The ERI Graduate Fellows program helps foster a community of students engaged in the science, politics, economics, culture, and ethics of environmental change. Graduate students at the M.S. and Ph.D. level are eligible for selection as a fellow if they are engaged in a cross-disciplinary research project, AND are advised by faculty members from two different disciplines. Funds may be used to support summer research (including stipend) and other research-related needs. Preference will be given to projects that include an undergraduate researcher. The Environmental Resilience Institute is proud to announce the 2020 ERI Graduate Fellows.

Living Green: The Neoliberal Climate of Protestant Environmentalism

Graduate researcher: Kevin Rose
Department of American Studies
Undergraduate research assistant: Tahi Higgins
College of Arts and Sciences
Faculty Advisers: Willis Jenkins, Department of Religious Studies; Grace Hale, Department of History

This project develops a broader cultural and oral history of 1970’s Christian environmentalism. Specifically, the project explores the concept of “lifestyle choice” as a way of responding to environmental issues. It’s aim is to uncover the ways environmentalism is shaped, conditioned, and limited by existing modes of being in the world, put in place by our capitalist political economy and the cultural forms that sustain it. In so doing, this research contributes to cross-disciplinary reflection on our ways of seeking environmental resilience and sustainability, calling attention to the need for more collective and structural interventions that move beyond individual consumer choice. 

Intergenerational campaigns for environmental health equity

Graduate researcher: Catherine Owsik 
Engineering Systems and Environment 
Undergraduate research assistant: Nettie Webb
School of Engineering 
Faculty Advisers: Leidy Klotz, Engineering Systems and Environment; Morela Hernandez, Darden School of Business

People of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by engineering projects that pollute and degrade the environment, which directly impacts their health and well-being. Specifically, minority communities have respiratory complications at three times the rate of white communities. This has far-reaching implications. To place it in our current context, individuals living with higher air pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19. Individuals do contend against these environmental injustices but with varying effectiveness. This project explores the what makes environmental health equity campaigns successful.

Is Green Always Good? Community Perceptions of Green Infrastructure

Graduate researchers: Michaela Barnett and Natalie Lerma
Engineering Systems and Environment 
Faculty Advisers: Arsalan Heydarian, Engineering Systems and Environment; Morela Hernandez, Darden School of Business

Cities across the U.S. are increasingly adopting green infrastructure for its multifunctional benefits. However, for marginalized communities and residents, green infrastructure can represent the threat of environmental gentrification, perceived as less effective or riskier than traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure. In this research project, we conduct a case study of a green infrastructure project in the Greenspoint neighborhood of
Houston, Texas.  

Decision-making in Environmentally Resilient Systems

Graduate researcher: Jeremy Sorgen
Department of Religious Studies
Undergraduate research assistant: Savannah Gold
College of Arts and Sciences
Faculty Advisers: Willis Jenkins, Department of Religious Studies; Jarrett Zigon, Department of Anthropology

Since the 1980s, “adaptive management” has come to the fore as a promising strategy for guiding social and ecological change. However, powerful interest groups can undermine or block collaboration in ways that advantage them and favor the status quo. This study seeks to advance adaptive management by learning from the innovative collaboration between Shamokin’s faith community and environmental justice practitioners at the EPA.