"The GCSC effectively brought me to the University of Utah. My advisor's affiliation, the financial support, as well as the promise of interdisciplinary training were simply too good to pass up. I have been elated by the opportunity to dive into collaborative, interdisciplinary work, and even more appreciative of the passionate community within the GCSC."
- Chris Zajchowski, GCSC Fellow
The GCSC First Year Fellowship helps attract top students who have research interests around the broad themes of the environment and sustainability, and who seek graduate training that extends beyond the scope of a single discipline. While these students will receive their degrees from different departments across campus, the GCSC provides interdisciplinary training experiences that will help prepare students for broad engagement and collaboration in the professional realm.
Fellows are also eligible to apply for GCSC's small grants in support of research and travel to professional meetings.
For information on fellowship requirements and the selection process, see About the First Year GCSC Fellowship.
GCSC Fellow Cohorts
Erin Bessette-kirton, GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS
After studying physics, geology, and civil engineering as an undergraduate, I received an MS in geological engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Since then, I have worked for the U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program, where I studied landslides throughout the western US, in Puerto Rico, and around the world. As a PhD student at the University of Utah I will be working with Dr. Jeffrey Moore to study the mechanical processes that condition and trigger natural hazards, with a focus on the effects of thermal processes in rock structures. I am also broadly interested in the impacts of global climate change on geohazard processes and hazard and risk communication.
Nicolas Hernandez, communication
My research as a graduate student has focused on the internal rhetoric of scientists and engineers working on low carbon energy technologies (LCET). I find energy systems fascinating, as they can be both contributors to climate change and pollution, as well as loci for sustainable development and community empowerment. As such, my research interests include issues of environmental justice within the energy transition milieu. I will pursue a Ph.D. in Communication with Dr. Danielle Endres, seeking to better understand the confluence of efforts towards energy democracy and environmental justice in post Maria Puerto Rico
Sayma Khajehei, City and Metropolitan Planning
I completed a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering at Shiraz University and a Master’s in Post-disaster Reconstruction at Shahid Beheshti University in Iran. I spent the next several years working as a lecturer in the University of Applied Science and Technology in Tehran and a researcher in Housing Foundation of Iran, where I covered everything from architectural design, post-disaster recovery, and documenting reconstruction projects. In 2017, I moved to Iowa to pursue a Master’s of Community and Regional Planning. My thesis explores the recovery challenges of public housing residents in Lumberton, North Carolina, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
I will be working with Dr. Divya Chandrasekhar in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning as a Ph.D. student. My research interests include the ways in which the resiliency of socially vulnerable population in the community towards natural hazards are provided; how collective performance of social, economic, institutional and physical environments results in community resiliency; and how the resilience of a community is inextricably linked to both the environment condition and the resources’ treatment.
Roger Renteria, Sociology
I earned my BA in sociology and entered the terminal MA program at University of Texas at El Paso. My sociological research ended up revolving around the study of social organisms and the systems that shape individual and group experiences. As my sociological knowledge has grown, I have expanded my perspectives on inequalities and ideologies and come to understand that they are rooted in social structures. At the University of Utah, I will pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology with Dr.Sara Grineski, researching environmental sociology and environmental justice.
Hannah Satein, City and Metropolitan Planning
I am moving to Utah from Oregon where I completed my undergraduate degree in Planning, Public Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and my master's degree in Water Resources Policy and Management at Oregon State University. My master's work focused on the intersection of traditional and collaborative policymaking to facilitate more sustainable management of a river system in Central Oregon. I am excited to continue to explore the intersection of these methods of policymaking, as well as the roles of power and trust in environmental collaboratives in the American West. I will be working with Dr. Danya Rumore through the Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design PhD program and the Wallace Stegner Center's Environmental Dispute Resolution program.
Kripa Thapa, Geography
I was born and bred in the lap of the majestic Himalayas in Nepal, home to the highest peak, Mount Everest. My budding affinity towards nature led me to pursue my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal.
At the University of Utah, I will be undertaking a Master’s of Science in Geography, studying under the guidance of Dr. Summer Rupper. I aspire to become a changemaker and conduct pathbreaking research on glaciers, water resources, and climate change. Moreover, I want to render scientific justifications to environmental policies that can further be strengthened at a global scale and contribute towards a sustainable future for all. I plan to broaden my understanding of sustainability issues through the GCSC fellowship and am also looking forward to learning and working collectively with the faculty and the other GCSC fellows.
Ning Xiong, Geography
I was born in China. I obtained my bachelor degree in construction management from China University of Geosciences. I got my master degree under the guidance of Professor Liyin Shen from Chongqing University, China, and have participated in several urban-related national research projects during this process. Following graduation, I worked as Research Assistant under the guidance of Dr. Ivy S.W. WONG at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for a year to continue my research. At the University of Utah, I will be pursing a Ph.D. in Geography under the mentorship of Dr. Yehua Dennis Wei. My research will be focusing on sustainable urbanization and understanding the mechanics between fast urbanization and environmental sustainability.
