ECI Postdoc candidates 2013
Experiments in Sustainable Growth: Energy Ownership, Consumer Cultures, and
Environmental Impact Over Nearly a Century
Abby Spinak – Wednesday, April 3rd Seminar at 11:00 in Mencoff #205
Advisors: John Logan, Seth Rockman & Samuel Zipp
Abby Spinak is a doctoral candidate in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT and a Jacob K. Javits fellow. She studies the relationship between the environment and capitalism through an interdisciplinary lens that includes history, sociology, political science, and economics. Her current research examines electric cooperatives --community owned and democratically managed utilities that proliferated in the U.S. over the course of the twentieth century – in order to understand the geographic and cultural development of rural America, as well as possibilities for energy innovation today. Her next project will explore how the growing green business sector is transforming structural relationships in the economy and society through new configurations of agriculture, industrial production chains, regulatory and business communities, and consumer culture. Abby’s recent article, “Sustainable and Equitable Urbanism: The Role of ICT in Ecological Culture Change and Poverty Alleviation,” is based on her research on urban sustainability planning as part of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab and the Connected Urban Development initiative. Abby holds an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and an SB in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from MIT. She thinks that anthropogenic environmental challenges are much more complex than rocket science.
Biodiversity, Ecosystem Function, & Sustainable Resource Use in a Changing Environment
Krista Capps – Friday, April 5th Seminar at 11:00 in Mencoff #205
Advisors: Heather Leslie & Sriniketh Nagavarapu
Krista Capps is an ecologist whose research is dedicated to understanding how anthropogenic activities alter community structure and ecosystem processes in aquatic environments. Krista earned a B.S. in biology and political science from Hope College, an M.S. in environmental science from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University. Krista's dissertation work was focused on understanding the community- and ecosystem-level effects of a non-native fish in freshwater systems in southern Mexico. Krista was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras and she has over 10 years of experience working in Latin America.
Market-Based Policies, Conservation Management, and Rural Livelihoods in Southwest China
John Zinda – Monday, April 8th Seminar at 11:00 in Mencoff #205
Advisors: Leah VanWey & Dov Sax
John Zinda is a doctoral candidate in community and environmental sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He holds an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a BA in Sociology and East Asian Studies from Vanderbilt University. His research trains an interdisciplinary, multi-scalar lens on the impacts of incentive-based conservation policies on rural livelihoods and landscapes. His dissertation, Organizing Tourism, Conservation, and Development in Southwest China, examines how government agencies adopt tourism and conservation practices in protected areas and how different management models affect resource use and livelihoods in rural communities. This research was conducted as part of an Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southwest China, funded by the National Science Foundation. Zinda has also received research support from the East Asian and Pacific Summer Institutes of the American Society for Engineering Education, the Social Science Research Council, and the Rural Sociological Society.