Career Advancement and Mentorship Program

Program Information Mentors and Mentees CAM Committee Previous Cohorts


Meet our 2015 Mentees

Our 2015 cohort of mentees include early career environmental, agricultural and resource economists with a variety of research and teaching interests. The 2015 cohort of mentees include a total of 17 mentees, 11 mentees working with mentors and 6 mentees working on a new group mentoring initiative. The mentees are listed below.

Shadi Atallah, Purdue University

Shadi Atallah is Assistant Professor of Resource/Ecological Economics at Purdue University. His research interests lie at the intersection of agricultural, resource, and environmental economics. His research addresses the management of pests, diseases, and invasive species especially in the presence of spatial-dynamic externalities. More recent research interests include the management of recreation-wildlife conflicts. Shadi completed his PhD in Applied Economics at Cornell University. He has a MS in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis, a MS in Plant Science from the American University of Beirut and a Diplôme d'Ingénieur Agronome from the Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik. Before graduate school, he worked in international agricultural development for five years. 
Christine L. Crago, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Christine L. Crago is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Resource Economics and the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her primary research activities are in the in the areas of environmental regulation and energy economics. Current projects include: empirically estimating impacts of incentive policies for of solar energy, estimating the effect of information and social nudges on residential energy consumption, and setting optimal carbon taxes in the presence of spatially differentiated co-pollutants. Past research focused on the economic and environmental impacts of biofuels. Dr. Crago is an alumna of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (PhD), Michigan State University (MS) and the University of the Philippines (BS).
Scott Colby, Penn State
Scott Colby is an Assistant Professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University. After completing his PhD at Washington State University in 2011, he was awarded an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant for a two year post doc. His primary research agenda focuses on household food consumption behaviors and food retail markets. He does this by developing theoretical models to shed light on relevant relationships and to form testable hypothesis that he then tests using large data sets. This is exemplified by a model that he has developed that explains the rapid decline in grocery shopping frequency and how that may result in poor health outcomes. Scott enjoys sharing his expertise and perspective by teaching courses entitled Food Product Marketing to undergraduates and Advanced Consumer Theory and Measurement to graduate students. 
Laura Grant, University of Wisconsin-Delaware
Laura Grant is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Department of Economics. In 2013 and 2014, she was also an affiliated scholar with the Science of Philanthropy Initiative at the University of Chicago. After mathematics and philosophy as an undergraduate, followed by a hydrology masters degree, she found economics and pursued a PhD. Laura is inspired by why people care about others and the environment – she studies the effectiveness of environmental policies and the many ways people voluntarily make green choices like saving water or by alternative commuting. Using econometrics and experiments, she currently has projects assessing electricity conservation programs, policies for reduction of food waste, and if environmental groups improve environmental quality. Laura grew up hiking, water & snow skiing, and camping in the Black Hills, SD.
Jennifer Ifft, Cornell University
Jenny Ifft is an assistant professor and Mueller Family Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in Agribusiness and Farm Management in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell in 2014, she was a Research Economist in the Farm Economy Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (ERS). She earned her PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of California Berkeley. Professor Ifft's research and extension program focuses on critical issues facing the farm sector and farm policy, including farmland values, farm land and farm financial management. She has published several studies on the impact of government policies on farmland markets and farm financial decisions; determinants of farmland values; and other farm financial issues. 
Sunny Jardine, University of Delaware
Sunny L. Jardine received her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California at Davis in 2013. She is currently an assistant professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy (with a specialization marine policy) at the University of Delaware. Her main research interests include natural resource economics, marine resource economics, and public economics. She has published articles on topics such as developing product quality in the seafood industry, mangrove conservation, and ecosystem based management. She is currently involved in research on invasive species and the impact of fishermen’s incentives on biodiversity.

Yusuke Kuwayama, Resources for the Future
Yusuke Kuwayama's research focuses on the economics of water resources and ecosystems. His recent work addresses groundwater use in the agricultural sector, the water resource impacts of oil and gas development, the societal value of hydrologic information, and innovative technologies for wastewater treatment. Kuwayama's research is often interdisciplinary in nature, involving collaboration with hydrologists and water resource engineers. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics and M.S. in Economics from the University of Illinois as well as an A.B. in Economics from Amherst College.

