Participants

Early Career Scholars

Caroline
Adhola

Bio

Sara Aly El-Sayed, Ph.D.

Bio

John Arroyo, Ph.D.

Bio

Stephen N. Borunda

Bio

Bikash
Chetry

Bio

Megan
Cole

Bio

Mabel Gergan, PhD

Bio

Mariaelena
Huambachano, PhD

Bio

Heather
Kayed

Bio

Sammy
Kayed

Bio

Naledi
Mpanza

Bio

Preeti
Nayak

Bio

Koffi Nomedji, Ph.D.

Bio

Florence Oduk, LLM

Bio

Ojo
Taiye

Bio

Mark Ortiz,
Ph.D.

Bio

Adewale
Owoseni, Ph.D.

Bio

Sarah Vaughn, Ph.D.

Bio

Deidre Zoll, Ph.D.

Bio

Caroline Adhola
Postdoctoral Fellow | University of Pretoria | South Africa

Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pretoria, Caroline Adhola has worked in the education sector for over eighteen years in Kenya and South Africa. She earned her PhD in 2020 from the University of the Witwatersrand, with a thesis applying a social justice framework to  the role of leaders in deprived schools in Johannesburg. She is interested in how climate change has impacted the livelihoods of people in Northern Kenya, where severe drought has led to the loss of large numbers of livestock, and in identifying adaptation measures.

Sara Aly El-Sayed, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar | Public Interest Technology | Arizona State University | USA

Sara Aly El-Sayed is a Post-Doctoral Scholar in Public Interest Technology (PIT) at Arizona State University. In the past decade, her work has been focused on enabling small-scale producers’ products to reach markets that they are excluded from. Dr. El-Sayed’s post-doctoral research in PIT has encouraged her to realign technology to be more just, and she now aims to assess whether a more equitable food system can be achieved. She has co-authored several peer-reviewed journal articles, including “Weaving Disciplines to Contextualize a Regenerative Food System” and “Follow the Ferments: Inclusive Food Governance in Arizona.”

John Arroyo, PhD
Assistant Professor | Engaging Diverse Communities | University of Oregon | USA

John Arroyo is currently in his third year as an Assistant Professor in Engaging Diverse Communities at the University of Oregon. He serves on the graduate faculty of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies (IRES), Latinx Studies, and Historic Preservation. He is also the director and Principal Investigator of the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice (JFI), a three-year, $4.52 million research center funded by the Mellon Foundation’s Just Future Initiatives. His publications include “Facades of Federalism: State and Municipal Immigration Policy Effects on Mexican Housing Form in the New South,” “Calling Out Anti-Asian Discrimination During COVID-19: Local Government Responses in Unexpected Places,” and “From Racism to Anti-Racism: A Typology of Local and State Government Responses to COVID-19 Discrimination.”

Stephen N. Borunda
Doctoral Candidate | Film and Media Studies | University of California, Santa Barbara | USA

Stephen N. Borunda is a Chancellor’s Fellow and PhD candidate in film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara. His research interests include deserts as “media laboratories” across the Americas, Latinx/Latin American film and media studies, media and the environment, and the intersection of media and energy infrastructures and coloniality. His work has been published in Media+Environment, global-e, Film Matters, The Santiago Times, and Media Fields (upcoming). He was the recipient of the 2022 Essay Award for the SCMS “Media and the Environment Scholarly Interest Group” for his writing on activist media in New Mexico in response to nuclear colonialism. He was a teacher in Baltimore via Teach for America before returning to graduate school. His filmmaking (Boost, 2018) has been screened at the Festival Internacional de Cine de Valdivia. He is the coordinating editor of the cutting-edge journal Media+Environment.