Dani Zebelean, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Growing up the desert that is Salt Lake City, Utah, I developed a deep love for water. Specifically, how to conserve water and use it wisely. Going into college, I knew I wanted to study a subject that would enable me to help promote water consciousness around the West which is how I found Civil and Environmental Engineering. While completing my bachelor's degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Utah, I further developed a passion for water treatment and water reuse. When I am not geeking out over the latest technologies or methods I'm outside playing no matter what the weather is like.
I will be pursuing a Master's degree working under Dr. Jennifer Weidhaas. My research currently is evaluating sustainable treatment options for industrial wastewater using bacteria from the Great Salt Lake to treat brine so it can be recycled through the treatment system. I will also be evaluating the potential for high saline groundwater remediation.
Dustin Roten, department of atmospheric scienceI am a first generation college student who grew up in western North Carolina, the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. I graduated with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Appalachian State University (Go 'Neers!) where I worked as a research assistant in an Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics laboratory. In this lab, much of my work was in plasma diagnostics. After the completion of my undergraduate degree, I spent a year as a math teacher at Ashe County High School and adjunct physics instructor at Wilkes Community College. I then returned to App State to complete my M.S. in Engineering Physics and M.A. in Mathematics. During this time, I worked in a research group that sought to understand the characteristics of large point sources (power plants) and their roles in CO2 emission inventories as well as emission allocation methodologies.
I completed a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at Boston University, and spent the next several years working as a newspaper reporter in my Pennsylvania hometown, where I covered everything from health, fitness and the arts to music, goose banding and roller coasters. In 2013 I moved to Iowa to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Environment. My creative work explores the ways that humans interact with and experience their environments, both natural and built, and the interplay between ecology and human experience.
I will be working with Dr. Julia Corbett in the Department of Communication. My research interests include the ways in which scientific concepts are communicated in mass media; how scientific literacy impacts public understanding of issues like climate change, GMOs, and medical data; and how scientists and researchers can better utilize communication modes to control and shape the narrative about their own work.
Growing up, nature and sports were two of my great passions. I try to spend as much time as I can hiking, camping, or playing ball. I am a Utah native, and I received my bachelor¹s in Biology at the U.
I will be working with Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu in graduate school, where I hope to study the mammal community in the Central Wasatch Mountain Range. I intend to use camera traps to elucidate the effects of human development on multiple aspects of mammal community ecology. Much of my fieldwork will require help from citizen scientists, and I hope that together we can construct a sustainable management strategy for the Central Wasatch Mountain Range, one that protects our community¹s passion for both recreation and wildlife.
I completed my Bachelor's in Science at University of California, Irvine in Earth System Sciences and then my Master's at California State University, Fullerton in Environmental Sciences. During and between academics, I have worked in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a researcher as well as traveling throughout the western United States racing mountain bikes and chasing my passion for outdoor recreation.
Now focused on working towards my doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering under the guidance of Dr. Steven Burian, I will be researching issues surrounding the Water, Energy, and Food nexus. A main focus will be connecting remote sensing access to climate, labor, and water to urban agriculture to develop synergistic relationships between waste disposal, energy production, and food security. I am excited to be a part of the university's Global Change and Sustainability Center which promotes collaboration with other students and faculty who share similar visions of a more sustainable future.
I received a B.A. in History from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. in Communication from James Madison University. My research interests include environmental justice, indigenous decolonial rhetoric, and resistance to U.S. militarization. I will be working with Dr. Danielle Endres in the Department of Communication.
Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed a strong interest in plant science and a fascination with forest ecosystems. I have a B.S. in Plant Biology from UC Davis, a M.S. in Forest Ecosystems & Society from Oregon State University, and have participated in plant research projects throughout California, the Pacific Northwest and Georgia. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and look forward to exploring the recreational and natural areas in and around Utah.
At the University of Utah, I will be working under the direction of Dr. Bill Anderegg. My research will focus on understanding how forest tree species will respond to a changing climate using multiple scientific disciplines, such as physiology, ecology and climate modelling. My goal is for these research efforts to contribute toward ensuring the future longevity and sustainability of forest ecosystems. I am excited about the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration as I work toward my research goals.
A native of the flat lands, I was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in the Wichita, Kansas area. In 2014 I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a minor in Geography. I am new to Utah, having just moved from Kansas City where I worked as a structural engineer-in-training in the oil and gas industry for the past two and a half years.
At the University of Utah I am pursuing a Master of Science in Geography, studying under Dr. Summer Rupper and focusing on climatology, climate change, snow and ice, and water resources. I look forward to applying my background in the energy industry to address pressing sustainability issues and to working with a diverse group of students and faculty at the GCSC.
