Ernesto Valero Thomas is a researcher in the fields of Architecture and Urban Studies. His research focuses on designing cartographic and visual methods of representation in the built environment. His research traces the flow and consumption of water, food, oil, waste, and telecommunications in emerging cities around the world. Ernesto’s goal is to shape architectural practices, digital technologies, and cultural narratives of environmental sustainability in developing contexts.
Ernesto’s professional background is in developing solutions to urban mobility and implementing them in Mexico City. He has taught courses at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), including Technology and Environment 1 and 2, where he explored the study of energy efficient and sustainable architecture and urban projects. Ernesto served as President of the Mexican Society at the University of Edinburgh from 2012 to 2013.
Ernesto was a member of the Editorial Committee that published volume 33 of the Edinburgh Architecture Research Journal, Methodologies for Sustainable Projects (2013). His work has been published in academic journals from the United States (UCLA) and Mexico (UNAM), and his research findings have been presented at conferences in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Scotland, and Ireland.
Ernesto holds a PhD in Environmental Design and Architecture from the University of Edinburgh, an investigation that was funded by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT, Mexico). He received an MSc in Advanced Sustainable Design from the University of Edinburgh, and a BArch at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Leena Tähkämö is a post-doctoral researcher working on the environmental impacts of artificial light. Her research at Aalto University’s Lighting Unit focuses on the impact of light and lighting products on the environment, including humans, fauna and flora, and whole ecosystems. Using life cycle assessment, Leena has conducted several environmental and economic studies of various types of lamps and luminaries published in scientific journals. Her interest in the environmental impacts of light sources ranges from the climate change due to energy production to the light pollution, or the adverse impacts of artificial light. She is currently working on an Academy of Finland project where she is creating a model for an environmental impact characterization indicator of light pollution.
Leena aims to improve lighting energy efficiency, in large part due to the significant share of electricity that light sources consume. She believes that both lifecycle environmental and economic sustainability should be considered in lighting decision-making processes, yet the quality of light, which affects human wellbeing, should be the main concern.
Leena completed her double doctorate degree (DSc) in Electrical and Illuminating Engineering at Aalto University in Finland and Paul Sabatier University in France. During her doctoral studies, she worked in France collaborating with the LAPLACE laboratory (Laboratory on Plasma and Conversion of Energy) in Toulouse and CSTB (Scientific and Technical Center for Building) in Grenoble. She received her MSc in Electrical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology in 2007.
Kelly Siman is currently earning her PhD in Biomimicry within the Integrated Biosciences department at the University of Akron. She is the Ohio Biomimicry Coastal Resiliency Innovation Fellow in the Integrated Biosciences department, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Cleveland Water Alliance. Her research focus is on social-ecological resilience of complex adaptive systems, applied adaptive governance, and biomimetic climate change adaptation and mitigation applications.
Prior to joining the University of Akron, she was a Senior Researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore where she assisted in a three-year meso-level comparative analysis of political risk and regulation within four environmental sectors in five Asian countries. She also served as advisor to a leading Singaporean Ambassador-at-Large with global environmental issues. She then moved into the nonprofit sector to take on the role of Managing Director of a private foundation in Hawaii that works on Pacific Island marine conservation and cultural heritage. Here, she started the North American office and helped run Asia-Pacific operations. Kelly also has extensive work experience at the South Pole Station, Antarctica, New Zealand, and China.
Prior to starting her PhD, Kelly earned her MSc from the College of Natural Resources in Geography at Virginia Tech and her BSc from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Aeronautics, including her pilot’s license.
David Siap is an engineer and analyst with a focus on clean energy topics. He currently works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on the development of federal energy conservation standards and test procedures for space heating appliances for the U.S. Department of Energy--a key part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan (CAP). Specifically, David was the lead technical analyst evaluating the potential impact of proposed energy efficiency standards, starting with a household level life-cycle cost calculation for all households in the United States at several efficiency levels. These values were used to produce a comprehensive net present value for the standard based on the full national impact over the lifetime of units affected, including monetized full fuel cycle emissions impacts.
In addition to standards, David also works on projects related to building energy efficiency and more general appliance efficiency. He has three years of experience in environmental and energy efficiency regulatory programs and projects that have included industry stakeholder consultation and participation. In the past, David has worked in lighting efficiency and automotive emissions systems.
He holds a MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Davis, a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BS in Physics from Loyola University Chicago.
