For more information about graduate involvement opportunities in CHE, see our Graduate Involvement Opportunities worksheet. To apply for Grad Associate status, see the instructions on our Become an Associate page.

Photo of Danya Al-Saleh

Danya Al-Saleh
I am a PhD student in the Geography department, working on globalized higher education and urbanization with an area focus on the Arabian Peninsula. My dissertation research will focus on Education City in Doha, Qatar, a physical and administrative campus composed of six U.S. branch universities. These branch campuses offer distinctive possibilities to explore the relationship between capital surplus arising from carbon wealth and the emergence of "globalized" educational space and knowledge in the Arabian Peninsula. I have previously worked on higher education in Cairo, Egypt where I explored the intersection between urban planning, "sustainable" development initiatives and university campuses, particularly through the relationship between American University in Cairo and New Cairo.

Photo of Mohammed Rafi Arefin

Mohammed Rafi Arefin
I am PhD student in the Geography Department working with Dr. Sarah Moore. My research interests sit at the intersection of urban geography, postcolonial theory, critical development studies, and psychoanalytic theory. In relation to waste, the production of sanitized space, hygienic subjects, and difference enforced through cleanliness/filth, my work seeks to understand the intimate relationship between garbage and its management, culture, power and politics. While this relationship is often foreclosed in technomanagerial rhetoric, I seek to understand the place of garbage in social theory and everyday life. I am exploring these interests in the work coming out of my Masters on Cairo, a collaborative project on hoarding, and in my research assistantship on the hazardous waste trade.

Photo of Daniel Ares-López

Daniel Ares-López
I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. My main research interest is the study of contemporary Iberian literatures and cultures from non-anthropocentric critical approaches (including post-humanist, eco-critical and socio-environmental ones). In my doctoral project I investigate the historical development of ideas, representations, and documentary inscriptions of nature and wild animals, as well as their diverse interconnections to evolving understandings of culture, the state, and the human in 20th-century Spain. I study how interactions between humans and wild animals have been experienced, practiced, narrated, imagined, or translated by Spanish intellectuals at historical sites and through material practices (such as hunting, autobiographical storytelling, or wildlife filmmaking) in which the natural and the cultural overlap. I grew up in a semirural community in Galicia (Spain) by a river that flooded every other winter. Before moving to Madison I lived in Madrid, Scotland, Andalucía, Kansas and Texas.

Photo of Lauren Ayers

Lauren Ayers
I am a graduate student in the Department of History concentrating on American Environmental History. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas, I traveled to South Asia, interned for the federal government and wrote a senior thesis on a southern plains town. After graduating, I volunteered in West Africa. The places I live, the people I meet, and the work I come across along the way all inspire me. As such, I'm curious about energy systems, the development of waterways and the connection to urban growth and rural development, the relationship between oil and cattle, and the history of place. I'd also love to do a transnational environmental history on the green revolution.

Photo of Adam Behrman

Adam Behrman
Adam is a graduate student in the History of Science department. He is interested in environmental history, particularly in Latin America. Currently he is researching the sources and impacts of pollution through a commodity’s transformation. Adam hopes his research will lead to a better picture of how humanity understands its environment and the most-effective mechanisms by which societies can mitigate the impacts of pollution. In his spare time Adam enjoys hiking, camping, tennis, swimming, observing the weather, and spending time with his family.

Photo of Claire Bjork

Claire Bjork
I'm interested in community-based ecological restoration/stewardship and how communities define and put into practice their shared stewardship goals and values. I work at Earth Partnership, an outreach organization at the UW Arboretum that promotes restoration education among learners of all ages and backgrounds as a way to spark transformative learning experiences and relationship-building within and across communities. My particular research focus is on faith-based stewardship engagement.

Photo of Jake Blanc

Jake Blanc
Jake Blanc is a PhD candidate in Latin American history at the University of / Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation focuses on the intersection of land tenure and political opposition during Brazil's dictatorship, looking at the construction of the Itaipu hydroelectric dam and the subsequent mobilizations of rural workers in the southern state of Paraná in the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, he is interested in how diverging relationships to land from various rural groups (farmers, landless peasants, indigenous communities) lead each to engage in the political mobilizations in very different ways. Blanc's research has been funded by the Fulbright-Hays DDRA, the Social Science Research Council IRDF, and the American Historical Association. His work has appeared in The Journal of Peasant Studies and The Luso-Brazilian Review.
Contact | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Rachel Boothby

Rachel Boothby
Rachel Boothby is a PhD student in the Geography department studying the relationships between people, place, and food. She is particularly interested in the complicated ways that agricultural products become food, and the effects of our ideas about food on landscapes and non-human nature. Her master's thesis explored the contemporary US local food movement, focusing on relationships between farm-to-table restaurants and farmers.

