The Earth Institute, Columbia University is committed to showcasing student research in the areas of environment and sustainable development. On April 26th, the Earth Institute brought together undergraduate, graduate and PhD students at the annual Earth Institute Student Research Conference. Students discussed their unique research experiences of working to understand and solve pressing environmental and sustainable development issues. A short video featuring students was shown, with an introduction by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, followed by a poster Q&A reception.
All of the projects are conducted by students who have received support, guidance or funding through an Earth Institute affiliated education or student program including a travel grant, internship, or research assistantship from the Institute.
Nathan Fedrizzi is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2013 studying Conservation Biology in the Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology department. Nathan's presentation, Population Structuring of the Dwarf Seahorse Along the Florida Coast explored relatedness within and between dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) populations from seven geographically separated areas of the Florida coast, and sought to better inform conservation of the species.
Advisor: Melanie Stiassny
Bob Muscarella is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2014 pursuing his Ph.D. in the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology department. His presentation, Evolutionary Dimensions of Tropical Forest Diversity: Building a Molecular Phylogeny for the Trees of Puerto Rico, used molecular techniques to resolve the evolutionary relationships among the trees of Puerto Rico.
Advisor: Maria Uriarte
Natalia Rossi is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2014 studying Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology. Her presentation, Conservation of the American Crocodile in Southeastern Cuba, investigates different conservation methods used to aid in the preservation of the American Crocodile population in Cuba.
Advisor: Josh Ginsberg
Melissa von Mayrhauser
Melissa von Mayrhauser is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 studying French and Sustainable Development. Melissa's presentation, Almond Farming in California's Central Valley: Water Use and Bee-Keeping as Indicators of Success researches water management strategies in almond farming in California's Mediterranean climate in the context of an increasing number of droughts and examines the relationship between the success of honey bee colonies and almond agriculture.
Advisor: Cheryl Palm
Erica Bower is a student in Columbia College, class of 2014 studying Sustainable Development. Erica's presentation, Global Scientific Progress in Sustainable Development Discipline tracks the scientific progress in the Sustainable Development discipline through evaluating temporal, topical and geographic patterns across the publication landscape since the Brundtland Commission Report.
Advisor: Tien Ming Lee
Alexandria DeCandia is a student at Columbia College, class of 2015 majoring in Environmental Biology. Her presentation, Arctic Arthropods: Seasonal Change at the Base of the Tundra Food Web, examines seasonal changes in tundra arthropod communities.
Advisor: Natalie Boelman
Adam Formica is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 studying Environmental Science. Adam's presentation, Quantifying the Physiology of Structurally Complex Arctic Vegetation and Implications for Carbon Cycling in a Shrubbier Tundra investigates how carbon cycling is changing as shrubs increase in height with climate warming in arctic Alaska.
Advisor: Kevin Griffin
Jean Guo is a student in the School of General Studies, class of 2015 studying Environmental Science in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Jean's presentation Storm Count, Jet Latitude, and Ozone Events determines if ozone events, storm counts, and jet latitude are correlated in a way that ozone events and storms can be predicted by jet latitude.
Advisor: Arlene Fiore
Meha Jain is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2014 pursuing her Ph.D. in the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology department. Her presentation, Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Variability, examines the effects of short-term climate variability on agricultural production in northwest India, which will help better identify the possible impacts of future climate change in this region.
Advisor: Shahid Naeem, Ruth DeFries
Heidi Keller is a student at Barnard College, class of 2014 pursuing her B.A. in Environmental Science. Heidi's presentation, The role of climate change and hypoxia in the sudden emergence of blooms of the dinoflagellate Noctiluca miliaris in the Arabian Sea utilizes laboratory experiments and cultures to investigate how N. miliaris maximizes photosynthesis under hypoxic conditions and the potential effects of those conditions.
Advisor: Beth Stauffer
Cathy Li is a student at Columbia College, class of 2015 majoring in Urban Studies. Her presentation, Climate Change-Related Water Impacts in Federal Environmental Impact Statements, examines the trends in the consideration of water issues in EISs. As part of her work she helped to create a national database.
Advisor: Anne Siders
Kate Burrows is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 majoring in Sustainable Development and American History. Kate's presentation, Mannahatta 2409 shows how she works to build mannahatta2409.org which will be a map based web application that allows users to generate new ideas about sustainable urban forms.
Advisor: Eric Sanderson
Sweta Jhunjhunwala is a student at the School of Continuing Education, class of 2013 earning her Master of Science in Sustainability Management. Sweta's presentation, AGAIG: IWRMS Feasibility Study & Design conducted a study with AGAIG to determine feasibility and design a community-based Integrated Water Resource.
Advisor: Upmanu Lall
Nick Turchak is a student at the School of Continuing Education, class of 2013 studying Sustainability Management. Nick's presentation, External and Internal Communications at the Columbia Water Center implemented workflow for CWC projects on MS Sharepoint in collaboration with EI IT. He also re-structured CWC's website, managing social, website and newsletter communications.
Advisor: Margo Weiss
May Yu is a student at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, class of 2013 pursuing a Master of Science in Urban Planning. Her presentation, More Green, Less Jobs: Global Environment and Local Employment Tradeoffs in Urban Sustainability Initiatives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, examines the local employment and global environmental tradeoffs of Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Site visits and field work were conducted in Rio, including a stakeholder workshop.
Advisor: Smita Srinivas
Joshua Arky is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 majoring in Sustainable Development. His presentation, Nitrogen Dynamics in Rooftop Farming Media Receiving Synthetic and Organic Nitrogen Additions, uses an 8-week long greenhouse experiment to examine the effects of synthetic and organic sources of mineralizable nitrogen.
Advisor: Angela Y. Y. Kong
Hahn Chang is a student at Columbia College, class of 2015 majoring in Political Science and Statistics. His presentation, MERIT Research: Climate and its Effect on Meningitis in Africa's Meningitis Belt, involves assisting the MERIT initiative, a multi-sector coalition of stakeholders to combat meningitis epidemics caused by climate change in Africa's meningitis belt.
Advisor: Yang Liu
Katharine Kalaris is a student at the Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2013 majoring in Reproductive and Family Health. Her presentation, Improving Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices and Child Nutrition Through Community Based Nutrition Interventions, analyzed the child nutritional situation in the Koraro cluster of the Millennium Villages Project. She developed interventions to address stunting through improved child nutrition and infant and young child feeding practices.
Advisor: Roseline Remans, Dr. Aregawi Tadelle
Lydia Mailander is a student at Mailman School of Public Health, class of 2013 studying Global Health Management. Lydia's project, Improving Community Health Worker Management in Kenya designs and implements a new middle management structure for CHWs in the Sauri, Kenya MVP cluster including creating a curriculum and job aides, selection and training of the Senior CHW candidates, program implementation, and a follow up.
Advisor: Anne Liu
Khadine Singh is a student at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, class of 2013 studying Mechanical Engineering and Statistics. Khadine's presentation, Data Visualizations for Malaria Datasets re-engineers the visual representation of the framework recommended to malaria policy makers. Khadine researched the visual representation of malaria research as well as identified/developed alternative ways of visualizing a datasets to best evaluate their effectiveness.
Advisor: Derek Willis
Rebecca Smith is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 majoring in Sustainable Development. Her presentation, Malaria Stratification and Climate in Madagascar, analyzed data from the National Malaria Control Program of Madagascar on monthly malaria cases.
Advisor: Pietro Ceccato (IRI)
Talia Smith is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2014 earning her MPA in Development Practice. Talia's presentation, Incorporating Climate Information in Impact Evaluations of Malaria Interventions, develops training materials for workshops to train public health practitioners on how climate information can be integrated into malaria intervention programming, specifically impact evaluations.
