D. student in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department involved in a research project funded by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Center involving biomass/lignin deconstruction using fast pyrolysis as the depolymerization process. Furthermore, I am focused on upgrading these depolymerized products using electrocatalysis to produce viable liquid fuel components. My current research work focuses on lignin model compound upgrading using electrocatalytic hydrogenation. Additionally, I am also very passionate about involvement and advancement of minority students and women in the STEM disciplines and work in my spare time to provide mentoring/tutoring to such students.

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Andrew Gerard

Andrew Gerard
Department: Community Sustainability
gerarda1@anr.msu.edu

Biosketch:I am a PhD student in the Department of Community Sustainability. I study institutional and economic issues in developing countries, specifically challenges related to sustainable agricultural production. I’m interested in influences on farmer decision-making and the agricultural and environmental policy development process. Since 2015, I have worked with MSU's African Great Lakes Region Coffee Support Program on coffee policy research in Rwanda and Burundi. I also serve as a Global Collaboration Specialist in MSU's Center for Global Connections in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. Prior to coming to MSU, I was a Senior Program Officer at the Global Knowledge Initiative, a non-profit international development organization based in Washington, DC. There I worked to forge collaborative problem solving networks and conducted science, technology, and innovation policy analysis in East and Southern Africa.

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Charles Hayes

Charles Hayes
Department: Philosophy
hayesc13@msu.edu

Biosketch: Charles Hayes is pursuing a doctoral degree in philosophy, with a graduate specialization in Environmental Science and Policy. His research centers around environmental ethics, with specific interests in the ethics of collaborative public land management, the project of rewilding, and environmental virtue ethics. He often approaches these topics in conversation with the philosophy of technology, with the hope of illuminating how our technological age has shaped the way we understand and inhabit our environments. Before coming to MSU, Charles earned an MLitt in theology from the University of St. Andrews. There he looked at theological themes in lyric nature writing and environmental aesthetics. After this he earned an MA in Environmental Philosophy from the University of Montana, along with a graduate certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution. In order to steep his research in real-life environmental issues, Charles worked for a local ecological restoration company and with the National Forest Foundation's Conservation Connect initiative. These jobs provided the opportunity to experience the everyday difficulties of working out environmental values in the way we carry out restoration and work collaboratively to manage public land. Aside from study, Charles enjoys walking farther than is reasonable and stopping to identify trees.

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Charifa Hejase

Charifa Hejase
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
hejasech@msu.edu

Biosketch: From my early childhood years, I have always found interest in scientific matters and activities. I had the need to want to know why things work the way they do and further my understanding of physical concepts all around us. I have always been enthusiastic when solving problems as I appreciate the idea of being challenged. For the above reasons, I have come to love science. This special interest in science has shaped my professional goals portfolio.

I am a first year PhD student in Environmental Engineering. I received my bachelor and master degrees in Environmental Engineering from MSU. Being born and raised in a developing country has made me appreciate the clean environment in the United States. In my home country, Lebanon, we lack the access to potable and palatable drinking water due to the basic drinking water treatment process used. During my Masters studies, I worked on a project related to oil-water separation. This project addresses a societal concern which is treating the large volumes of oily wastewater generated by industries using membrane filtration. My PhD work will build on the results obtained in my Master’s degree and by pursuing an Environmental Science and Policy Program specialization, I’ll be able to translate the science to policy makers and stakeholders.

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Patricia Jaimes

Patricia Jaimes
Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
patriciajaimes91@gmail.com

Biosketch: Patricia is a second-year PhD student in the Geocognition Research Laboratory housed in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She received her BS in Earth Science from Northeastern Illinois University in May 2015. Patricia was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, is both a first-generation American & a first-generation college student, and is bilingual (English & Spanish). She entered her first year at MSU with a College of Natural Sciences Early Start Fellowship and a University Fellowship package. She is currently a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and has received numerous awards  (internal & external) during her time at MSU. Patricia is an e-board member for the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Students in Science (SACNAS) chapter on campus. Her current research interests are in findings ways to increase minority representation in the STEM workforce. Her personal interests include spending time with her family, reading fiction, and mentoring high school & undergraduate students.

