2018 Board of Directors Nominees

The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2018 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 3 available positions: President-Elect (1 nominee) and 2 At-Large Member Positions (4 nominees). Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections will open Wednesday May 23rd and run through Friday June 8th. Please note, your ISEE/USSEE membership must be up-to-date to vote!

To vote, use the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/zhyzxdgjJMF72uSx2

Candidate for President Elect

Robert B Richardson, Michigan State University

Dr. Robert 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 Economics, Journal 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 a former officer and board member of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, and a member of the International Society for Ecological Economics. 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.

Candidacy Statement: My academic career has been informed and inspired by the tenets of ecological economics, and I would be honored to serve on the USSEE Board as President-elect, and later as President. I have been a member of the International Society for Ecological Economics since 2000, after having attended an ISEE conference as a doctoral student, and I have been a member of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics since its founding in 2001. The Society has been my primary scholarly community since the formative years of my academic career until the present. I previously served on the USSEE Board as Secretary-Treasurer from 2009 to 2015, and I served as Chairperson of the Conference Committee for the 2011 biennial conference, and as Chairperson of the Scientific Committee for the 2017 conference. As President, my vision for the organization would involve expanding its membership base in regions of the USA where there is high potential but few clusters of members, through outreach to universities and regional organizations. I would focus on the development of education in ecological economics and on elevating the academic profile of the field through outreach with academic institutions, government agencies, and other organizations. Interdisciplinary departments and degree programs are increasing in number across the USA, and I believe that USSEE can make valuable contributions to the curricula and scholarly foundations of those institutions. At a time when scientific knowledge about global challenges is rapidly expanding, there is an increasing need for ecological economics to have a voice in public discourse and policy dialogue, and I would like to see USSEE play a leading role in that effort.

Candidates for Members at Large

Christa Court, University of Florida

Dr. Christa Court is currently an Assistant Scientist in the Food & Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida (UF), Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). She serves as Assistant Director of the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program, which conducts regional economic analyses for funded research projects, industry organizations, and government agencies. She also holds affiliate faculty status with the UF Water Institute, the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, and the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University. Her research interests include regional economic modeling, the energy-water nexus, environmental accounting, and connections in human and natural systems. Dr. Court has been involved in numerous funded projects involving regional economic modeling and the integration of environmental data and models within these models over the last decade and has a growing list of related publications. She has undergraduate degrees in Economics and Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University and a Masters and Ph.D. in Economics from West Virginia University. During her time at West Virginia University, Christa held the position of Graduate Research Fellow at the Regional Research Institute after which she spent four years as a contract economist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Candidacy Statement: I am interested in joining the Board of Directors of the USSEE because I would like to become a more active member of the USSEE.  My personal interests are in the areas of ecological economics, industrial ecology, and integrated modeling of human and physical environment systems. I believe that it is important to integrate otherwise compartmentalized models of individual systems to synthesize and expand research in economics and environmental science simultaneously and to enhance the information available to policymakers as they tackle societal issues including natural resource depletion, climate change, and sustainable development. The USSEE is making strides in all of these areas through its transdisciplinary approach to sustainability science and I would very much like to play a larger role in this group. I believe that my research experience in academia, industry, and government will help the USSEE bridge the gap that often exists between academia and the industry and public policy arenas and will aid the USSEE in putting the concepts of ecological economics into action.

Georgia Mavrommati, University of Massachusetts Boston

Dr. Georgia Mavrommati is an Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics in the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her Master in Economic Theory and Policy from University of Crete and her PhD in ecological economics from Panteion University where she served as the Greek contact point of the European Society of Ecological Economics. After completing graduate school, Georgia was a Postdoctoral scholar in the Center for Water Sciences at Michigan State University and afterwards in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on the interface of the economy with the environment. In particular, the dependency of socioeconomic process on ecosystems and the provision to society of ecosystem services attracts her main interest. In her work, she is collaborating with scientists from a variety of disciplines (e.g. decision scientists, aquatic ecologists, forest ecologists, climate scientists) to characterize and value ecosystem services at the watershed level. This research addresses some practical challenges of conventional valuation methods through the development and application of a novel framework based on a deliberative multicriteria method into which sustainability considerations are incorporated and community engagement is ensured. Her teaching is concentrated in the fields of environmental policy and management, sustainable development and coupled social-ecological system dynamics. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed papers and she recently founded the Ecological Economics and Systems Lab at UMass Boston.

Candidacy Statement: I am excited by the possibility of serving the US Society of Ecological Economics as a board member. Reaching out to new potential members is and will continue to be one of the main goals of the society’s board. One of my main aims as a board member of the society is to work hard towards this vital-for the future of the society-goal. I would like to direct my efforts towards scientists from relevant disciplines, undergraduate and K-12 students, where I think there is the greatest opportunity to expand the society’s outreach and relate ecological economics to various transdisciplinary subjects. I would also be an advocate for programs designed to increase the participation of members of underrepresented groups in the field of Ecological Economics.

Madhavi Venkatesan, Northeastern University

Dr. Madhavi Venkatesan is a faculty member in the Department of Economics at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Her present academic interests are specific to the integration of sustainability into the economics curriculum and she is currently pursuing scholarly interests in sustainable economic development. She serves as the Executive Director of Sustainable Practices, a 501(c)3 non-profit she founded in 2016. Sustainable Practices is focused on increasing financial and economic literacy to facilitate sustainability and thereby promote environmental and social justice as well as economic equity.

Prior to re-entering academics, Madhavi held senior level positions in investor relations for three Fortune 250 companies. In this capacity, she was a principal point of contact for investors and stakeholders and was instrumental in the development of socially responsible investing strategies and corporate social responsibility reporting. Madhavi started her financial services career after completing her post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned a PhD in Economics from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Environmental Management from Harvard University, and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. She is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of sustainability and economics as well as the text Economic Principles: A Primer, A Framework for Sustainable Practices and forthcoming Foundations in Microeconomics, A Framework for Sustainable Practices and Foundations in Macroeconomics, A Framework for Sustainable Practices. In 2017, Madhavi was granted the Fulbright-SyCip Distinguished Lecturing Award to the Philippines where she gave lectures in the host country in February of 2018 on the role of economics in fostering sustainable outcomes and ultimately, a culture of sustainability.

Candidacy Statement: I appreciate your consideration to serve on the board of the USSEE for the 2018-2020 term. My interest in the position is related to my strong belief that ecological economics needs to be integrated into the mainstream discussion and teaching of economics. I have spent the past few years, writing and speaking on this topic. I have written textbooks that assist in the dissemination of this integration within the high school, community college and university systems and I have responded to solicitations and invitations to speak on the subject. Further, I have leveraged my marketing and communication strategy skills, which were developed during my tenure as an equity analyst and investor relations officer, to channel my communications and thereby extend the range of the ecological economics message to a significantly wide audience as represented by age, education, nationality and income among other demographic characteristics.  Specific to organizational skills, policymaking, collegiality and experience as a volunteer, I have developed, created, established and been an active participant, respectively. I have volunteered my time to numerous organizations over the past 20 years and am presently a board member of the ISEE and serve as the Executive Director of my own non-profit, Sustainable Practices (sustainablepracticesltd.org). As a USSEE board member, I would use my skills and the experience I have gained in my own pursuits to further the goals of USSEE, including increasing the transparency and dissemination of the organization’s focus. Additionally, I would seek to strengthen and establish relationships to promote the significance of the focus of the organization. There are many parallel organizations as well as further increasing sensitivities related to the mission of the USSEE, making the present time a significant opportunity for the organization. Finally, and related, I would work with fellow members to promote both membership and governance functions, both of which I have experience with through past affiliations.

Phillip Warsaw, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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.

Candidacy Statement: In my time as a graduate student and now postdoctoral fellow, I have seen a growing passion among my colleagues for transdisciplinary work to build a new economic paradigm which recognizes social and ecological truths, which ecological economics is uniquely positioned to address. As such, I believe now is a crucial time to recruit a diverse set of young and passionate scholars into the field and provide them with the tools to contribute to the field, both in their research and teaching. As a nominee for the USSEE board, I welcome the opportunity to help contribute to the society on these issues.

In Fall 2017, I was offered the chance to create and lead a graduate course in ecological economics. The course attracted students from several disciplines, including sociology, environmental studies, and agricultural economics. Among the many insights I gained teaching this course, two stand out. First, I believe there is a continued need for support in developing course syllabi. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the course I developed was to my knowledge the first of its kind. As such, I found myself relying heavily on the resources available through the USSEE to develop my syllabus. That said, given the interdisciplinary nature of the field, I believe the society would benefit from continued efforts to provide support to aspiring instructors of ecological economics from varied academic backgrounds. To that end, I would be interested in working with the syllabi subcommittee to continuing to provide these vital resources.

The second insight I gained in my teaching is the importance of a justice-centered message in recruiting a diverse group of scholars to the field. As an academic of color who received his Ph.D. training in neoclassical economics, one of central factors which drew me towards ecological economics is its focus on environmental justice. That said, in speaking with students of color at the UW, all of whom were outside of economics, a common refrain I heard was that they were unaware that a subfield of economics that considered environmental justice even existed! This indicates to me that there may be significant gains in emphasizing these aspects of the field, not only in syllabi, but also in outreach efforts to continue to attract a diverse group of scholars into ecological economics. As such, I would also be committed to working with the membership subcommittee to find avenues to bring such a messaging approach to efforts to grow the USSEE.

The USSEE has provided valuable resources to me as a developing scholar in ecological economics. I am excited about the possibility of working with the USSEE to continue to maintain its current influence and expand its reach to a rising generation of academics ready to contribute to the field.