Career Advancement and Mentorship Program

Program Information Mentors and Mentees CAM Committee Previous Cohorts


Meet our 2013 Mentees

Our inaugural mentees include early career environmental, agricultural and resource economists with a variety of research and teaching interests.

Sarah Cline
, U.S. Department of the Interior
Sarah Cline is an economist in the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University, and an M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics and a B.S. in Environmental Science from West Virginia University. Before pursuing her Ph.D., she worked for several years conducting natural resource economics research at non-governmental research organizations. Sarah's research has addressed several topics including water resources, land use, food security, and invasive species. She is particularly interested in the use of economics in environmental and agricultural policy analysis, and rural development issues.

Sahan Dissanayke, Colby College

Sahan T. M. Dissanayake is an Assistant Professor in Economics at Colby College and an Assistant Professor (by courtesy) in Economics at Portland State University. Sahan's main research centers on ecosystem services, biodiversity, and land conservation and uses choice experiment surveys to understand preferences and mathematical programming to model optimal resource allocation. His survey work analyzes preferences for grasslands in Illinois, ecosystem services in Oregon, payments to prevent deforestation in Nepal and Ethiopia, and improved stove adoption in Ethiopia. His mathematical programming work has focused on optimal conservation landuse within military installations and optimal school districting formulations. His recent research interests have expanded to studying preferences and spatial subsidies for renewable energy and externalities affecting hydropower generation. Sahan has taught a range of classes at the University of Illinois, Portland State University, and Colby College including graduate microeconomic theory, math econ, and environmental and natural resource economics. Sahan received a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics (2011) and a M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics (2010) from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in Computer Science and Economics (2004) from Ohio Wesleyan University. Sahan hails from Sri Lanka and he likes to read and cook (and eat) in his spare time. 

Keith Harris, Kansas State University

Keith Harris is an Assistant Professor of Agribusiness Management in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. Dr. Harris' research interests include economics and agribusiness firms, biotechnology clusters, and the sociology of food and agriculture. His current research focuses on agribusiness strategy that emphasizes the optimization of linkages between the firm and its surrounding business environment. His teaching emphasizes a key element of competing within the context of a dynamic agricultural sector. Dr. Harris' academic and industry careers have been dedicated to food and agriculture. He is a food supply chain professional with 20 years of success in global purchasing, combinatorial auctions and risk management strategies including hedging for agricultural commodities. He is skilled in cost management, financial analysis and supply chain performance standards. As a practitioner, Dr. Harris' experience includes managing and leading the efforts in agricultural commodity trading, supply chain strategy and global purchasing with General Mills Inc., Sara Lee Foods Inc., and Farmland Foods Inc. His experience also includes Peace Corps Volunteer Honduras- where he advised the Ministry of Natural Resources in the development of small-scale agribusinesses from tropical agriculture.

Chris Kennedy
 , George Mason University
Chris Kennedy is an assistant professor of environmental economics in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, and a faculty researcher at GMU's Center for Climate Change Communication. He uses theoretical and empirical methods in his research, which focuses on the interaction between informal institutions and renewable resources, coastal ecosystem service valuation, and role for behavioral science research to inform environmental policy and conservation efforts. Chris received a PhD in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2011, and a BS in chemical engineering from Clarkson University in 2005.

Sarah Jacobson, Williams College

Sarah Jacobson is an assistant professor of economics at Williams College. She received a bachelor's degree in engineering at Harvey Mudd College in 1998 and worked as an engineer for some years to later complete her Ph.D. in economics at Georgia State University in 2010. She has been at Williams since then, and she will be a Visiting Scholar at Cornell's Dyson School from summer 2013 until January 2015. Her work is in environmental and behavioral economics, using mostly experimental methods but also some observational data. Sarah has several research projects that study behavior in public good and public bad settings, particularly settings with asymmetric benefits (or costs). Relatedly, she has interests in social preferences, punishment, and cooperation. She also has several projects that study risk preferences and how they are expressed, particularly when people may have difficulty making choices under risk. She also has some work in land use, and is developing a project on water pollution.

Itziar Lazkano, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Itzi Lazkano is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since August 2011. She graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Calgary, Canada, with a specialization in economic growth, resource and environmental economics in 2011. Prior to that, she received a MPhil in Economics from Cemare-University of Portsmouth, UK, a BA in economics and econometrics from the University of the Basque Country, and worked as a junior researcher at Azti-Tecnalia, Spain. In 2012, Itzi received the FEEM award from the European Economic Association aimed at rewarding the best research by young economists. Her current research relates economic growth and the environment with a special interest in the economic interaction between different generations. In addition, she studies fisheries and water management issues. Itzi uses both theoretical and empirical methods to address her research questions.

Melanie Lefevre, Boston University and Universite de Liege
Melanie Lefevre is a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University, Institute for Economic Development, visiting from University of Liege, granted by the Belgian American Educational Foundation. She received her Ph. D. in Economics from the University of Liege in 2011 and holds a Master degree in Economics (2007) from the same University. Her researches interests include Development Economics, Agricultural Economics, Contract Theory and Health Economics. Her Ph. D. dissertation focused on the milk sector in Senegal, where she has field experience. Her current research topics include Senegalese consumers' preference for milk products, the importance of transport costs in agricultural sectors in developing countries, and more recently, the physician's induced demand for surgery in the US. She has been teaching assistant in various fields including Development Economics, General Economics and Microeconomics.

Daniel Shawhan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Daniel Shawhan is an assistant professor of economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Much of his research addresses decision-making in the electricity sector, incorporation of externalities in such decision-making, electricity market design, and environmental policy design both generally and with regard to the electricity sector. He uses simulation modeling, econometrics, theory, and economic experiments. Previously, Shawhan was a consultant to state governments on energy-related environmental policy and on electric industry restructuring.

Matthew Winden, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Matt Winden is an Assistant Professor of Economics in UW-Whitewater's College of Business and Economics. His research aims primarily to improve environmental valuation techniques and utilize value estimates to inform local, state, and national policy outcomes. Specific areas of application involve valuation of externalities associated with biofuels production and biofuel policy, as well as nutrient credit trading as a means of improving water quality outcomes. Other work in the areas of discrete choice modeling and conjoint choice experiments focuses on improving the econometric foundations within discrete choice modeling, as well as the use and implementation of conjoint choice modeling as a valuation technique. He earned his PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics from Ohio State University.


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