Everyone's Earth: Sharing Experiences on a Restless Planet

Conference Speakers


FEATURED SPEAKERS:


Sumudu Atapattu
Jim Brainard
Wil Burns
Tshekedi Khama II
Annise Parker
Paul Robbins
Paul Soglin
Karen Weaver

See concurrent session speakers.

Sumudu Atapattu

Sumundu Atapattu

Sumudu Atapattu is the Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. She teaches in the area of International Environmental law and climate change and human rights. She holds an LLM (Public International Law) and a PhD (International Environmental Law) from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Her books include: "Human Rights Approaches to Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities" (2015, Routledge, U.K); "International Environmental Law and the Global South" (2015, Cambridge University Press) (co-editor); and "Emerging Principles of International Environmental Law" (2006, Transnational Publishers, New York). She is affiliated with UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Center for South Asia, and the 4W Initiative and was a visiting professor at Doshisha University Law School, Japan, in summer 2014 and Giessen University, Germany in summer 2016. She also coordinates the Human Rights Program at UW-Madison.

Ms. Atapattu has received numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence, including a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholarship and a Benefactor Studentship awarded by St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1986 she was awarded the best student prize and Sir Lalitha Rajapakse Memorial Prize by the Sri Lanka Law College, Colombo where she graduated at the top of her class. In 2000 she was awarded a Senior Fulbright scholarship and carried out research on "Environmental Rights and Human Rights" at the New York University Law School and the George Washington University Law School as a visiting scholar. From 2002-2006 she was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Legal Studies at UW Law School and was part of the adjunct faculty during that time.

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Jim Brainard

Jim Brainard

Mayor Jim Brainard is Carmel's first six-term mayor. During that time, Carmel has grown in population from 25,000 to more than 90,000. Parkland, greenspace and trails have increased. The development of an Arts & Design District, a downtown called City Center and a new Midtown project joining the two together, has helped in the creation of a vibrant, thriving city where companies want to locate, where employees want to live and where families want to raise their children. Mayor Brainard is frequently asked to speak around the world about city planning, redevelopment, roadway networks and climate policy. He has encouraged the construction of roundabouts, which reduces accidents with injury almost 80 percent at intersections when contrasted to signalized intersections. Carmel now has more than 100 roundabout intersections, the most of any other city in the U.S. Mayor Brainard serves as a Trustee and Co-chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In November of 2013 he was appointed to the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience by the President of the United States. Mayor Brainard's academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in History from Butler University and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Ohio Northern University. He also received a diploma from the Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law from the University of San Diego.

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Wil Burns

Wil Burns

Dr. Wil Burns is Founding Co-Executive Director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, a think-tank within the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Section of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Previously, he served as Director of the Energy Policy & Climate program at Johns Hopkins University, as well as President of the Association of Environmental Studies & Sciences. His research agenda includes: climate geoengineering, the effectiveness of the European Union's Emissions Trading System, and climate adaptation mechanisms within international climate treaties. He received his Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law.

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Tshekedi Khama II

Tshekdi Khama II

Tshekedi (“TK”) Stanford Khama (born 9 June 1958) is a Botswana Member of Parliament from Serowe North-West, currently serving as Honourable Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. He is a member of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He is also the brother of the current President of Botswana, Ian Khama, and one of the three sons of the first President of Botswana, Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams Khama.

The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) was established in recognition of the need to bring environmental issues under one roof for better coordination of policies, strategies and programs. The Ministry is made up of the following seven operational departments and a quasi governmental entity responsible for marketing the country’s tourism product: the Departments of Ministry Management, Environmental Affairs, Wildlife and National Parks, Meteorological Services, Forestry and Range Resources, Waste Management and Pollution, Tourism and the Botswana Tourism Board.

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Annise Parker

Annise Parker

Victory Fund and Victory Institute President & CEO Annise Parker is the first former elected official to lead the organizations, having served six years as a Houston City Council member, six years as City Controller, and six years as Mayor of the city. She is one of only two women to have been elected mayor, and is the only person in Houston history to have held the offices of council member, controller and mayor. She was the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major American city.

She currently serves as a Fellow at the Doerr Institute for New Leaders and Professor in the Practice at Rice University. She serves on the boards of FirstNet-created by Congress to implement a nationwide broadband network for first responders, Houston Botanic Garden, BARC Foundation, Patient Care Intervention Center, and the Airbnb Mayor's Advisory Board. Prior to joining Victory Fund and Victory Institute, she was Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer of BakerRipley, a community development non-profit.

In addition to her duties as mayor, Mayor Parker was a member of President Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors Criminal and Social Justice Committee, was a steering committee member of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and served on the boards of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium and Houston Galveston Area Council. She is a past Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Mayor Parker graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In the private sector, she spent 20 years working in the oil and gas industry, including 18 years with Mosbacher Energy Company. She also co-owned Inklings, a lesbian/feminist bookstore for 10 years.