Photo of Helen Bullard

Helen J. Bullard
I am a research-based storyteller, working towards a Special Committee PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts, with a minor in the History of Science. My research is focused around the horseshoe crab; their evolution and natural history, their representation in cultural stories, ecology and conservation, the fisheries, and their use in medicine. My practice ranges in media from performance, sound and video, to installation, sculpture, photography and written form. I work interdepartmentally, anchored through the 4D Arts Department. I also work with the Centre for Limnology (Freshwater & Marine Science), collaborating on a project with Chelsey Blanke, to consider cultural and ecological changes to Lake Michigan and its communities.
Contact | Website

Photo of Charlie Carlin

Charlie Carlin
I am interested in a group of questions best described as radical ecopsychology. How do constructions of self and other, inner and outer nature, inform how we treat the more-than-human world? How have Enlightenment models of nature impacted studies of the psyche? Can a psychology that embraces 'wildness' help to better situate humans as in nature rather than acting on it? I base my studies in geography and also explore studies in environmental history and the radical ecologies. I am passionate about wilderness and I work as a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Photo of Ian Carrillo

Ian R. Carrillo
I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, and I research issues related to development, environment and technology, particularly in Latin America. In 2015, a Fulbright fellowship supported my dissertation fieldwork in Brazil, where I examined changes in labor and environmental practices in the sugar-ethanol industry. My research has appeared in the Handbook of Rural Development and the journal Latin American Perspectives. I have taught undergraduate-level courses related to environment and society (CES 248), demography (SOC 170), contemporary problems in the US (SOC 125) and race and society (SOC 134).

Photo of Melissa Charenko

Melissa Charenko
I am dissertator in the History of Science department. I am working on a dissertation entitled "The 'Science of Prophecy?': The Role of Paleo-Disciplines in the Face of Anthropogenic Change, 1900-2015.” It explores how the methods and approaches used to understand the deep past developed in the 20th century by paleoecology, paleolimnology, and paleooceanography have given these paleodisciplines authority as prognosticators of the future in the wake of global climate change.

Photo of Gioconda Coello

Gioconda Coello
I am a M.A. student at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies working on Buddhist environmental education. I am interested in how people uses popular and religious beliefs to make sense of environmental change and as sources of transformative power. In general, my main areas of interest are religion and ecology, political ecology, comparative studies of education systems, multicultural and environmental education.

Photo of Marcos Colón

Marcos Colón
Marcos Colón is a dissertator in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the representations of the Amazon in 20th century Brazilian literature from an environmental studies perspective. In particular, he is interested in examining a variety of viewpoints of the post-rubber era Amazon through written texts, oral reports, and film, observing changes in the region, its nature and people. Considering the binomial culture / nature, Colon’s scholarship uses the post-rubber era as a springboard for re-envisioning the region in a "relational” way. His investigation argues that the invention, literature, and politics of the region require an ecological understanding of new relationships between human and non-humans, which redefine the role of the environment in regional, national, and global discourse. This approach fosters a wider, more nuanced understanding of the Amazon by resituating this unique bio-zone within the cultural, social, economic, and environmental networks of a hybridized Amazonian society.

Photo of Kathleen Conti

Kathleen Conti
An internationally awarded photographer, Kathleen Conti received her Masters in Russian and East European Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently pursuing her doctoral degree in History here at the University of Wisconsin, Kathleen is also affiliated with the Art History department, the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), and the Buildings, Landscapes, and Cultures program. Her research examines the intersections of history, memory, and politics in the Soviet Union, focusing on the ways in which people constructed idenities and histories - both personal and national - through their environment.

Photo of Kara Cromwell

Kara Cromwell
I study host-parasite interactions as a PhD student in the Zoology program at UW-Madison. My work investigates both causes and consequences of parasitism, asking how environmental change and animal behavior interact to influence where epidemics occur, and how parasites affect food web interactions. In addition to parasite ecology, I am interested in how people perceive the creepy, crawly or "gross" elements of biodiversity and I try to find creative ways to communicate about nature's unseemly side.

