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Lianne Lefsrud is an Erb Institute Research Fellow with a concurrent appointment as a Dow Sustainability Fellow. In her research, she examines how language shapes our conceptions of technology, energy, the environment and their regulation. She has an interdisciplinary Masters in Environmental Engineering & Sociology and is just finishing her PhD in Business Strategy at the University of Alberta. Her dissertation Golden Goose or Ugly Duckling examines how we infuse the oil sands with value beyond its technical requirements. She is a former regulator of engineering and geoscience (Assistant Director Professional Practice, APEGA), water resource and environmental consultant, and railroader (CN Rail, including training as locomotive engineer & conductor).
Laurie Kaye Nijaki is a Erb Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research focuses on the sustainable city, with a particular interest in green economic development. She most recently served as the State of California's principal adviser on green economy research, and spearheaded the implementation of a groundbreaking $500-million community-benefits-agreement for Environmental Defense Fund. She holds a Ph.D. in Policy, Planning, and Development from the University of Southern California, where she earned the University's most prestigious fellowship for doctoral studies totaling over $115,000 in research funding and served as her school's doctoral valedictory speaker; a M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles where her studies were fully funded by the Erin Brockovich Fellowship in Environmental Justice; and a B.A. in Political Science summa cum laude from the Early Entrance Program at California State University, Los Angeles, where she graduated college at the age of 18.
Ethan Schoolman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Erb Institute with a dual appointment as a Dow Sustainability Fellow in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. As an interdisciplinary scholar with a doctoral degree in sociology, Ethan's research focuses on the political economy and environmental and social impacts of food systems, determinants of sustainable behavior, and consumer culture. At Erb, Ethan is investigating whether strong local food systems contribute to environmental and social sustainability, while also coordinating qualitative research for the USDA-funded Food Access in Michigan Project. His doctoral work developed new theory on the subjective experience of "socially responsible purchasing" and on why "buying local" may have surprisingly broad support across socioeconomic and political lines. Ethan has also written on environmental inequality in developing countries, impediments to interdisciplinarity in sustainability science, the political history of climate change, and challenges in environmental education. Prior to his doctoral work, Ethan worked as a fundraiser for non-profit groups, a reporter, a housekeeper in backcountry Alaska, and an ecological field assistant. He also holds a master's degree in political science from Princeton and a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago.