Autumn 2019 Newsletter
E-IPER students and alumni have been incredibly busy lately conducting field research, publishing remarkable findings, and gaining exciting exposure for their work. We hope you have a restful winter break and we look forward to another rewarding year!   
In this issue:
News Features NewsFeatures

Director's Welcome  
Dear E-IPER community,
We know that it's that time of year - the rush between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, when people are cramming for finals, squeezing in last-minute meetings, or perhaps already on the road for winter travels. I find that this time of year provides an excellent opportunity to take stock of where we've been and what we've done over the past year, which always brings an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the enormous community contributions to those efforts over the past 365 days.   
Certainly, for E-IPER, this has been a busy, eventful year. Just a few of the many events that have been on my mind - in the past couple of months in particular - include:
  • Welcoming, as well as sending off, a bumper-crop of Joint Master's students: Our Capstone Symposium in early December showcased the hard work and talents of 11 graduating MS students, with topics ranging from sustainable beef to socially responsible investing to self-sustaining composting systems. The quality, rigor, and depth of Capstone projects, coupled with the overall motivation and passion of our Joint MS students, continue to provide much-needed inspiration. These students are clearly making a difference in the short and long term. Next quarter, we have a second-round of joint MS students in our Capstone course, which I'll co-teach with lecturer Nik Sawe, an E-IPER alumnus. If you'd like to join us for the Winter Capstone Symposium, (Thursday, March 12th in Y2E2 299), you, too, could be equally inspired!
  • Launching a strategic discussion process for the Joint MS program. This aspect of E-IPER program has been underway for 12 years, with great - and growing - success. We now have the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments to date and consider future directions. Leveraging a dedicated group of supporters-faculty, alumni, students, and staff-we're facilitating a series of three design-thinking working sessions. At the kick-off session in November, the energy and enthusiasm were phenomenal, with many exciting ideas and perspectives already emerging. We can hardly wait for our next gathering in February.
  • Trying out new avenues for connecting and building our community. Thanks to E-IPER ExCom member Prof. Buzz Thompson, we have a new JD/MS dinner-and-discussion group that met this fall and will meet each quarter at his home. We've also been hosting small-group student/faculty-member lunches at the Faculty Club to encourage casual conversation on a range of topics, from career planning to mentorship to the definition of interdisciplinarity, and more. We held grant-development workshops this past year, and we have research-related workshops on deck. Be on the lookout for more such opportunities-and please approach us with suggestions, too! Faculty affiliates contributed a number of great ideas during the year-end half-day retreat in June; we're eager for additional perspectives as well as building and maintaining a thriving community is one of our top priorities.
With the turn of the clock at midnight on December 31, we not only gain a new year, but also we gain a bright and shiny new decade. What an opportunity to make change: we encourage a renewed commitment and call to action, to persevere in our collaborative efforts with a sense of purpose and vision. To that end, we wish each of you a restful, rejuvenating break. And we look forward to digging into good, hard, satisfying work together in the new year.
Nicole and E-IPER staff:
Anjana, Ann Marie, Gabby, Maile 
E-IPER Annual Student Retreat      
Standing, left to right: (back) Andrea Lund, Daniel Irvin, Julius Niehaus, Meghan Shea, Will Scott, Morrison Mast, Bianca Santos, Valerie Shen, Cesar Lopez, Edward Silva, Sami Tellatin; (middle) Kyle Mills, Abhay Jain, John Hare-Grogg, Mike Caron, Josheena Naggea, Nic Buckley Biggs, Zuha Shaikh, Maya Granit, Johanna Klitzke, Shannon Switzer Swanson, Julia Osterman, Amanda Zerbe, Joseph Ingrao, Arnab Chatterjee, Ian Fields Seated, left to right: Sudatta Ray, Nina Brooks, Rebecca Miller, Lin Shi, Samy Sekar, Erica Bower, Garrett Adler, Jose Urteaga    
E-IPER had another great weekend for the annual October retreat at the environmental education center at NatureBridge, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
At this year's event, 44 E-IPER PhD and Joint MS students enjoyed a variety of activities together, including beach frisbee, Tug O' War, hiking, yoga, trivia, art projects, and discussions of current research interests and collaboration opportunities. Students also had specific breakout discussions for PhD feedback and Joint MS alumni involvement. The Student Liaison Committee (StuCom), along with Assistant Director Ann Marie Pettigrew and Student Services Officer Maile Yee, crafted the weekend program with the aim of deepening the sense of community within E-IPER.
Friday evening wrapped up with our traditional campfire, with s'mores, guitar players, and a handful of remarkable singers leading the group in song. Seeing the community that was built through trivia, painting, and the gathering from the campfire was a sure indication that StuCom set up the right formula for community building.