Mayor Parker and her wife Kathy Hubbard have been together for more than 25 years and are advocates for adoption, with three daughters, a son and a grandson.

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Paul Robbins

Paul Robbins

Paul Robbins is the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he oversees the institute's mission of serving as a world leader in addressing environmental change. He is leading a variety of initiatives in educational innovation, including the recent establishment of a new professional master's degree in Environmental Conservation.

Robbins' research focuses on human interactions with nature and the politics of natural resource management, addressing questions spanning conservation conflicts, urban ecology, and environment-health interactions. His research experience includes extensive fieldwork in rural India and national studies of consumer chemical risk behaviors in America, as well as engagement with stakeholders, planners, communities and health departments in the US West.

He is author of the foundational textbook Political Ecology and of research articles in venues addressing conservation science, social science, and the humanities. His award-winning book Lawn People is widely recognized as one of the most accessible books on the environmental politics of daily life. He has taught topics ranging from environmental studies and natural resource policy to social theory.

Robbins previously led the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona, which he helped establish and served for two years as director. A UW-Madison alumnus with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, Paul Robbins also holds a master's degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University.

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Paul Soglin

Paul Soglin

Mayor Paul Soglin is the 51st, 54th and 57th Mayor of Madison, elected for tenures in 1973, again in 1989, and 2011. He is now serving in his 20th year.

Mayor Soglin was raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, received a BA with honors in history in 1966 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Following his first tenure, Soglin was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Whether it was the Lake Monona bicycle path, or the Monona Terrace and Community Convention Center, or neighborhood centers and community gardens, the focus is on equity and a tax base that can support human services.

His tenure is noted for a major commitment to public transit with record setting ridership level, the design and construction of the State Street Mall resulting in one of the strongest downtown locally owned retail sectors, and the development of Madison's Civic Center, which evolved into the Overture Center for the Arts.

Mayor Soglin focuses on developing a better sense of place for Madison neighborhoods, denser and better designed projects that maximize the utilization of infrastructure. Priorities include measuring city projects against the finest standards for livability, equity, and sustainability, and ensuring that all basic needs are within walking distance of every neighborhood.

Madison is committed to creating a food accessible community, building public markets, and food hubs, eliminating the critical racial and ethnic disparity in educational achievement, income, and incarceration. Since returning to office in 2011, while the Madison region is 9% of Wisconsin's population, it accounts for the creation of 53% of all new jobs.

Mayor Soglin currently serves on US Conference of Mayors: Transportation and Communications Committee, Vice Chair for City Livability/Bicycling, the Advisory Board, is the Chair of theTask Force on Food Policy and serves on the Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Leadership Council.

On April 22, 1970, then 8th District Alderman Paul Soglin was invited by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) to join him and Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) to address an audience at the UW Stock Pavilion on what was the first Earth Day. When later asked if he thought it was a big deal at the time, Soglin said, "Not really, I thought it was a one and done."

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Karen Weaver

Karen Weaver

Karen Williams Weaver was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, on the city's north side. She is the youngest of three children born to Dr. T. Wendell Williams and Marion Coates Williams. She attended the Flint public schools, and graduated from Flint Northern High School in 1977. From there she went to University of Michigan-Flint, and graduated with her bachelor's degree in psychology from Tougaloo College, in Tougaloo, Mississippi. She went on to get her Master's degree from Long Island University, in Brooklyn, NY, and her PhD in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.

Professionally, Dr. Karen Williams Weaver has held several leadership positions, such as Director of Behavioral Services, Mott Children's Health Center, 2000-2010; Chief Operating Officer of Ennis Center for Children, September, 2012-March 2014; and is currently an Entrepreneur and Owner of Shea Lavelle Boutique a specialty store for natural skin, hair and body products.

Mayor Karen Weaver has also served in the Flint and Genesee County Community in a variety of leadership roles including: The Hurley Board of Managers; The Community Foundation of Greater Flint; Priority Children and has served as Flint NAACP Freedom Fund Chair, since 2012. Her love for the arts led her to serve on the board of the Flint Institute of Arts as well as past president of the Pierians Inc., Flint Chapter, a group dedicated to exposing the arts to inner city youth. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Zeta Beta Omega Chapter and a lifelong member of Vernon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC).

Mayor Karen Weaver has been married to her childhood friend, Dr. Wrex A. Weaver for almost 28 years, and they have three children, Adrienne Marie, Alanna Nicole, and Douglas Quentin. Her children are young adults and attend college.