Photo of Andy Davey

Andy Davey
I am a PhD student in the Geography department broadly interested in environmental, intellectual, and cultural history; environmental and place-based education; religion and nature; food systems; and political theory. After receiving a BA in philosophy I worked for six years in the non-profit sector, including living and working with people with developmental disabilities and growing vegetables on an urban farm. For my master's thesis, I examined how the values and motivations concerning food and politics intersected for self-identified "liberals" and "conservatives" at Midwest farmers markets. I am currently doing dissertation research on the development of environmental education and ethics at liberal arts colleges in different political and religious spaces and contexts. I'm also working with community gardening organizations in Madison, WI to promote food and racial justice through a grant from the UW Center for Public Humanities.
Contact | Website

Photo of Cathy Day

Cathy Day
I am a PhD candidate in Geography. My interests center around climate change impacts on agricultural systems and how humans perceive and deal with climatic shifts within a complex social-economic context. My previous work was in small-scale farming systems in the West African Sahel. My dissertation project focuses on farmers' networks of information and resources in the southwestern U.S. and how their networks influence their decisions and cropping outcomes. The core of my interest is farm livelihoods and whether and how farmers can survive into the future on lands that have long been marginal for agriculture. I am interested in how agricultural policy may be re-oriented to better support effective decision-making in marginal but still viable environments.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Travis DeWolfe

Travis DeWolfe
I am a PhD student in the Department of Food Science. My research focuses on how probiotics, specifically strains of Lactobacillus casei, affect the microbial composition of the gastrointestinal tract in the face of nosocomial diseases like Clostridium difficile infection. More specifically my dissertation work seeks to understand the mechanism by which probiotics confer various health benefits in the face of a growing dependence on wide-scale use of antibiotics in humans and animals.
Contact | Website

Photo of Sarah Dimick

Sarah Dimick
I am a graduate student in the department of English Literature. Before coming to Madison, I received a BA in English from Carleton College and an MFA in poetry from New York University. My interests span American and global environmental literature, and my research focuses on literary portrayals of climate change and fossil fuel consumption. When I'm not reading or writing, I enjoy backpacking, especially along the Superior Hiking Trail in northern Minnesota.

Photo of Nate Ela

Nate Ela
I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. I'm interested in how people try to make cities more equitable and livable through legal reform projects. In my dissertation research I'm using ethnographic and archival methods to study how, during various moments between the 1890s and today, Chicagoans have sought access to vacant land where they might grow food.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Michael Feinberg

Michael H. Feinberg
As a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Michael is a Ph.D student in the art history department. Michael’s research has engaged with a multifarious range of topics including Euro-American depictions of Native Americans as well as of the American frontier, Paul Gauguin’s visit to Tahiti, and Chicago’s Columbian Exposition. His current interests pertain to the intersection of French and American visual culture during the long nineteenth century. He is especially intrigued by depictions of colonial and metropolitan "spaces” in addition the portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality of Euro-American and "non-Euro-American” subjects.

Photo of Jake Fleming

Jake Fleming
I am a Ph.D. student in the Geography Department. My dissertation examines the ways that people interact with the walnut-fruit forest of southern Kyrgyzstan, an ecosystem notable for its biodiversity and as a center of origin of tree crops like apple and walnut. In particular, I'm looking at the role of the horticultural practice of grafting, which can be used to modify the bodies of some of the fruit trees that inhabit the forest, with consequences for conservation, forest genetics, and local livelihoods. More broadly, I'm interested in life in the post-Soviet world, nomadic pastoralism, Central Asian languages, and the often-overlooked capabilities of plants.

Photo of Jesse Gant

Jesse Gant
I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History--my interests are in 19th century United States politics and culture, with specialities in African American and Western history. My dissertation looks at the role western black activists had in the making of the Republican Party during the 1850s and 1860s. In 2013, I published Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State, which examined the early origins of bicycling in the Badger State during the last half of the nineteenth century. An exhibit based on the book can be found on permanent display at Old World Wisconsin. An additional exhbit inspired by the book called "Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Bicycling in the Badger State" opened in Madison and Appleton in 2015.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Nathan Germain

Nathan Germain
I am a dissertator in the Department of French and Italian. My research interests include 19th and 20th century French literature, ecocriticism, geocriticism, geography, and environmental history. I am interested in the history of ideas about nature and the environment and the expression of those ideas in literary forms. My research focuses on representations of non-human nature and humanity's relationship to it. My dissertation will examine reinterpretations of geographical space in response to fears about environmental degradation in 19th century French literature and thought. I am interested in understanding how authors and scientists may have contributed to a transformed relationship to space and place, using geography to expand the notion of human identity in a way that includes the earth and its species.