More on Patricia Jaimes »

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Demetrice R. Jordan

Dee Jordan
Department: Geography
jordande@msu.edu

Biosketch: Dee is a University Enrichment Fellow and doctoral student in the department of geography, where her concentration is Spatial Epidemiology and Health and Medical Geography with an Environmental Health and Policy focus. In the study of geography, she has developed a special interest in the use of Geographic Information Systems as a social and environmental justice advocacy tool. Specifically, her research focuses on examing the spatial distribution of environmental health problems, exploring the social forces that create power differentials which prevent the development of environmental regulations and policies, and developing community-based strategies to reduce the exposure risk from environmental contaminants. Her previous research projects include environmental cancer risk, cancer health disparities, race-based residential segregation and community-based participatory GIS research.

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Apporva Joshi

Apoorva Joshi
Department: Journalism
iamapoorva@apoorvaj.com

Biosketch: Apoorva has a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Pune in India, and a Master’s degree in environmental journalism from the University of Montana. Her Master’s professional project work was a long-form multimedia feature story on whether tiger-centric wildlife tourism in one of India’s most popular tiger reserves is sustainable or not. Since then, she has covered global environmental news for Mongabay.com for two years in addition to her experiences working in a TV newsroom in Bozeman, Montana, and at a daily newspaper in Mumbai, India. As a PhD student in the Media and Information Studies program and as part of the Environmental Science and Policy Program, Apoorva will conduct interdisciplinary research into global environmental crime – specifically wildlife crime – and dig into how the news media communicate stories on such subjects to the general public, while also assessing the impact this communication has. Her goal is to understand how social, economic, cultural, political and legal aspects contribute to the prevalence of international wildlife crime by combining investigative journalism with resources and knowledge gained from studying other fields like intercultural communication, criminal justice, conservation criminology, international relations, social sciences, and environmental risk communications.

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Dipti Kamath

Dipti Kamath
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Biosketch:: I'm a second year Ph.D. student working with Dr. Annick Anctil in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I took a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Government Engineering College, Thrissur and followed it up with a Masters in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. My research is all about seeing if we can reuse electric vehicle batteries that are at the end of their service life in these vehicles. This is important as electric vehicle use is increasing and the battery waste from them could be a problem in the near future. I test these batteries to see if they can be reused and then check the environmental and economic benefits of doing so. I am also interested in the social implications and want to see how policy can be leveraged to impact battery waste management options. When I am not working on my research, I spend time watching movies, painting and traveling.

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Kyungmin Kim

Kyungmin Kim
Department: Plant, Soil and Microbial Science
kimkyu46@msu.edu

Biosketch: Kyungmin has great interest in both environmental and soil sciences as well as in social and political aspects of applying research findings to solve environmental programs. She has masters and bachelors degrees in environmental science and ecological engineering from Korea University.

 

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Caitlin Kirby

Caitlin Kirby
Department: Geological Sciences
kirbycai@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a PhD student in the Geocognition Research Laboratory working with Dr. Julie Libarkin. My dissertation research explores environmental decision-making in different cultural spaces with a Theory of Planned Behavior framework. My research has taken me to urban spaces, Indigenous communities, and South American countries to understand how individuals make decisions about sustainability and the contributions that policy have to shaping those decisions. I am also interested in studying science education and how different types of classroom experiences impact students' relationship to science and the environment. I attained my undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in Environmental Biology/Microbiology. My personal interests include yoga and traveling, and I teach several yoga classes at MSU and around the Lansing area.

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Haoyang Li

Haoyang Li
Department: Economics
lihaoya2@msu.edu

Biosketch: After receiving my bachelor’s degree at Zhejiang University in China and master’s degree at MSU department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, I decided to join the Economics department to continue my research in the field of Environmental and Resource Economics. I am interested in applying decision theory in environmental issues and studying people’s incentive to adopt environmentally friendly activities. My previous researches mainly include the evaluation of second generation biofuels and the analysis of people’s choice using discrete choice models. Currently I am involved in a research project looking into farmers’ water use decision under different technologies in the region of Kansas Ogallala Aquifer. I’m also trying to find out a way to incorporate other discipline’s findings into economic researches, which I believe will be achieved in ESPP in the future.