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CONCURRENT SESSION SPEAKERS:



David Abel

David Abel

David Abel is pursuing a PhD in Environment & Resources at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Abel explores the intersection of energy and the atmosphere, specifically the impacts of energy technologies, behaviors, and policies on air quality, climate, and public health. A major theme of Abel’s work is capturing the air quality benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency, inspired by his past work as an Energy Engineer for the buildings energy research and consulting non-profit, Seventhwave. David holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Studies with a certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability and a joint MS in Mechanical Engineering and Environment & Resources with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Greg Armstrong

Greg Armstrong

Greg Armstrong grew up in Cooksville, a small village amongst the cow pastures of southern Wisconsin. He learned to care about plants and nature while exploring local streams, wetlands and woodlands. Greg attended the one-room school house in Cooksville; High School in neighboring Stoughton and then on to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he studied Horticulture & Botany. Desiring a more specialized education he attended the Student Program at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England for 3 years and received the Kew Diploma.

Greg’s first position in his chosen field of Botanical Gardens was assuming the position of Director of the Botanical Garden at Smith College in Northampton Massachusetts. He also taught a 2 semester course in Horticulture for the 12 years he was there. In mid career Mr. Armstrong became the Director of the Arboretum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here he developed a passion for ecological restoration. He retired from the Arboretum Directorship after 21 years of service.

Mr. Armstrong became a member of a board at the Saint Benedict Center right after retirement. After eight years of board and volunteer engagement at the St. Benedict Center and the successor Holy Wisdom Monastery, he took on the position of Director of Land Management and Environmental Education.

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Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson has worked in the field of community gardening, urban greening, and vacant land reuse for 20 years. Her career began in her hometown, Flint, Michigan, where she co-founded the Flint Urban Gardening and Land Use Corporation and developed the Clean and Green program for the Genesee County Land Bank. In 2001 she moved to the City of Detroit to work with Detroit Summer, a program of the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership and the Detroit Agriculture Network to develop urban agriculture opportunities for Detroiters of all ages. For a decade she served as the Director of Urban Agriculture and Openspace at The Greening of Detroit where she supported a growing network of urban gardens and operated multiple urban farms and nationally recognized programs.

Ashley currently serves as the Co-Director of Keep Growing Detroit, an urban agriculture focused organization that provides resources and support for more than 1,500 gardens and farms in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. Until recently she also served as the sustainable agriculture representative of the Detroit Food Policy Council, an organization dedicated to promoting an equitable and robust local food system in Detroit through its work in community engagement, education, and public policy.

Ashley is a graduate of both Michigan State University and The University of Michigan where she studied International Development, Community Organization, and Environmental/Land Use Planning.

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August Ball

August Ball

August M. Ball, founder of Cream City Conservation. Her two-prong social enterprise helps organizations institute strategies that obtain and retain top talent from diverse candidate pools, making their workforce stronger and smarter and their programs more sustainable and relevant. Simultaneously, Cream City Conservation Corps cultivates the next generation of land stewards by engaging traditionally underrepresented youth in ecological careers. With over 14 years of program management and design experience, August has connected thousands of youth and young adults to hands-on service to public lands, outdoor recreation and first time employment experiences.

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Carol Barford

Carol Barford

Carol Barford is an Associate Scientist and the Director of SAGE. Her work centers on agriculture, food, environmental quality, and related risks.

Before joining SAGE, Barford completed a B.A. in Biology and a M.S. in Ecology at Boston University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Harvard University. For her Ph.D. thesis, Barford measured nitrogen stable isotope effects of denitrification and applied the results to track nitrous oxide production in agriculture and wastewater. Dr. Barford also held a post-doctoral position in Atmospheric Chemistry at Harvard, where she studied forest carbon cycling. Her synthesis of biometric and atmospheric methods of measuring forest carbon balance appeared in the journal Science.

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Vicki Bier

Vicki Bier

Vicki Bier Professor Bier is a risk analyst and decision analyst specializing in probabilistic risk analysis for homeland security and critical infrastructure protection. Her current research interests include the application of game theory to identify optimal resource allocation strategies for protecting critical infrastructure from intentional attacks. Other interests include: the use of accident "precursors" or near misses in probabilistic risk analysis; the use of expert opinion; and methods for effective risk communication, both to decision makers and to the general public.

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Lynn Broaddus

Lynn Broaddus

As president of Broadview Collaborative, Inc. since 2014 Lynn Broaddus serves as an advisor to private sector, non-profit, and government clients seeking to more sustainable ways to provide clean water. Lynn led The Johnson Foundation's environment program from 2008-2014, convening hundreds of national leaders to address national water sustainability and resiliency, resulting in more than a dozen publications.

Previously, Lynn worked in water advocacy, as executive director of Milwaukee Riverkeeper®, and biodiversity conservation with The Nature Conservancy and a related organization, NatureServe, as well as energy conservation and teaching. She earned her Ph.D. in botany and genetics from Duke University, her M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her bachelor's degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia. Lynn also serves as a trustee for the Water Environment Federation, as a non-resident senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution, and as member and immediate past chair of River Network's board. Lynn is past chair of the Nelson Institute's Board of Visitors, and the mother of two Badger alumni. She lives in Minneapolis, MN.

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Ben Burkett

Ben Burkett

Ben Burkett resides in Petal, MS. He has one daughter, Darnella and one granddaughter, Denver.