CollabGrant PhD and Joint MS Collaboration:
Utility Scale Battery Storage in East Africa: A Comparative Analysis to California
By: Nathan Ratledge and Annie Baldwin
David Birungi (UMEME) with Joint MS student, Annie Baldwin
Clean electricity generation is rapidly expanding across the globe. A well-known bottleneck for future growth is smoothing intermittency related to solar and wind resources. Utility scale battery storage is one important mechanism in solving this intermittency challenge. In addition, battery storage can address other grid-based problems and provide significant cost savings to utilities and consumers. California is one region leading the deployment of utility scale batteries.

Nathan Ratledge (PhD 4th) and Annie Baldwin (MS-MBA '20) partnered on an E-IPER Collaboration Grant to compare California's experience with utility scale battery storage in a new market - East Africa. Their hypothesis was that battery storage is relatively more valuable in East Africa given the higher frequency of blackouts, power surges and grid balancing issues.
Following several months of interviews in California, Nathan and Annie traveled to Kenya and Uganda during June and July 2019. They met with representatives across the utility, government, aid and private sectors to understand the primary grid challenges and potential value streams for battery storage. With data in hand, they are completing a cost benefit analysis for several use cases to complement interview responses.
Their preliminary results indicate that battery storage can play an out-sized role in displacing expensive fossil fuel-based generation, smoothing existing frequency challenges and improving power quality for industrial users. Battery storage will also be critical in enabling large-scale solar and wind installations in East Africa.
An Energizing Opportunity: Policy and Behavioral Interventions to Incentivize Renewable Energy Investment in Opportunity Zones
By: Cody Evans and K.C. McKanna
K.C. Mckanna (PhD 4th) and Cody Evans (MS-MBA '20) received a Collaboration Grant to study how state and local policy could encourage more clean energy investment in Opportunity Zones around the country. Their work first took them to Nashville, where they spent a week in August surveying hundreds of state policymakers gathered for the National Conference of State Legislators. With three chairs and four iPads, KC and Cody - joined by the wonderful Samy Sekar (PhD 4th) - administered over 200 surveys to legislators from around the country. Their stint in the Music City was followed by a conference in the Silicon Valley, where they administered a similar survey geared towards investors at a Family Office conference held at Stanford in November. In short, KC and Cody will use the results of the two surveys to bring investors and policymakers to the table around a common set of solutions that could encourage investment in clean energy assets across the country.
Alumni Spotlight Alumnispotlight

