USSEE Board of Directors

  • Robert B Richardson Immediate Past 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

    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 was a charter member of ISEE/USSEE. Currently, he is an 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 ReviewJournal of Environmental Economics & ManagementEnvironmental Management, Landscape & Urban Planning, & Sustainability. He also has an essay entitled “Containing Carbon through Cap and Trade or a Per Unit Tax” forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Economics edited by James Kahn. 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 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.

  • Roland Ofori Member at Large

    Headshot of Roland OforiRoland Ofori is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Prescott Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD in Environmental & Energy Policy from Michigan Technological University, MS in Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in Economics from University of Ghana. He specializes in ecological economics, environmental economics and complex systems science. He also has public sector experience, having served as an Assistant Economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning for five years. His past research projects involved studying the impacts of invasive species on fisheries sustainability and coastal communities, and the environmental cost of petroleum subsidies in West Africa. His current project seeks to develop agent-based computational models and econometric models to identify food waste reduction strategies in the National School Lunch Program, a USDA-sponsored program that supports over 30 million school children across the US.

  • 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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  • Brian Gallagher Undergraduate Student Representative

  • Headshot of Brian GallagherBrian Gallagher is a rising senior at Temple University dual majoring in Mathematical Economics and Film & Media Arts. During his junior year, he won the second-place prize for best essay by an economics student for his research on elephants, economics, and the environment. Through the Temple Economics Society, Brian was able to attend and become a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in February 2020. In May of 2020, he remotely worked with a Temple economics faculty member to help research and write his Economics For Life textbook. Outside of economics, Brian also has an interest in volunteer work and political change. Since December 2020, he has worked as a writer and interviewer with “First Up,” an organization dedicated to promoting Early Childcare Education. Additionally, Brian has attended many protests in the last year, including one related to homelessness in Philadelphia.
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To contact the board, email usseeboard@gmail.com

Advancing a just and sustainable society within the biophysical limits of global ecosystems