He is currently involved in over 250 acres farming operation, which consists of vegetable production, beef cattle, and timber. He has been active in farming since 1970. His farming operation is located in Congressman Steven Palazzo’s fifth congressional district. The farming operation is in Forrest and Perry counties.

He is presently serving on several boards relating to agriculture, such as: Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Mississippi Agri-Business Advisory Council, Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Board (Atlanta Bank District) from 1995-1998, and the newly-elected Chairman of the MS. State Farm Service Agency Committee. He serves on an Advisory Committee with Congressman Bennie Thompson. He has been a member of the Mississippi Farm Service Agency State Committee since 1993. He is on the board of the Lower Mississippi Delta Planning Commission, and a board member of the Crescent City Farmer’s Market in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the secretary/manager of Indian Springs Cooperative located in Petal, Mississippi. He also represents the Coalition on the Via Campesina Food Sovereignty Commission and is a board member of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC).

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Chris Caldwell

Chris Caldwell

Chris Caldwell is an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. He has over 25 years of technical, administrative, and leadership experience working for various Menominee Tribal institutions and federal agencies dedicated to sustainable forestry and natural resources management. His education includes degrees from College of Menominee Nation (AAS 2001), UW Madison (B.S. 2004), and UW Green Bay (M.S. 2014). Since 2012 he has served as Director of the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation where he leads applied research, education and outreach projects centered on indigenous sustainability.

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Jacob Campbell

Jacob Campbell

Jacob Campbell is an Urban Environmental Anthropologist with the Keller Science Action Center at The Field Museum, where he leads the social science team for the Chicago region. Along with museum colleagues, Jacob helped establish the Roots and Routes Initiative with the Chicago Park District and a network of community leaders, artists, and organizations. In Pembroke Township, he conducts qualitative participatory research with local landowners that informs decision-making about conservation and quality of life. Jacob also co-directs the Urban Ecology Field Lab undergraduate summer course, and collaborates with partners across Chicago to improve access to the city’s cultural institutions and natural areas for underrepresented residents. Jacob’s approach to community-based research and applied anthropology has emerged through two decades of work with groups that include the Zuni Tribe, Gulf Coast fisherman, and Trinidadian oilfield workers. He has a PhD in Anthropology from University of Arizona.

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Alejandra Castrodad-Rodríguez

Alejandra Castrodad-Rodríguez

Alejandra Castrodad-Rodriguez has an interdisciplinary background crossing through economics, public policy and environmental sciences, with over 15 years’ experience working in research in academia, consulting and government. She is currently providing Strategic Planning and Resilience advisory services to various philanthropic post-María recovery projects on the Island, including semi-permanent roofing, recovery and rebuilding apprenticeships and resilient power programs.

Since 2013 Alejandra has worked with local governments and communities in Puerto Rico developing strategies to strengthen local economies, institutions and community-led efforts. At the Office of the Special Commissioner for Vieques and Culebra she was in charge of interagency collaborations, including the VSTF (President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico) and led Vieques and Culebra’s Rural Promise Zone proposal, a finalist during the second round of designations. In 2015, she led the multi-sectoral team for Puerto Rico’s National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) application. The proposal focused on increasing access to the knowledge, tools and resources needed to implement autonomous adaptive strategies for individuals, institutions and communities in the Caño Martín Peña and Cantera Peninsula. Most recently, she was the City of San Juan’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), under the City’s partnership with the 100 Resilient Cities Network, pioneered by Rockefeller Foundation.

Alejandra’s past research focused on uneven regional economic development, socioeconomic inequality and institutional change. She worked on topics ranging from public space design in transport (MIT) to best practices for psychosocial services delivery (Governor’s Office). Whilst at the LSE, Alejandra was a Guest Lecturer and Analyst at several departments and research centers and an LED Consultant for the Danish International Development Agency’s (DANIDA) Local Economic Development in the Balkans Program.

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Kyle Davis

Kyle Davis

Kyle Davis works at American Family Insurance as a Catastrophe Management Analyst where he specializes in the impact of weather on the insurance industry. Prior to moving to Madison, he completed a master's degree in atmospheric science at the University of Arizona where he published "A new statistical model to predict seasonal North Atlantic hurricane activity" in the Journal of Weather and Forecasting. With the help of the University of Arizona and the use of his hurricane model, he releases annual seasonal predictions for the number of hurricanes expected to form in the North Atlantic. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in actuarial science and has passed actuarial exams in probability and financial mathematics.

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Jake Dean

Jake Dean

Jake Dean brings 14 years of supply chain knowledge to his role as the Director of the Grainger Center. He is responsible for marketing the center to prospective students and employers, developing the applied learning curriculum, and providing academic and career guidance to students. Jake works closely with the Grainger Center's faculty and Executive Advisory Board on program strategy and development, and leads outreach activities with alumni, employers, and professional associations.