Photo of Marisa Gomez

Marisa Gomez
I study expressions of identity in the fabric of ordinary buildings. My research interests include the negotiation of immigrant identities through folk building and the diffusion of folk house forms. In addition, I am interested in the translation of high design to everyday contexts, as well as mid-20th century technologies and synthetic building materials. I hold a BFA in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an MA in Architectural History from the University of Texas at Austin. I am currently a PhD student in the Department of Art History's Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures program.

Photo of Daniel Grant

Daniel Grant
I'm a PhD student in the Geography Department. As an environmental historian and cultural geographer, I study the meanings attached to environmental disasters in the American West throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I recently completed a master's thesis entitled "The Certainty of Change: Flood, Drought, and the Genre of Environmental Prophecy in California's Central Valley, 1987-2015," which tells a story of two water-related disasters as pivotal moments of prophetic inspiration. These moments illuminated how people configured the faults of the past and envisioned future redemption.
Contact | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of W. Nathan Green

W. Nathan Green
W. Nathan Green is a doctoral student in UW-Madison's Department of Geography. His research interests include hydropower development, the history of antimalarial drug resistance, and agrarian change in Cambodia and Southeast Asia more broadly. For his dissertation, he plans to study how microfinance and new financial technologies (e.g. mobile banking) are changing rural land relations in southern Cambodia, where he lived and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer (2009-2011).

Photo of Spring Greeney

Spring Greeney
As a doctoral student in the History Department, I am interested in the conditions under which past people have noticed non-human nature in ostensibly domesticated spaces. My dissertation focuses on how nature has shaped 150 years of debates in the US over who does housework, why they do it, and what sorts of bodily burdens or bodily pleasures they incur in the process. In addition to my scholarly work, I teach art with the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project and talk literature as an Academic Director with the Great Books Summer Program.

Photo of Rachel Gross

Rachel Gross
I am a graduate student in the Department of History. My work on the consumer culture of outdoor recreation builds on my master's thesis "Synthetic Wilderness: Gore-Tex and the Paths to Mastery in Outdoor Recreation." The thesis examined the evolution of synthetic clothing and gear in wilderness recreation in the 1970s and 1980s. My dissertation shows how the process of selecting and purchasing outdoor clothing and gear has become central to the outdoor recreational experience since the late nineteenth century. What to buy has raised question about the role of technology in nature, who is an authority about nature experiences, and how to get back to nature the right way. Wilderness might seem far removed from consumption, but the marketplace of outdoor recreation was nonetheless persistently intertwined with the search for authentic wilderness experiences. My work explores how Americans struggled with that tension.
Contact | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Brian Hamilton

Brian Hamilton
I'm a doctoral candidate in the History Department working on a dissertation entitled "Cotton's Keepers: Black Agricultural Expertise in Slavery and Freedom," in which I examine how enslaved people in the Lower Mississippi Valley acquired agricultural knowledge and how and to what effect they deployed that knowledge after slavery. I also serve as the lead author of the website "Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day: The Making of the Modern Environmental Movement."

Photo of Emily  Hutcheson

Emily S. Hutcheson
I am a MA/Phd student in the History of Science Department and am interested in probing human-animal-environment relationships with a historical approach. My dissertation project focuses on orangutans. I ask how ideas of wildlife conservation, human evolution, and changing environments in Southeast Asia converge around these endangered primates. My research focuses on the transnational exchanges between Indonesians and Western scientists from the 1830's to present. I hold an MA in History and Philosophy of Science from Florida State University and a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University.

Photo of June Jeon

June Jeon
I am a PhD student of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and pursuing a PhD minor in the Holtz center of science and technology studies (STS). I am broadly interested in environmental policy, STS, environmental history, and their intersections. Through my graduate studies, I hope to focus on the history of institutionalization of environmental policy and regulatory science to shed light on how political, economical, and cultural context shape the scientific knowledge about the mutual influence between human and environment. I am from South Korea, and studied chemistry and science&technology policy at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

missing photo of Sheamus  Johnson

Sheamus Johnson
Sheamus Johnson is a Master’s student in the Nelson Institute working with Dr. Larry Nesper in the Department of Anthropology. His main research interests are Native American treaty rights in the Great Lakes region, environmental anthropology, political ecology, agricultural cooperatives, and development. He currently works at the Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability at their Farm Incubator serving primarily minority and immigrant farmers. He also works with the Intertribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative, a group of Native American maple producers interested in providing technical assistance to beginning, small, and large producers, while addressing barriers to land access, sustainable harvesting methods, etc.

