Alumni

Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Benjamin Goldstein
Benjamin Goldstein
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2020
Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University
Research interests: Political Industrial Ecology, Urban Metabolism, Urban Political Ecology, Urban and Regional Food Systems, and Industrial Ecology.

Benjamin is currently Assistant Professor of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He is the founder and lead of the Sustainable Urban-Rural Futures (SURF LAB). His work focuses on the sustainable production, procurement, and consumption of food, fuels, and fibres. He uses tools from industrial ecology, geography, and engineering to quantify and map the relationships between urban processes and environmental change at bioresource production sites within the city and beyond its borders. Benjamin worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability’s Erb Institute. Benjamin’s research domains include agroforestry products in Southeast Asia, livestock production systems in North and Central America, and the urban centers that drive the demand for these and other products. In his previous research, he developed novel methods to environmentally footprint cities, expanding on these in his dissertation work to explore the environmental outcomes of urban agriculture expansion in Boston. Benjamin has published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Environmental Science & Technology, Environmental Research Letters, PLoS ONE and Current Opinions on Environmental Sustainability, amongst other journals, and his research has seen media coverage by Bloomberg Technology and Seeker (Discovery Channel).
To learn more about Benjamin Goldstein and his work, follow him on:

Academia

Research Gate

Google Scholar
Alec Foster
Alec Foster
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018
Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment at Illinois State University.
Research interests: Urban Political Ecology, Urban Forests and Urban Greenspaces, Affective Ecologies, Environmental Justice, and Volunteered Geographic Information.

Alec Foster worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan from 2016 to 2018. He is now an assistant professor at Illinois State University. He is a broadly trained Urban Geographer, with both quantitative and qualitative research skills and experience. His dissertation research examines the role of participation in urban environmental stewardship on Philadelphian’s sense of self, place, and nature. Alec has also published geospatial analyses of financial inclusion and environmental justice in The Professional Geographer and Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. Current projects include a time series analysis of urban gardens in Detroit’s Lower East Side and developing integrative approaches to the food-energy-water nexus.
To learn more about Alec Foster and his work, follow him on:

Academia

Research Gate

Twitter
Doctorate (Ph.D.)

SanazChamanara
Sanaz Chamanara
Ph.D., 2021
Present: Reserach Scientist at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Research interests: Environmental Policy and Planning, Environmental Justice, Sustainable Supply Chain Governance, and Circular Economy.

Sanaz is a reserach scientist at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her work focuses on the planning of envrionemntally sustainable and socially responsible supply chains using tools from environmental policy, environmental justice, supply chain governance, and industrial ecology. Sanaz finished her doctoral studies at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2021. Her dissertation research explored the environmental justice and governance dynamics of supply chains with a spatially-explicit life cycle approach. She received her master’s degree in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Michigan, with a thesis that looked at the Impact of Green Infrastructure on the perception of Safety in Detroit. She is the recipient of NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award, Rackham Doctoral Dissertation Award, Dow Sustainability Doctoral Fellowship, American Association of University Women (AAUW) International fellowship and Landscape Architecture Foundation Honor Scholarship in Memory of Joe Lalli, FASLA. Before coming to Michigan, Sanaz worked on several projects related to urban sustainable development, Green Infrastructure, rehabilitation of urban gardens and urban resiliency with Shiraz Municipality and University of Shiraz. Sanaz also has a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from National University of Iran.
To learn more about Sanaz and her work, follow her on:

Google Scholar

Linkedin

Twitter
JianxunYang
Jianxun Yang
Visiting Ph.D., 2021
Present: Ph.D. candidate, Nanjing University.
Research interests: Environmental Risk Management, Climate Change Communications, Environmental Justice, Environmental Psychology.

Jianxun was a visiting doctoral student at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) (2020.2-2021.7). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Nanjing University, China. His research interests focus on using psychophysiological and neuroscience tools to understand how human perceive various environmental risks, and how the environment might affect human mental and physical health. He has published in Global Environmental Change, Environmental Science & Technology and Journal of Cleaner Production. In UM, he worked on a new project to use social media data (twitter etc.) to analyze public opinions of climate change.
To learn more about Jianxun and his work, follow him on:

Google Scholar

Linkedin

Twitter
K. Arthur Endsley
K. Arthur Endsley
Ph.D., 2019
Present: Research Scientist at the University of Montana’s Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG).
Research interests: Neighborhood change, Urban land-use and land-cover change, Remote sensing methods, Complex systems.