Prior to joining the Grainger Center, Jake was an Integration Manager at Cisco Systems, managing the integration of several acquired companies' supply chains into Cisco's supply chain. He has had previous roles in demand planning, sales & operations planning, distribution channel design and rollout, and inventory management.

Jake is APICS CPIM and PMP certified. He received a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Paul Demain

Paul Demain

Paul Demain is also known by his Ojibwe name “Skabewis” or “The Messenger.” He is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and is of Ojibwe descent, currently residing on the Lac Court Oreilles (LCO) Chippewa Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. DeMain is a member of the Bear Clan, and CEO of Indian Country Communications, Inc., Editor of the national Native newspaper, News From Indian Country (NFIC), a video producer for IndianCountryTV.com and the Special Projects Coordinator in the Great Lakes for the Inter-Tribal Agriculture Council (IAC).

DeMain is also co-chair of the pipeline fighting activist organization, Honor The Earth headed by Harvard educated economist Winona LaDuke.

DeMain has covered many environmental events over the years as a reporter, as a Governor’s liaison to former Wisconsin Governor Anthony S. Earl, and as the coordinator for the Harvest Educational Learning Project (HELP Camp) and LCO educational project in the Penokee Range from 2013 until the withdraw of Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) and their open pit mining project in 2016. His topic will address some of the perspective and challenges that tribes are facing with pipeline expansion project proposals by the fossil fuel industry and foreign corporates that now operate in the Great Lakes.

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Megan Dyer

Megan Dyer

Megan Dyer Megan Dyer is currently working on the Grid Modernization efforts at Alliant Energy. This is an exciting and transformational time for the electric utility industry… we are working to provide more distributed, clean and smart options while we continue to serve our core customer base. Part of this work includes modernizing the energy system, or grid.

Customer expectations about how energy is provided and marketplace dynamics for how energy is produced and distributed are evolving rapidly. Our customer’s needs are evolving from the traditional sole expectations of high reliability and low rates to additional expectations of flexibility, informative, renewable and value creating with many desiring to actively participate in their energy administration.

Megan joined Alliant Energy in 2001. She has spent most of her career supporting energy delivery in various engineering and operational management roles. Megan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from UW-Madison, a MBA from UW-Whitewater along with a Master’s Certificate in Leadership from UW-Madison School of Business.

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Falon French

Falon French

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Susan Frett

Susan Frett

Susan Frett is a natural resources educator and research scientist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Office of Applied Science. Her primary responsibilities include outreach, volunteer recruitment and training for the Snapshot Wisconsin and Elk Monitoring projects. Her interest is in engaging citizens in nature and science based activities to help people develop a conservation ethic. Susan received her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from the University of Iowa and her Master's degree in Environmental Conservation from the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Holly Gibbs

Holly Gibbs

Holly Gibbs joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2011. Her faculty position is part of the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) and she has appointments in the Department of Geography and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Prior to this, she was a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow in the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University.

Her research focuses on tropical land-use change and globalization, particularly on the potential to reconcile food security, climate change and conservation goals. She uses spatially explicit and data-driven modeling approaches, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing imagery combined with ground-based data on social and biophysical conditions to document and understand patterns, drivers and consequences of land-use change, particularly in the tropics. Gibbs tends to ask synthetic, big-picture questions and combines these with local and regional case studies to provide a more detailed, place-based perspective.

She is currently researching tropical land-use transitions in response to global economic drivers such as bioenergy mandates and demand-side pressures from Greenpeace and other non-governmental organizations. Specific research questions include - What are the drivers of agricultural land use change? Do bioenergy subsidies in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere influence rates of forest clearing? What role could REDD play in mitigating causes and drivers of deforestation? How have tropical-land use patterns changed over the last three decades? What does this mean for carbon emissions? How can we facilitate low carbon land use and energy strategies?

Gibbs collaborates with policymakers, business leaders and non-governmental organizations to identify and answer key questions, and help translate science into action. For nearly a decade, Gibbs has served as a science advisor for policy makers from developing countries in support of the UNFCCC initiative to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). She was recently selected to serve on the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Expert Working Group, where she chairs the Land Cover Change committee. Gibbs has also advised the U.S. EPA on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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Justin Gillis

Justin Gillis

Justin Gillis is an author and consultant working on a book about how to solve global warming. He spent nearly a decade as a reporter for The New York Times covering environmental science, with a special focus on climate change, and is now a contributing opinion writer for the newspaper. He was the author of a Times series called Temperature Rising that ran from 2010 to 2013 and updated readers on major developments in climate science, winning the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism from Columbia University. He was also the principal author in 2014 of a series called The Big Fix that critically examined proposed solutions to climate change. In 2015, he was part of the Times team that covered the Paris climate conference, which produced the world’s most ambitious agreement to tackle global warming. He traveled to Antarctica twice in 2016 to create a series of articles and virtual-reality videos on the risk that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse in a warming world.