Christine Shearer is a Senior Researcher at CoalSwarm, an organization that is mapping and analyzing all major proposed coal projects on the globe. Her research focuses on environmental sociology, particularly global energy policy and climate change adaptation. She previously worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine; as a research fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; and as a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Her academic writing has appeared in science and media publications including Nature, Environmental Research Letters, National Geographic, and The New York Times, and she is the author of Kivalina: A Climate Change Story (Haymarket Books, 2011). She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Aven Satre-Meloy is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. Aven's research aims to improve our understanding of energy consumption in US and UK households, focusing on how deeper insight into complex human-energy dynamics can inform energy policy and strategy for accelerating the low-carbon transition. Aven worked with a team at Oxford to reduce the university’s carbon footprint through innovative energy efficiency projects.
During his PhD, Aven served as a research assistant at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he supported analysis for the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB) initiative. Prior to graduate school, Aven received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Turkey, worked for Mosaic, a clean energy start-up in the California Bay Area, and interned at the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.
Aven is attending Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. He received a BS in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Santa Clara University.
Adrien Salazar is a political ecologist, organizational strategist, advocate, and poet. He holds his Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is committed to community engagement in resource management and policy to achieve resilience and empowerment of historically marginalized populations.
Adrien’s work and research focuses on engagement of frontline and marginalized communities, in issues of land and resource rights, landscape conservation, food systems, and cultural conservation. He connects communities to development and policy processes through stakeholder engagement strategy, outreach, and participatory research and programs. He currently studies policy mechanisms to fulfill land and resource rights for communities and the conservation of traditional knowledge and practices.
Adrien has studied the transformation of the Cordillera Rice Terraces landscape of the northern Philippines. He has worked with indigenous rice farmers in this region to develop community-based project evaluation indicators for the Heirloom Rice Project of the International Rice Research Institute. He supported farmers' conservation of traditional rice varieties, capacity-building, and research into traditional rice market opportunities. Adrien has coordinated transnational climate justice campaigns with the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity.
He has served with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, managing a campaign for sustainable land-use and transportation policy for a three-county region of the San Francisco Bay Area. He has served on the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee of the Yale School of Forestry, creating dialogue on diversity and equity in the environmental field. Most recently he has worked with the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland, California, developing engagement strategies around community-owned energy and researching the seed needs of farmers of color and immigrant farmers.
He hails from San Jose, California and Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. Prior to his MEM program, he received his BA in Sociology with Honors from University of California, Berkeley.
Abby Rubinson is a consultant on international, environmental, and human rights law and has taught International Environmental Law as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Abby works internationally and domestically to advance government, business, and the public’s understanding of climate change’s effects and response measures, and to promote climate-smart policies, actions, and mitigation/adaptation measures. Abby has defended land, water, and food security rights, collaborating with governments, businesses, scientists, NGOs, and local communities.
In December 2015, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP21 treaty negotiations, Abby helped secure human rights language in the Paris Agreement, marking the strongest language on human rights in a global environmental treaty. As an attorney at Earthjustice from 2010 to 2015, she submitted briefs and formal communications on climate change and other international environmental issues to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, US federal courts, and United Nations treaty bodies and special rapporteurs.
Prior to her work at Earthjustice, Abby was one of the plaintiffs’ counsel in three international human rights cases brought under the Alien Tort Statute, Bowoto v. Chevron and Wiwa v. Shell, both related to oil operations in Nigeria, and another related to apartheid-era abuses in South Africa. She also worked with Human Rights Watch as a post-graduate fellow and consultant, based primarily in Brazil.
She received a JD from University of Michigan Law School, and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.
George Randolph is an energy policy analyst with over five years of experience, working most recently in electric utility regulatory affairs. As a consultant, George has coauthored expert witness testimony for energy efficiency and rooftop solar proceedings before public utility commissions in California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. He is currently working as an Associate at MRW & Associates, where he develops analyses and statistical and economic models pertaining to electric utility revenue requirements, rate design issues, power generation, energy financing, and natural gas projects.
George also worked on the University of California, Berkeley's American Jobs Project (AJP). Spearheaded by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the AJP intends to spur cleantech job creation in response to the EPA's Clean Power Plan. George earned his Master of Science in Atmospheric Science from the University of Wyoming, where his research foused on improving numerical weather model prediction of lower level winds. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Noorie Rajvanshi is a sustainability engineer with more than seven years of experience in the field of environmental impact quantification using life cycle assessment methodology. She holds expertise in sustainability assessments in the fields of energy and manufacturing for existing and emerging technologies.
Following the completion of her PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Noorie was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA) at Columbia University, studying the impact of crystalline silicone photovoltaics. Her past research interests also include quantitative evaluation methods for assessment of bioethanol production using energy, exergy, consumptive water, and energy and life cycle assessment methods.
Noorie graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Environmental Engineering. During her time in graduate school, Noorie was able to learn and experience adaptive management of water, wetlands, and watersheds in the Okavango Delta in Africa and the Everglades in the US through an interdisciplinary NSF-IGERT fellowship program. She received her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and her Bachelors of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Maharashtra Institute of Technology.
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