Arthur completed his PhD in Natural Resources and Scientific Computing in 2019. He is now a Research Scientist at the University of Montana’s Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG). His dissertation research explored the associations between socio-economic and biophysical changes in residential neighborhoods, particularly in landscapes affected by population loss, using satellite remote sensing and fine time series data on housing market conditions. While at the University of Michigan, his work was supported by a Dow Sustainability Doctoral Fellowship and by a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. He is a certified Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry Instructor with broad interests in the application of scientific computing and satellite remote sensing for the study of coupled human and natural systems..
To learn more about Arthur and his work, follow him on:

Google Scholar

Personal Blog

Twitter
Sara Meerow
Sara Meerow
Ph.D., 2017
Present: Assistant Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University
Research interests: Urban Resilience, Urban adaptation to climate change, Green infrastructure

Sara completed her PhD in 2017 and is now an assistant professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. Her research tackles the challenge of how to make cities more resilient in the face of socioeconomic and environmental threats in a way that is sustainable and just. Her dissertation combined more conceptual studies of urban resilience with empirical research n the complexities of planning for multifunctional green infrastructure and climate adaptation in a range of cities including Manila (Philippines), New York City, Los Angeles, and Detroit. Before coming to Michigan, Sara worked as a junior researcher on several international research projects related to urban sustainability transitions, innovation, and renewable energy development at the University of Amsterdam. She also received her master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam, with a thesis that looked at policies for small-scale renewable power generation in Thailand and their impact on the resilience of the energy sector. Sara has a dual bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Florida.
To learn more about Sara Meerow and her work, follow her on:

Academia

Research Gate

Twitter
Josh Cousins
Joshua Cousins
Ph.D., 2016
Present: Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies at SUNY-ESF
Research interests: Political ecology, Science and technology studies, Water resources, Environmental governance, Industrial ecology

Joshua has a BA in Geography from the University of Colorado and a MS in Geography from Portland State University. He has published in Geoforum on the urban water metabolism of Los Angeles and in Progress in Human Geography on developing approaches that bridge political and industrial ecology. His dissertation research explores the emergence and evolution of new technologies and management strategies to capture, recycle, and utilize stormwater as a beneficial resource, rather than treat it as a hazard or as contaminated runoff. Focusing on Los Angeles and Chicago as case studies, the research focuses on how the linkages between technological development and environmental governance on the one hand, and political-economic and social perspectives on the other, influence how stormwater projects are implemented and understood.
To learn more about Joshua Cousins and his work, follow him on:

Academia

Research Gate

Twitter
Oh Seok Kim
Oh Seok Kim
Ph.D. Geography, 2013
Present: Research Professor, Korea University
Research interests: Sustainable Urban Redevelopment, Urban Political Ecology, Urban Adaptation to Climate Change

Oh earned his doctorate from the University of Southern California under the supervision of Professor Josh Newell. His research was about measuring carbon footprints of deforestation in China, and, based on his expertise in carbon accounting and spatial methods, Oh has consulted a few carbon offset projects in Southeast Asia and North Korea with researchers at Seoul National University and Korea University. Recently, Oh joined the Korea Environmental Institute, the national environmental policy think tank, to plan climate adaptation strategies for South Korea.
Masters (M.S.)
Kimin Cho
Kimin Cho
M.S. Candidate, Environmental Justice, 2020
Research interests: Sustainable Supply Systems, Industrial Ecology, and Environmental justice

Kimin has a BA in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. His interests lie in wealth redistribution, environmental injustice, and socioeconomic injustice issues. He is also interested in corporate sustainability efforts, and the public sector risk management systems. He is currently working on an innovative project to find ways to make avocado supply chain more sustainable.
Christian Noyce
Christian Noyce
M.S. Candidate, Environmental Policy and Planning; Environmental Justice, 2020
Research interests: Environmental Justice, transportation