Corey Lang, University of Rhode Island 
Corey Lang is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Rhode Island, where he has been since August 2011. His research primarily focuses on non-market valuation of environmental amenities and disamenities, such as air quality, wind turbines, hydraulic fracturing, brownfields and open space. For example, using data from the housing market and quasi-experimental methods, Corey and co-authors have examined the valuation of air quality and estimated the distribution of benefits resulting from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, as well as the dynamic patterns of house price responses. In addition, Corey has research interests in energy efficiency and demand response, voting, and links between experience, perception and action in the realm of climate change. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Carleton College and a PhD in Economics from Cornell University.
Adrian Lopes, Bates College and American University UAE 
Adrian Lopes has a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell University. He is currently visiting Bates College where he teaches microeconomics, environmental economics, and resource economics. He will be joining the faculty of the Economics Department of American University in the UAE starting in Fall 2015. Before his academic career he worked as a consultant in environmental and developmental policy at The Energy and Resources Institute in India. Adrian's research interests include Environmental & Resource Economics, Ecological Economics, and Institutional Economics.
Shana McDermott, University of New Mexico 
Shana McDermott is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in the Department of Economics and Senior Research Associate for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Trained as an applied microeconomist, her research focuses on jointly determined human and natural systems, and developing policies that will enable humans to better manage natural resources. Her current research uses dynamic models, computable general equilibrium models, and contingent valuation methods, to examine invasive species valuation and management, the effect of carbon sequestration on optimal timber rotation, and rangeland conservation in the desert Southwest. Shana received a BA in economics and statistics from the University of Central Florida in 2006, a PhD from the University of Wyoming in 2011, and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Dartmouth College in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Environmental Studies Program prior to her appointment at UNM.
Caroline Noblet, University of Maine
Caroline Noblet is an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Maine. She received her Ph.D. in Economic Psychology from the University of Maine (2012), holds a Master’s in Resource Economics in Policy (2005, University of Maine) and a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Boston College. She specializes in Environmental Economic Psychology and enjoys studying natural resource decision making, with a particular focus on how people process and utilize environmental information. She broadens current economic models to include interdisciplinary constructs, hypotheses and methods with a focus on environmental and health information, and an eye towards future design of information policies. Her research considers how individual values, constraints and backgrounds may inform decisions at both the consumer and policy level. In her free time, she enjoys recreating in her beautiful home state with her family.
Jeffrey O'Hara, Union of Concerned Scientists
Jeffrey K. O’Hara is an agricultural economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Jeff’s recent interests relate to the extent to which local and regional food systems promote community development, such as their economic impacts and whether they change diets among low-income populations, and socioeconomic factors that influence changes in local food sales over time.  Jeff also has an interest in topics relating to water quantity, water quality, and marine resources.  Jeff’s thesis examined the ability of municipal water systems to adapt reservoir storage capacity, water rates, and reliability targets in response to climate change and variability. Jeff was previously employed at the Chicago Climate Exchange, and in that capacity he was a consultant to the state of Pennsylvania in the design of its nutrient trading program.  Jeff was also previously a research assistant at the Congressional Budget Office and Charles River Associates Incorporated.  Jeff has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in economics from The George Washington University.
Leah Palm-Forster,  MSU/ University of Delaware 
Leah H. Palm-Forster will be an Assistant Professor in Applied Economics & Statistics at the University of Delaware beginning in August, 2015. She is currently completing her PhD at Michigan State University in the Department of Agricultural, Food, & Resource Economics. Leah earned her M.S. in Agricultural & Applied Economics (2011) from Virginia Tech, where she also received dual B.S. degrees in Agricultural & Applied Economics and Animal & Poultry Sciences (2009). Leah’s research examines how agricultural landscapes can be managed to enhance market and nonmarket ecosystem services. During her M.S., Leah conducted field work in Bangladesh to identify cost-effective extension strategies to disseminate information about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies. Her dissertation research analyzes farmer preferences for conservation incentives and explores how reverse auctions can be designed to cost-effectively reduce runoff in the Midwest. Through her research, Leah enjoys working on multidisciplinary teams and collaborating with local stakeholder groups. Leah loves horseback riding, yoga, and trail running with her husband and their crazy dog, Duke.
Katherine Y. Zipp, Pennsylvania State University
Kate Zipp is an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Pennsylvania State University. She is a co-hire with the Pennsylvania State Institute of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE). She received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research interests include environmental and resource economics, land-use economics, spatial modeling, joint ecological-economic modeling, and nonmarket valuation. Currently she has three lines of research: (1) the effects of open-space conservation on the surrounding landscape; (2) the spread of aquatic invasive species due to boater movements between lakes; and more recently (3) the potential for water quality improvement through farmer adoption of bioenergy crops and the subsequent effect on possible markets for alternative fuels. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on land-use dynamics, natural resource economics, and environmental economics.
Brian Vander Naald, The University of Alaska Southeast 
Brian Vander Naald is an assistant professor of economics at The University of Alaska Southeast. My research uses choice experiments and revealed preference methods to estimate values for understudied ecosystem services. I have taught a variety of classes at University of Oregon and University of Alaska Southeast, including Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Labor Economics, and Econometrics. I received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oregon (2012), an M.A. in Economics from the University of Montana (2007), and a B.A. in Mathematics from Miami University (2003).
Nikos Zirogiannis, Indiana University Bloomington  
Nikos Zirogiannis is an Assistant Scientist at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University Bloomington. His main research interests are on theoretical and applied aspects of dynamic factors models (DFMs). His empirical work includes applications of DFMs in areas such as natural resource management, health and education policy. His work in environmental economics evolves around energy policy with a focus on state and local level regulations of the shale gas industry. He has previously conducted work on cotton subsidies and their effects on Western African cotton producers, and examined the economic incentives of private homeowners to invest in wildfire prevention in the U.S. Great Basin region. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.A in Business Administration from the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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