Born in Southern California, I moved to Evanston, IL to attend Northwestern University for a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. As an undergraduate, I worked with Engineers for a Sustainable World in small-scale wind energy projects that combined my interests in sustainable development and technical design. After graduation, I entered into an Engineering Development Program with Siemens Energy where I completed a rotation in large-scale wind and worked in gas turbine casings design for the following 3.5 years.
I am excited to return to the world of renewable energy through research in novel applications of fluid mechanics to renewable energy technology with Dr. Marc Calaf. I will be pursuing a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and hope to contribute to the technical advancement of renewable energy technology while playing an active role in our cultural shift towards a sustainable-minded future.
I was raised in the mountains of Utah where I spent much of my childhood camping, hiking, and skiing. Since my sophomore year of college, my research interests have focused on the human-side of natural disasters. Because of my interest in natural hazards, I have a background in environmental history, environmental science, geographic information systems, and urban planning.
I developed an interest in the interactions between climate change, hazards, and land use decisions while completing my masters in urban planning at the University of Kansas. Through my thesis research, I found that most counties in the interior US have not made efforts to mitigate heat waves—one of the hazards most closely associated with climate change. My research helped me realize that adaptation to climate change is being slowed due to a lack of policies. While pursuing my PhD in Political Science and working with Dr. Tabitha Benney, I plan to continue researching climate adaptation policies and efforts, particularly at the local and state levels of government.
After growing up in Wisconsin and staying in-state to take a bachelor’s degree in History I moved to Iowa where I earned a master’s degree in Education. I worked in higher education in numerous capacities until I decided to shift my focus back to the past and earned a master’s degree in Anthropology: Archaeology.
Working in higher education elicited a keen interest in social inequality and at the University of Utah I will be working in the Department of Anthropology with Drs. Brian Codding, Joan Coltrain, and Jack Broughton to investigate emergent social inequality in mid-level societies. Utilizing stable isotope analyses, behavioral ecology, and zooarchaeology I want to explore early causes and impacts of social hierarchy.
I grew up moving every couple of years, but stayed in Reno, NV, for long enough to finish high school and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Since finishing college, I’ve been lucky enough to work in a range of jobs, from slot machine designer to honeybee breeder.
At the U, I plan to work with Fred Adler to develop mathematical tools which better describe complex interactions in nature, especially along the human/industrial interface with the natural world. By finding new ways to frame complicated problems, and adapting mathematical tools to better fit the functionality of the natural world, perhaps we can find ways to help overcome some of the most important challenges of our times.
Debolina Banerjee, City and Metropolitan Planning
I was born in Kolkata, India. My studies, a Masters in Geography and a Masters in Environmental City Planning, introduced me to environmental geography and sustainability studies specifically veered towards creating environmentally robust urban centers, methods to apply geographic knowledge into pragmatic solutions for urban quandaries, and methods of controlling urban air pollution. These culminated in a desire to further my research acumen in designing an adaptive city, resilient towards any natural or anthropocentric hazard.
In the University of Utah I shall be working with Sarah Hinners. My research will concentrate on sustainable development in developing countries. My research will assay a planning area from an ecological perspective and correlate the role of efficient natural resource management with overall prosperity of all sections of the society. This study will reiterate the importance of urban design through correlation analysis of incompatible land uses, economic burden on health, and give a positive direction towards reorientation of existing policies safeguarding both human health and natural environment.
Kevin Craft, Atmospheric Science
I was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Math. I enjoy spending time in the mountains running, cycling, hiking and skiing.
I will be studying under Dr. John Horel in the department of Atmospheric Sciences mountain meteorology group. I hope to contribute to the group and their effort to solve air quality issues over areas of complex terrain, among other various problems. I look forward to working on entirely new problems and learning about the atmosphere and the many weather phenomena.
Dale Forrister, Biology
Born and raised on a dirt road surrounded by forest in rural Vermont, I’ve always grown up with an appreciation for nature. In college, I decided to head west to studied Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish at Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, OR. Living in the Pacific North West opened my eyes to how beautiful and awe-inspiring pristine, old growth, forests can be. I've greatly enjoyed living in Utah for the past two years and exploring its natural wonders through backpacking, biking, hiking and skiing.
I was able to connect my deep seated passion for Latin America and interest in forest ecology when I took a job as a field technician for Drs. Phyllis Coley and Thomas Kursar where we worked in Tiputini, Ecuador studying tropical trees and their insect herbivores. I have spent the past two years working in the Coley/Kursar lab here at the University of Utah and I look forward to beginning a Ph.D in the same lab. I plan to continue studying plant herbivore interactions in the tropics, focusing on plant defense chemistry and how plant defense traits influences the diversity of insects found in tropical forests.