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Yingjie Li

Yingjie Li
Department: Fisheries and Wildlife
liyj@msu.edu

Biosketch: Yingjie is interested in innovative research on the interface of remote sensing, spatial analysis, ecosystem services, geographic information systems and telecoupled human and natural system. He has degrees in geography and land resource management.

 

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Shengpan Lin

Shengpan Lin
Department: Integrative Biology
shengpan@msu.edu

Biosketch: Shengpan is a doctoral student working on climate change and water quality. He was made in a small town of China, but he has a big dream to be a hero to save our planet from catastrophic climate change. He has a B.Sc. and M. Sc. in aquaculture. With that knowledge, he hopes he could contribute to a world without hunger and poverty by building profitable fish farms, and providing delicious fish and high quality protein for families. He received his fist Ph.D. in Remote Sensing and Geo-information from Zhejiang University, China. The global satellite views changed his vision of our world; he realized he could do more and have an impact beyond our generation. To gather ammunition and army, he joined ESPP in January 2013. (Declaration: “ammunition” and “army” here are metaphors. Shengpan has no intent to collect any real ammunition or build any army in United States. Please do NOT call Homeland Security.)

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Lin Liu

Lin Liu
Department: Geological Sciences
liulin7@msu.edu

Biosketch: Lin Liu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Sichuan University and a Master of Science in Environmental Geo-Science at Michigan State University. She is interested in integrating computer technology, field experiments, and crop-simulation models to advance precision agriculture. For her dissertation, she is working on coupling terrain and crop models. She has used the Systems Approach to Land Use Sustainability (SALUS) model to assess switchgrass production in Michigan and evaluate pigeonpea cultivation in Malawi.

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Cheng-Hua Liu

Cheng-Hua Liu
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences
liuchen6@msu.edu

Biosketch: Originally from Taiwan, I am currently a doctoral student in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. My research interests lie in environmental soil and water sciences, investigating sorption mechanisms of contaminants at the solid-liquid interface. The safety and quality of soil and water resources are challenged because of environmental pollution. My current study focuses on addressing environmental problems related to emerging contaminants, particularly veterinary antibiotics. Because of the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feeding operations, they are frequently detected in soil and water environment. Pollution of antibiotics in the environment is of concern because it could provide selective pressure for the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which threatens human health. A better understanding of mechanisms controlling environmental fate and transport of antibiotics is needed to develop mitigation strategies. My study aims to investigate the application of biochar, a porous carbon material, for remediating antibiotic-contaminated soil and water as well as to examine the influence of biochar application on the environmental fate and transport of antibiotics. To ensure sustainable soil and water resources, addressing these environmental problems through a collaborative approach is necessary, and interdisciplinary study at ESPP is an excellent opportunity.

 

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Yingyue Liu

Yingyue Liu
Department: Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences
liuyin22@msu.edu

Biosketch: My broad interests and desire to be a scholar brought me to ESPP. Urbanization, migrant workers, and agriculture were topics I spent most of my time on in the past ten years as an economics student. For my dissertation research in Geography, I would focus on “spatially-explicit agent-based models” and explore how science and policy can achieve the well-being of small stakeholders, efficient land management, and rural community sustainability.

I want to die as a “Renaissance woman”. But I also keep Max Weber’s words in mind: ”Mind you, the devil is old; grow old to understand him.” So I will live as a environmental science and policy explorer first.

Conference Presentations: “Contemporary Tools and Models of Farmer Decision-Making and Food System Assessments”, Global Land Programme 3rd Open Science Meeting, 26 October, 2016, Beijing, China http://www.glp-osm2016.com

Training Programs: International Winter School “How to model human decision-making in social-ecological agent-based models” for PhD students and early Postdocs, 2-7 January, 2017, Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA https://complexity.asu.edu/CBIEWinterSchool2017

 

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Bonnie McGill

Bonnie McGill
Department: Integrative Biology
mcgillbo@msu.edu

Biosketch:McGill is a PhD candidate at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station and Dept. of Integrative Biology.  She considers herself a biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist with a focus on agricultural systems.  She is broadly interested in how climate change is affecting the interaction between the hydrologic and carbon cycles, farmers’ need for irrigation, and groundwater recharge.  McGill is conducting her dissertation research at the KBS Long Term Ecological Research site, looking at whether agricultural liming (applying crushed limestone to boost soil pH) and groundwater irrigation act as net sources or sinks for carbon dioxide under a range of nitrogen fertilizer rates.  Also, she has conducted focus groups with maize producers to explore how they make decisions about liming and groundwater irrigation.  McGill is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, an ESPP fellow, and a USAID Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security.  