Alumni Spotlight:  
Lauren Laustsen  
Lauren Laustsen with dog, Pip, and boyfriend, Jesse Flores
Lauren Laustsen's entrance into the energy/cleantech space was intentional from the moment she stepped into Stanford's Graduate School of Business and E-IPER's Joint MS program. After moving from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a management consultant to attend Stanford, she dove deeply into the opportunities that both programs afforded her, through coursework, projects, and internships. 
Lauren studied energy markets and policy, but primarily focused on renewable energy technologies through Jane Woodward's Understanding Energy course and Gil Masters' Electric Power: Renewables and Efficiency course. She used her time within both programs to explore several dimensions of the cleantech industry, which included summer internships at a thin film solar manufacturer and another working on a Brazilian solar startup with classmates. She subsequently developed her Capstone project, along with two MS-MBA classmates, in partnership with the Brazilian solar startup to assess the viability of residential solar financing. They worked with a Brazilian law firm to develop a model contract in partnership with Sunpower, who provided expertise and funding for the project. The group also engaged with several other US-based solar providers over the course of the project, and found the Stanford alumni network to be very helpful. 
Lauren recalls one of her most memorable E-IPER experiences: Ryan Orr led a two-week trip to Montenegro, Europe where they studied the potential for and barriers to hydropower adoption in the country. It was a place she never would have traveled on her own, and it was interesting for her to spend time with such a diverse group of students from all over the world and several programs at Stanford.
Coursework paired with internships lead Lauren to work for a couple years as a consultant working on utility projects post-graduation. However, she was looking to leverage this experience into something more - working for a company with an explicit focus on sustainability.
Lauren currently serves as the VP of Strategy and Corporate Development for Uplight, a technology company that provides customer engagement solutions to electric and gas utilities focused on helping customers save energy. Uplight is a 400-person company that was formed this past summer through a private equity-backed rollup of six companies, including Simple Energy where Lauren started.
Uplight's products help customers understand their energy use and make better decisions and help utilities manage the grid. This includes utility marketplaces which sell Nest thermostats, and personalized recommendations related to electric vehicles and the ability to shop for used EVs on Carvana. Lauren's work specifically at Uplight includes working with the executive team to set the company's strategy, evaluating potential acquisitions, and managing relationships with key partners such as Google, HomeAdvisor, Carvana, and implementation contractor ICF.
Uplight is a certified B-Corp with five-year mission goals including 100 million tons of carbon abatement and saving customers $10B on their energy bills. Given the broad customer base of their 85 utility customers, the company is able to reach over 100 million residential and commercial customers globally. The impact that Lauren has as a part of Uplight is helping utilities pivot from being commodity suppliers to solution providers, and from treating customers as ratepayers to empowering and engaging them in the clean energy transition.   
The knowledge she gained of energy-related technologies and policy are important given the importance of technology and regulatory trends to her company's growth and strategy. The skills that Lauren obtained at Stanford GSB are a great foundation for the business challenges she encounters every day, from negotiating contracts with partners and managing a team, to analyzing markets as part of Uplight's growth strategy.
Lauren lives in Denver, Colorado with her dog Pip and boyfriend Jesse Flores who she met at the GSB. They love seeing the mountains every day and having such easy access to the outdoors. They also appreciate being within walking distance of bars, restaurants, museums and sports stadiums and having transportation options like nearby bike paths and the train/bus. In addition to family time, Lauren likes skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winters, and hiking in the summers. She recently got a Tesla Model 3 which has greatly improved her commute to Boulder and weekend trips in the mountains!  
Lauren's recommendations for current E-IPER students:
Take advantage of the experiential classes, projects, and internships to gain practical experience while at Stanford, and find the intersection of what you're good at and what you're motivated by.
Student News StudentNews
On October 26th, in collaboration with local organization Ebiil Society, Caroline Ferguson (PhD 3rd) hosted the Omengederir a Redil (Women's Fishery Forum) in the Council of Chiefs house at the national capitol in Melekeok, Palau. Fisherwomen and leaders from across the country gathered to address challenges facing women's fisheries, generating policy solutions based on Caroline's dissertation research. One outcome of the conference was an initiative to begin participatory monitoring of women's fisheries in each of the engaged communities, empowering fisherwomen with the tools to monitor their own resources. Caroline will begin training fisherwomen for participatory monitoring in January 2020.    
Caroline is also wearing a new hat: sea cucumber
farmer! In coll ab orat i on wi th local organization Ebiil Society and aquarist Alex Ferrier-Loh, Carol ine has begun prototyping a low-budget, community-based sea cucumber farm with a conservation mission. In Palau, sea cucumbers have been overfished, and the women who rely on them for their food sovereignty and livelihood are suffering. Caroline is now working with collaborators to restock wild populations through environmentally and economically sustainable farming practices, informe d by traditional ecological knowledge. The team had their first successful spawning in October!
Abhay Jain (MS-MBA '20 ) was busy this past Spring and Summer quarter working as a Business and Product Development Manager at Sparkz, a battery technology company, that recently received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE). The grant has been received by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working with Sparkz, and they are advancing low cobalt cathodes.
Also, as part of the 2016 Asian Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium, Abhay presented and published a paper for the symposium on "Technical Challenges for Compressors and Steam Turbines for Efficient and Sustainable Operation in Mega Ethylene Plants" that is now initiating some discussions in Turbomachinery.
Rebecca Miller (PhD 3rd) spoke as an invited panelist on a discussion sponsored by CalMatters on "Learning to Live with Fire", which look at strategies for adapting to this new reality and what the state is doing to address this intractable problem.
Ezgi with cereal crop farmer in Central Anatolia, Turkey
Ezgi Sonmez (MS-MBA '20 ) spent her 
summer in Turkey, conducting a field study with almost 50 pistachio growers and key public and private stakeholders. She is passionate about finding a sustainable way to increase disposable incomes of Turkish farmers. Her studies center around the comparison of pistachio markets in California and Turkey in order to identify opportunities for the Turkish growers. Her E-IPER Capstone Project brings her learnings from Turkey together with her current field study of California, hopefully landing on solid action plan to improve livelihood of Turkish pistachio growers.