Majid Heidarifar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
I was born in Iran, and received a B.S. degree from Isfahan University of Technology and a Master's degree from University of Tehran both in electrical engineering with the focus on power systems.
The widespread adoption of renewable energy resources and electric vehicles (EVs) in the future power systems to mitigate the destructive effects of global warming is unavoidable. However, the existing power systems may not tolerate high penetration of these resources, because of increasing the likelihood of occurring overload and overvoltage events in power systems components. The existing power system infrastructures must indeed be strengthened, requiring a huge amount of financial budget; indeed, the economic constraints in each engineering decision are limiting factors. The main focus of my research during my Masters studies was to propose methodologies for existing power systems to accommodate substantial penetration of renewables and EVs.I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering with Masood Parvania.
Kimberly Kernan, Environmental Dispute Resolution Program
I grew up in the Seattle area and obtained my law degree from the University of Washington. After spending eight years as a trial attorney, I took a break and spent a summer volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Institute. Subsequently, I moved to Bay Area and became a municipal attorney working on various land use, real estate development, and environmental issues. Many of these City and County projects involved the public, private, and non-profits sectors making for fascinating, but complex negotiations.
I will be working towards my L.L.M. in Environmental Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. My goal is to combine my multi-faceted negotiations background with current legal issues and identify potential public-private projects that could benefit from collaborative negotiation in search of sustainable outcomes. Specifically, I intend to focus my research on the rapidly developing areas of community solar and micro-grids and the legal and administrative challenges that impede the advancement of these types of energy systems.
Leaving my southern California roots, I moved to Pennsylvania to attend Franklin & Marshall College where I received a B.A. in the geosciences. Since then, I have worked in both the private sector of groundwater exploration and at the American Geophysical Union (AGU). At AGU, I was able to combine my interest in social psychology, environmental activism, and the geosciences by interpreting datasets to increase inclusivity in the industry and broaden the audience of geoscience advancements.
I am attending the University of Utah to work towards developing a more sustainable pattern of natural resource consumption by highlighting the interconnectedness of earth-systems. I will work towards this objective through the Global Change & Sustainability Center as well as the interdisciplinary research on the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) with Dr. Brenda Bowen. My concentration will be on the groundwater flow and structural conditions beneath the BSF.
I was born in the Denver area and was raised in Southeast Idaho. My interest in the relationship between societies and their environments led me to study Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at Utah State University. I enjoy living in the West because of the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, and skiing in particular. (Protect our winters!)
While working towards a Master’s in City and Metropolitan Planning at The U, I hope to learn how societies can use their resources more efficiently and reduce waste, and to adapt to changing conditions. I am also interested in the integration of human and natural systems. I will be working with Dr. Danya Rumore on collaborative resilience planning efforts in Zion National Park and gateway communities, in the face of increased visitation, limited water resources, and perceived threats to local quality of life. I am excited for the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of faculty and students with a shared enthusiasm for sustainability.
I’m East Coast born and bred, originally from Connecticut. I'm also a recent graduate of UConn, where I achieved my Bachelors in Anthropology with a minor in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology. I made the big move out West this summer to achieve my Master’s in Anthropology, under the Evolutionary Ecology concentration.
My primary research interests concern the evolutionary ecology of human social networks- how social networks are formed in certain environments, what possible functions they provide, and what strategies are used to maintain them. I plan to work in collaboration with Dr. Shane Macfarlan of the Department of Anthropology, who studies small-scale societies in Mexico, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and Ecuador. By combining our interests, I plan to assess how people employ social networks to buffer socio-ecological risk associated with climate change. In today’s world, small scale societies often have the unfortunate burden of being the first to feel the impacts of change in the Earth’s ecosystems. By studying the support networks of small-scale populations, I hope to improve the well-being of those who are impacted by climate change through empirically-based, culturally-sensitive policy, and possibly be able to ‘scale up’ results to improve first-world nations’ ability to contend with these changes.
I grew up in rural Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where I studied Geography and German. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, drawing, and reading.
At the University of Utah, I am working toward my Master's in Geography, studying climatology and other areas of physical geography. Working with Dr. Simon Brewer, I plan to focus on climate modeling. I am interested in relatively short-term changes primarily on the North American continent during the past few thousand years. While I was earning my B.S., I had the opportunity to participate on a study abroad trip at a sustainable energy company in Germany. It was there that my eyes were opened to the significance of sustainability. With my research, I hope I can help distinguish between the effects of natural phenomena and the impacts of human activity on climate in order to help direct policy to limit both climatic changes and their societal impacts.
Originally from Tucson Arizona, I moved to Salt Lake City at an early age and have pretty much grown up in Utah. I held interdisciplinary interests throughout undergrad by receiving a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Philosophy from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. While in Oregon I also received my Permaculture certificate and I remain an avid gardener and love the outdoors.