He is a native of southern Georgia and a graduate of the University of Georgia, in journalism. Earlier in his career he worked at the Associated Press, The Miami Herald and The Washington Post. For the latter newspaper, he covered genetics, biotechnology and the completion of the Human Genome Project. In the 2004-2005 academic year, he was a Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Jessika Greendeer

Jessika Greendeer

Jessika Greendeer is the agricultural division manager for the Ho-Chunk Nation. She is responsible for managing agricultural lands, protecting her traditional foods and carrying out her vision of feeding her people. Jessika is a US Army veteran, who completed a Veteran-to-Farmer training program in Pennsylvania with Delaware Valley University and the Rodale Institute. She has brought her knowledge of organic farming back to her community by growing out ancestral landrace varieties and market vegetables within the Ho-Chunk Nation community gardens during the 2017 growing season.

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Robert J. Hamers

Robert J. Hamers

Research in the Hamers group lies at the intersection of chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology. We are interested in developing and exploiting new types of surface chemistry to create and improve next-generation devices for renewable energy, and are interested in understanding the potential environmental and health effects associated with nanomaterials. Our work spans the range from very fundamental, experimental and computational studies of surfaces, all the way to using surface chemistry to control the formation and properties of devices such as next-generation solar cells, photocatalysts, batteries, and environmental safety of nanomaterials. The group is multidisciplinary and highly collaborative.

Nanoscale materials have the potential to significantly advance society by improving the performance of many emerging technologies, reducing energy use, and enhancing the use of scarce resources. The rapidly increasing use of nanomaterials also raises questions about the possible environmental safety and health issues surrounding the potential release of engineered nanoparticles into the environment. The Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary research effort that links UW-Madison with 11 other universitiess and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with Prof. Hamers as the overall Director.

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Evelyn Hammond

Evelyn Hammond

Evelyn Hammond is a PhD student at the Nelson Institute. She received her MSc from the University of Stuttgart, Germany and her B.Sc. from the University of Ghana. After completing her studies in Germany, Evelyn lived and worked in London (United Kingdom) as an Environmental Consultant for 4 years. She returned to her home country, Ghana in 2009 where she taught at Central University until 2012. Evelyn started her PhD program in Fall 2012, her PhD dissertation is on Frac Sand Mining in Wisconsin. After her PhD program, Evelyn will continue her career in teaching and research on sustainable use of mineral and non-mineral resources for development of communities. Evelyn is an avid reader and enjoys John Grisham’s legal thrillers. She resides in Madison with her husband, Eric and their son, Phanuel. She loves to listen to gospel and country music.

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Brian Holmes

Brian Holmes

Brian Holmes is an essayist, researcher and artist-cartographer. Over the last twenty years his essays on art and political economy have been distributed, translated and read around the world. Brian is a member of the groups Deep Time Chicago and Compass and a collaborator of Hau der Kulturen dr Wel, Berlin, for their Anthropocene Curriculum program. For his current work visit ecotopia.today.

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Shane Hubbard

Shane Hubbard

Shane Hubbard My research area includes temporal topics in GIScience and how they can be applied to natural hazards. Event modeling approaches capture the geographic dynamics that occur for a given domain. During natural hazard events, for example, modeling these occurrences as events represents the movement and change within the hazard area. Hazard events (e.g., flooded roadway, bridge failure) are the happenings that decision-makers respond to during a disaster and from these events arise response actions. Simulating geographic hazard events provide a holistic view of the disaster and provide better information for spatiotemporal decision making.

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Marek Kubik

Marek Kubik

Marek leads Fluence's UK and Ireland client solutions team and is responsible for overseeing the development and coordination of Energy Storage sales and project proposals across UK&I, the Middle East and Africa. He is approaching a decade of experience in energy and sustainability, including an instrumental role in the development of the UK's first fully commercial battery storage array at Kilroot Power Station in 2015. Marek is a 2017 honoree of the Forbes 30 Under 30; a list that recognizes the most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and brightest stars in their respective industries. He holds a Masters in Engineering from Durham University and an Engineering Doctorate from the University of Reading.

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Alexandra LaKind

Alexandra LaKind

Alexandra Lakind is pursuing a joint PhD in Environment & Resources and Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an alumna of Interlochen Arts Academy, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and New York University, where she studied theater/performance. Before coming to UW, she founded/directed a cooperative preschool in Brooklyn, NY and an outdoor summer camp in Santa Fe, NM. She has also maintained her practice as a performance artist making both solo and collaborative work, including projects with the Yes Men, the Hemispheric Institute, and the United States Department of Arts and Culture. During her time in Madison, she has done organizational design and arts programming for the Madison Public Library, Arts + Literature Laboratory, and Terra Incognita (an environmental art series she co-founded with Robert Lundberg). She is currently a graduate fellow at the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies and a graduate associate in the Center for Culture, History, and Environment, and is conducting research on environmental futurism and queer ecologies. She is interested in cooperative environments that moderate pressures from the market-driven society, and aims to recognize and support infrastructure to provide platforms to multiple voices across categories. Through implicit and explicit, academic and performative routes, she hopes to foster supportive communities prepared to process unanswerable dilemmas together.

