Cohort 1 began in Fall 2018
Mick Babcock (McGill)
Mick has a BA in Political Economy and an MA in Liberal Arts. While completing his undergraduate degree he managed stays in several different countries, including Austria, Argentina and Mexico, and as a result he slowly came to resemble a peripatetic peripatetic. This trajectory continued up to and after his graduation as he spent several years travelling to and doing systems research in Indigenous communities in Borneo and in the Peruvian Amazon. He then moved to Vancouver to complete his Graduate Studies. His research is focused on the analysis-of and interaction-among conceptual thought systems, and while at McGill he will work on creating an analytical framework that could be used, among other things, to invert post-modern anti-foundationalist philosophical narratives in light of the emergence of the Anthropocene. Aside from all of this he maintains that he is an affable chap and indeed even pleasant to converse with.
Keywords: perspectivism, foundationalism, pluralism, history of ideas, systems theory, conceptual systems, paradigms
Emille Boulot (McGill)
Emille is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. Emille graduated from Monash University, Melbourne with first class honours in law and a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Chemistry and Conservation Biology. Emille also has a Masters of Environmental Governance (Polar, Climate and Oceans) and is admitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania as an Australian Lawyer. Emille has a background in legal and regulatory research, in particular she worked as a research officer with multidisciplinary projects examining urban water sustainability, public infrastructure and governance, sustainable transport and Indigenous land rights research and advocacy. Growing up in Tasmania, famed for its natural environment and watershed environmental campaigns, Emille has developed a keen awareness and interest in social and environmental justice issues. Emille is passionate about better understanding our natural world and legal systems and how our legal systems and processes could interact and better reflect our natural systems to create interconnected ecological communities. Emille enjoys hiking in the mountains, biking through the bush and yoga on the beach as well as thinking about what it means to be human and alive.
Megan Egler (UVM)
Megan is a PhD student in Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont and a graduate fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment. She is interested in ecological economics, political ecology and modelling socio-ecological systems. Particularly, she will be researching the nature of commodity frontiers and conflicts arising in relation to resource development. Prior to starting her doctorate, she worked in pro-poor value chain development on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and received her MSc. in Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics from the University of Guelph where she studied the effects of food aid in recipient countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Megan is always keen to chat about ontological plurality, alternative economic models and degrowth.
Katie Horner (UVM)
Katie is pursuing a PhD in Plant and Soil Science, with a focus on Agroecology. Her dissertation research will focus on high-impact pedagogical approaches to teaching agroecology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is especially interested in: assessing the impact of student involvement in long-term participatory action research; leveraging agroecology education as a mechanism for cultivating engaged global citizens; and exploring the mutual reinforcement of systems of social and ecological oppression. A commitment to rigorously exploring the transformational potential of agroecology to address ecological degradation and social injustice within agri-food systems undergirds Katie’s research. Prior to graduate school, Katie’s professional experiences focused on outdoor and garden-based education programs and small-scale, diversified agriculture. Katie holds a BA in Environmental Studies with a focus in Policy from Middlebury College and an MS in Food Systems from UVM. Her Master’s work examined childhood obesity through the lens of behavioral economics. Katie is also pursuing certificates of graduate study in Ecological Economics and Agroecology. Outside of academia, Katie enjoys socializing over food, learning about coffee, exploring new places, going on adventures with her partner and their dog, and thinking about what it means to live well in place.
Keywords: Agroecology, pedagogy, PAR, ecofeminism, pasture management, soil ecology, political agroecology, higher education reform, farmer decision-making
Jolyon Larson (UVM)
Jolyon is pursuing a PhD at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. He holds a BA in Politics from Hendrix College and a Master of Public Affairs in Energy Policy from Indiana University’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs. He is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha and Pi Alpha Alpha. Jolyon’s primary interests center around the global energy transition. Specifically he seeks to further identify linkages between energy policy and other policy sectors – environmental, climate, national security, and economic development among others – so as to facilitate a more just transition for all. Guided by the belief that all deserve equal access to the benefits and costs of our pursuit of a more sustainable energy future, Jolyon studies the effects of energy policies and responses to them that would improve the distributional and participatory equity within the sector and the others it interacts with.
Rigo Melgar-Melgar (UVM)
Rigo is a PhD student in the Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E) project at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Gund Institute for Environment at UVM. Rigo is broadly interested in how we can link sustainability science with policy to improve the way we use our natural resources, with the principal goal of improving quality of life, while maintaining a healthy and resilient ecological foundation. His research at UVM will gravitate around issues of ecological finance, where he will focus on analyzing the role of sustainability science in the Green New Deal, and its implications for sustainable development and climate change policy, through an ecological economics framework rooted in its biophysical foundation. He holds two master’s degrees in Public Affairs and Environmental Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Affairs.
