PhD Students

The Erb Institute offers an opportunity for Doctoral students from throughout the University of Michigan to join an intellectual community focused on sustainable enterprise and markets. Erb PhD students will find a welcoming cohort for research discussions at lunches, dinners, and other social gatherings. We discuss research topics, research methods, funding opportunities, and supportive strategies for having a productive and successful doctoral career.

If you are presently a University of Michigan PhD student and wish to be included as an Erb Doctoral Student, please contact the Erb Managing Director or email erbinstitute@umich.edu.

If you are not presently a University of Michigan PhD student please contact the PhD admissions office of the School where you wish to apply.

 

Patricia Chen

Patricia Chen began her graduate studies at Michigan Sociology in 2008. Current research interests include China, organizations, culture and discourse, and corporate social responsibility. She is also interested in how sustainability narratives are integrated into reconstruction efforts in natural disaster sites, with a specific focus on this process during the Sichuan Earthquake.

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Maria Farkas

Broadly, my research explores the processes by which meanings are socially constructed within and across organizations and how those meanings structure behavior for organizations and individuals. In my work, I draw on diverse theories of meaning including sense-making (Weick 1995), identity (Albert and Whetten 1985; Ashforth and Mael 1989), field theory (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992), and new institutional theory (DiMaggio and Powell 1983). Specifically, my dissertation examines the question of industry and market formation through the lenses of meaning and process. In my dissertation Constructing Cleantech: The Role of Sense-giving in the Formation of Fields, I explore the question of how the new economic sector of cleantech is formed by focusing on the individuals and organizations who attempt to influence early understandings of what cleantech is and who is a member. In another project, I apply a sense-making lens to understand how organizations learn about their capabilities, refine their organizing routines, and update their identities as a result of significant interruptions.

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Jason Good

-ERB DISSERTATION SCHOLAR- I study the organizing processes of natural resource extraction. For my dissertation research, I am employing elements of sensemaking (e.g., Weick 1995) and institutional logics (e.g., Friedland & Alford 1991) to understand how front-line fisheries practitioners in Kodiak, Alaska organize to co-manage (in cooperation with government regulators and scientists) a trawl fishery. I am particularly interested in 1) how practitioners make sense of dynamic and enacted natural and social processes, and 2) how the nature and products of those processes are influenced by the highly competitive and politically-charged context in which practitioners operate. I am a student in the School of Natural Resources & Environment, where I also obtained by BS. Prior to graduate school, I worked as a commercial fisheries scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska and Washington.

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Krista Gullo Badiane

-ERB DISSERTATION SCHOLAR- Krista Badiane is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. Krista’s graduate research focuses on climate change as a social change process within existing institutions and their interfaces with one another. Krista joined Ford Motor Company in 2002 and served as manager, Sustainable Business Strategies for Ford Motor Company. In this role, she was primarily responsible for producing Ford's award-winning Sustainability Report, and coordinating the company's socially responsible investing strategy. Krista also developed an internal sustainability communication and education strategy for the Company including development of an intranet site and a learning community for employees. Krista received a B.A. and B.S. in Anthropology and Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan and studied briefly in London, England and Dakar, Senegal. She completed her Masters of Environmental Management at Duke University.

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Mikell Hyman

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Rajeev Jain

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Sunmin Kim

I am an interdisciplinary PhD student (Ross School of Business, College of Engineering), interested in studying corporate sustainability strategy in the paper industry. I examine how targeted environmental performance creates value for firms, from 'greening' of the supply chain and also shifts in the industry-wide value system due to interactive and strategic forces. This is done by extending the theoretical framework of the natural-resource-based view of the firm to valuation concepts and tools from engineering and complex systems. Outside my doctoral research, I am broadly interested in the role of corporations and higher education in today's societal challenges, namely sustainable development and climate change. I am actively involved in several outreach and professional activities to help bridge the gap between not only different disciplines on campus, but also between practitioners, corporate leaders and academics. I received my B.S. in Biological Engineering at Cornell University. I am passionate about food (reading about it, making it and eating it), and as a Seattle-ite, I love evergreen trees, mountains, and running in the (light) rain.

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Dana Kornberg

The aim of my present work is to contribute to a better understanding of the social dynamics of rapidly-growing cities, especially in the developing world, and particularly in South Asia. The questions I am concerned with relate to the politics and social/spatial inequalities surrounding the provision of municipal services and the roles of key actors including the state, NGOs, private firms, city residents, and the informal sector in shaping the ways essential infrastructures are arranged. I am especially interested in the provision of solid waste services, the discourses of environment surrounding them, and the arrival of private companies in the field.

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Eric Kravitz

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Wren Montgomery

Wren is a PhD student in Organizational Behavior at the Queen's School of Business and an Erb Institute visiting scholar. Her dissertation research focuses on emerging pressures on water resources and institutions, specifically tensions over public versus private management of municipal water services and the impact of the UN’s recognition of a human right to water. She is currently conducting detailed case studies and interviews with a multitude of stakeholders in both Detroit and Chicago. Prior to her PhD, Wren worked as a management and government relations consultant and as a policy analyst and strategist at senior levels of government.

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Ava Morgenstern

Ava entered the sociology doctoral program in 2011. Her research area is international development, with a focus on Western citizens trying to alleviate global poverty in developing countries via non-governmental organizations and private-sector social enterprise initiatives. As many such projects have an environmental component, she finds the Erb Institute's resources helpful in surveying this organizational landscape. Ava's research areas may include transnational social movements, the ethics of globalization, organizations, philanthropy and nonprofit management, and related topics.

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Erica Morrell

Erica is a joint PhD student in public policy and sociology. Her dissertation examines urban food policy, and she recently completed a project examining contention over seed patents in Canada. Her research interests center on science, expertise and democracy studies, social movements and political contention, natural resources and the environment, biotechnology policy, and comparative methods.

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Christopher Scheuer

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Todd Schifeling

A sociology PhD student, I am currently conducting research on agenda dynamics in the U.S. environmental movement and developing a dissertation that will investigate the relationship between environmental activism and green markets. The first project is an extension of a thesis completed at Reed College, "Inside the Environmental Planetarium: How Green Ideas Move." I love bicycling and periodically have to restrain myself from studying it.

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Laura Seago

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