Christian’s interests lie in examining environmental justice implications of market driven environmental policy. I am also interested in the equity, implementation, and access of electrification within public and private transportation. Within the USRG, Christian works on non point source agricultural emissions and their connections to the food on our tables.
Alex Bennett
Alex Bennett
M.S. Candidate, Environmental Justice, 2018
Research interests: Urban sustainability, Political ecology

Alex has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland and extensive laboratory research experience. He is working with the Urban Sustainability Research Group on the Mapping Detroit’s Hidden Social Geographies project, mapping informal footpaths in vacant land throughout Detroit. His research seeks to explore informal yet productive uses of “vacant” land in the City so they can be incorporated into future plans and policies.
Zhenzhen Zhang
Zhenzhen Zhang
M.S. & M.L.A Candidate, Environmental Informatics and Landscape Architecture
2017
Research interests: Green infrastructure, Urban sustainability

Zhenzhen is currently a Master’s student in the school of SNRE. Her current research focuses on the landscape connectivity of the City of Detroit, from a multi-scale perspective, to utilize the existing vacant parcels to build corridor for both humans and animals living in this city. Her work advances better involving ecology and urban sustainability in future planning and design.
Grace Rodriguez
Grace Rodriguez
M.S. & M.S.E Candidate, Sustainable Systems & Environmental Engineering
2017
Research interests: Water Systems and Urban Sustainability

Grace is currently a Master’s student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the College of Engineering. Prior to joining the dual degree program at the University of Michigan, Grace obtained a B.S. of Zoology from Michigan State University and worked for two years as a Biodata Curator at Names for Life, a startup interested in increasing the accessibility of microbial data. Her thesis is looking into sustainable drinking water infrastructure in Bangladesh, and she is currently working on the Detroit Urban Garden project with the Urban Sustainability Research Group.
Adam Reichenberger
Adam Reichenberger
Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems
2017
Research interests: Community Involved Urban Agriculture, Green Space Reclamation, Small Business Owner Financial Protections

Adam is a farmer. For the past 3 years he has worked at various non-profit urban farms and small-scale, sustainable market farms in a number of locations across the US. Adam earned an MA in Econometrics from Kansas State University in 2011, and worked as an Economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics prior to gaining interest in sustainable community farming systems. He currently is performing research assignments in SNRE under Professor Joshua Newell, and in the Law School under former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Professor Michael Barr.
Dana Wall
Dana Wall
M.U.P./M.S., Environmental Policy and Planning, 2016
Present: Project Manager at The Street Plans Collaborative
Research interests: Parks and Open Space Planning, Placemaking, and Urban Waterways

Dana is currently a Dow Master’s Sustainability Fellow, and served as the Sustainability Chair of the Urban Planning Association at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Before attending the University of Michigan to pursue her dual degree, she worked in the Green Urbanism department of Global Green USA, a non-profit in Santa Monica, CA, where she conducted an urban agriculture feasibility study for Youngstown, OH. For the last two summers, she has worked in New York City for the New York City Parks Department and the Design Trust for Public Space.
Brandon List
Brandon List
M.S., Sustainable Systems, 2016
Present: Landscape Architect, Forum Studio
Research interests: Urban Sustainability, Water Systems and the built environment

Brandon has a BLA from Michigan State University. He worked as a landscape architect and planner for a Detroit-based architecture and planning firm for five years prior to attending the University of Michigan. He was involved in a variety of large-scale planning projects both in Detroit and internationally.
Andrew Fang
Andrew Fang
M.S. Sustainable Systems/M.E. Energy Systems Engineering, 2012
Ph.D. Geography, 2013
Present: Ph.D. Candidate, Renewables and Environment, University of Minnesota
Research interests: Urban sustainability and carbon footprinting

Andrew has gone on to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. His work focused on the interactions between water-energy infrastructure, specifically quantifying the emissions associated with urban water consumption in Southern California. He will continued this research at Minnesota, in the context of low carbon development in urban environments in India and China.
Anne Shishkovsky
Anne Shishkovsky
M.U.P./M.S. Sustainable Systems, 2013
Present: Community Planner, CUPPAD

Anne’s master’s project at the University of Michigan was focused on improving energy management and sustainability practices at Yellowstone National Park. She received a B.S. in Architecture and worked on historic building renovations in the City of Detroit. Currently, Anne is a Community Planner in the Upper Peninsula where she develops plans and economic development projects for rural communities.
John Willard
John Willard
M.S. Sustainable Systems, 2012
Present: Energy Analyst, Biosystems
Research interests: Green infrastructure, life-cycle inventory