As a student of S.J. Quinney College of Law my research interests involve raising awareness of legal issues pertaining to animal law and environmental law. I have always been interested in how states can work to strengthen regulations governing factory farms that promote both sustainable and ethical changes. I will be working with various faculty of the College of Law on my research project during my time as a GCSC Fellow. I am so grateful for the support of the GCSC to enable my pursuit of interdisciplinary studies at the University of Utah and I look forward to working with the other Fellows.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, I spent my youth engaging in various outdoor activities and reading. I received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah, where I decided to stay to do my Ph.D.
I am working towards my Ph.D. under Dr. Eric Pardyjak from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and we work on topics related to environmental fluid dynamics. Currently, I am working on developing low-cost, distributed embedded systems that can be used to take atmospheric and environmental measurements over varied terrain. I then apply machine learning algorithms to this data to produce meaningful conclusions from the data without resorting to physics-based models. Ultimately, I would like to increase the performance of both the measurement and analysis systems in environmental applications.
Department of Geology and Geophysics
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, I headed further south for college and received a B.S. in Geology and a B.A. in Spanish from Florida State University. During my undergraduate career, I had an internship with a local geotechnical engineering firm that inspired my interest in the overlap between geology and engineering.
I am specifically interested in geologic hazards; the mechanisms that cause them, and also the way communities make efforts to prevent and remediate them. As a reflection of this interest, I will be working towards an M.S. in Geological Engineering with Dr. Paul Jewell studying earthquake hazards along the Wasatch Fault in Salt Lake City.
A native to the Pacific Northwest, I moved out east to attend Boston College and earned a BA in Communication, with a minor in Environmental Studies. After four years in Boston, I realized that I missed the west, and so I moved to Salt Lake City to attend the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah. Following the completion of my Masters degree, I spent four years working in alternative energy in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.
Through my work in renewable energy I started to notice the array in social perceptions of alternative energy. I am interested in how people respond to certain language, messaging and framing of ideas with regards to energy production and usage. More so, what is it that influences society's perceptions and values, and from that how do we create cultural change with regards to our energy selection? I will be exploring these questions while working towards my PhD with my adviser Professor Sara Yeo in the Communication department.
I grew up at a summer camp on Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. I then moved to Southern California to attend the University of Redlands, where I studied environmental science and physics, played lacrosse, and was an outdoor trip leader. I studied abroad in Kenya and Tanzania, where I had the opportunity to do field research for wildlife management. After graduating, I moved to The Republic of Palau in Micronesia, where I worked as a natural history kayak guide and spent my free time scuba diving and exploring the ocean. My work with ecological sustainability is interconnected to my interest in earth sciences. After living through Typhoon Haiyan, which tore straight through Palau, my interest in atmospheric science was ignited.
In the University of Utah¹s department of atmospheric science, I will be working with Dr. Ed Zipserto research the global distribution of precipitation, using satellite estimates and more detailed data from surface-based field campaigns. Some of the outstanding unanswered questions relate as much to understanding current global and regional climate as they do to future climate. One such question is whether flood-producing rainstorms are more closely related to the intensity of individual storms, or to the larger-scale circulation systems that determine the environment of storms.
I was born and raised in Florida and received my B.S. in Meteorology from Florida State University. During my time as an undergraduate at FSU, I studied heavy rainfall events in the Southeastern U.S. as my Honors Thesis. I also held two internships in Pullman, WA, and Fairbanks, AK, researching Washington's air quality and impactful Alaskan weather events, respectively. Now as an Atmospheric Sciences M.S. candidate working with Dr. John Lin, I will be conducting air quality research by looking at CO2 emissions.
I grew up wandering the woods of northeast Georgia, frequently fishing for Southern Appalachian brook trout in tiny mountain streams, and gradually developed an interest and love for nature. My training in communication studies at the University of Georgia and in communication and cultural studies at Indiana University, where much of my research focused on environmental justice rhetoric, enabled me to complicate and enrich my understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and culture.
In the University of Utah's department of communication, I will be working with Dr. Danielle Endres, developing an interdisciplinary research program that addresses the connections between what I call 'the chemical and the cultural', a project that confronts questions about what it means to be a political subject in a world where chemicals are ubiquitous. What does it mean to 'involuntarily ingest' chemicals? Or 'willfully expose' oneself to chemicals? How do the chemical and the cultural converge? And what does it mean to enact a politics against or in favor of particular chemicals? Such questions anchor the Chemical Cultures project and provide fodder not only for conversations but also for thoughtful contemplation during my routine hikes and fishing trips in the Salt Lake Valley.
Originally from China, I received my B.S. from the University of Oregon, where I majored in Sociology and International Studies, and minored in Environmental Studies and Political Science. I love cue sports and was an active player in the local pool league in Oregon.