Advisor: Gilma Mantilla
Kimberly Thompson is a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, class of 2013 majoring in Conservation Biology 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
Naomi Woods is a student at Teachers College, class of 2016 earning her PhD in Social-Organizational Psychology. Naomi's presentation, Dynamic Network Theory: Observational Coding in Dyadic Conflict developed an observational coding model to analyze dyadic and group interactions.
Advisor: James D. Westaby
Freda Yawson is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 earning her Masters in International Affairs. Freda's presentation, MVP Bonsaaso Water Quality and Household Hygiene Assessment looks at the water quality and household hygiene practices in 6 villages, 150 households within the Bonsaaso Cluster in Ghana to identify root causes of increases in waterborne diseases and to propose recommendations.
Advisor: Richard Agyarko
Le Chen is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2014 studying Development Practice. Le's project, Building Non-Profit Organization Capacity and Literacy Programming in the Dominican Republic works with local NGO Yspaniola to provide training and institutional capacity building through the creation of a teacher training protocol and training workshops.
Advisor: Glenn Denning
Mariana Costa Checa
Mariana Costa Checa is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 earning her MPA in Development Practice. Mariana's project, Case Study: The Resettlement of Morococha is a case study about the resettlement of Morococha city, a town in the Peruvian Andes, lead by the Chinese mining company CHINALCO as part of exploiting what will be the largest cooper mine in Peru.
Advisor: Jenik Radon
Cecilia Hackerson is a student at Columbia College, class of 2013 majoring in Urban Studies. Cecilia's project, The Role of Squatter and Non-Squatter Relationships in Urban Slum Resettlement Projects in Nepal studies the topic of squatter and non-squatter collaboration in encouraging the Nepali government to take a more active role in the provision of housing policy for the urban poor.
Advisor: Susan Gladstone
Melanie Kohn is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 obtaining her Masters in International Affairs. Melanie's project, Eco Communes: Scaling up MVP in Senegal evaluates the project model and capacities of MVP Louga and Eco-villages, conducting a thorough institutional analysis of both organizations, and developed recommendations for facilitating a partnership between these two organizations.
Advisor: Allison Greenberg
Scott Miller is a student at the School of Continuing Education, class of 2013 studying Sustainability Management. Scott's project based in New York, Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development Executive Training Program developed the logistical, material and organizational aspects of a two-week executive training course slated from June 10th to June 21st 2013. The course will cover cross-cutting themes such as economics and geopolitics. Scott's project, based in Canada, Sustainable Tourism Certification conducted in-person interviews and site visits of hotel sustainability managers and Canada's eco-tourism certification program Green Key.
Advisor: Lisa Sachs, Louise Rosen
Carolina Ocampo-Maya is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 earning her MPA in Development Practice. Carolina's project, The Case of Chinalco and the Reallocation of Morococha studied the Chinese mining company Chinalco as it builds Peru's largest copper mine. The open pit mine requires the reallocation of an entire town of 5,000 people, Morococha.
Advisor: Jenik Radon
Deborah Spindelman is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2013 earning her MPA in Development Practice. Deborah's project, Building Organization Capacity and Literacy Programming worked with local NGO Yspaniola to provide training and institutional capacity building through the creation of a teacher training protocol and training workshops.
Advisor: Radhika Iyengar
Marissa Strniste is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2014 earning her MPA in Development Practice. Marissa's project, Building Non-Profit Organization Capacity and Literacy Programming in the Dominican Republic Worked with local NGO Yspaniola to provide training and institutional capacity building through the creation of a teacher training protocol and training workshops.
Advisor: Radhika Iyengar
Yingci Sun is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2014 earning an MPA in Development Practice. Yingci's project, Chinese Mining Companies in Peru studied Chinese mining companies in Peru for Columbia University.
Andrew Wilson is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, class of 2014 earning his Masters in Public Administration in Development Practice. Andrew's project, Building Non-Profit Organization Capacity and Literacy Programming in the Dominican Republic worked with local NGO Yspaniola to provide training and institutional capacity building through the creation of a teacher training protocol and training workshops.
Advisor: Gerald McElroy
Student Research Showcase 2012
Photo Blog from the 2012 Student Research Showcase