Summer 2019 Newsletter
E-IPER summers are full, and they pass quickly. Students are as busy as during the academic year, conducting fieldwork or serving in internships, and crunching data and writing intensively. Faculty are doing the same (minus the internships). And alumni are hard at work all year round.
In this issue, we introduce a new feature, the Faculty Spotlight, in which we present a brief portrait that we hope will tell you something you didn't already know about the featured faculty member. For this inaugural Faculty Spotlight on Len Ortolano, we present a matching Alumni Spotlight, focusing on Len's very first E-IPER student, Xuehua Zhang.    
In this issue:
News Features News

Commencement 2019 
The   School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences  graduating students, faculty, friends and family gathered for the Stanford Earth Diploma Ceremony on Sunday, June 16, 2019. A bagpiper led the faculty into the ceremony and Dean Stephan Graham opened with welcoming remarks and awards.
Nicole Ardoin, E-IPER's Faculty Director, introduced PhD graduates, who were hooded by their faculty advisors. PhD recipients included: Ronan Arthur, hooded by advisor Jamie Jones and co-advised by Marc Feldman; Jenna Forsyth, hooded by advisor Nicole Ardoin and co-advised by Steve Luby; and Staci Lewis, hooded by advisor Rob Dunbar and co-advised by Meg Caldwell. PhD graduates   Miyuki Hino, co-advised by Chris Field and Marshall Burke, and Michael Harris, co-advised by Buzz Thompson and Eran Bendavid, were unable to attend the ceremony.
Joint MS graduates, introduced by E-IPER Associate Director Susannah Barsom and hooded by Faculty Director Nicole Ardoin, included Ben DeGolia, Will Foiles, Michael Levin, Monica Molina, Indira Phukan Nicholas, Nihal Shrinath, Ezgi Sonmez, and Jim Yu.  Joint MS graduates, Artem Barsukov, Autumn Bordner, Ryan Calvert, Stella Chen, Donna Ni, and Sarah Rowan were unable to attend the ceremony .
Congratulations Class of 2019! We are so proud of you and can't wait to hear all the amazing things you'll do and accomplish.  
Joint MS Alumni Reception     
Standing (from left): Himanshu Gupta (MS-MBA '18), Kent Kuran (MS-MBA '17), Julia Osterman (MS-MBA  2nd), Caroline Jo (MS-JD 3rd), Anjana Richards (E-IPER staff), Jeff Barnes (MS-MBA '16), Yi Wang (MS-MBA '15), Tom ás Ocampo (MS-MBA '16).  Kneeling (from left):  Maile Yee (E-IPER staff), Ryan Calvert (MS-MBA '19).                                 Photo by: Anthony T. of Snappr  
The E-IPER program, along with five peer programs from Cornell, Duke, Michigan, MIT, and Yale, hosted their 5th Annual Joint Sustainability Alumni Network Reception.  The six peer programs host a summer alumni reception each year, alternating between New York and San Francisco. This year, E-IPER had the pleasure of reuniting in their "backyard" at Mindspace in San Francisco. It was a great opportunity for alumni to come together and engage with peer alumni and others who hold sustainability-focused positions in the Bay Area.
E-IPER program staff also spent the day with their peer-institution colleagues and the sustainability team at Salesforce as part of the ongoing meetings of the Sustainable Business Education Collaborative (SBEC). It was wonderful catching up with all who attended and we hope to see you in the Summer of 2020 in New York!