 

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Micahel Metiva

Michael Metiva
Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
metivama@msu.edu

Biosketch:

By studying the impacts of environmental changes, we are better able to predict and rectify the damage that affects the lives of people all over the world. My participation in the Environmental Geosciences program will afford me the ability to research problems like these in a very scientific way, but the research alone forms an incomplete picture. Above all else, participating in Model United Nations taught me that it takes people from all sorts of backgrounds to effect any kind of lasting change, and that public policy is involved more often than not. This is especially true with environmental issues, as many private actors view the subject as a barrier or inconvenience. Many state and federal bodies, universities, and environmental consultancies have either direct involvement in or other close relation to policy formation and governmental action. After I complete my education I would like to find employment in places such as these which would allow me to connect my scientific passion with my governmental interests. Policy itself is an exceedingly tricky subject, and it is something with which few scientists have a lot of experience. I believe that the ESPP specialization can at least partially fill that gap for me. More precisely, my goal for my participation in this program is to help bridge the gap that exists between science and policy. As the world continues to change and our impact on the environment grows, more people than ever will rely on the building of that bridge.

 

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Rebecca Minardi

Rebecca Minardi
Department: Community Sustainability
minardir@msu.edu

Biosketch:Rebecca Minardi is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Sustainability.  She is working toward an Environmental Science and Policy doctoral specialization and has received fellowships from the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP) and the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program. She received her BA in International Affairs and History from Marshall University in West Virginia and her Master of Public Health from Des Moines University in Iowa.  While studying public health issues, Rebecca realized that a community is only as healthy as its habitat; political will, economic might, and robust health care networks cannot do much in the face of a deeply damaged ecosystem.  After a research assistant position at the University of Michigan where she worked with the Urban Pollinator Project and in a soils lab studying cover crops implementation, Rebecca started her PhD program at MSU in the fall of 2016. After researching differences between male and female coffee farmers in Burundi and Rwanda, she has now joined a multi-disciplinary team researching the impacts of dam construction on human communities and the environment in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. She is interested in pursuing research on how communities fare after being resettled following dam reservoir construction. She will look at current compensation schemes utilized by the Brazilian government to understand how these help or hinder a resettled community’s social cohesion and individual’s success.   

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Judith Namanya

Judith Namanya
Department: Geography
j4jc2@yahoo.com

Biosketch:With increased globalization and industrialization, natural resources are becoming more vulnerable and at high risk of exhaustion. In addition, high population growth especially in Sub-Sahara Africa has led to continuous conflicts over natural resources, especially water and land for cultivation. My purpose in career development is to work together with communities to enable them realize their full potential in promoting environmental sustainability and overcome the emerging challenges; key among them, impacts of water scarcity on social networks and health. These emerging challenges have been made worse by climate change and the associated impacts. In this regard, communities need to be equipped with among other things, the knowledge to enable them to mitigate and adapt to these climate change influenced challenges. During my PhD program in Geography at MSU, I hope to enhance my skills and competences that will help me work better with vulnerable communities especially in Uganda and other stakeholders to demonstrate the importance of recognizing the inter-linkages between the environment and health in achieving sustainable development. My goal after my graduate studies will be to work towards achieving the greater benefits of promoting an integrated approach to policy-making, planning and implementation of programs in the health and environment sectors that value the services that properly managed eco-systems provide to human health.

 

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Gaurab Panda

Gaurab Panda
Department: Electrical Engineering
pandagau@msu.edu

Biosketch:

 

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Rajiv Paudel

Rajiv Paudel
Department: Geography
paudelra@msu.edu

Biosketch: Rajiv Paudel is a PhD student at Department of Geography. After finishing his masters’ degrees from the UK in Ecology/Environment Management and in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), he worked for few years in Nepal in species conservation as well as in rural food security issues. His interests are in GIS & modeling, food security, and in biodiversity conservation. He is currently working on a NSF funded research at MSU that focuses on Food Security issues in West Africa.