Alumni News AlumniNews

Left to Right: Narasimha Rao, Andy Gerhart, Ahan Ghosh-Rao, Mehana Vaughn, Asha Ghosh, Caroline Scruggs, Adam Millard Ball, and Kaitlin Shilling

The full (PhD '11) cohort had a reunion in New Haven, CT, whereby they surprised Narasimha Rao, who recently started a position at Yale, for his birthday. Narasimha's wife, Asha, and son, Ahan, (shown in pics, too) were instrumental in organizing the surprise.

Cassandra Brooks (PhD '17) Environmental Studies (ENVS) Assistant Professor was invited to be science faculty on the forthcoming Homeward Bound Project women's leadership expedition to Antarctica which departed for Antarctica on November 22, 2019 . Homeward Bound is a ground-breaking, global leadership initiative, set against the backdrop of Antarctica, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. Launched in 2016, the inaugural program culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound has now led three cohorts of women through the annual state-of-the-art program and Antarctic voyage.  
Cassandra Brooks (PhD '17) was highlighted for her accomplishments and challenges in the Spotlight on Early-Career Researchers in Nature. 
Autumn Bordner (MS-JD '19) was quoted in the  LA Times in a story on the nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands.

Savannah Fletcher (MS-JD '18) is working in Fairbanks, Alaska, as a Native Law Attorney for the Tanana Chiefs Conference. She has also recently been appointed to the Fairbanks North Star Borough's Climate Change Task Force, where she will help lead the efforts for the Borough to create a climate adaptation plan. 
Jenna Forsyth (PhD '19) was quoted in the Washington Post on the research she conducted with colleagues on " Some turmeric, wellness portion of the moment, may owe its yellow color to lead contamination ", which is also leading to some change in Bangladesh with Food Safety taking swift action.  
Justin Mankin (PhD '15) has a guest post on " Will plants help make the planet wetter or drier in a changing climate? " in Carbon Brief.
Narasimha Rao (PhD '11) was featured in an article in The New York Times on " Taking a Different Approach to Fighting Climate Change ", an article which is part of a continuing series on Visionaries. The New York Times select people from all over the world who are pushing the boundaries of their fields.
New book helps build researchers' creativity
Creativity is the heart of research, but scholars and scientists rarely receive explicit training in managing their creative process. Nicola Ulibarri (PhD '15) and Amanda Cravens (PhD '14), along with colleagues from Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, recently published Creativity in Research: Cultivate Clarity, Be Innovative, and Make Progress in your Research Journey (Cambridge University Press 2019) to address this gap.
The book evolved from a project that Amanda, Nicola, and their team began in 2010, when the two were early in their PhD careers at E-IPER. Each of the researchers involved was interested in design thinking, a creative problem solving methodology taught at the, and particularly in how design thinking could be used to support researchers. The team developed a curriculum for graduate students and postdocs, with support from both E-IPER and the Stanford Vice Provost for Graduate Education. "We always had more demand for the workshops than we could teach, so we always joked that someday we had to write a book," says Amanda.
Fast forward through a decade of collaborative teaching, learning, and iterating to the publication of that book this summer. Intended for anyone doing or mentoring research, regardless of discipline or career stage, Creativity in Research provides practical guidance on developing seven key abilities that underlie creative research practice. The book combines scientific literature on creativity with stories of how using the abilities has changed research for the team's students and also provides experiential exercises to practice using each ability. 
While other books on design thinking and creativity are available, Creativity in Research has two prominent innovations. First, the authors place the tasks and challenges that researchers face front and center in their treatment of the creative abilities. Second, the book deeply explores why each ability works from a psychological, emotional, and/or cognitive perspective. Much of the work on design thinking is grounded in professional practice and has paid much less attention to the mechanisms by which techniques work.
Visit the team's website for more information about the book and/or the workshops.   
Awards & Honors AwardsHonors
As a recipient of E-IPER's Extraordinary Funding opportunity, Josheena Naggea (PhD 3rd) was part of a network of expert practitioners involved in the training of 30 marine protected area (MPA) staff from Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles, who were trained and assessed as peer trainers for their respective agencies in Strategic Adaptive Management (SAM). The training program took place in Victoria, Seychelles from August 12-16, with the support of the Seychelles National Parks Authority, the Coral Reefs Initiative, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Pew Marine Fellows Program and the Seychelles Environment Trust Fund. SAM is an adaptive management approach that helps increase MPA success by establishing clear objectives, identifying key areas for improvement, and documenting resulting ecological and social change, while fostering collaboration with scientists and community members. Josheena has been working with SAM co-founder, Dr. Jennifer O'Leary since 2018. 
Nicole Ulibarri (PhD '15) is part of a UCI-led team that received an NSF EAGER grant to study Socioeconomic effects of coastal flooding in California .
Publications & Presentations PublicationsPresentations

Garrett Adler (PhD 5th) presented his work on "Climate, Conflict and Social Capital in Africa" as part of a panel on climate change and conflict at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Washington, D.C.

In July, Autumn Bordner (MS-JD '19) presented at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Science and Technology Symposium in Vienna, Austria on human rights dimensions of nuclear testing and the connection between nuclear and climate forced migrations in the Marshall Islands. And in November, Autumn published a paper on "Climate Migration & Self-Determination" in Columbia Human Rights Law Review, which focuses on the effect of climate migration on the right to self-determination, especially for decolonizing geographies. 
2019 has been a busy year for Cassandra Brooks (PhD '17) and colleagues who co-authored several papers:
" Governing marine living resources in the polar regions " in Edward Elgar Publishing (Cheltenham, UK). 
"  The State and future of Antarctic environments in a global context " Annual Reviews in Environment and Resources.
Nina Brooks (PhD 4th) gave a talk in Washington, D.C. at the Global Gag Rule Research for Advocates workshop hosted by the Open Society Foundations on her recent publication "United States Aid Policy and Induced Abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analysis of the Mexico City Policy". Nina also presented her work on the health and environmental effects of brick manufacturing in Bangladesh at the Sustainability and Development Conference at the University of Michigan.
Rachel Carlson (PhD 2nd) published an article "Land Use Impacts on Coral Reef Health: A Ridge-to-Reef Perspective" in Frontiers.

Caroline Ferguson (PhD 3rd) published an article "Winners and losers of sea cucumber exports from Palau" in the "New Projects, New Research" section of the SPC Women in Fisheries Bulletin.
Caroline Ferguson (PhD 3rd) and Autumn Bordner (MS-JD '19) presented at the Migration Conference in Bari, Italy, this past summer on narratives around climate migration in island states.

David Gonzalez (PhD 4th) and colleagues published an article, " Mercury exposure, risk factors, and perceptions among women of childbearing age in an artisanal gold mining region of the Peruvian Amazon, " in Environmental Research.

Kristen Green (PhD 4th) and colleagues published a paper "Iñupiaq Values in Subsistence Harvesting: Applying the Community Voice Method in Northwest Alaska" that describes the Community Voice Method and the work they did with coastal stakeholders to document shared indigenous values about hunting and harvesting in Northwest Arctic Alaska in Society and Natural Resources.

Michael Hooper (PhD '10) recently published two articles on research he has been conducting with colleagues on urban politics and policy in Ghana. The first, published in the journal Urbanisation, examines efforts to better engage socio-spatially marginalized populations, through a study of Ghana's new Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development. The second, published in Habitat International, examines the relationship between urban migration and housing during resource booms, drawing on the case of Ghana's current oil boom.

in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Justin Mankin (PhD '15) has two publications:

Meghan Shea (PhD 1st) first-authored a paper "Tracing country commitment to Indegenous peoples in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change" in Global Environmental Change.

Lin Shi (PhD 3rd) authored an article " Industrial Symbiosis: Context and Relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) "  in the Responsible Consumption and Production section of the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals book series. 

Nicola Ulibarri (PhD '15) has two publications:
Contributors to this issue include:
Gabriela Magaña, Maile Yee, Ann Marie Pettigrew, Annie Baldwin, Nathan Ratledge, Cody Evans and K.C. McKanna.
Edited by:
The E-IPER Staff
Thank you for continuing to support E-IPER!