 Wellness Initiative
Wellness   by Anna Lee and David Gonzalez   

PhD students (from left) Ranjitha Shivaram, Anna Lee, Gemma Smith, at the drop-in gratitude event. 
Photo by Josheena Naggea 
As E-IPER's 2019 Wellness Liaisons- - a new program at Stanford Earth- - we worked with our peers from other Stanford Earth academic departments and programs to develop this initiative, sharing in visioning, experimentation, and learning. The program goals include building community and opening space for a dialogue about mental health. We were supported by training and funding from SE3, along with a Wellness mini-grant from BeWell and iThrive, the combination of which gave us freedom to explore a range of approaches.
We hosted a gratitude event where we invited E-IPER community members to come by and write notes to people who had touched their lives positively, and a self-love Valentine event where we encouraged students to make Valentines for themselves (and then for others too!). Recognizing that physical health and time in nature are also key components of overall wellness, we integrated E-IPER group workouts into our weekly schedules, and organized a spring hike at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, as well as a walk at the Stanford Farm. We closed the year with a pizza and music party on the patio outside the office.
We have learned this year from initiating new events, making space for conversations with our peers, and getting feedback from students and staff, and there is room for growth as we continue to work with the E-IPER community. This fall we'll welcome new students into E-IPER, and new Wellness Liaisons to the program, and we're excited to share what we've learned as we continue to build our community.
We look forward to seeing you at 2019-20 Wellness events.
Faculty Spotlight FacultySpotlight
Growing up in Brooklyn, Len Ortolano was a good student who thought a lot about baseball--but not much about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Like many of his childhood friends, he was an enthusiastic Yankees fan for one primary reason: Joe DiMaggio. Long after he left baseball DiMaggio was a favorite of many Americans, but a particular favorite of Italian-Americans--and not just in Len's neighborhood, but across the country.
Attending Brooklyn Technical High School prepared Len for the engineering studies he would later pursue and introduced him to a very different sports scene: the world of varsity fencing. After high school, he went on to study civil engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and continued fencing for a few more years (he was foil fencer). As his schooling continued, he became increasingly interested in what was then called "sanitary engineering," which focused on water and wastewater treatment. (Before Len's time in college, this field was called "public health engineering." Sometime after he became an engineer, the field broadened and was re-labeled "environmental engineering.") Regardless of the labeling, Len's work has always centered on water management in one form or another, with a particular focus on environmental policies and programs.
Len's early career took him to Denver, where he and his colleagues in the US Public Health Service worked on enforcing the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in the Mountain States. After a few years there, he was ready for another dive into academics, and the Harvard Water Program appeared to be the ideal place. That program pioneered the integration of economic and hydrological models of regional water supply and water quality, a subject area that was eventually referred to as "water resources systems analysis." Originally intending to earn a Master's degree and leave, Len was hooked on the approach, and decided to stay through the PhD program. Even then, his plan was to go to work applying the Harvard Water Program's systems analysis methods to regional water problems.
It was during Len's first post-PhD job that two important seeds were planted. First, working for the Center for the Environment and Man in Hartford, Connecticut, Len found himself immersed in a regional coastal management project concerning Long Island Sound. Clients on the project included the Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board and a host of stakeholders representing the full spectrum of interests concerning coastal planning decisions. He saw firsthand the need for an interdisciplinary approach even broader than the one championed by Harvard. Second, he began to teach optimization classes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Hartford campus and quickly learned that he really liked teaching.
Len began to apply for university faculty jobs, and in 1970, landed at Stanford, where he has been a full professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 1979. Across the years, Len has been the principal investigator on numerous research grants and contracts, and has received teaching awards, Fulbright grants, visiting scholar appointments and many other honors and opportunities. Throughout that time, a common theme has been connecting with students, and connecting them with real-world challenges. He was in an excellent position to do this as director of the Haas Center for Public Service, director of the Undergraduate Program on Urban Studies, and director of the Graduate Program in Resources Planning (aka, Infrastructure Planning and Management).
Len Ortolano became involved with the Interdisciplinary Program on Environment and Resources as it was being launched. He reviewed some of the first applications to the program, and served as an advisor in the program right away. Over the years, he has served as advisor and committee member for many E-IPER students.
Asked about the challenges of advising E-IPER students, Len says that the challenges are quite similar to those of his civil engineering students, with the primary goal being to discover an important research question that the student is passionate about answering. He approaches advising in the same way, no matter who the students are: "I talk to students and try to help them discover their career objectives and whether I am in a position to help them achieve their research goals." Students should be encouraged to pursue their own interests and their own paths, he believes. He became acquainted with this approach back in the Harvard Water Program, where students worked closely with their principal advisor to design their own course of study--the only substantive course requirements were a specified unit count and advisor approval.
Len is currently serving on two E-IPER PhD committees, and last year served as Capstone project advisor for three Joint MS students. During the past few years, he has taught courses on adaptation to climate change and extreme weather events as well as environmental governance and climate resilience (the latter with Professor Bruce Cain, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West). Both courses have been well received by E-IPER students and fill an important gap in the curriculum .  
E-IPER students, faculty, alumni and staff are grateful for Len's constant commitment to the program.
Alumni Spotlight AlumniSpotlight

