Earth Institute Student Research Showcase 2012

The Earth Institute, Columbia University is committed to supporting and showcasing student research in the areas of environment and sustainable development. On Friday, April 27, 2012, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Lerner Hall, the Earth Institute honored student interns, research assistants and travel grant recipients and their Faculty and Research Advisors at the annual Student Research Showcase.

Undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students shared their experience researching and addressing current environmental and sustainable development issues. A short video about the students was shown, with an introduction by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and a reception for student Q&A followed.

Biodiversity

 

Olivia Burke

Olivia Burke is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Anthropology with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. Her presentation, Genetically Modified Maize as a Critical Node in Arguments for Cultural and Ecological Diversity in Southern Mexico, explored the ecological and cultural significance of maize in Southern Mexico.
Advisor: Paige West
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Carolyn Matos

Carolyn Matos is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Urban Studies with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. Her presentation, Competition for Land on a Small Island: Wetland Conservation versus Development in Puerto Rico, investigates whether wetlands on the island of Puerto Rico are truly conserved, and at what cost.
Advisor: Susan Gladstone
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Ana Castillo

Ana Castillo is a Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in Environmental Biology with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. Her presentation, Analysis of vegetation biodiversity and carbon sequestration after 5-years of sustainable development in the Millennium Village in Sauri, Kenya, included literature reviews, data organization, and research methods for landscape biodiversity and sustainable agriculture diagnostics.
Advisor: Clare Sullivan
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Jaclyn Testani

Jaclyn Testani is a Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in History.  Her presentation, Growth and Climate Response of Coppiced Quercus griffithii in Bhutan, discussed her work using dendrochronology to analyze the effects of coppicing on tree ring growth and the interactions between coppiced trees and environmental conditions. 
Advisor: Neil Pederson
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Robert Muscarella

Robert Muscarella is a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2013 student working on his PhD. His presentation, Exploring functional and phylogenetic variation in tropical tree community composition across scales, explored his work using a variety of approaches to describe tropical forest tree community composition in order to evaluate how communities may respond to climate change.
Advisor: Maria Uriarte
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Lea Pollack

Lea Pollack is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student studying environmental biology. Her presentation, Land-use and habitat change in African savannas, investigated the role of fire in driving subtle changes in genetic structure and social behavior in African starlings.
Advisor: Dustin Rubenstein
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Vivian Valencia

Vivian Valencia is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2014, studying Evolutionary Biology. For her project, Ecological and Social Dimensions of Tree Regeneration in Coffee Agroforestry Systems, Vivian explored uncertainties about the regenerative capacity of trees raise concerns with regards to the long-term conservation of montane flora and fauna and the vitality of ecosystem functioning. The proposed research focused on the La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico.
Advisor: Shahid Naeem
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Climate Change

 

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith is a Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in Psychology. Her presentation, Fossil Fuel Reduction: Does using a public health rather than climate change frame make a difference? discussed her survey and data processing work on the public health effects of fossil fuel reduction.
Advisor: Nada Petrovic & Jaime Madrigano
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Patrick Woolsey

Patrick Woolsey is a Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in Political Science and Sustainable Development. His presentation, Climate Change in Environmental Impact Statements, explored his work as a research intern at the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, which involved creating a national database of Environmental Impact Statements that address climate change.
Advisor: Michael Gerrard
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Robert Eshelman

Robert Eshelman is a Graduate School of Journalism, class of 2012 student working on his M.A. in Health and Science Journalism. His presentation, A Social and Scientific Autopsy of the Texas Drought and Wildfires, explored the Texas drought and wildfires of 2011 and what it reveals about human's relationship with nature.
Advisor: Marguerite Holloway
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Khadine Singh

Khadine Singh is a School of Engineering and Applied Science, class of 2013 student majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Her presentation, Statistical downscaling of precipitation (rainfall and snow) over the Western Himalayas, described efforts to better understand and predict the variability of Western Himalayan hydroclimate, with the goal of improving water management in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
Advisor: Professor Lall, Dr. Pal and Dr. Robertson
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Larissa Johnson

Larissa Johnson is a School of International and Public Administration, class of 2012 student earning her MPA. Her presentation, Global Climate Change and Human Health: Exploring Impacts in the Classroom using Innovative Technologies, described her work in developing lesson plans to engage high school students in critical thinking about climate change's impact on human health.
Advisor: Mark Becker
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Daniel Shi

