USSEE Board of Directors

  • Robert B Richardson President

    Robert B Richardson is an ecological economist and Associate Professor at Michigan State University with interests in the study of the environment and development, particularly the contribution of ecosystem services to socioeconomic well-being. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University. His research, teaching, and outreach program focuses primarily on sustainable development, and he uses a variety of methods from the behavioral and social sciences to study decision-making about the use of natural resources and the values of ecosystem services. He has conducted research related to agricultural-environmental linkages, household food and energy security, and tradeoffs in decision-making about environmental management in southern and eastern Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, as well as in various regions of the USA. His work has been published in Ecological EconomicsJournal of Environmental Management, and World Development. Dr. Richardson is a former member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and former chairperson of the subcommittee on Sustainable and Healthy Communities. He is an affiliate faculty member with MSU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program, Center for Advanced Study of International Development, Center for Regional Food Systems, African Studies Center, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

  • Laura Schmitt Olabisi President-Elect

    Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University. She is an ecologist and a participatory systems modeler, working directly with stakeholders to build models that foster adaptive learning about the dynamics of coupled human-natural systems, and to integrate stakeholder knowledge with academic knowledge. She has worked in communities in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the United States on a range of issues in agriculture, food and natural resources. Laura holds a doctoral degree in Systems Ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Brown University. She was a AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow in 2018-19, and is currently a board member of the Academy for Systems Change (formerly the Donella Meadows Institute), a non-profit organization dedicated to training systems leaders for sustainability transformations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors (academyforchange.org). Laura served on the USSEE board from 2012-2016 and as conference chair for the USSEE meeting in 2017.

  • John A. Sorrentino Secretary-Treasurer

    Photo of John A. Sorrentino John A. Sorrentino is Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. He was a co-founder of Temple University’s Environmental Studies Program, and was honored by the University with a 1999 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Most of his publications and consulting work have involved the micro-economics of energy and the environment, and have appeared in journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Environmental Economics & Management, Environmental Management, and Landscape & Urban Planning. His works-in-progress include such topics as sustainable housing placement, environmental information systems, sustainable business practices, urban agriculture, and using environmental and health amenities to offset wealth inequality. John was a charter member of USSEE, is a member of the Scientific Committee organizing the 2015 Biennial Conference, and looks forward to having a direct hand in the Society as Secretary-Treasurer. Carefully documenting the operational and financial activities of any organization is important, and USSEE is no exception. The period of damage-control is over, and the future should bring stability and growth. John received his B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, all in economics.

  • Leah Bremer Member at Large

    Dr. Leah Bremer is an Environmental Science and Policy Specialist with the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) and the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). She focuses on interdisciplinary, applied, and problem-driven research related to water and watershed policy and management in Hawaiʻi and Latin America.  She views social and environmental challenges and solutions as intricately inter-connected and works with collaborative teams of researchers, community groups, agencies, non-profits, and others to co-produce knowledge with the goal of informing effective and equitable decision making. Her work broadly focuses on three inter-related themes: 1) illuminating the links between people and the environment through various lenses, including ecosystem services, biocultural restoration of agroecological systems, and inclusive valuation; 2) improving land and water management decisions to account for the multiple ways people use and value these resources, including through links to groundwater dependent ecosystems; and 3) critical evaluation of the social and ecological outcomes of ecosystem services policies and programs, including water funds in Latin America, with the goal of improving program effectiveness and equity. In addition to her split appointment with UHERO and WRRC, she is also cooperating faculty with a number of University of Hawaiʻi departments and initiatives including the Department of Geography and Environment, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and the Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific, as well as a board member for the Hawaiʻi Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology. She is also a Gund Institute of the Environment (University of Vermont) affiliate and a research fellow with Fundación Cordillera Tropical, an NGO in Ecuador that she worked with for many years. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University, her M.S. in Conservation Biology from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), her Ph.D. in Geography from UC-Santa Barbara and San Diego State University, and was a Post Doctoral Researcher with the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University.
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  • Regina Ostergaard-Klem Member at Large