Maya Moore (UVM)
Maya Moore is pursuing a PhD in Food Systems at the University of Vermont. Having worked for the last 15 years in the international conservation and development field, mainly in Madagascar but also in Thailand and Guatemala, she is excited for the opportunity to return to her New England roots (at least for awhile). She holds degrees in Biology, French and Sustainable International Development, and is predominantly interested in seeking out interdisciplinary answers to the challenges of food security in the face of climate change, as it relates to human well-being and tropical biodiversity. Her broad research questions pertain to the ways in which smallholder farmers in the Global South are experiencing and perceiving climate change, how this is impacting their land management decisions, and how this affects conservation strategy in tropical systems where agricultural pressure is the leading cause of deforestation. Other interests include sustainability, climate justice, community and organizational development, food sovereignty and grassroots movements. She loves to travel, experience different cultures and try the food!
Shaun Sellers (McGill)
Shaun Sellers has an MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Management from Antioch University. Her research interests are in the foundational philosophies of institutions, the policy applications of social ecological perspectives, and the history of economic thought. She has worked in sustainability consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations in Ontario, and has started her own businesses: a fair trade & organic chocolate company in Maple Leaf, Ontario, and before that, a second-hand bookstore cafe in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. In both consulting and entrepreneurship, her focus on supply chains and fair trade led to an interest in systems of provision and trade governance. Her master’s thesis explored power structures, institutions, and philosophy relevant to envisioning trade policy through an ecological lens, and her current research is in social ecological trade theory. She likes books, her dog, and being in the woods.
Nina Smolyar (UVM)
Nina is happily nerding in the PhD program at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, at the University of Vermont. She is committed to preserving the ecological conditions that support life and to transforming the social conditions and human systems towards a thriving world for all. She chose to work with the L4E project because of its potential to help operationalize ecological economics and comprehensive justice. Her research interests include degrowth, decolonization, reparations, ecological governance, socio-ecological policy design and implementation, and complex systems. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science, she followed her curiosity in deep sustainability, holding various roles in social justice and environmental organizations. She has lived and worked at two intentional communities in Western Massachusetts, practicing sustainable living in intimate relationship with Nature and people. These experiences inspired her to investigate community-building in a self-designed graduate program at Goddard College, completing a Master of Arts degree on conflict transformation in intentional community. Following that, she directed a small nonprofit with a mission to strengthen the local, independent economy; was a leadership and learning fellow at a large consulting non-profit in Boston; and coordinated the New England Resilience and Transition Network, connecting and strengthening grassroots organizations building localized community resilience. When she is not all up in an article, book, or computer screen, she is pursuing outdoorsy communing of all kinds, dancing, meditating, making friends and artsy things, fantasizing about moonlighting as a stand-up comic, and quasi-productively procrastinating on social media.
Josh Sterlin (McGill)
Joshua received his BA in Anthropology from McGill University in 2013. He then spent two years as a student and teacher at the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State. There, he spent time learning to put his anthropological training into rewilding practice. Returning to academia, he received an MSc in People and Environment (Anthropology) at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Presently, he is in the process of completing a PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (Renewable Resources). Working in the boundary waters of philosophy, anthropology,, and ecology Joshua’s research interests include the ancient roots of the Anthropocene, the metaphysical bases of non-anthropocentric worldviews, the semiotics of emergent living systems, the possibilities of cross cultural cosmology, and the relationship of people to their environment in all their multivalent facets.
Iván Vargas (McGill)
Ivan Vargas is a Ph.D. candidate in Natural Resource Science at McGill University, a lawyer, and has Master’s degrees in Bioscience and Law, and Latin American Studies. He works on Amazonian legal ontologies, ecological law, post-humanist anthropology, and theories of value. His current research ethnographically follows indigenous practitioners, scientists, legal scholars, and ritual plants across territories, labs, and courts of justice in an effort to contribute to a larger paradigm shift: from reductionist environmental law and governance models to ecological, systems-based and more-than-human legalities in the Andean-Amazonian region of Colombia. In contexts where local human populations and entire territories are severely impacted by new waves of extractivism and violence, he asks, among others, how do forests become legal agents through indigenous practices, scientific inquiry, and legal discourse? How do human and more-than-human beings such as plants co-produce protocols for forest governance? How does a law that emerges from the territory challenge concepts of justice, agency, and rights in Amazonia? His most recent works have been published in Sustainability, Routledge, and Taylor-Francis.
Tina Beigi (McGill)
Tina is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences. She holds a MSc in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University. She has worked as an environmental scientist and engineer to evaluate the ecological impact of the mining industry in vulnerable regions to climate variability such as the Arctic. She has experience in environmental and waste management systems. Her research interests are centered around political ecology, world-system theory, and international trade. She is particularly revisiting the notion of world-system analysis from the perspective of flows of matter and energy, thermodynamics and ecological footprint. In her collaboration with L4E, she investigates the question of ecologically unequal exchange and its acceleration via trade agreements and financialization.