Daniel Shi is a student at Columbia College, class of 2015, majoring in Applied Mathematics. As part of his work on the project, Climate Extremes in a Changing World: Analyses and Implications, Daniel examined how extreme precipitation covaries from historical data from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) for the 20th and 21st century, to assess what might be experienced in the next 10 to 50 years.
Advisor: Upmanu Lall
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Anna Oursler

Anna Oursler is a student at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, class of 2013, working on her Master of Science in Urban Planning. For her project, The Environmental Impact of Urban Growth in Nairobi, Kenya: Examining the Thika Road Upgrading Project , Anna worked with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi to evaluate the level at which execution of the Thika Road upgrading project met the requirements of an existing environmental impact assessment.
Advisor: Elliiott Sclar
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Jenna Zhang

Jenna Zhang is a student at Columbia College, class of 2014, majoring in Anthropology with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. In her work on the project, Ethnoclimatology in Bhutan: Anthropological and meteorological approaches to traditional forecasting of climate variability, Jenna assisted Professor Ben Orlove in investigating indigenous beliefs about weather patterns and their relationship to potato yields in Bhutan.
Advisor: Ben Orlove
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International Development

 

Philipp Petermann

Philipp Petermann is a Columbia College student majoring in Political Science and Economics. His presentation, Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrated his role in the preparation of a "city investment promotion toolkit" that will serve as a basis for a distance-learning tool for African cities.
Advisor: Paulo Cunha

 

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Maria Sotero

Maria Sotero is a School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012 student earning her MPA in Environmental Science and Policy. Her presentation, Outreach and Communications, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, explored her contribution to providing renewable energy and carbon capture communications to leading experts and leading creative outreach to support the collaborations of artists and scientists working on climate change.
Advisor: Lisa Phillips
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Caitlin Dean

Caitlin Dean is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Environmental Biology. Her presentation, Integrating the Ecological, Social, and Economic Implications of Coffee Certification for Nicaraguan Micro-Producers, studied avian biodiversity data by taking point counts and mist netting on coffee farms and their surrounding forest matrix.
Advisor: Melissa Mark
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Tal Lee Anderman

Tal Lee Anderman is a School of General Studies, class of 2012 student majoring in Sustainable Development. Her presentation on the Millennium Promise Internship, covered the contributions made to the development, editing and publication of the Phase II Launch Report, and the 2012 Annual Report for the Millennium Villages Project.
Advisor: Amy Shaw & Roseline Remans
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Erin Mulcahy

Erin Mulcahy is a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2012 student studying Conservation Biology. Her presentation explored her work to contribute to global health and international development issues related to the Millennium Villages Project.
Advisor: Eliana Hinton
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Giancarlo Cavello

Giancarlo Cavello is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012, doing a Masters in International Affairs. As part of his project at the Millennium Villages Project site in Tiby, Mali, Giancarlo supported the development of interventions to assist in the production of dairy products with a special focus on marketing. Giancarlo researched the dairy market for value-added dairy products, the equipment needed to create these products and also helped to create an accounting system.
Advisor: Alison Rose
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Stephanie Chang

Stephanie Chang is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013, studying International Development. For her project, Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative, Stephanie researched gender needs and education assessments in Kumasi, Ghana and Mekelle, Ethiopia to target areas of improvement and the status of current MCI projects.
Advisor: Paulo Cunha

 

 

Abigail Childs

Abigail Childs is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013, studying Economic & Political Development. As part of her work on the project, The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Assessment of Vulnerability, Capacity, and Preparatory Activities related to Food Security in AgMIP Regions, Abigail researched National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) for climate change in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent, and researched regional agricultural networks that focus on adaptation methods to climate change.
Advisor: Alex Ruane
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Evan Drewry

Evan Drewry is a student at the School of Continuing Education, class of 2013, studying Computer Science. As part of his work on the project, Gridded Population of the World Version 4, Evan collected, organized, and analyzed international census data and political boundary data. He then digitized raster political maps into GIS shape files.
Advisor: Susana Beatriz Adamo

 

 

Carolynn Johnson

Carolynn Johnson is student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012, studying Public Administration. As part of her work with the Funding Initiatives team at The Earth Institute, Carolynn conducted prospect research on potential foundations within the international development community.
Advisor: Evan Phalon

 

 

Michael Moroz

Michael Moroz is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012, studying Economic and Political Development. As part of his work on the project, Relationship Between Implementation of a Farmer's Agricultural Input Subsidy Scheme and Household Food Security:Nutritional Outcomes in Ten African Countries, Michael did a statistical analysis of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data on Skilled Birth Attendance (SBA) to aid Earth Institute researchers in comparing impacts with the Millennium Village Project SBA data in Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Advisor: Uyen Kim
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Miji Michelle Park

Miji Michelle Park is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012, in the MPA in Development Practice program. As part of her work on the project, Positive Deviant Entrepreneurs, Miji identified positive deviant entrepreneurs in post-disaster, post-conflict Sri Lanka and developed methods to encourage positive deviant entrepreneurship.
Advisor: Dirk Salomons
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Thomas Timberlake

Thomas Timberlake is a student at Columbia College, class of 2012, majoring in Sustainable Development. As part of his work on the project, Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative, Thomas provided administrative support to a range of the MCI's projects, including background research, proofreading and processing of travel reimbursements.
Advisor: Paulo Cunha, Alessandra Radicati
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Evan Welber

Evan Welber is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013, majoring in Political Science and Social Anthropology. For his project, Collectivizing Performance: Unions and Education Reform in Brazil, Evan explored the political dynamics regarding the implementation of public management reforms using Brazil as a case study, particularly with reference to the implementation of performance pay in the public sector.
Advisor: Barbara Nunberg

 

 

Natalia Agüeros-Macario; Lulu Almana; Mohammad Al Amoush; Lizzette Butkiewicz; Jonathan Cain; Jasmine Davis; Anas Khasawneh; Ankita Shukla; Diana Sierra; Courtney Small; Puja Modi

This group comprises students in the Sustainability Management program at the School of Continuing Education. Their research project, entitled New Award Metrics for Sustainability for King Abdullah II Center for Excellence (KACFE), took them to Amman, Jordan where they conducted fieldwork and surveys to evaluate the overall environmental issues in Jordan.
Advisor: Grant Goodrich
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Earth Science

 

Yinghuang Ji

Yinghuang Ji is a Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science, class of 2015 student earning an MS in Earth and Environmental Engineering. Her presentation, Tagging Carbon Dioxide to Enable Quantitative Inventories of Geological Carbon Storage, included the design and construction of a 14C supply unit and filling station for tracer injection.
Advisor: Klaus S. Lackner
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Rachel Sheppard

Rachel Sheppard is Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in Earth Science. Her presentation, the molecular record of thermal history, covered the use of molecules in faults to measure frictional heating.
Advisor: Pratigya Polissar
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Candise Henry

Candies Henry is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Environmental Science. Her presentation, Anthropogenic Radionuclides in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, explored the concentrations of anthropogenic radionuclides (Pu, Np, Cs) in Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Candise was also a lead author in a related project that was presented at Ocean Sciences Meeting in 2012.
Advisor: Tim Kenna
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Carolina Ocampo-Maya

Carolina Ocampo-Maya is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013, in the MPA in Development Practice program. As part of her work on the project, Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development, Carolina supported research on the implications of foreign direct investment in the mining and extractive industries, focusing on issues such as regulation, transparency, and sustainability in developing countries.
Advisor: Lisa Sachs
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Amelia Paukert

Amelia Paukert is a PhD student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2013, studying Geochemistry. For her project, Enhanced in situ CO2 Storage Via Mineralization in the Samail Ophiolite, Sultanate of Oman, Amelia illustrated how CO2 capture and storage naturally occurs in Oman- where atmospheric CO2 gets turned into carbonate minerals (limestone) and helps counteract the greenhouse effect- and how we can enhance the process enough to mitigate global climate change.
Advisor: Juerg Matter
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Emily Sorensen

Emily Sorensen is a student at Barnard College, class of 2012, majoring in Environmental Biology and Human Rights. For her project, Integrating Remote Sensing Data into Crop Models to Improve Crop Forecasts, Emily downloaded and processed remote sensing data from Uruguay for the data assimilation of crop models.
Advisor: Amor Ines
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Health

 