The environment has been and will be the theme of my interdisciplinary academic training. I am particularly interested in the political economy of global climate change: how does climate change relate to the current economic system? What are the structural barriers created by the system that prevent human society from addressing climate change? And how can we overcome these barriers? My graduate advisor is Dr. Brett Clark.
I received my B.S. from Michigan Technological University in Environmental Chemistry, and went on to spend a year at Los Alamos National Lab in a post-baccalaureate program. Most recently I received my M.S. from Dartmouth College in Earth Sciences. Along the way I've made time for outdoor play, enjoying activities like running, climbing, Nordic skiing, and camping as outlets for inspiration and recharge.
Using stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen in water and air mass back trajectories as tools, I investigate current and future climate via incipient changes to the hydrologic cycle. My Master's research investigated this topic in Barrow, Alaska. During my PhD with advisor Gabe Bowen, I hope to include greater expanses of the Arctic as well as shift focus to regions prone to drought.
I grew up in New York City. I attended Skidmore College where I studied mathematics and environmental studies. After graduating, I participated in The Post - Baccalaureate Program for Women in Mathematics at Smith College.
My current research interests lie in mathematical biology. In particular, I'm interested in studying infectious diseases and how mathematical concepts can be used by incorporating environmental and biological components to study disease dynamics. My graduate advisor is Dr. Fred Adler.
Department of City & Metropolitan Planning
I was born and educated in the bustling city of Kolkata, India. I completed my undergraduate degree in Architecture from Bengal Engineering & Science University, India, after which I moved to Delhi, where I earned a post graduate degree in Urban Planning from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. As a final year project, I analyzed the environmental impacts of human activities such as poor sanitation habits, discharge of effluent into water channels, and construction of rapid transit systems on the river beds. I first worked as an Urban Researcher in Chennai, India, and later worked as an Architect and Urban Planner in Kolkata, India.
In the course of my post graduation, and later while working on field, my interests gradually shifted from core architecture to physical infrastructure planning. I believe good infrastructure is accessible to all regardless of financial ability, which was the primary driving force of the shift. My research interests include development of water & sanitation management systems, along with design and planning of the same in congruence with transit development. My graduate advisor is Dr. Reid Ewing.
I grew up in a small town called Hoi An in Vietnam. For many reasons, I call myself a country boy. I have lived my whole life by the beach, where I play soccer and swim almost every day. I attended high school in Vietnam, and received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona in Southern California. I have been in the States as an international student for 6 years and I am very excited to attend the University of Utah for my doctorate degree.
I am working towards my PhD with Dr. Amanda Smith in the Mechanical Engineering Department. My research involves in experimentally demonstrating of pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) membrane technology for hydroelectric power generation. This project will advance the implementation of PRO over technical and economic barriers.
Department of Geography
Originally from upstate New York, I held interdisciplinary interests throughout undergrad by receiving a B.A. in English Literature and Geological Science from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Now that I am a member of the University of Utah’s geography department, I am very excited to continue interdisciplinary work through collaborating with the other GCSC fellows. At the University of Utah I will be pursing an M.S. working with Dr. Andrea Brunelle focusing on the reconstruction of past climates using pollen. After moving across the country, I'm excited to immerse myself in the natural beauty of the Western United States by exploring Utah's many national parks. When I’m not doing research I enjoy hiking, skiing and reading science fiction novels.
As a transplant to the Beehive State, I’m excited to return to mountains, rivers and the desert. Over the past ten years I have filled my days working as a field science instructor, river guide, challenge course facilitator, and most recently program coordinator for outdoor experiential education at Loyola University Chicago. I received a B.A. in International Literature and Environmental Studies from Colby College, and completed a M.S. in Experiential Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
I have always been fascinated, albeit broadly, by the way we humans think about and relate with nature. My proposed doctoral work with Dr. Matthew Brownlee uses the biophilia lens to examine the relationship between immersive outdoor experiences within winter environments and phenomenological constructions of winter. I am grateful for the support of the GCSC to enable my pursuit of interdisciplinary inquiry at the University of Utah.
In many ways, I am a city girl. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. However, I have developed a very strong passion for the great outdoors. Growing up, I was interested in how people in cities connected to nature. My interests lead me to gain my B.A. from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME), where I doubled in Biology and Africana Studies and minored in English.
I am starting my PhD with Dr. Diane Pataki. My research will explore the links between pollution and sociodemographics. I plan to use nitrogen stable isotopes as indicators of pollution in Salt Lake City.
I am from Arlington, VA. I attended Skidmore College in Upstate New York where I played varsity basketball. I have been a volunteer firefighter for the last 7 years. I will be studying under Bill Johnson with a focus in hydrology.
I am interested in surface groundwater interactions. Eventually, I would like to research the implication of forest fires on surface and groundwater systems.