    Photo of Regina Ostergaard-KlemRegina Ostergaard-Kelm is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science in the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) in Honolulu, Hawaii. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University, and both an MS in Environmental Engineering and a PhD in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision Making from The Johns Hopkins University. From 1994-1995, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Lodz, Poland. After completing graduate school, Ostergaard-Klem was a Science and Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC. Prior to coming to HPU, she worked as an environmental policy advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). There she managed urban environmental and energy projects throughout different regions of the world. At HPU, Dr. Ostergaard-Klem teaches in both the undergraduate level Environmental Science/Studies program and the master’s program in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development, for which she is also the Program Director. Her teaching is concentrated in the fields of ecological economics, sustainable human systems, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. Her most recent research efforts are focused on the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), a framework for evaluating social welfare as a supplement to Gross Domestic Product. She is a co-developer of “GPI Island Style,” the application of GPI at the state level in Hawaii. As an extension of that work, Ostergaard-Klem collaborates with partners across the state on several initiatives, including efforts to develop a state sustainability dashboard.

  • Susan Santone Member at Large

  • Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with 25 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. An instructor at the University of Michigan School of Education (and formerly, Eastern Michigan University), she’s designed and taught graduate- and undergraduate courses on education reform, multicultural education, and social justice, the social/political foundations of education, and teaching ecological economics, and curriculum design. She is the author of Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability, as well as articles and book chapters on educating for sustainability, teaching ecological economics, and countering neoliberal influences in education. Through Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit she founded, she led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations.
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  • Phillip Warsaw Member at Large

    Dr. Phillip Warsaw is a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also completed in Ph.D. in Economics. As a master’s candidate in Environmental Studies, Phillip first began his engagement in ecological economics through his thesis work, titled “Beyond Distribution: Moving Towards a Power-Structures Approach to Environmental Justice in Ecological Economics.” As a doctoral candidate, Phillip continued his work in environmental justice in developing his dissertation, “Essays on the Economics of Food Access”, which developed a microeconomic approach to investigating food insecurity in Milwaukee. As a postdoctoral fellow, he has continued to develop his research agenda of building an economic paradigm centered around environmental justice, using a variety of traditional and non-traditional economics tools, as well as interdisciplinary approaches to his work. Phillip has also been involved in building a broader ecological economics agenda on the UW’s campus, developing and participating in a number of ecological economics reading groups, as well as developing a graduate course in ecological economics in Fall 2017.

  • Katherine Ingram  Graduate Student Representative

    Katherine Ingram is a first-year Master’s student in the Energy, Resources, and Environment Department of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. While at Washington and Lee as a Johnson Scholar, she majored in Environmental Studies and Economics. Her research interests lie at the intersection of finance, corporate sustainability, and international development. For her senior Environmental Studies Capstone, Katherine followed up her research activity as an assistant on a corporate sustainability disclosure project and analyzed the role of imperfect information in climate change risk disclosure behavior of the electric power sector. In 2019, Katherine received the John McKenzie Gunn Scholarship from the Economics Department. During her time at Washington and Lee, Katherine helped to develop the proof of concept for an impact investing practicum within the university’s microfinance organization. She also served as the student-appointed representative of the University Sustainability Committee in 2020, where she assisted in the development of the student Climate Action toolkit to support W&L’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal.

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  • Maisie Strawn Undergraduate Student Representative

  •  Maisie Strawn is an undergraduate student at Washington and Lee University majoring in environmental economics and minoring in entrepreneurship. At school, she is involved with the General Development Initiative, a student-run non-profit focused on sustainable and socially conscious micro-finance, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan advocacy organization focused on climate change, and the varsity field hockey team. Growing up in rural, coastal Virginia, an area disproportionately bearing the weight of climate change and sea-level rise, Maisie is passionate about USSEE’s goal of advancing practical solutions toward an ecologically sustainable and economically viable future. This summer, she will serve as an intern with Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission working on several projects aiming to develop the local economy while protecting the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding area. Maisie has also worked for the USGS, writing educational materials on the geology and ecology of National Parks for their website and will volunteer this summer with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to develop educational and outreach materials related to the ecological and economic importance of the Chesapeake Bay. Maisie hopes to pursue a career working to address sustainability challenges while facilitating economic growth within planetary boundaries.
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To contact the board, email Usseeboard@gmail.com

Transforming the Economy for a Just and Sustainable World