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Student Biographies

Manisha Anantharama is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation, ‘Re-Cycling Class: Green Consumption and Citizenship among the New Middle Classes of Bangalore, India’, investigates the cultural and environmental politics of emerging 'green' lifestyle practices in Bangalore. Her research is supported by the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, and the Chang Lin Tien Fellowship in Environmental Sciences. She is a member of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production and writes for The Alternative, an online sustainability magazine in Bangalore. Before coming to Berkeley, Manisha worked as a program officer and research associate at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India. She has a Master’s in Biology from the University of Oxford, UK, where she was an Inlaks scholar. 

William Attwood-Charles is a second year PhD student in Sociology at Boston College and a member of Juliet Schor's research team. Will's research interests include economic sociology, consumerism, and the sociology of work. Will is particularly interested in how work is organized and reorganized, as well as the experiences of individuals in relation to this process. He is currently conducting master's research on the adoption and implementation of lean production techniques in context of medical care.

Wei-ting Chen is a PhD candidate in sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation explores how low-income mothers view the work of family feeding in an age of heightened awareness of the relationship between diet and health. Her research is supported by the Lerner Doctoral Fellowship from the Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Wei-ting hopes that findings from her dissertation will help shed light on the multitude of challenges that prevent low-income consumers from accessing healthful and sustainably produced foods, and use the findings to inform policy and intervention strategies. In her spare time, she can be found growing food in the Blue Jay’s Perch Community Garden, of which she is a co-founder. Wei-ting received her bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology from the University of California at Davis. 

Amy K. Coplen is an Urban Studies Ph.D. student and NSF-IGERT Fellow at Portland State University. She holds a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and bachelors degrees from the University of New Mexico. Using political economy and political ecology approaches, she works to understand how race, class and gender govern transformations of urban space and conceptualizations of the value of nature. She is interested in the roles of government policy, corporate power, and alternative food movements in shaping economies, ecologies, and foodscapes in the U.S. and abroad. Her current research focuses on the exploitation of immigrant labor in the U.S. restaurant industry. Through the Summer Institute in New Economics, Amy hopes to gain insight into how we might re-conceptualize value and create true economic prosperity, social wellbeing, and ecological health.

Matthew Daly: I'm a PhD candidate with the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (Australia), entering my second year of research. My background is in Environmental Engineering; however my research will be firmly trans-disciplinary, with a strong social science focus. My research will look at community initiatives such as eco-villages, co-housing, and Transition Towns/Street, to see how they influence the lifestyle and consumption practices within a community/society. The hope is to contribute to an understanding of how sustainable practices spread and become adopted into everyday routine.

I live in the beach suburbs of Sydney, just south of Bondi Beach, and the brief moments of my life when I'm not studying I spend either surfing, playing soccer or (hopefully), planning a new travel adventure.

Liliana Davila is a Moore Fellow who recently graduated with a Master in Environmental Management from Yale University. She is currently pursuing a Master in Business Administration at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. Lili’s interests lie in the intersection between ecology, design, economy and managament in the search of sustainable solutions to pressing environmental challanges, particularly those related to integrative land use management and coastal adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Ms. Davila was awarded a Tropical Resources Institute Fellowship in 2012 to estimate the economic impacts of sea level rise and storm surge in the Pacific island of Efate, Vanuatu. However, one of Lili’s concerns continues to orbits around whether valuing the environment should be first selected options to harmonize human-nature relationships

Prior to Yale, Lili worked for 6 years on project management and technical assistance on climate change and sustainable development topics such as REDD, sustainable forest management and, sustainable consumption and production. She served as Forest and Climate Coordinator for WWF-Mexico, where she played a crucial role in supporting the Mexican Government build–up its REDD National Strategy. Ms. Davila supported the British Embassy in Mexico and UNEP’s Latin America and Caribbean Region Office by providing institutional strengthening and capacity building to government entities and establishing solid relations with governments, UN agencies, and NGO´s. While at UNEP, Lili assisted Mexican Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on corporate social responsibility on environmental issues under the Mexican UN Global Compact Initiative. Mrs. Davila has provided technical assistance through international development projects in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panamá, Perú and Vanuatu. Lili is fluent in English, Spanish and French. And, she has a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineer from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico.