Department of Mechanical EngineeringI grew up in Sandy, UT, where at a relatively young age I realized that I had a natural talent for math and I enjoyed discovering the way things worked. Mechanical engineering seemed like the obvious career choice. After serving a church mission in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, I came home with a strong interest in sustainability and renewable sources of energy. I am also interested in thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics, and have been working in the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the U.
My current research involves the parameterization of turbulent transport of momentum, heat, and scalars over rough and mountainous terrain. I am using data that we acquired during the Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Modeling and Observations Program (MATERHORN) to evaluate current parameterizations and to explore alternatives. MATERHORN is a large, multi-institution, cross-discipline study centered on a field experiment that took place in Utah’s West Desert at Dugway Proving Ground in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013.
Department of City and Metropolitan PlanningI currently split my time between Moab and Salt Lake City. I chose to live in southeastern Utah because of the lifestyle amenities it offers -- outdoor recreation, wild landscapes, and an eclectic mix of people. Before moving here, I spent time in Malawi (sustainable community development) and India (interfaith peacebuilding). I received a B.S. in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkeley.I am a transdisciplinary thinker that operates from a systems worldview. As a PhD student in City and Metropolitan Planning, I look at the interdependence of people, place, and design. Emphasizing the roles of water in the West, I am interested in applying our understanding of human-nature relationships to (re)create healthy communities. I am a founding member of the Ecological Planning Center and the Metropolitan Water Lab, and will work on the iUTAH- opens new window project in 2013-14.
Department of GeographyOriginally from the New York metropolitan area, I studied Anthropology and Studio Art as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont. As an Anthropology student, I focused on environmental problems and globalization, particularly looking at conflicts involving indigenous communities. I studied abroad for one year with the International Honors Program “Rethinking Globalization,” which was a mind-bending and informative investigative process in the extreme.At the University of Utah, I am working through the Geography department to study climate change science and policy. I am interested in investigating how the science of climate change can be communicated in a way that promotes climate change mitigating efforts. I am excited about cultivating a holistic understanding of climate change, with the goal of supporting a career in advocacy for climate change mitigation.
Department of Biology
I am originally from Indiana, but mostly grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO and traveled back to New Mexico for a post-baccalaureate position at Los Alamos National Laboratory for a year. I was primarily involved with groundwater monitoring and environmental remediation; performing field work, collecting data, and lending technical support.
Currently I am working in a biogeochemistry group and will soon begin a project exploring ecohydrology of riparian trees and hydrogeology. I am particularly interested in the soil/plant and water interface, and the cycling of nutrients and energy between these systems. I look forward to working with ecological stable isotope experts in both biology and geophysics, as well as collaborating with peers throughout the U of U.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA where I developed a fascination with rivers and streams, since they are abundant in that region. I attended Penn State University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and my master’s degree in Environmental Pollution Control. I have worked in both the public and private sectors in Maryland, Texas, and Utah. Throughout my career, I have been most interested in sediment transport, fluvial geomorphology, and stormwater runoff. Currently, I am working towards a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering where I plan to research the effects that the shale oil & gas industry has on sediment transport and geomorphology of receiving streams
I graduated from the University of Utah in Environmental and Sustainability Studies B.S., Japanese B.A., and Geography B.S. in December 2011. I am currently a part of the Geography M.S. program. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. I participated in a one year study abroad program in Japan where I discovered a profound interest in man-nature relationships and geographic differences between areas.I study the use of remote sensing to identify plant species and species level characteristics at large spatial scales. I am focused on the use of remote sensed imagery in tracking and assessing invasive species distribution and vegetation responses to climate change. Kenneth is now a GIS/RS Technician at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.
I grew up in Upstate New York just outside of Albany. I did my undergraduate studies at the University at Albany with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science. I received my M.S. degree in Meteorology at Plymouth State University where I did my thesis on the modeling ice accretion in cold and alpine environments.Currently, I am investigating the sources and sinks of air pollution in the Salt Lake using the Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport Model (STILT) coupled with Weather Research and Forecast model WRF-ARW which will output the meteorological fields needed to drive the STILT model. This model will allow us to quantitatively identify the upstream regions that are producing the most air pollution (both anthropogenic and natural sources). Derek is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with the Land-Atmosphere Interactions Research and Fire Modeling groups at the University of Utah.
I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Pomona College in 2009 with a BA in Biology. I have lived and traveled throughout South America. Here in Salt Lake I am enjoying learning and teaching at the U as well as exploring Utah’s fantastic wilderness.I am fascinated by the ways that organisms interact with each other- from the mutualisms between plants and seed dispersers to host-parasite relationships. As global change reshapes species’ ranges, novel contacts between organisms will continue to increase and understanding their impact on one another will be key for species’ management and conservation. I joined the Clayton-Bush Lab at the University of Utah in 2009 to study malaria parasites of invasive birds. I hope to better understand how parasites shape host behavior.