Bikash Chetry
Doctoral student | Social Development | University of Cape Town | South Africa

Bikash Chetry’s doctoral research concerns Disaster Risk Reduction in the Brahmaputra Valley in Northeast India, an area perennially affected by flooding. He is especially interested in the gap between the indigenous knowledge of riverine communities and the technocratic approaches of the state. He completed his Master’s and M.Phil in Social Work at the University of Delhi, focusing on the gendered impact of flooding and disaster management in Majuli Assam. He has also worked extensively with nonprofit organizations dealing with the impact of climate change and environmental disasters in the Eastern Himalayas. His publications include chapters and articles in Indigenising Social Work in India, Journal of North East India Studies, Challenges of Disasters in Asia, among others.

Megan Cole
Doctoral Candidate | English | University of California, Irvine | USA

Megan Cole is a rising fourth-year English Ph.D. candidate with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory at the University of California, Irvine. She is the first humanist researcher in UCI’s Solutions that Scale, a university-wide initiative to research and implement scalable and inclusive solutions to climate change. She has spent the past year collaborating with faculty on multiple subjects to draft and publish a paper articulating the importance of including humanists within STEM-dominated communities of climate scholars. She has also published “Seeing Ecocatastrophe: Environmentalism and the Aesthetics of Climate Change.”

Mabel Gergan, PhD
Assistant Professor | Geography | Vanderbilt University | USA

Mabel Gergan is a human geographer and an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. Her doctoral research in the Eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim examined the entry of hydropower development. Dr. Gergan is also interested in putting geographical and Indigenous knowledge of earth-surface processes into conversation with each other, with a particular focus on accounts of migration, settlement, hazard events, and notions of deep time. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles including “Introduction to the Special Issue: Rethinking Difference as Racialization through the Indian Context” and “Theorizing the City: Racialized Himalayan Youth on Exposure, Encounter, and Becoming.” She completed her PhD in Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016.

Marielena Huambachano, PhD
Assistant Professor | Environmental Humanities and Indigenous Studies | Syracuse University | USA

Dr. Huambachano’s research and teaching are rooted in an interdisciplinary approach to Indigenous Studies, Environmental Studies, and Public Policy. In fall 2021, she joined Syracuse University to help build the Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice Research Centre and Department. Mariaelena is an active member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and a lead author in the 16th High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (UNFAO) Report on “Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems” as well as a global report on the ‘values’ assessment of nature for the Intergovernmental Panel of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES). Her research has been published in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems; Sustainability; and the New Zealand Journal of Ecology. Her forthcoming book, Recovering our ‘Ancestral’ Foodways: Indigenous Traditions as a Recipe for Living Well is a celebration of the lore of Quechua and Māori and of the worlds’ Indigenous peoples in safeguarding food systems, innovation, practices, and, ultimately, the well-being of humankind.

Heather Kayed
Graduate student | American University of Beirut | USA

Heather Kayed is a graduate student at the American University of Beirut. Her research understands agri-food systems to be a daily meeting point -culturally, economically, and politically -between society and nature. She examines how responses to ecological degradation, bio-cultural diversity erasure or appropriation, and environmental injustices (including climate injustice) are shaped by discourse; a cross-cutting basis for the themes of the GHI. Kayed has co-published a number of papers, including “Exploring Alternative Food Initiatives in Lebanon” and “Environmental Justice in Lebanon.”

Sammy Kayed
Managing Director | The Environment Academy | American University of Beirut | USA

Sammy Kayed is the Co-founder and Managing Director of The Environment Academy at the American University of Beirut -Nature Conservation Center (AUB-NCC). He has been working to deepen his understanding on how more transdisciplinary forms of expert-community co-creation can strengthen the capacity of multi-scalar environmental justice actions to navigate through the complexities and controversies of socio-ecological transformation. He has contributed to a number of peer-reviewed publications, including “Place-Born Resistance and Action in Lebanon,” “Multisource groundwater contamination under data scarcity: The case study of six municipalities in the proximity of the Naameh Landfill, Lebanon,” and “Transdisciplinary interventions for environmental sustainability.”