Photo of Sarah Keogh

Sarah Keogh
Sarah Keogh is a PhD candidate and adjunct instructor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Her research works to link existing frameworks of architectural place theory toξsociologicalξidentity theory and to examine the role that architecture can play in the formation of shifting individual and cultural identities. She examines architecture as an actor in cultural shifts and looks at how daily patterns of behavior help to inform cultural expectations and norms: these patterns are produced and expressed through daily rhythms that are reflected and affected by built landscapes. She is interested in examining narratives surrounding environmental relationships in order to expand the architectural practice of scenario planning; and to use this framework to investigate imagined patterns of behavior and everyday settings. This inquiry has the potential to offer insights that can help to address designing for urban futures in the face of contemporary environmental issues.

Photo of Erin Kitchell

Erin Kitchell
I am a graduate student in the Geography department studying environment and development in West Africa. My current research focuses on histories of environmental change, the multiple vulnerabilities of small-scale producers, and the ways in which social networks shape knowledge formation about climatic variability. I will work closely with faculty in the Nelson Institute, Agroecology, and Community and Environmental Sociology. I have a B.A. in History and a background in community-based programming for non-profits. My past experience includes working to integrate environmental education in public school programming, managing public health and land use planning campaigns in peri-urban Mali, and creating training curricula on gender and development issues.

Photo of Shannyn Kitchen

Shannyn Kitchen
Shannyn is a graduate student in the Anthropology Department whose research deals with rainforest conservation in Bornean national parks. She is interested in political ecology, resource management, community and indigenous rights, forest conservation, and (eco)-tourism.

Photo of Patrice Kohl

Patrice Kohl
I am a doctoral student in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests focus on the role of mass media in influencing public perception of scientific and environmental issues, and how people, science and scientists mix online.

Photo of Liz Anna Kozik

Liz Anna Kozik
Liz Anna Kozik's research is focused on the histories and contemporary perception of Midwestern environments. She is interested in the ties between landscape and region identity, especially in the history between prairie and people. From original native inhabitants, initial Euro-American exploration, to farming, to 20-21th century restoration efforts, the prairie has carried many different meanings for the residents of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Prairie was both a prime subject in early native gardening and the original biome of restoration ecology. Our University has the unique position of being the home of prairie restoration, with the Curtis Prairie at the UW Arboretum. Her project right now is a comic of the history of Curtis Prairie that will be distributed at the Arboretum at an exhibit of her art in the spring.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of James Krueger

James Krueger
James Krueger is a doctoral candidate in Environment and Resources at the Nelson Institute and a Law and Society Fellow at UW Law School. His training is in law, qualitative sociological and historical methods, and land use planning and policy. His dissertation addresses the relationship between indigenous institutions of land management and state law among khat farmers in Meru, Kenya. In the research, he describes farmers' relations with the agroforestry stimulant crop "khat" and engage extensively with issues of private and communal property, with setting aside forest reserves, and with managing small-scale water withdrawals for irrigation. He is committed to a broader conception of law that includes various informalities, practicalities, and traditions and that requires a deeper understanding of historical and cultural context.

Photo of Alexandra Lakind

Alexandra Lakind
I am a School of Education & Nelson Institute, Joint PhD. I am a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy (Contemporary Performance, BA), and NYU (Educational Theater, MA). Outside of my fields of study, I engage in cross-field appropriation with Science and Technology Studies, Public Humanities, and Cultural Studies. I am interested in cooperative environments that moderate the increasing pressure to be ‘better’ or ‘unique’ in the context of our market-driven society. And I aim to recognize and support infrastructure to provide platforms to multiple voices across categories. Through implicit and explicit, academic and performative routes, I hope to foster supportive communities prepared to process unanswerable dilemmas together.

Photo of Vanessa Lauber

Vanessa Lauber
I am a PhD student in the English Literary Studies department, having received my BA in English and history from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. My interests include contemporary American literature, narrative theory, queer theory, and environmental criticism.