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Hogeun Park

Hogeun Park
Department: Urban and Regional Planning
parkhoge@msu.edu

Biosketch: Hogeun is a PhD candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University. His research focuses on urban sustainability through a socio-ecological lens. Particularly, he has explored the linkage between socio-ecological changes and the urban growth in the transitional economy. As a development fellow of the Asia Foundation and Korea Development Institute (KDI), he has worked on the growth of informal urbanization in Mongolia as well. Currently, he is actively engaged in Bailey scholars program —co-learning program at MSU, and a graduate fellow program in the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), which shape him as an educator and a collaborative researcher. His first professional career was as a GIS specialist in Ecuador, working with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) from 2008–2010. He conducted multiple research trips throughout Cambodia, Mongolia, and China, and the Philippines—winning best master’s thesis at Seoul National University for his local development study in the Philippines, conducted with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)— before joining MSU. More on Hogeun: http://parkhogeun.com

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Betsy Riley

Betsy Riley
Department: Fisheries & Wildlife
bril@msu.edu

Biosketch:Betsy's research is on international fisheries policy with a focus on effective management structures for fisheries resources. Currently she's looking at the Great Lakes governance system and expects to go international after her first round of research, in order to see different governance structures in action and better understand the role that culture plays in management decision making.

Betsy's childhood on an Angus cattle ranch in Poteau, Oklahoma, as well as her close ties to her mother's family in Iowa, has closely shaped her ideas and values surrounding resource use and human kind's interaction with the the natural world. Despite her rural upbringing, she has always had an insatiable curiosity about the larger world, leaving to study abroad in France at age 16, and then moving out to Massachusetts as soon as her high school diploma hit her hand. It wasn't until the University of Michigan, however, that she discovered her love of fisheries. After working for two years at the US. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center, she realized the direction her studies had taken would inevitably turn her steps from Wolverine to Spartan to take advantage of MSU's amazing Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

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Melissa Rojas

Melissa Rojas
Department: Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
rojasma@msu.edu

Biosketch: I grew up in Costa Rica, surrounded by multiple crop farms. Even though I did not have previous education in this area, I could recognize several problems that family and farmers were facing, and how there was a broken circle between knowledge that leads to policy, and policy that entails implementation. That is why I decided to study Agricultural Engineering. I completed my BSc. Degree and post-graduate degree in the School of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Costa Rica, where my research was related to soil compaction due to tillage. During my studies, I realized how there is a disconnection between research, policies, education and extension in Costa Rica, which is a country that has 6% of the Earth's biodiversity, when Costa Rica is only 0.001% of global area. I got the great opportunity to perform additional research in a short-term internship at the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) department of MSU, where my research program was related to soil compaction and erosion. I also continued with my studies in the same BAE department where my Masters research project was to evaluate the environmental and economic impact of the integration of an anaerobic digester at a pasture-based dairy farm. Now for my PhD while I am in the BAE PhD program I am also completing an Environmental Science Policy Program (ESPP) specialization because research by itself cannot make changes unless it is translated to policy and implemented on the ground. The research project of my PhD program is now focused on evaluating the impacts of climate change on livestock production through modeling and remote sensing techniques.

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Steven Roels

Steven Roels
Department: Integrative Biology
steveroels@gmail.com

Biosketch:I am PhD student in the lab of Dr. Catherine Lindell with expertise in conservation biology, restoration ecology, and ornithology. I have done research in Texas, Michigan, Kansas, Vietnam, and Panama. My Master's thesis focused on herbivory and seedling ecology of a threatened prairie plant, Mead's Milkweed. For my doctorate, I am studying avian ecology and trophic cascades in Panamanian forest restorations.

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Michael Ryskamp

Michael Ryskamp
Department: Plant Biology
ryskampm@msu.edu

Biosketch: Before enrolling at MSU as a PhD student in the Plant Biology Program, I spent several years working full-time for a watershed group in Grand Rapids; while working there, I collaborated with civil engineers and urban planners to develop and implement watershed restoration and research.
Together, these classes and experiences have given me a solid foundation in a very wide range of scientific fields, with further specialization in several disciplines. Many of my classes combined elements of basic-science with what we might consider societal or political topics, e.g. stakeholder engagement in managing ecosystems, global trade and epidemiology, and food systems and policy. As a program coordinator for a watershed group, it was my job to understand my watershed’s hydrology, biology, and ecology so that I could develop and implement restoration plans that target specific nutrient, sediment, and bacterial load reductions.
I

 

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Kateri Salk

Kateri Salk
Department: Integrative Biology
salkkate@msu.edu

Biosketch: My research focuses on biogeochemical cycling in aquatic systems. In the face of enormous anthropogenic change in global elemental cycles, inland and coastal waters are becoming increasingly important hotspots for the processing of carbon and nitrogen. I hope to further establish how environmental factors interact to control microbial communities and processes, as this is crucial to constrain both local impacts and global budgets of elemental cycles. Specifically, I am interested in nitrogen removal pathways (denitrification and anammox),the effect of hypoxia on anaerobic microbial processes, and greenhouse gas production and emissions. 

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Udita Sanga

Udita Sanga
Department: Community Sustainability
sangaudi@msu.edu

Biosketch: Udita is pursuing her doctoral degree in the Department of Community Sustainability with a specialization in Environment Science and Policy. She has a master’s degree in Ecology from Utah State University and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Biotechnology from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra in India. Currently, she is working with Dr Olabisi on an NSF-funded project “"Participatory ensemble modeling to study the multiscale social and behavioral dynamics of food security in dryland West Africa". For her dissertation work, Udita is keen on understanding the differential vulnerability and adaptive capacity of rural farmers to climatic shocks and their mental models of climatic risk perception and decision-making. She is interested in exploring the social, environmental, economic as well as the behavioral and cognitive aspects of the response of farmers to climate change using system dynamics and agent based modelling approaches.

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Yike Shen

Yike Shen
Department: Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
shenyike@msu.edu

Biosketch: Growing up in China seeing the increasing concerns in environmental health and food safety, I’m inspired to do my undergraduate study in Environmental area to solve these problems. After getting my B.S. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada and B.Eng in Environmental Engineering from China, I’m currently doing my Ph.D. majoring in Crop and Soil Science – Environmental Toxicology at Dr. Wei Zhang’s Soil and Water Research Lab at MSU. My T concept of interdisciplinary study includes the depth of research in environmental behaviors of emerging contaminants such as microbial pathogen, antibiotics, and antibiotics resistance genes, specifically their distribution, fate, and transport in the environment. I would like to use the breadth of ESPP to collaboratively working with social scientists, economists, and philosophers and include ESPP in part of my Ph.D. dissertation. With the addition of ESPP to my doctorate major, it will help me greatly in achieving a more comprehensive and holistic understanding and research development in Crop and Soil Science, Environmental Toxicology, and Environmental Science and Policy to ultimately develop some better solutions to those environmental problems.

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Timothy Silberg

Timothy Silberg
Department: Community Sustainability
silbergt@msu.edu

Biosketch:Timothy Silberg is pursuing a Doctoral Degree from MSU in the Department of Community Sustainability. He completed his undergraduate studies at The Pennsylvania State University in Agricultural Sciences and his master’s degree at Texas A&M University in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. His agricultural development work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala, DR-Congo, Uganda and Haiti have fueled his desire to learn about the social and ecological processes that operate in farming systems among the rural poor. His dissertation research models parasitic weed prevalence across smallholder farms in Central Malawi. The research uses production simulation and econometrics to project weed prevalence and illustrate tradeoffs farmers are willing to make for implementing a weed prevention practice. Both methods of analysis are integrated within a system dynamics model to inform agricultural extension and policy makers about training and subsidy programs. In the end, he hopes the model will be able to run various environmental scenarios to show feedback between technology adoption, soil degradation and weed prevalence. In the future, he wishes to work in agricultural research agencies that assess how, when, and if technology can be used for smallholder farming in conjunction with natural, social and human assets.

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Nicholas Skaff

Nicholas Skaff
Department: Fisheries and Wildlife
skaffnic@msu.edu

Biosketch:I am a PhD student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and I am interested in how vector-borne disease emerges at the nexus of terrestrial and aquatic landscapes. My dissertation research links spatial and temporal patterns of human and mosquito infection with several pathogens, including West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, with wetland and climate factors over broad spatial scales. The goal of this work is to identify the types of wetlands and climate scenarios that act to initiate mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in North America. I received my B.S. from Tufts University in 2011 with majors in biology and environmental studies, and a minor in philosophy. I also have a strong commitment to conducting research abroad and have already contributed to projects in Costa Rica, China and Chile. I am excited to continue to leverage this broad background and international experience to better understand how ecological forces influence disease dynamics in human communities.

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Samuel Smidt

Samuel Smidt
Department: Geological Sciences
smidtsam@msu.edu

Biosketch: Currently, I am a PhD student in the Department of Geological Sciences studying Environmental Geosciences. I have an MS degree in Geoscience researching surface water-groundwater interactions, and I have a BS degree in Geology and Environmental Science. My professional interests in ESPP include the supply and demand of Earth’s water resources in relation to human use and consumption. Policy makers play a critical role in regulating water use, and it is the responsibility of those in the scientific field to correctly inform decision makers. Given that water resources are intricately linked to more than just human use and consumption, it is necessary for policy makers to fully understand the environmental responses that could potentially arise when decisions are made.

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Mark Suchyta

Mark Suchyta
Department: Sociology
suchytam@msu.edu

Biosketch: Mark Suchyta is a doctoral student studying Sociology, specializing in Animal Studies and Environmental Science and Policy. He holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan and an MS in Rural Sociology from Penn State University. His research interests revolve around environmental attitudes, behaviors, and how to create platforms for public participation in environmental decision-making. Much of his previous work has focused on communities experiencing natural gas development. At MSU, he plans to pursue his interest in public attitudes about industrial animal agriculture and the social movements and policies that have come about as a result. When he’s not busy with his studies, he enjoys spending time with his birds.

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Sophia Tanner

Sophia Tanner
Department: Agricultural, Food and Resources Economics
sophiatanner@gmail.com

Biosketch: In the prescient words of David Byrne, "Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather". As the climate changes, the incidence and severity of natural disasters are both increasing dramatically. My research focuses on peoples' risk perception and responses to wildfires by looking at home prices and recreation decisions in the greater Los Angeles area. Valuing the effect of wildfires on communities can provide guidance to policy-makers for funding, education, and risk mitigation programs. I joined the Ph.D. program in Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics as well as the ESPP specialization in 2013 after receiving my Bachelor's degree in economics at Trinity University in San Antonio.

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Anna Terkelsen

Anna Terkelsen
Department: Economics
terkelse@msu.edu

Biosketch: My career goal is to become an economics professor researching topics in
industrial organization, specifically with regard to energy and
transportation economics. Since graduating from George Mason University
(GMU) in 2013, I have worked as a private consultant performing economic
research under a Ph.D. economist in matters ranging from antitrust to
insurance fraud regarding oil pipelines and toll roads. The skills I
developed at this position, along with advanced coursework in economics and
mathematics, have prepared me to achieve a Ph.D. in Economics

 

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Anthony Van Witsen

Anthony Van Witsen
Department: Journalism
tonyvanwitsen@gmail.com

Biosketch: Anthony Van Witsen began his graduate studies wanting to know more about the relationship between science and mass communication. Working as a science journalist taught him that science does not always follow officially designated paths to make discoveries, and the working lives of scientists involve a great deal more than the laboratory. This is particularly true for science that involves some kind of public policy response. He comes to MSU from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he developed an interest in how some scientific discoveries come to be seen as relevant, risky, controversial, or a social problem, while others, which may represent an equally important intellectual contribution, do not, and the role mass communication plays in that process.

More on Anthony Van Witsen »

 

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Stephen Vrla

Stephen Vrla
Department:Sociology
stephenvrla@gmail.com

Biosketch: I'm a first-year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. In addition to the ESPP specialization, I'm also in the Animal Studies specialization. Broadly, my research interests are in the sociological and social psychological aspects of the relationships among humans, non-human animals, and the environment. More specifically, these interests manifest themselves in my research on environmental values, animal attitudes, and humane education. Ultimately, my goal is to discover how schools can most effectively help students become thoughtful, engaged citizens who are committed to the well beings of both ecosystems and their individual inhabitants. I was born and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona before going to Williams College in Massachusetts. After graduating in 2010, I volunteered on an organic ranch in California, worked as a field instructor at a wilderness therapy program in Utah, and taught environmental science and social studies at a boarding school for disadvantaged students in Texas. All of these experiences inspire my current work. In my free time, I enjoy going backpacking, playing sports, and hanging out with my dog, Hermes.

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Kayleigh Ward

Kayleigh Ward
Department:Sociology
wardkay1@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, with an additional specialization in International Development. I previously attained a bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego in Sociology and English. At MSU I am interested in the question of community sustainability in the context of rural redevelopment and disasters. I became interested in the disaster nexus after doing work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Currently, my research is in Japan following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, where I work in Miyagi prefecture. The goal of this is to access community sustainability during reconstruction, and evaluate the Reconstruction Agency appointed to lead the effort. This includes efforts from local NGO/NPOs, local associations and governments, businesses, and community groups which has resulted in the development of new community programs. More recently, I am involved with public policy regarding issues of economic, social, and cultural capital in the region and how reconstruction affects Nature and humans. A broader goal, is learning from the redevelopment in Japan and applying it to address social concerns and environmental decisions in future disasters.

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Yuxian Xiao

Yuxian Xiao
Department: Economics
xiaoyuxi@msu.edu

Research and Teaching Interests:I am a first year Ph.D. student in the economics department. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in economics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Then I went to Shanghai Jiao Tong University to finish my master’s degree in applied economics. My research interests lie in the intersection of development economics and environmental economics. My previous research work focuses on China's energy-saving policies. With the valuable multi-disciplinary resources that the ESPP program provides, I hope to offer further insights on different environmental issues.

 

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Hongbo Yang

Hongbo Yang
Department: Fisheries and Wildlife
yanghon8@msu.edu

Biosketch: I am a doctoral candidate in the department of Fisheries and Wildlife. My intended area of specialization is Systems Modeling and Integration, with a focus on the study of Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS). My interest in the CHANS derived from my long-term concern on the endangered wildlife. Although more than 159,000 protected areas have been established around the world, covering an area larger than the United States or China, the problems of ecological degradation caused by human activities are continuing to threaten the existence of endangered species living there. Understanding the complexity of human-nature interactions in these areas is in urgent need to meet the quest for both human well-being and wildlife conservation. While still at its infancy, inquiry into CHANS is developing into a new research area with a promising prospect to achieve that goal. I am very interested in this field and want to contribute to its development by developing integrated socio-economic and geospatial techniques for better understanding the relationship between human and nature subsystems in protected areas (e.g., Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas in China), and then translating such understanding into working models and policy.

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So-Jung Youn

So-Jung Youn
Department: Fisheries and Wildlife
younsoju@msu.edu

Biosketch: So-Jung Youn is currently a PhD student with Dr. William Taylor at Michigan State University. She is interested in global utilization of inland capture fisheries and the inland fisheries value chain. She is studying ways to assess and value inland fisheries, such as using consumption surveys and household dynamics to estimate inland fisheries harvest. So-Jung is also interested in valuation of the services provided by inland fisheries and characterization of the inland fisheries value chain. Her MS thesis, "The Importance of Inland Fisheries to Global Food Security", focused on the contribution of inland fisheries to food security and livelihoods. So-Jung received a MS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a BS in Biology, with a minor in Management and Organizational Leadership, from the College of William and Mary.

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Qiong Zhang

Qiong Zhang
Department: Geography
zhangqio@msu.edu

Biosketch: In the latest report of the World Health Organization (2014), air pollution was described as the single greatest environmental health risk, which annually causes one in eight deaths worldwide. As one of the largest developing countries, China lies in a dilemma between economic blooming, urbanization, and the burst of environmental problems. After received two masters’ degrees from the University of Toledo, Master of Public Administration and Master of Geography & Planning, I shifted my research direction from transportation geography to health/medical geography. My research interests lie in public health, particular maternal and infant health, and medical geography. To address the association between polluted environment and public health, the goal of my doctoral research is to estimate the direct and indirect effects of urban growth and smog levels on maternal and infant health in China.

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Rui Zhang

Rui Zhang
Department:Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences
zhangr50@msu.edu

Biosketch: Ms.
Zhang has a master's from an interdisciplinary computational social science
program at George Mason University, and possesses a fantastic technical
foundation in spatial modeling of complex human and natural systems.

 

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