Nate Ella: I'm a graduate student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  My dissertation research looks at how people are developing new land tenure strategies in order to scale up commercial urban agriculture in Chicago.  I also work on ALICE, the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange, an organization that is developing state- and local-level model laws, some of which might serve as institutional supports for a new/social economy.

Katharine Gehorn is a master's student in environmental science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She earned a master's degree in sustainable landscape design and planning from the Conway School, an environmentally focused design school in western Massachusetts. She is interested in combining design and science in ways that create stable, appropriately scaled communities that are resilient in the face of climate change and related disruptions. She has experience with community gardens and other types of gardening, sustainable residential landscape design, and the green cemetery movement. Prior to graduate school, Kate worked as a fiction copyeditor. She has a B.A. in English literature from Cornell University and hopes to use her writing and graphic design skills in the service of efforts to create sustainable local communities.

Anastasia Hervas: I am currently in the Ph.D. program at the University of Toronto (Department of Geography) working with Dr. Ryan Isakson and Dr. Danny Harvey.   My academic background and my previous research experience are primarily in the environmental field.  My undergraduate and Master's work dealt with regional climate modeling, paleo-climate and vegetation modeling, while I continued to broaden my knowledge through course work in indigenous environmental management, impacts of land-use change, and renewable energy technology and implementation.  My studies in the environmental field have lead me to realize that despite the plentiful current knowledge on climate change dynamics as well as the increasing availability of technology to minimize environmental impact of human activities, the global environmental crisis is continuing to intensify, and the barriers to implementation of environmental solutions are primarily economic and social in nature.  Furthermore, after spending some time in Bolivia and Guatemala, I witnessed first-hand the growing issues of poverty and diminishing quality of life of vulnerable communities directly related to environmental degradation and global climate-change mitigation mandates.  Thus, in my Ph.D. I decided to return to the economics field, with a focus on the global carbon trade and biofuel markets and their role in economic development and environmental consequences for peasant farmers in the Global South (primarily Latin America).  In conjunction with my Ph.D. studies, I am currently working on developing a partnership with researchers at the State University of San Carlos Guatemala for future collaborative research as well as for enabling better access to academic resources for researchers at the San Carlos University.  My hope is that my work and research will contribute to building equality through creation of opportunities for poor and marginalized populations while addressing environmental problems which go hand-in-hand with social and economic issues in the Global South.

Shannon Ikebe is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at University of California-Berkeley. His research interests include political sociology, labor and political economy, in particular on Marxian and feminist theories of political economy as well as possibilities for an emancipatory political economy. His current research is focused on the transformation of the British Labour Party into a neoliberal party, as a paradigmatic example of the demise of social democracy in the past few decades. He graduated from Oberlin College, Ohio with a BA in Politics (Highest Honors) in 2011, and is also active as Vice President of UAW Local 2865 - UC Student-Workers Union, a labor union representing more than 12,000 graduate student workers throughout the University of California system.

Joseph Kantenbacher is a PhD Candidate in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue University. Following his undergraduate career, he worked for a couple of years on a small, organic farm and learned the meaning of land ethic. As a graduate student, Joe has worked on the economics of carbon and renewable energy systems and contributed to the development of two environmental impact calculators. His dissertation work examines the relationship between consumption and well-being, and the role of each in the development of a sustainable economy. Joe is quite fond of teaching and has co-designed and taught his own undergraduate seminar, “Behavior and Sustainability.”

Zachary Lamb is beginning a PhD program in sociology at the University of Minnesota this fall. He is interested in the tensions between gift and market exchange relationships in new economics institutions, as well as in the relationships between class position and the meanings of participation in new economics institutions. He has done an ethnographic thesis on exchange in Couch Surfing and Air Bed and Breakfast at the University of Chicago. Zach currently works for Sophia Learning in Minneapolis, MN where he has taught a MOOC Introduction to Sociology course.

Jeremiah Morelock is a PhD student in Sociology at Boston College. His current master’s research is on how therapists and therapeutic coordinators in mental health experience the influence of insurance company requirements. His interests include organizations, medical sociology, and social theory. He is especially interested in bureaucracy, power, and decision-making dynamics in health and mental health organizations.  Jeremiah worked as an outpatient therapist before coming to Boston College.

Nicole Motzer: My initial interest in alternative economies sprung from my involvement with local food systems as an undergraduate at the University of Florida. Now in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, I am continuing my interest in the geography of food, farming and rural development. With support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, my dissertation will investigate the economic, social, and environmental opportunities offered by producer cooperatives and regional food hubs in remote, high-poverty communities of the United States. I am also apart of a research team that investigates the impacts of community-based natural resource management on poverty and inequality in southern Africa. Outside of research and academics, my interests include yoga, hiking, gardening, birding, traveling and cooking.

Molly Noble is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a project assistant at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Her masters research examined the ownership structure of corn ethanol plants in Wisconsin in relation to the local economic development process. Her current research explores the legal and economic infrastructure of employee owned businesses in the United States. She earned her BA at New York University. Prior to living in Madison she worked at the New York City Department of Small Business Services and One City/One Community, a pilot project designed to increase communication among New York City social service agencies. 

Laureen K. O’Brien is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation focuses on the impact of mediated employment relationships on temporary agency organizations and contingent employment.   Laureen is currently engaged in projects related to employment discrimination, managerial employment, temporary employment, and organizations. She has a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in Business from San Jose State University.  Her research interests include organizations, Work and Employment, Economic Sociology, and Inequality; she has taught classes in organizations, inequality, the sociology of work, and soon, statistics.

Kate Olson will be starting the Ph.D. program in Sociology at Boston College this fall. She has a B.A. from Middlebury College and recently earned an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Kate is also an Intern at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), where she has focused on their inequality and sustainability research project.

Jacquelynn M. Parent received her B.A. in sociology from Missouri State University where she graduated Cum Laude.  She completed her M.A. in sociology at the University of Arizona.  Her Master’s thesis “Day Labor, New Immigrants, and Struggles over Social Capital: Case Studies of Day Labor Sites in the Metropolitan D.C. Area,” explored criminalization of immigrants and social capital as being two major factors in the success or closure of a day labor centers. Jacquelynn is pursuing a doctorate in sociology at the University of Arizona. She has completed her comprehensive examinations in economic sociology and the sociology of culture. She is currently working on her dissertation, Sporting Dogs in Legal and Illegal Markets: The Economic and Cultural Classification of Canines Used in Sport which focuses on economic and cultural classification, commensuration, consumption, and valuation of sporting dogs in legal and illegal markets. Jacquelynn is an exceptionally gifted instructor who has taught four different courses in the past fifteen semesters, both in the traditional classroom setting and online.  Her teaching evaluations are among the highest, not only in the School of Sociology and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, but in the entire University. She received two teaching awards at the University of Arizona this past academic year.

Sayd Randle is a third year doctoral student in Yale's joint program in environmental studies and anthropology. Her research addresses the politics of urban water recycling in Southern California, with a focus on the spatial, economic, and environmental justice effects of these emergent technologies. Before beginning her PhD, she worked in Washington DC as a researcher for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. She holds an MPhil in Environment, Society and Development from the University of Cambridge and a BA in English from Williams College. 

Kakee Scott is a first year PhD student in design with secondary supervision in sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Her research focuses on how acts of design help shape economic relations between and among people and material things. She is paying attention current discourses on new economics in hopes of drawing links with design theory and practice as part of her research. In addition to her PhD, Kakee teaches courses on design, consumption and sustainability at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. She completed her Masters in Industrial Ecology at TU Delft/Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2008 and her bachelors in Sociology from Wesleyan University in 2001. She has worked for a number of design and sustainability organizations, including Slow Food USA, J. Ottman Consulting and o2NYC. Since 2011, she has been building a small research collective, called RIFT, to illuminate and cultivate alternative models of design, everyday life and commerce that demonstrate how human well-being and healthy societies can and do flourish as consumption levels decline. Her research draws from literature on socio-technical change, practice theory, actor-network theory, critical design, design for social innovation, design for sustainability, service design and ecological economics.

Anastasia Wilson is a PhD student in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests include cooperative/worker-owned enterprises, the economics of higher education, and Feminist and Marxian theory. 

Daniel Wu is a joint PhD student in Social Policy and Sociology at Harvard Kennedy School. I am interested in the efforts of leaders and communities across the world who are both reworking how we think about and do the modern business corporation for social good in our cities. Theoretically, I converse with theories of organizational behavior, strategy, and culture. Methodologically, I am interested in pairing qualitative case analysis and an interest in process and culture with computational techniques, such as network and text analysis. Ultimately, as first generation college student, I'm very interested in seeing how to mix research withadvocacy towork with communities andincrease financial and political empowerment forlower and middle class residents. ‬