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Steve Loheide

Steve Loheide

Steve Loheide's research focuses on the interactions between ecological and hydrological processes in natural and built systems with special attention to the role of groundwater. His approaches use a combination of field data, remote sensing, and numerical modeling to understand the feedbacks between vegetation patterning, vegetative water use, soil moisture availability, groundwater regimes, and stream-aquifer interactions. This work is focused on improving the scientific basis for stream, floodplain, meadow, and wetland restoration efforts; quantifying the provisioning of hydrologic ecosystem services under current and future scenarios; and evaluating interactions among groundwater and urban, agricultural, and natural environments.

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Brian Luck

Brian Luck

Brian Luck is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at UW-Madison. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis in Machine Systems Automation Engineering from the University of Kentucky. Brian moved to Mississippi State University to pursue his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering focusing on animal environments within poultry production.

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Alejandro Meitin

Alejandro Meitin

Alejandro Meitin is an artist, lawyer, environmental activist, and co-founder of the art collective Ala Plástica (1991), which is based in La Plata, Argentina. Since 1994 he has been a member of Arte Litoral, an independent network of artists, critics, curators, and scholars interested in new ways of thinking about contemporary artistic practice and critical theory. Meitin has been involved in researching and developing collaborative artistic practices and has a number of exhibitions, residencies, and publications to his credit. He has also taught courses and given lectures in Latin America, North America, and Europe.

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Beverly Nevalga

Beverly Nevalga

Beverly Nevalga is a Silicon Valley alum who has led global social media and public relations programs for California Almonds, Disney Parks, Energy Upgrade California, Kimpton Hotels and Visit Tri-Valley Bay Area. Her current interests lie at the intersection of digital storytelling, sustainable tourism and social entrepreneurship. As a founding member of ProjectbyProject.org’s San Francisco chapter, she has also worked to develop the talents of young leaders and with community leaders to empower Asian American communities.

Since 2013, Beverly has lived the life of a digital nomad in Montreal, Manila and Madison, Wis. while consulting with communications clients. Beverly is a Master of Science candidate in Environmental Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s The Nelson Institute. This summer, her capstone project will bring her to Siargao, Philippines where she will evaluate the effectiveness of environmental awareness programs. Concurrently, through a literature review, Beverly will examine media formats and communication techniques that influence sustainable tourism planning and policy-making in the Philippines.

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Némesis Ortiz-Declet

Nemesis Ortiz-Declet

Némesis Ortiz-Declet is a first-year graduate student in the Water Resources Management Master's program here at UW-Madison. Last summer she worked with Great Lakes Research and Education Center's Research Coordinator, Desiree Robertson-Thompson, at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a National Park Service Climate Change Response Program Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change Intern. Other than conducting research on water resources, Nemesis is interested in the implications research findings have on natural resources management and decision-making.

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Elandria Williams

Elandria Williams

Elandria Williams is the Director of Training at PeoplesHub. She also provides development support to cooperatives, mostly in the Southern United States, and is a co-editor of Beautiful Solutions, a project that is gathering some of the most promising and contagious stories, solutions, strategies and big questions for building a more just, democratic, and resilient world. Beautiful Solutions has a web platform, trainings and a book soon to be released. For the last eleven years Elandria worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center, first as the youth/intergenerational programs director and then helping co-coordinate Economics and Governance programs such as the Mapping Our Futures Curriculum and the Southern Grassroots Economies Project. Elandria also serves on the boards of the Southern Reparations Loan Fund (SRLF), US Solidarity Economy Network, Appalachian Studies Association and the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, and is one of the Co-Moderators or Chief Governance Officers of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

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David Prager

David Prager

David Prager is Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for De Beers Group and a member of the company's Executive Committee. Based in London, David has overall responsibility for the global profile and positioning of De Beers and its businesses.

Spanning the luxury and extractive sectors, David has unique insight into the evolving expectations of consumers and the corresponding pressures on production. He works across geographies to incorporate the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders into De Beers' corporate strategy. From communities to consumers; employees to partners; industry to civil society; and media to governments, David shapes a social purpose for the business that goes beyond risk mitigation and adopts the aspirations of communities as a core part of De Beers' business model.

David graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Political Science and Journalism and is a board member of the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

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Mohammed Rafi Arefin

Mohammed Rafi Arefin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research investigates the politics of waste and sanitation and asks how capital, infrastructure and waste structure inequality in cities. He pursues these interests in studies of sanitary infrastructure in Cairo, the emerging field of microbiology of the built environment, and studies of the transnational North American hazardous waste trade.

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Ben Reynolds

Ben Reynolds

Ben Reynolds is Director of Operations at Reynolds Transfer & Storage, a moving company that handles residential, commercial and industrial moves. Part of the family’s sixth generation, Ben has worked for Reynolds since age fourteen, with roles including mover, truck driver, dispatch, machinery and storage project manager, and operations manager. Ben earned his BS in Industrial Engineering and MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the UW-Madison. During his master’s program, Ben became interested, and developed a background in business sustainability. He worked as a teaching assistant for a class called Sustainable Approaches to Systems Improvement and took four additional business sustainability classes. After learning the benefits of sustainability in business, he has led the implementation of the company’s sustainability program.

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Francisco Santiago-Ávila

Francisco Santiago-Ávila

Francisco Santiago-Ávila holds Masters degrees in environmental public policy as well as environmental management from Duke University. His past research has focused on valuation of non-wood forest wealth, the prioritization of ecosystems for conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean and measuring the impact of protected areas on land cover change. As part of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Fran's research has revolved around the integration and application of environmental and animal ethics to coexistence with wildlife, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal methods to prevent conflicts with large carnivores (the gray wolf, in particular). His main objective is to reform human-wildlife interactions by embedding in them the acknowledgment of moral standing for individual nonhuman animals. Fran's other research interests include human behavior and attitudes towards animals, conflict-mitigating interventions, legal mechanisms for conservation, carnivore behavioral ecology and trophic cascades.

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Andrea Santy

Andrea Santy

Andrea joined WWF in 2001 and has more than 20 years of experience in international education and exchange, capacity development, and cross-cultural communications. As Director of WWF's Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program, she works to ensure that conservationists from Africa, Asia, and Latin America gain the skills and knowledge they need to manage their own natural resources. She holds a master's degree in international communications from American University. From her vantage at WWF, Andrea is interested in understanding opportunities and gaps for accessing capacity development.

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Nathan Schulfer

Nathan Schulfer

Nathan Schulfer is the Director of International & Professional Programs at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. In this role Nathan manages the Institute’s professional MS degree programs, while leading the Institute’s efforts to build and strengthen networks with NGO’s, government units, and private sector partners around the world. Prior to joining the Nelson Institute Nathan worked for the US National Park Service in Glacier National Park, for the Montana State Legislature, and in China advising NGO’s and government units on protected area management. Nathan holds a BS in Anthropology from Montana State University, and a MS in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development from University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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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.

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Emanuel Urey

Emmanuel Urey

Emmanuel K. Urey is a PhD Candidate in Environment and Resources at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has over six years’ experience in land tenure reforms in West Africa. Emmanuel Master Thesis, which looked at customary land tenures in a transitional context played key roles in developing new land policy and laws for Liberia. His current dissertation research focuses on the history and impacts of large-scale agriculture concessions on rural people in Liberia. He is the main protagonist in the award-winning documentary “The Land Beneath Our Fee.”

I am a Project Assistant at the UW-Madison. I have Masters in Environment & Resources (M.Sc.) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master in Public Health (MPH) from Cuttington University, and B.Sc. (Biology) from Cuttington University.

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Marcy West

Marcy West

Marcy West serves as the Executive Director for the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in southwest Wisconsin. As Director since 1996, Marcy has witnessed the transition of a property that was previously destined to be a man-made lake become a publicly protected 8,600-acre Reserve that attracts low-impact recreation enthusiasts year-round. She is currently writing a book about the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in cooperation with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

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Monica White

Monica White

Monica White is an assistant professor of environmental justice at UW-Madison with a joint appointment in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology. Monica’s research engages communities of color and grassroots organizations that are involved in the development of sustainable community food systems as a strategy to respond to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility. Her publications include Sisters of the Soil: Urban Gardening as Resistance Among Black Women in Detroit; and D-Town Farm: African American Resistance to Food Insecurity and the Transformation of Detroit. Her forthcoming book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, 1880-2010, contextualizes new forms of contemporary urban agriculture within the historical legacies of African American farmers who fought to acquire and stay on the land.

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Shari Wilcox

Shari Wilcox

Shari Wilcox is Associate Director of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also a member of the Robert E. and Jean F. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies at UW-Madison. An interdisciplinary scholar, she works at the intersections of cultural geography, animal geography, the environmental humanities, and conservation social science. Wilcox's work has been supported by the Smithsonian Institution, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Historical Animal Geographies (Routledge, 2018), and her first monograph, Jaguars of Empire: Natural History in the New World, will be published as part of the University of North Carolina's Flows, Migrations, and Exchanges series in 2019.

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Pearly Wong

Pearly Wong

Pearly Wong is a PhD student in the joint program of Cultural Anthropology and Environmental and Resources with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Prior to coming to Madison, she has 6 years of working experience in the field of International Development in Nepal, Cameroon, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Her research interest is on the plurality and heterogeneity of the meanings of environmental justice and development, experienced through locally relevant identities, such as castes and gender, among rural communities in the Global South, and how they correspond with the broader societal discourse and network of development actors. She will conduct her ethnographic field work in Pharping, Nepal.

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