Alumni Spotlight:  
Xuehua Zhang 

Xuehua in Antarctica, 2018
Xuehua Zhang has big ideas for dealing with waste in China. Simply put, she is developing a closed system that integrates waste separation, composting, soil remediation, and organic farming--all of this in the context of communities and individuals. Then she plans to build several more such systems, demonstrating that appropriate changes to waste management policy can lead to significant behavioral and cultural changes. 
Her current platform for this work is the Lishui Institute of Ecology and Environment at Nanjing University, China, where she is a Senior Fellow and Chief Scientist leading the program on urban waste management. Her particular focus is on community composting of food waste and organic urban farming.   The Lishui Institute was established in early 2018 as a joint effort between Nanjing University and the Lishui government; their research scope is still evolving, but the current efforts are on the re-use of rural and urban bio-waste. This aligns well with the Chinese government's recent initiatives on urban solid waste management, particularly the promotion of source separation of waste.
Xuehua left a more traditional Chinese academic position at Sichuan University last year. She had been finding the atmosphere in academia increasingly constraining, and the opportunity to work with communities and NGOs on experiments with community-based composting was a welcome change. Even so, it was not an easy decision to leave Sichuan University, where she had studied as an undergraduate and where her mother was living.
Xuehua's current work stems from her research at Stanford--including  the Yaqui Valley Project that was initiated by a group of faculty and students in Mexico when she first came to Stanford in 2002--as well as from her earlier research on environmental policy design, implementation, enforcement and compliance (with a specific emphasis on pollution control and resource management). Her dissertation investigated the role of courts, environmental agencies and citizens in environmental enforcement under the Administrative Litigation Law, enacted in China in 1989. It was the first study to analyze the impacts of that landmark legislation.
During her PhD program, Xuehua could see the significance of interdisciplinary thinking in the context of framing issues, collecting and analyzing data, developing policy recommendations and producing academic papers. But it was only when she began to assemble an interdisciplinary team for an assessment of a local ecological farming, and later when she designed and implemented the community composting project in late 2018, that she says she came to realize "how important my interdisciplinary training was for conducting my work effectively on the ground. For the first project, at the minimum, I needed three sub-teams for assessing the environmental, social and economic impacts of the ecological farming household model which was innovated by a local NGO in 2003 and operating for over 10 years. It was easy to see what kinds of experts I needed for integrating three sub-teams, but it was not easy to identify the ones who were not only qualified but also interested in working with a small budget for the benefits of local communities. It was my E-IPER training that enabled me to speak to different experts and stakeholders and to persuade many of them to collaborate together." 
Xuehua's current work on community composting of food waste started with learning about the science of composting and documenting the importance of source separation of waste; however, the social, cultural and behavioral complexities of what she was observing rapidly became central to her work. She also saw the need to obtain a basic understanding of soil and agriculture, and of community and NGO dynamics. Each new phase of the project brings a new body of knowledge to be explored. Xuehua says her interdisciplinary training allows her to identify where she should improve her own knowledge and where she needs the collaboration of experts. 
Xuehua lives in Chengdu with her daughter, Anora Otto, who turns 13 this September, and her nearly 80-year-old mother, who has moved from Sichuan to live with her family. In addition to family time, Xuehua likes to read and hike, and has recently been invited to give public talks on women's issues and educational issues, as well as art workshops on human-nature interaction. She has been somewhat surprised to learn that she is seen as a women's rights advocate. Her next big venture will be learning to play a not-yet-specified musical instrument, something she has wanted to do since childhood.
Xuehua asked to include some general thoughts about living and working in China:

"Frankly speaking, living in China at the present is both exciting and extremely frustrating, at times even stressful. On one hand, the Chinese society is undertaking tremendous changes and the speed and scope is unprecedented. The public demand for cleaner environment and better quality of life is soaring, so it is indeed one of the best times for an environmental scholar to work in China. On the other hand, the environmenta l issues have become highly political, thus it is impossible to address any of those problems purely from scientific, technological and policy perspectives. Meanwhile, the party control over the society has become increasingly tight. The divide within Chinese society is so severe that I can barely talk to many friends about politics and major social issues without getting into arguments that hurt each other's feelings. I am a firm believer of human and individual rights, freedom of speech, constrained power, inclusion of different color, race, gender, religion and culture, etc. Many of those values are not commonly shared here and could not be openly discussed anymore. I have decided to separate my research work from personal values and beliefs as long as we all want to improve and safeguard our environment and resources."   
Xuehua's recommendations for current E-IPER students:  
"Build your coalition while at E-IPER with your fellows and faculty. The mental support for working under the difficult situation is much more important than intellectual support. Other than this, I really don't have much to recommend as E-IPER is such a supportive, friendly, intellectually rich and stimulating community, and anyone who comes out from E-IPER is indeed well prepared for tackling the real problems out there in the world. Stay connected to that community! I will aim to do better in the future!"
"I always try to remind myself to look up to the beautiful universe and to remember that we all live under the same sky."
Student News StudentNews
In July, Andrea Lund (PhD 4th) t raveled with a fellow PhD student from Stanford's Department of History to Bamako and Manantali, Mali with the support of a Capacity-Building and Policy Engagement grant from the King Center on Global Development. As a part of the work of their interdisciplinary team at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), the objective of the trip was to interview river basin managers about their perspectives on managing the Manantali dam for disease control and balancing the needs for disease control with more obvious dam operational priorities such as irrigation and electricity.  
During her fieldwork trip to India this summer, Ranjitha Shivaram (PhD 1st) had a chance to meet Veena Srinivasan (PhD 2008) in Bangalore.  Their visit gave them an opportunity to discuss their research priorities and methods, and to compare notes on their experiences at Stanford. 

Alumni News AlumniNews
Kate Brauman (PhD 2010) was invited to testify to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the hearing on Nature in Crisis: Biodiversity Loss and its Causes. The video of the hearing can be seen here  and the event was covered in a short writeup by AGU .
Last spring, Anna Kovaleva (MS-MBA 2014) became a member of the Board of Directors of the national Greenpeace office in Russia. 
Brenden Millstein (MS-MBA 2011) reports that "Carbon Lighthouse continues to grow and thrive! Doubling revenue and impact every 14 months for 9+ years now which takes us to 110 people while eliminating the emissions of 8.5 power plants. Power plants are tracked--150MW single-cycle natural gas plant--and we have ~49,991.5 left to go. We're hiring, so if you're looking for a change and want to help stop climate change faster, then  check out our openings . Note: you'll work with Stanford alumni and also Cal alumni."
Matthew Mo (MS-MBA 2015) joined the Strategy team at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in 2017 and has been working on a range of urban and environmental issues. This spring, he worked on EDC's contribution to OneNYC 2050 , which outlines a long-term, holistic strategy for New York's response to climate change. Currently, he leads two projects for EDC which are focused on the agency's role in supporting two major sustainability efforts: New York State's 9GW offshore wind goal and recent award of 1.7GW to two developers , and the ambitious Climate Mobilization Act which aims to reduce GHG emissions from NYC buildings by 40% by 2030. 
Marcela Ochoa (MS-MBA 2016) has a new position as Strategy & Business Operations Manager  at Funding Circle US, which was co-founded by Sam Hodges (MS-MBA 2011)
Veena Srinivasan (PhD 2008) has been appointed Director of a new center at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. Called the Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation, it will be launched with seed funding from Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.  
Awards & Honors AwardsANDHonors

Caroline Ferguson (PhD 2nd) was one of 30 Stanford graduate students awarded the Community Impact Award for "fostering a sense of belonging and inspiring enthusiasm among fellow grad students." Caroline was recognized for her service at the Women's Community Center and specifically her "pro-active, community-minded approach to enhancing the Stanford community through the creation of the Graduate Women's Network Book Club, which facilitates inclusive conversations and encourages authentic connections and intellectual curiosity beyond individual academic disciplines."
Fran Moore (PhD 2015) received a grant from the National Science Foundation's Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems program to 
quantify the economic costs from climate change impacts on ecosystems. This four-year project with Marc Conte (Fordham) and Xiaoli Dong (UC Davis) will quantify the costs of global changes in ecosystem services and extinction risk caused by climate change. 
Lauren Oakes (PhD 2015) has garnered more awards for her book, In Search of the Canary Tree. The book was Second Place Winner for the Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award and was a finalist for a  2019 Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Publications & Presentations publicationsANDpresentations

Nina Brooks (PhD 4th) and colleagues published an article,  Experimental evidence on promotion of electric and improved biomass cookstoves , in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and another, with advisors Grant Miller and Eran Bendavid, in Lancet Global Health, USA aid policy and induced abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of the Mexico City Policy.
The latter group also published an  op-ed in CNN based on their research,   and the research was covered by   NPR ,  The Guardian , and the   New Republic .
Marissa Childs (PhD 3rd) and her colleagues published an article, Mosquito and primate ecology predict human risk of yellow fever virus spillover in Brazil , in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 
Andrea Lund  (PhD 4th) contributed as a co-author of Modelled effects of prawn aquaculture on poverty alleviation and schistosomiasis control , recently published in Nature Sustainability. In August, she moderated an oral session at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Louisville, Kentucky. The session, entitled "Ecological Levers to Improve Human Health," featured synthetic research from the SNAPP/NCEAS Ecological Levers for Health Working Group and others. Andrea also published a paper online,  Unavoidable Risks, in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  
Justin Mankin (PhD 2015) and his research group at Dartmouth have published their first two publications, both led by his postdoc, Ethan Coffel: More concurrently hot and dry years in the Nile Basin despite increasing precipitation , in Earth's Future; and  Nonlinear increases in extreme temperatures paradoxically dampen increases in extreme humid-heat
 in Environmental Research Letters.  
Fran Moore (PhD 2015) and colleagues published Understanding the spatial distribution of welfare impacts of global warming on agriculture and its drivers in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
L auren Oakes (PhD 2015) and colleagues published Confronting Flames Floods and More in a Warming World , as part of her Scientific American blog series on adapting to climate change.
Marcela Ochoa (MS-MBA 2016) co-authored the  Power of Place report published by The Nature Conservancy and featured in the LA Times ( online   on July 31st and on the front page on August 3rd). The study examines multiple pathways to meet California's clean energy demand, in alignment with decarbonization goals, while limiting the impacts of this energy development on high-value natural and agricultural lands.   
Sudatta Ray (PhD 4th) was invited to give a presentation at the University's Founders' Circle Day on June 1. 
At the Experience Stanford event, students in her group were asked to discuss why they chose their graduate program or opportunity, and their experience to date in addressing a real-world problem.    
Ranjitha Shivaram (PhD 1st) presented her work with Stanford Professor Rishee Jain on "A Framework for Estimating the Impacts of Land Use Change on Urban Energy Self-Sufficiency" at the 11th International Conference on Applied Energy , in Västerås, Sweden.
Gemma Smith (PhD 1st) and colleagues published a paper, "  Think globally, act locally: adoption of climate action plans in California," in Climate Change .
Aiga Stokenberga (PhD 2016) co-authored Port Development and Competition in East and Southern Africa: Prospects and Challengespublished in World Bank's Directions in Development series, and focusing on the ports sector development prospects and challenges on the East African coast.
Veena Srinivasan (PhD 2008) delivered a Union Lecture on "Bridging the Science-Policy Gap to Address India's Water Crisis: Insights from
Cauvery Basin Research" at the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics General Assembly in Montreal in Montreal in July; she was a guest on NPR's On Point in  early August, discussing water infrastructure in India.
This summer Shannon Switzer Swanson (PhD 4th) gave two talks in Indonesia: "Time is Money: Motivators of destructive fishing practices and management responses in the Banggai Sea" at the University of Tadulako in Palu (the capital of Central Sulawesi) and at the University of Hasanuddin in Makassar (the capital of South Sulawesi).  Shannon also conducted a Photovoice workshop at the latter university titled "Photovoice: using photography as a conservation research method."    
Jennifer Wang (PhD 2018) spoke as an  invited panelist at the True North 2019 technology conference in Waterloo, Canada. 
Drawing on both her dissertation research and her current work on the textile resale market, Jen discussed the environmental and social impact of business and innovation, and explored why social enterprise models have been gaining traction among tech entrepreneurs.
Contributors to this issue include:
Susannah Barsom, David Gonzalez, Anna Lee, Gabriela Magana,  Ann Marie Pettigrew, and Maile Yee.
Edited by:
The E-IPER Staff
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