Isabelle Fischer

Isabelle Fischer is a Columbia College, class of 2014 student majoring in Environmental Biology. Her presentation, Organization and project management tasks associated with IRI's collaboration with the President's Malaria Initiative, investigated the effects of expert overconfidence in malaria policymakers decisions, and the development of a web-based decision support system for policy makers.
Advisor: Derek Willis
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Rafael Merchan

Rafael Merchan is a School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 student earning his MPA in Development Practice. His presentations, Show Me the Map: Incorporating ICT Technologies in the Monitoring & Evaluation of USDA/Food for Education Nicaragua FY2011-2014, explored food security issues in Nicaragua.
Advisor: Kevin Marinacci
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Shamm Petros

Shamm Petros is a Columbia College, class of 2014 student majoring in Sustainable Development. Her presentation, Evaluation of impact of large-scale anti-malaria programs implemented in sub-Saharan Africa through funds provided by Global Fund, included the construction of a web-based decision support system for malaria policy makers.

 

 

Olivia Woldemikael

Olivia Woldemikael is a Columbia College, class of 2015 student majoring in Environmental Biology. Her presentation, Evaluation of impact of large-scale anti-malaria programs implemented in sub-Saharan Africa through funds provided by Global Fund, discussed her work as a research assistant with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, which included the construction of a web-based decision support system for malaria policy makers.
Advisor: Derek Willis
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Anca Giurgiulescu

Anca Giurgiulescu is a Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2012 earning a MPH in Urbanism and the Built Environment. Her presentation, For Youth By Youth: Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Youth with the Millennium Villages project in Leona, Senegal, explored developing partnerships with local non-profits providing sexual health education with adolescents; as well as organizing capacity-building and planning workshops to develop a peer educator network in the MVP site.
Advisor: Dr. Sene & Mme. Diouf
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Allison Goldberg

Allison Goldberg is a PhD candidate at the Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2013 student earning a degree in Public Health with a Concentration in Political Science. Her presentation, The Social Network is an Analysis of the Social Network Influences on Childhood Immunization Uptake in Northern Nigeria.
Advisor: Dr. Peter Messeri and Dr. Sally Findley
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Laura Jay

Laura Jay is a student at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, class of 2012, studying Urban Planning. For her project, Ultra-Ex: Exploring the Impacts of Community Involvement in Greening Efforts in East Harlem, Laura examined the role of open space in East Harlem, New York, looking specifically at how open space is adapted to different uses to serve the community from gardens, social areas and food production.
Advisor: Scott Andrews
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Marina Marcus

Marina Marcus is a student at the Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2013, studying Population and Family Health. As part of her work with the Millennium Villages Project, Health Sector, Marina organized and assembled Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) health team and assisted with administrative and programmatic tasks.
Advisor: Elana Jacobs
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Alan Seltzer

Alan Seltzer is a student at Columbia College, class of 2014, majoring in Environmental Science and Computer Science. For his project, Environmental Geochemistry Lab and Exposure Assessment Facility Core for the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health, Alan designed a database in MS Access and templates for generating reports and doing data analysis to store air particulate filter measurements.
Advisor: Steve Chillirud
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Urban Planning

 

Jake Goren

Jake Goren is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Architecture with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. His presentation, Territorial Imperatives: Sustainable Modern Planning in Chandigarh, India, focused on how the town planning of Chandigarh, India has changed over time from the original city plan of Le Corbusier.
Advisor: David Smiley
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Daniel Ji Yung Leong

Daniel Ji Yung Leong is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Urban Studies and Sociology. His presentation, Factors Shaping Urban Planning for Sustainability in Amsterdam and Singapore, looked at how planners' characteristics, their interactions with others, and their organizations' characteristics are related to their conceptualizations of urban sustainability and how they plan for it.
Advisor: Susan Gladstone
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Kate Steiker-Ginzberg

Kate Steiker-Ginzberg is a Columbia College, class of 2012 student majoring in Urban Studies, with a concentration on Sociology. Her presentation, Morar Carioca: Rio de Janeiro's Possibilities for Urban Integration within the Olympic Context, explored Rio de Janeiro's urbanization project that aims to integrate all the city's favelas by the year 2020. The research challenged whether social and spatial integration is possible within the context of Olympic preparations.
Advisor: Susan Gladstone
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Brendan Lim