Photo of Jennifer Lent

Jennifer Lent
Jennifer is a graduate student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies pursuing her M.S. in Environmental Conservation. Her main area of interest is to study the impacts of the human-wildlife conflict and how climate change is playing a role in the increase of these interactions. Her interest in the subject was sparked by her volunteer work as a Wildlife Caretaker at the Four Lakes Wildlife Center at the Dane County Humane Society, where she has been volunteering for almost three years.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Juniper Lewis

Juniper Lewis
Juniper Lewis is a doctoral student in anthropology. Juniper's research will explore the relationship between humans and the environment by examining ecotheology in action, that is, how modern Christian congregations relate to and interact with the environment in the United States. This research will be influenced not only by early Christian relations to the environment and ideas of wilderness but also by a look at the variation of these relations across Abrahamic religions as well as shifting American values of the environment and wilderness. These influences will allow for a nuanced look into modern ecotheology among Christians and provide a firm background on the subject.

Photo of Robert Lundberg

Robert Lundberg
Robert Lundberg is pursuing a J.D. and an M.S. (in Environment & Resources) at UWMadison. Lundberg’s academic interests focus on legal issues of water allocation and usage, and the interaction between ‘wild’ and human-built environments. His artistic practice utilizes photography and solo musical performance to investigate these interests. Additionally, he is an internationally-performing musician. He holds a BFA from The New School in Jazz Performance.

Photo of Alex McAlvay

Alex McAlvay
I am a doctoral student in the Department of Botany with a BS in Biology and Anthropology from Western Washington University. My research focuses on two questions: 1) When/how do people adopt newly encountered organisms into their culture and 2) What are the evolutionary implications of these adoptions. Specifically, I study how seven highland Mexican cultures use and manage introduced field mustard and the evolutionary impacts of these practices. I am interested in working toward decolonizing ethnobiology and serve as the ethnobotanist for a non-profit called the Herbal Anthropology Project which seeks to protect traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights.
Contact | Website

Photo of Elena McGrath

Elena McGrath
I am a graduate student in Latin American History, working on my dissertation about revolutionary Bolivian miners in the 20th century. Born and raised in the mountain West, I fell in love with the Andes at first sight. I am interested in the ways that landscapes shape political possibilities and the ways that communities articulate belonging in terms of race, class, and gender. My work asks what makes revolutions imaginable, and what makes revolutionary dreams fall apart. I am also a member of the Program in Gender and Women’s History and the Latin American Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program.
Contact | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Amanda McMillan Lequieu

Amanda McMillan Lequieu
I am a PhD candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's joint departments of Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology, advised by Michael Bell. Again and again, my research and teaching interests return to questions of place, rurality, community, and home. I am passionate about understanding how rural people adapt to globalizing economies and changing environments over time, through the lens of land tenure, environmental history, and economic development. I value the stories people tell about their places, their people, and the disasters, man-made and natural, that reorder daily social life. My qualitative field work has taken me from historical archives, to kitchen tables in dairyland Wisconsin, to red-dirt roads in post-war northern Uganda. My dissertation considers narratives of home, belonging, and place among working class residents in a rural and an urban deindustrialized community.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Elizabeth Nielsen

Elizabeth Nielsen
Elizabeth Nielsen is a MA/PhD student in the History of Science department. Her MA paper focuses on assumptions to a natural state of equilibrium in North Pacific fur seal populations, showing how scientific actors studying these animals become political experts using their scientific knowledge. Her primary research interests follow, asking how our understanding of the natural world has been informed by political concerns, including economic issues and international diplomacy. She is a co-editor for the International Commission for History of Oceanography blog (, and she holds an MA in the History of Science from Oregon State University.

Photo of Eric Nost

Eric Nost
Eric Nost's research explains the social and technical ways landscapes become more and less subject to government control and economic forces. He is currently following how policy-makers and scientists plan coastal restoration in Louisiana in the context of ongoing wetland loss. This work explores important questions about nature's (economic) value and how computer modeling mediates ecological sciences and environmental policy. He makes maps to publicize environmental policy’s hidden costs, and is contributing to a project to visualize the North American hazardous waste trade. He is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Heather Rosenfeld

Heather Rosenfeld
I am a PhD student in Geography with a minor in Science and Technology Studies. My dissertation is on the biopolitics of farm animal sanctuaries. Mostly, this means I clean chicken poop, but I also try to understand how we can and do decommodify farm animals -- animals who have been bred, trained, and drugged in attempts to extract profit from them. I am also working on a project mapping and analyzing North America's hazardous waste trade with Dr. Sarah Moore, and have additional commitments to feminism in the academy and comics for conducting and communicating research.

