My time in the Windy City for AAG by Fatima Barry

Friday, May 01st, 2015 | Author:

My time in the Windy City for AAG ~ Fatima Barry

Before beginning, I would like to first thank ESPP for providing part of the funds needed for my trip to the Association for American Geographers’ (AAG) Annual Meeting in Chicago this April. It was a great few days for me to network with other geographers in my specialization and to present some of my preliminary dissertation work. My presentation took place on the second day of the conference, which was great because it would allow me to focus on meeting people and attending various sessions in the days that followed. My presentation was titled, “The Oil Industry & Social Inequality – Understanding the Research Needs of Rural Communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.” I visited the Niger Delta in 2013 and 2014 with funding from the College of Social Science Research Fellowship and the Geography Department to obtain information on whether it is feasible to conduct research in the region during my proposed time frame and to understand what the research needs are.

Fall Student Research Symposium invited students to explore “Environmental Risk and Decision Making”

Friday, February 27th, 2015 | Author:

The second ESPP Student Research Symposium took place in October with the theme “Environmental Risk and Decision Making.” The symposium was led by a student organizing committee of Zachary Piso (Philosophy and ESPP), Rebecca Bender (Biosystems Engineering), Sarah Murray (Urban and Regional Planning) and Shannon Cruz (Communications).

This year’s symposium featured two keynote speakers. Dr. Joe Arvai is the Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research in the Department of Geography and the Institute of Sustainable Energy, Environment & Economy at the University of Calgary. Dr. Andrew Maynard is the NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center.

Dr. Arvai’s keynote speech was titled “A researcher and a policy maker walk into a bar … An appeal for smarter risk management decisions.” It discussed the lag between research on how people make decisions and the creation of applications to improve the quality of their personal and policy choices.

ESPP Grants Two Outstanding Service Awards

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 | Author:

In fall 2014, ESPP awarded the first “Outstanding Service Awards” to two Michigan State University Students: Bonnie McGill and Allison Stuby.

Bonnie McGill is a doctoral student in the Zoology program. She currently is with Steve Hamilton’s ecosystem ecology lab at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. Since joining ESPP in 2012, Bonnie has been active within ESPP through several avenues. She has been a regular attendee at our student research presentations as well as our larger events. She has volunteered to assist ESPP on several occasions, most recently as a note-taker for the Fate of the Earth Symposium last spring, and is currently assisting us as a member of the Colloquia Planning Committee.

Fate of the Earth Symposium returns this April

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 | Author:

ESPP is proud to announce the second annual Fate of the Earth Symposium. Three days of events, starting April 1, 2015, will fall under the category of “Tipping Points, Crises and Solutions.”

he highlight of the public symposium on April 1 will be the keynote speech of Andrew Revkin, esteemed environmental journalist who writes the Dot Earth blog for the New York Times and is a Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University. Along with Mr. Revkin, speakers on the first day will include:

  • Gary Libecap, professor of corporate environmental management at the Bren School for Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • John Crittenden, the director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Hightower Chair. He is also the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Environmental Technologies, George Institute of Technology.

Associate Director Dr. Tarabara named Fulbright Scholar

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 | Author:

Dr. Vlad Tarabara, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate director of ESPP at Michigan State University, has been named a Fulbright Scholar.

Tarabara will use the funding to conduct research on water quality control throughout 2014-2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia at the Agricultural University of Georgia.Tarabara’s research will focus on the use of bacterial viruses, called bacteriophages, as human virus surrogates in water quality control applications.

“Georgian researchers are considered to be among the best in the world in the science and application of bacteriophages,” he said. “At the same time, the country is in need of modern engineering solutions to ensure microbiological safety of its waters. I hope that my project will lay a foundation for a laboratory that would serve as a regional hub for water treatment research.”