Brendan Lim is students at Columbia College, class of 2012, majoring in Architecture with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. His presentation, Territorial Imperatives: Sustainable Modern Planning in Chandigarh, India, explored paradigms of spatial relation and ownership in one of the foremost examples of Modernist New Towns, which led to a critique of traditional architectural representational tools, and ultimately an intervention-catalog for Chandigarh's parks.
Advisor: David Smiley
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Michael McCulloch

Michael McCulloch is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012, doing a dual Masters in International Affairs/Masters of Science in Urban Planning. For his project, Brasilia: A Model of Sustainability?, Michael studied challenges to the expansion of an integrated network of bicycle lanes in Brasilia, Brazil.
Advisor: Elliiott Sclar
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Hannah Wilentz

Hannah Wilentz is a student at Columbia College, class of 2012, majoring in Architecture. For her project, The Sustainable Spectacle: Architecture and Environment in the 1968 Olympics, Hannah conducted site analysis of the architecture and urban planning of the 1968 games. Archival research and interviews provided her with the materials and cross-cultural dialogue necessary to write an analysis of the environmental legacy of the event.
Advisor: David Smiley
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Community Development

 

Jaeyoung Paek

Jaeyoung Paek is a Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, class of 2012 student earning her M.S. in Urban Planning. Her presentation, Evaluation of Water Access in Bonsaaso, Ghana, explored her work creating a detailed report on availability and quality of water sourced in Bonsaaso, including strategies and recommendations for expansion of water projects for the next 5 years.
Advisor: Edwin Atkins
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Martha Chahary

Martha Chahary is a School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2012 student working on her MIA. Her presentation, Potou Nature Reserve, explored her work conducting 25 field-based surveys, a market study, and proposal of a management structure and business plan for use by the Potou Nature Reserve in Senegal, with the goal of creating local jobs.
Advisor: Serigne T. Kandji
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Richard Sun

Richard Sun is a Columbia College, class of 2013 student majoring in Economics, with a concentration on Sustainable Development. His presentation, Environmental Valuation in Newark, NJ, explored environmental valuation and triple bottom line analysis of Newark, NJ.
Advisor: Satyajit Bose
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Sally (Rui) Liu

Sally Liu is a student at the Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2012, studying Health Service Management. For her project, An Evaluation of Technology Applications in the Health Sector in select Millennium Villages Project Sites, Sally used data gathered by the eHealth Team to modify interventions to morbility and mortality.
Advisor: Andrew Kanter, Nadi Loanga
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Diana Sierra

Diana Sierra is a student at the School of Continuing Eductaion, class of 2012, in the Sustainability Management program. As part of her project at the Millennium Villages Project site in Ruhiira, Uganda, Diana worked on a variety of community development projects. She performed an assessment of local craft production and marketing in order to empower women and youths and conducted an analysis of the value supply chain for coffee growers to help increase their profits.
Advisor: Alison Rose
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Renewable Energy

 

Caroline Vandame

Caroline Vandame is a School of Engineering and Applied Science, class of 2014 student working towards her PhD. Her presentation, Modular wind turbine designs for large scale power generation, explored ways to reduce the cost of wind energy by creating new modular systems based on economies of number instead of economies of scale like current large turbines.
Advisor: Professor Klaus S. Lackner
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Julia Ragragio Ruiz

Julia Regragio Ruiz is a School of Continuing Education, class of 2012 student earning an MS in Sustainability Management. Her presentation, Cost-Benefit Analysis of The Living Machine in NYC, provides insight into how New York City could benefit from such technology.
Advisor: Satyajit Bose
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Julian Haimovich

Julian Haimovich is a student at School of Engineering and Applied Science, class of 2013, studying Applied Mathematics. For his project, Using Surplus Wind Energy to Supply Instantaneous Heat Demand in New York City, Julian developed algorithms to analyze the economic impact of implementing large-scale wind turbine systems. These algorithms were then applied to investigate the use of wind energy in surplus of electricity demand to supply heat demand in NYC.
Advisor: Vijay Modi
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Raquel Solomon

Raquel Solomon is a student at The School of General Studies, class of 2013, majoring in Sustainable Development. For her project, The Energy Crisis in South Africa, Raquel studied Development Concepts and Political Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She attended COP 17, Durban South Africa and interned at the United Nations Development Programme South Africa, researching the rollout of sustainable energy programs.
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