Photo of Carl Sack

Carl Sack
I am a Cartography/GIS Ph.D. student in the Geography Department. My research areas include mining and resource extraction in the western Lake Superior region, the embeddedness of cultural landscape values in maps, and participatory uses of new web mapping technologies.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Caitlyn Schuchhardt

Caitlyn Schuchhardt
I am a graduate student in the English Department pursuing my PhD in Literary Studies. My research interests include postcolonial ecocriticism, environmental justice, indigenous studies, and the work of writer-activists. I'm passionate about environmental activism and work closely with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal - North America, an international solidarity coalition working to address the ongoing injustices of the 1984 Bhopal disaster. Before attending UW-Madison, I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and served in the Minnesota GreenCorps, an AmeriCorps program where I assisted organizations and schools in Bemidji, MN, with environmental education and community resiliency initiatives.

Photo of Owen Selles

Owen Selles
Owen Selles is a graduate student broadly interested the human dimensions of landscape change, particularly how politics, culture, economics, and scientific ideas inform landscape design and management. He has a B.A. in geography and he is currently pursuing a double M.S. degree in Forestry and Environment & Resources at the Nelson Institute. His thesis projects are on the history, and politics behind the operationalization of ecosystem resilience in the U.S. Rockies; and, the historical geography of American Indian trail networks in Wisconsin.

Photo of Sarah Stankey

Sarah Stankey
Sarah Stankey is a graduate student in the Department of Art. Her visual work reflects on the different aspects of nature as encountered by humans and considers or coexistence to animals. She is interested in the ways that people manipulate and interfere with the natural world. Sarah’s interdisciplinary research is rooted in the studio arts but has recently been expanding into other departments, particularly Zoology, Limnology and Art History. Her art practice also investigates the history of museums through work with taxidermy, entomology and cabinets of curiosity.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Rebecca Summer

Rebecca Summer
I am a PhD student in the Geography Department, studying urban and historical geography, with interests in environmental, architectural, and public history. My current research is about the history of alleys in American cities. I am a Washington, DC native and I came to Wisconsin from Denver, where I worked for a nonprofit engaging the public in volunteer stewardship of Colorado's public lands. I hold an MS in Geography from UW-Madison and a BA in American Studies from Yale University.
Contact | Website

Photo of John Suval

John Suval
I am a PhD candidate in History specializing in nineteenth-century U.S. political and environmental history. My research focuses on public lands and the nature of democracy. In my dissertation, I explore how frontier squatting influenced U.S. political culture, territorial expansion, and conflicts leading up to the Civil War. Prior to graduate school, I worked as a newspaper reporter along the U.S-Mexico border and an environmental media producer in Washington, D.C.

Photo of Sara Thomas

Sara Thomas
Sara Thomas is a PhD student in the English Literary Studies program. Her research spans twenty and twenty-first century American literature and culture with a particular emphasis on gender and sexuality. Increasingly her work takes up issues of environmental degradation as represented in poetry and film. She is especially interested in the cultural responses to Hurricane Katrina and the effects of extreme events on the Caribbean Basin.

Photo of Vaishnavi Tripuraneni

Vaishnavi Tripuraneni
I am a PhD student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. My interests broadly lie in political ecology, agrarian livelihoods, smallholder vulnerability, environment and development. My dissertation looks at the relationships among small farmer livelihoods, debt, and crop choices in South India.

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Ruth Trumble
I am a PhD student in Geography with interests in political geography, feminist theory, and people-environment relations. My research explores the relationship between environmental disasters and peacebuilding initiatives in post-conflict areas. My previous research examined the agency of artists who create art outside of global art market demands.

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Emmanuel Urey
I am an accomplished PhD student with wide-range of capabilities ranging from detailed-oriented researcher (both qualitative and quantitative), teaching, administration, program organizer, curriculum developer to project proposal writer and problem solver. Experienced with developing countries particularly West Africa, making presentations, and reports as well as with leadership. My interests focus on rural livelihoods and health, culture, sustainable development, environmental issues, the management of common property, land tenure and dispute resolutions, impacts of large-scale concessions on rural people as we as environmental and social justice. I am computer literate with trainings in MS-Word, MS-Excel, MS-Access, Power Point, SPSS, STATA, Arc-GIS, Nvivo (for qualitative data analysis) and social media.
Contact | Website

Photo of Stepha Velednitsky

Stepha Velednitsky
Stepha Velednitsky is a Masters Student working with Dr. Sarah Moore in the Department of Geography. Her research draws on science and technology studies, postcolonial theory, and political ecology to situate Israel's computer chip manufacturing industry within the region's landscapes of labor, water, and power. In particular, she is interested in the role that microprocessor fabrication plays in producing not only the materialities of information technology, but also the pristine ecological imaginaries of Israeli statehood. She is currently researching the discursive function of "water sovereignty" in the Jordan Basin through a Humanities Without Walls initiative. Additionally, she is pursuing a minor in Science and Technology Studies with the Holtz Center for Science and Technology.