I am a Ph.D. student in the Urban Planning, Policy & Design program. Before coming to Salt Lake City, I spent 2011-2012 researching the urban heat island in Pune, India as a Fulbright scholar. I also worked at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Lower Sonoran Field Office in Phoenix. Planning is a second career; I started professional life as a journalist at The Arizona Republic newspaper, Dwell magazine, America West (Airlines) Magazine, and other publications. I hold a Master's in Urban & Environmental Planning and a bachelor's in English literature, both from Arizona State University.My broad research interest is urban environmental policy that linking urban systems to natural resource use, air pollution, and climate change. At the U, I am working on projects dealing with the urban heat island, international governance for sustainable development, and regional climate change mitigation policies.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Water resources engineer at Intera Geoscience Engineering Solutions in Tampa, FL.
I am currently a doctoral student in Civil Engineering department at University of Utah. I completed my Masters in Civil Engineering from University of Toledo, Ohio.
My master’s research was focused on modeling pollutant removal using constructed wetland. After completing my master’s, I returned to my home county Nepal and worked in International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as a consultant for over a year. My research in IWMI focused in surface water quality modeling area. I have experience modeling the influence of land use change and climate change impacts using WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning) model. My specific research interests are in the areas of stormwater management, climate change impacts and sustainable water resources management.
I grew up in Boise, Idaho. In elementary school, I become deeply fascinated by weather. In junior high school, I fell in love even more with the Earth sciences, and I studied geosciences (specifically hydrology) and applied math at Boise State University.
I am currently studying the projected changes in the climate of the Wasatch Front and Range, specifically the changes in precipitation timing, type, and amount, and the effects these changes will have on water availability for those of us living along the Wasatch.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Senior Staff Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants
I was born in the capital city of Iran, Tehran. I pursued my elementary and higher education there, as well as my bachelor and master in Civil Engineering. Both my bachelor and master theses focused on water resources engineering, which guided me towards my professional career in Iran.
I am working on Urban Water Infrastructure Sustainability Evaluation (uWISE) project. The goal of the uWISE is to develop a stormwater model for the studied area, Toledo, Ohio, to evaluate the performance of Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) system in terms of sustainability, flood control and environmental impacts; then the optimum scheme of the area according to the usage and placement of RWH system will be proposed for current and future conditions. It studies the advantages of RWH system in controlling the impacts of climate change, land use change and urban expansion which are supposed to take place in future. Hassan is now Assistant Professor in Water Resources Engineering at San Diego State University.
I am from Schenectady, a city in upstate NY. Growing up, I would spend Sunday afternoons on my paternal grandparents' farm and summers in the Adirondack Park with my maternal grandparents. As a result, I became interested in the impact humans have on the environment at an early age. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, I majored in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Economics. After working as a research assistant in the field of Environmental Economics, I realized I was most interested in the mathematical techniques used in the development of models that helped explain natural phenomena and anthropogenic effects. Before entering the Mathematics Ph.D. program at the University of Utah, I received a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Mathematics from the Center for Women in Mathematics at Smith College. My research areas of interest include climate modeling, natural resource modeling, mathematical biology, and dynamical systems.
I am an enrolled Navajo tribal member, and grew up on the Navajo Nation. I am a Ph.D. student in the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Utah. I received a M.W.R. in Water Resources and a B.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico.
My research interests span the fields of hydrology, chemistry and geology, which is reflected in the breadth of past and current research projects. Studying stream water isotopes in Red Butte Creek will provide hydrological data for the Red Butte Creek system. The collected data will be effective in understanding the human impacts on a natural system by conducting high frequency monitoring.
I am originally from Corona del Mar, CA. I did my undergrad at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL and received a B.S. in geology. In addition to my geologic interests, I am interested in archaeology, especially of the ancient near East.
My research focuses on clastic liquefaction features and their associated soft sediment deformation in the Jurassic Carmel Formation in Southern Utah. These liquefaction features called clastic pipes or injectities can further our understanding of reservoir characterization and can be used as analogs for Martian geomorphic features. Additionally, these features have specific formation conditions, which allow for paleoenivornment and paleoclimate reconstruction.
Department of Geography - Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Department of Biology - Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - Postdoctoral Research Associate at Renaissance Computing Institute.
Department of City and Metropolitan Planning - Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - Engineer and Project Manager at Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Department of Geology and Geophysics - Hydrologist, Utah Water Science Center, Salt Lake City.
Department of Mechanical Engineering - Sr. R&D Engineer at Sandia National Laboratories.
Department of Biology - Postdoctoral Researcher at Virginia Tech
Department of Mathematics - Postdoctoral Researcher, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, U Texas, Austin
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - civil engineer at Murray, Smith & Associates, Seattle