Global Conference on Inland Fisheries by Molly Good and Betsy Riley

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 | Author:

From January 26th to January 28th, a conference took place in Rome, Italy as part of a historic collaboration between Michigan State University (MSU) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO).  The conference was one of the first of its scale to look exclusively at inland freshwater fisheries and the challenges that these fisheries face, including competition not only for fish themselves but for the water and the landscape that make up their habitat.  These issues are of growing importance in a world facing climate change, globalization, and population growth, which are projected to cause decreases in the supply of fresh water and increases in the demand for nutritious food – both major issues for fisheries and the people that manage these fisheries systems.

Bio-Environmental Polymer Society (BEPS) 2014 Annual Meeting by Edgar Castro Aguirre

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 | Author:


I attended the 22nd annual meeting of the Bio-Environmental Polymer Society (BEPS), which was held in Kansas City, MO on October 14-17, 2014. This conference mostly focused on renewable and sustainable polymers, degradable polymers, bio-based and degradable composites and environmental impact, designing of sustainable polymers, biofuels and bioproducts.

At the conference, I presented a poster titled, “Impact of Organo-modified Montmorillonite on the Biodegradation of Poly(lactic acid) Nanocomposites”, which showed part of my research studies focusing on the biodegradation of poly(lactic acid) – montmorillonite clay nanocomposites and the effects of these bionanocomposites when disposed in the environment with biodegradation as their intended end-of-life.

Attending to the meeting allowed me not only to share the work that has been done in MSU within a community of experts in the field, but also to learn from the experiences and knowledge shared by them that is relevant for my research. Additionally, idea exchange with other people from the community helped me create professional networking for my future academic career.

Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) 2014 Annual Meeting by Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Oshita

Tuesday, January 06th, 2015 | Author:

SRA Tsuyoshi Oshita

I attended the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) annual meeting, which took place in Denver, Colorado from December 7, to December 10, 2014. The conference focused on risk evaluation on complex and divisive environmental and public health issues such as hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), marijuana legalization and natural and large-scale disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear power accident. This year’s main theme was “the better integration of environmental, community, and occupational risk assessment methods and approaches”.

At the SRA conference, I presented two of my studies in an oral and poster formats. With my advisor Professor Manuel Chavez, I made an oral presentation entitled “Information Divergence: the Disconnection of Reporting Nuclear Risk and Crisis by the News Media in the U.S.” By conducting a content analysis of local newspaper articles and preliminary interviews with news directors in local TV and radio stations surrounding Michigan’s three nuclear power plants, we identified that news on nuclear power plants predominantly focused on community activities of the plants and information on emergency preparedness was reported only in a limited manner.

National Communication Association 100th Annual Convention by Ran Duan

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 | Author:

The 100th National Communication Association (NCA) Annual Convention focused on a wide range of research, including but not limited to, critical/culture studies, media economics, political communication, applied communication, communicating science, health, environment and risk.


students_duanAs a first year PhD student, this is a good start of my research journey. Attending NCA conference increased my confidence in my research ability; meanwhile, this experience broadened my academic horizon by offering me opportunities to know more researchers and their works. For example, one of the panel presenters that I listened to talked about documentary photography of environmental movement and rhetoric of images, which inspired me the idea about analyzing the visuals of environmental problems with a historical perspective.


“Grand Challenges, Great Solutions” conference by Ya-Hui Chuang

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 | Author:

To understand the potential risk to human health via consumption of pharmaceutical-contaminated vegetables and crops, our research group has established an analysis method which can be applied to multiple pharmaceutical residues in edible plants, providing the knowledge necessary for more complete understanding of plant uptake mechanisms.

Ya-Hui ChuangThanks to ESPP assistance with travel expenses, I was able to make an oral presentation of my current research related to plant uptake of emerging contaminants in 2014 ASA (American Society of Agronomy), CSSA (Crop Science Society of America) & SSSA (Soil Science Society of America) International Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California, which was held from November 2-5, 2014. The 2014 ASA, CSSA & SSSA annual meeting, under the theme “Grand Challenges, Great Solutions,” is an influential interdisciplinary conference, gathering professionals working together in agronomics, crop, soil, environmental and related sciences to produce the latest research. There was total of 3,236 presentations, comprising works of illustration, innovation and elucidation. Over 4,000 attendees joined discussions and academic exchanges in this annual meeting.