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William Voinot-Baron
I am a doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology. My ethnographic research in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of southwest Alaska focuses on the effects of state and federal fishing regulations on Alaska Native lives and livelihoods. I am interested in how settler law governs Indigenous attachments to place and in how Alaska Natives unsettle these colonial impositions. My research acknowledges expressions of sovereignty and ways of life that are not encompassed by the state, revealing also how mourning, more than merely the expression of grief, is also productive of political possibility. I am currently grappling with theories of sovereignty, memory, and absence.

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Steel Wagstaff
I'm A.B.D. in the English (Literary Studies) Ph.D. program and have earned a Master's degrees in English and Library and Information Studies. I currently work full time as an instructional technology consultant in the College of Letters and Science. My academic research focuses on 20th Century American poetry, environmental criticism, and the digital humanities, and my dissertation examines the role of place, perception, and presence in Objectivist poetry.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

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Kevin Walters
I'm the Historian in Residence at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and a PhD Candidate in U.S. History. My dissertation will be an institutional history of WARF from 1925 to the present. I grew up in Temple, Texas and attended the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate. I came to Madison after completing an MA in Humanities and an MA in History from the University of Texas at Dallas and after working eight years as a Staffing Planner and Forecaster for the consumer finance division of GE Capital.

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Bo Wang
Bo Wang is a PhD. candidate in Cultural Anthropology with a minor at Center for Culture, History and Environment. He earned a Bachelor degree in Sociology from Nanjing University (2006), a Masters degree in Social Anthropology from Peking University (2009), and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from UW-Madison (2011). In addition to a total of 5 months of pre-dissertation fieldwork (2011 and 2012), he completed an NSF-funded, 12-month fieldwork (July 2014 to June 2015) in Shangri-La, Yunnan, Southwest China. His research explores the contested and multi-layered notions of sacredness and garbage among Tibetans and Chinese in their daily struggles to cope with the moving interfaces between a changing sacred-dirt dialectics and a neoliberal world. His research interests include garbage, sacred mountains, sacredness, house cosmology, soundscape, everyday life, religion, environment, Tibet, and China.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Chloe Wardropper

Chloe Wardropper
I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Nelson Institute and the Department of Forestry. My graduate work contributes to the UW-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, focusing on water quality governance in Wisconsin's Yahara Watershed and the Upper Mississippi River Basin. My research asks how natural resource managers perceive and use monitored and modeled water quality information. After completing my B.A. in the College of Social Studies from Wesleyan University, I worked on public land acquisitions with the Department of Justice, assisted in soil and wetland conservation with NRCS Massachusetts, and implemented environmental practices on a USAID agriculture project in West Africa.
Contact | Website | click to visit my twitter feed

Photo of Kiersten Warning

Kiersten Warning
Addressing interpersonal violence for 18 years in the United States led me to my current research interest in Northwest Yunnan Province, China (naturally!). I hope to learn about the root causes of IPV and alternate conflict resolution mechanisms by working with a matrilineal society in the foothills of the Himalayas. Anthropology graciously welcomed me into their PhD program. Pressing for Shangri-La are China's current economic development initiatives that are changing its physical and cultural landscape. History, law, politics, gender, culture formation, ethnic identity, neuroscience, biodiversity, agricultural production, trade, religion, education, and health are in the research mix so far.

Photo of Kate Wersan

Kate Wersan
I am a graduate student in the History Department where I study early American environmental history. My dissertation focuses on the interrelationship between early American perceptions of nature and ideas about order in natural phenomena, and timekeeping technologies and practices. Since most histories of timekeeping in the US and elsewhere focus on the history of the clock, my research deliberately looks beyond the clock to try to understand how Americans in the long 18th century attempted to know time in more supple and subtle ways than the regular ticking of the clock allowed.

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Max Woods
I am a doctoral graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I work with the historical avant-gardes, specifically the non-French avant-gardes including those of Chile and Russia amongst others, looking at their relationship to ecocriticism. I argue that despite the avant-garde’s reputation for destroying the bond uniting the human and non-human, its various experiments in alternative spatial configurations provide imaginative solutions to contemporary issues of urban studies’ attempts to construct a green city. I work with the Departments of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, and Art History as well as the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia.