Students: Water Cohort

Cohort 1 was accepted in Fall 2014

James Arruda (York)
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James has an undergraduate degree in economics from Concordia University, Montreal and has graduated with a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) at York University. His interest lies in Ecological Economics and Indigenous knowledge. As a scholar in the E4A program, he wishes to push the barriers of Ecological Economics as a dynamic, inclusive and interdisciplinary field of study.

Matthew Burke (McGill)

Matthew Burke is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (Renewable Resources – Environment) at McGill University as a member of the Economics for the Anthropocene program under the supervision of Professors Peter G. Brown (McGill University) and Jennie C. Stephens (Northeastern University). With support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Matthew’s doctoral research examines the emerging social movement of energy democracy, emphasizing groups currently working in northeastern North America. Matthew holds a Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Ecological Economics from University of Vermont, a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from University of New Mexico, and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from Ohio State University. Matthew is a Research Fellow at The Next System Project, a Graduate Research Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (U.S.), and a recent participant in the Science Outside the Lab North program for science-policy training.
Keywords: energy democracy, renewable energy transition, social movements, energy-ecosystem nexus, energy ethics

Kesha Fevrier (York)
Kesha Fevrier

Kesha is a PhD student at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies, a BA in Geography and a Diploma in Project Management. She has a worked in both the public and private sector in the areas of education (teaching), low income housing development, community development, public consultation, health research and environmental management and planning. While her professional experiences may seem non-linear, her greatest desire is to combine her knowledge and experience in these areas, to deliver initiatives that seek to improve the lives – environmentally, economically, socially and culturally – of the poor and marginalized in the global south.
Keywords: Race, Waste, Value determination, Informal Livelihoods, Resilience

Jennifer Gobby (McGill)

Jen came to academia in her mid-30s after years of sustainability activism, eco-construction and dabbling in local politics in British Columbia. She’s been exploring how research and scholarship can help support social transformation in response to the many converging crises we face, from climate change to social inequality. Jen completed a BA in Environment (minor Anthropology) from McGill University in 2014 and is now a climate justice activist and researcher working in solidarity with Indigenous and other communities most impacted by climate change and extractive industry. She is completing a PhD in Renewable Resources in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill. Her work focuses on activist-research working closely with communities and organizations in the frontlines of climate justice and Indigenous resistance to oil and gas extraction. These collaborations seek to identify and mobilize strategies and theories that can help strengthen efforts to transform our systems to ones that are ecologically sane and socially just. Meanwhile, she still spends summers on a little island building in BC. growing food, building houses, chopping wood and living in community.
Keywords: social-ecological systems transformation, theories of change, climate justice, social movement theory, indigenous rights and resistance and anti-pipeline movements in Canada, decolonizing and decarbonizing
Twitter: @jengobby1

Courtney Hammond Wagner (UVM)

Courtney is a PhD student at the Rubenstein School and a fellow in the Gund Institute’s Economics for the Anthropocene program. Her interests lie in complex Social-Ecological systems and in water systems in particular. Courtney’s research focuses on the interaction between ecosystem resilience and the institutional arrangements and policy governing water allocation. Courtney grew up in the Pacific Northwest and received her bachelor’s in Psychology from Dartmouth College. Following graduation, Courtney worked as a research associate in at ecology lab at Dartmouth, spent two summer field seasons in Greenland investigating Arctic soil carbon storage, and worked as a community outreach coordinator for a science consortium in Barrow, AK. Prior to starting her doctoral studies at UVM, Courtney was an Energy Efficiency Consultant with Navigant Consulting, where she researched and evaluated energy efficiency programs.

Anna Kusmer (McGill)

Anna graduated from McGill with a Masters in landscape ecology in spring of 2017. Since then, she has become a freelance environmental journalist. She spent the summer 2017 as a Mass Media Fellow (sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) at the KQED radio station in San Francisco, California. At KQED, Anna covered different topics such as conflict over projected areas, public health issues, and innovative solutions to complex environmental problems. She plans to continue pursuing journalism and hopes to tell important stories that weave together environmental stories with other issues such as social justice, economics, politics and health. She has come to believe that the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship to the environment have a strong impact on our treatment and consideration of land, water and diverse life.
Twitter: @ASKusmer

Christopher Orr (McGill)

Christopher is a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. His research aims to understand how empirically grounded political philosophy and institutions such as governance can foster a thriving human-nature relationship. He holds a B.Sc. (physics and biology) from the University of Toronto and an M.S. from McGill University. His master’s thesis examined the legitimacy of collaborative water governance in the context of the Quebec Water Policy. Christopher is coauthor of a future scenario for the Great Lakes Futures Project, and he enjoys collaborating in diverse ways. He conducted environmental monitoring as Assistant Leader of EnviroMap projects at Engineering Seismology Group, developed projects during a Canadian International Development Agency internship in Nicaragua, and travelled to India on behalf of a research team at the University of California, Berkeley to design and build a prototype to remove arsenic from groundwater.

Alvaro Palazuelos (York)

Alvaro is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at York University. His research is focused on system dynamics modeling approaches to better inform wildlife management issues in Ontario. After a successful internship with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Ontario, Alvaro transitioned to the role of Senior Economist within that ministry. In this role, he utilized his newfound knowledge and expertise gained as a PhD student at York University and as a scholar in the E4A research initiative to evaluate and inform policy development in issues such as climate change and wildlife management. He now transitioned to the role of Senior Economist with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, working mostly on resource revenue sharing of mining tax and royalties with First Nations. He has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Universidad de San Andres (Buenos Aires, Argentina). In the past he worked as Sustainability Manager for UNBC and as project manager for different non-profit organizations working with underprivileged people in Buenos Aires, his home city. Alvaro’s ultimate goal is to become a bridge between academic ecological economics theory and real world practice.
Keywords: systems dynamics modeling, socio-economic-ecological modeling, input-output analysis and environmental extensions, indigenous economics, natural resources economics

Phoebe Spencer (UVM)

Phoebe Spencer graduated from UVM. Her studies focussed on issues of gender equity in economic systems, including the disconnect between the neoclassical economic paradigm and justice. In the fall of 2014, Phoebe completed an internship with the United Nations Statistics Division working on the World’s Women 2015 report. At UVM, Phoebe completed a Graduate Certificate in Ecological Economics in 2015, her MS in Community Development and Applied Economics in 2013, and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Transportation Systems and Mobility in 2012. She completed her BA (Joint Honours) at McGill University in 2011 in Anthropology and Geography with a minor in Hispanic Languages. Phoebe is currently working as a Spatial Econometrician at World Bank Group in Washington, DC.
Twitter: @phoobsey

Michael Wironen (UVM)

Michael is pursuing a PhD in Natural Resources at the Gund Institute at UVM. Michael’s research explores how ecological economics can inform sound decision-making in the management of water resources and food production systems at different scales. Prior to joining UVM, Michael worked as a senior sustainability specialist at an international environmental consulting firm. He helped private and public sector clients integrate sustainability best practices into development projects and large-scale master planning and regional planning initiatives in the United States and abroad. He has also worked as a researcher focusing on biogeochemical cycling in forest and wetland ecosystems. He holds a Masters in Sustainability Science from Lund University in Lund, Sweden and a Bachelor’s in Physical Geography from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Keywords: phosphorus, food systems, deliberative democracy, environmental change, governance and policy