John has a background in History and Geographical Information from the University of Washington. During his tenure at the University of Michigan, John worked with the Urban Sustainability Research Group on a range of projects from GIS analysis of green infrastructure in Detroit, urban expansion in the Pacific Northwest, and life-cycle inventory of the water energy nexus in Southern California, which he presented at the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology in Boston, MA.
Jordan Garfinkle
Jordan Garfinkle
M.S. Sustainable Systems,2012
Present: Environmental Analyst, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Research interests: Science-policy interface, Federal policy, Energy issues

As a result of his work with Dr. Newell, Jordan has a growing interest in the ability of cities and states to address pressing environmental issues in the absence of federal policy. He is increasingly concerned about the state of the natural world, but is optimistic about society’s capacity to tackle big challenges. Jordan is also the founder of CleanTechVerdict.com.
Katie O'Gara
Katie O’Gara
M.S. Conservation Ecology/Environmental Justice, 2014
Present: Fund Analyst, The World Bank
Research interests: International development programs

Katie is enthusiastic about the implementation of development programs that benefit the participating community, its surrounding environment, and the broader global community. In particular, Katie is focused on international development programs aimed at improving communities’ lives through the conservation of forests. While at SNRE, Katie’s research was based in Tanzania, exploring small-scale equity impacts of global programs such as the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate. Prior to being a student at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, she earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Villanova University and spend three years working in fundraising for a Central America-based conservation and development non-profit.
Kerby Smithson
Kerby Smithson
M.S. Sustainable Systems, 2011
Present: Energy Analyst, City of Asheville
Research interests: Energy, GHG accounting

After graduating with a degree in environmental technology from North Carolina State University, Kerby served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia from 2006-08 as a natural resource specialist assigned to the local government of a small, highland town. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he worked as an intern with the Clean Energy Coalition of Ann Arbor. Kerby has since moved back to North Carolina. He works primarily on greenhouse gas accounting, project managing, building efficiency upgrades, and using energy and financial data to convince leaders in local government to pursue sustainability goals.
Paul Winters
Paul Winters
M.S. Conservation Ecology/Natural Resources Management and Policy, 2014
Present: Program Examiner and Presidential Management Fellow, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President
Research interests: Metropolitan communities in regional conservation

Paul earned his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied geography and urban studies. Before attending the University of Michigan, he worked as a Research Associate for the Regional Plan Association’s Environmental and Open Space Programs in New York City. Previous experience also includes working as a Summer Associate for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.
Undergraduate (U.G.)
Jianella Macalino
Jianella Macalino
B.S. Candidate, Program in the Environment and International Studies, 2019
Research interests: Urban Sustainability, International Sustainable Development, Urban Planning and Policy

Jianella is interested in the effects of climate change and consumption on a global scale, especially in urban areas. Her research at the USRG includes tracking the supply chain of beef to find potential connections between beef production and environmental degradation and tracking land use for rubber in Sri Lanka.
Lydia Whitbeck
Lydia Whitbeck
B.S. Candidate, Program in the Environment, 2019
Research interests: Urban Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Built Environment

Lydia is working with the Urban Sustainability Group on mapping the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the United States. Her research seeks to quantify the footprint of CAFOs in the United States.
Jacob Shapiro
Jacob Shapiro
B.S. Candidate, Cognitive Science
2016
Research interests: Urban Agriculture and Vacancy

Jacob worked on a project with the Urban Sustainability Research Group to identify Detroit’s “hidden geographies”, mapping footpaths in vacant plots of land throughout the city of Detroit. His research aims to discover the ways in which communities currently use vacant land, with the ultimate goal of informing future initiatives to develop vacant land for purposes like urban agriculture.
Dominique Witten
Dominique Witten
B.S. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering
Research interests: Urban Sustainability

Dominique is working with the urban Sustainability Research Group on the Mapping Detroit’s Hidden Social Geographies project, mapping informal footpaths in vacant land throughout Detroit. Her research seeks to understand how vacant land in the city is being currently used to inform future planning and policy initiatives.