Naledi Mpanza
Junior Researcher | Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender | University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus | South Africa

Naleda Mpanza has a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Pretoria and is an aspiring PhD candidate in the field of Climate Justice. Her interests include youth participation in public policy making and black women’s perceptions of climate change in South African townships. She is particularly interested in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Indigenous knowledge, intergenerational knowledge, and gendered experiences of climate change.

Preeti Nayak
PhD Candidate | Curriculum and Pedagogy | University of Toronto | Canada

Preeti Nayak is currently pursuing her PhD in Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the question of how Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC) teachers are bringing anti-racist and anti-colonial commitments to climate justice pedagogy in order to disrupt universalist and apolitical understandings of climate change. Preeti has co-published several works and most recently served as a guest editor of Curriculum Inquiry on a special issue titled “Education and ecological precarity: Pedagogical, curricular, and conceptual provocations.”

Koffi Nomedji, PhD
Katherine Stern Fellow | International Development | Duke University | USA

Koffi Amegbo Nomedji received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University in 2016. His doctoral research investigated the effects of coastal erosion given that two-thirds of sandy shorelines worldwide are now being threatened. He focuses on the knowledge divide underlying how policymakers and traditional leaders address coastal erosion, with the former following scientific knowledge and the latter relying on local ontology. Dr. Nomedji’s recent publications include “Walking the Line: Conducting Transect Walks in Burkina Faso” and “Protocols for Conducting Drone Fieldwork in Togo, West Africa.”

Florence Oduk, LLM
Doctoral student | University of Nairobi | Kenya

Ahead of an impending international regime on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, Florence has taken an interest in analyzing the trends and scenarios in access and utilization of marine genetic resources from the African continent, the synergies and tradeoffs for multiple international regimes, the effectiveness of Africa’s participation in international law and policy making processes and the correlation between effective participation, domestication and national implementation of multilateral agreements relating to biodiversity in Kenya.

Taiye Ojo
Poet and Activist | Nigeria

Ojo Taiye is a Nigerian eco-artist and writer whose most recent work is largely concerned with the effects of climate change, homelessness, migration, drought, and famine, as well as a range of issues ranging from racism and black identity to mental health. His current project explores neocolonialism, institutionalized violence, and ecological trauma in the oil-rich, polluted Niger delta. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Salamander, Consequence Forum, Stinging Fly, Rattle, Cincinnati Review, Banshee, Willow Springs, Lambda Literary, Fiddlehead, Puritan, Frontier Poetry, Notre Dame Review, and Strange Horizon.

Mark Ortiz, PhD
Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow | Geography | Penn State University | USA

Mark Ortiz has worked on integrating social scientific methods and humanistic approaches to understanding how youth movements articulate ethical and political alternatives to dominant currents of climate injustice. He has published multiple electronic issues, including “Fighting climate change in the Global South,” “No more same-old, same-old. We must re-imagine,” “Stop Fracking,” and “Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground.” He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina.

Adewale Owoseni, PhD
Postdoctorate Fellow | Centre for Advancement of Scholarship | University of Pretoria | South Africa

Adewale Owoseni is interested in defining philosophy upon the grounds of engaging with phenomenal issues that are core for making sense and meaning of human existence and co-existence with other entities. His research interests include African philosophy, philosophy of culture and development, and environmental ethics. His publications include “A Complementarity Reflection on Human Interest and Common Good in Africa,” “A Critical reflection on Covid-19: The Era of Infodemic versus Truth-Telling in the Nigerian Context,” and “Yoruba and Chinese Perspectives on Post-Anthropocentric Understanding of Human and Nonhuman Animal Relations.” He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Idaban, Nigeria, in 2021, submitting a thesis entitled “A Constructivist Analysis of Human and Nonhuman Relations in Yoruba Thought.”

Sarah Vaughn, PhD
Assistant Professor | Anthropology | University of California, Berkeley | USA

Sarah Vaughn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an affiliate of multiple departments, including the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society; the Program in Critical Theory; and Development Engineering. Her research interests include social anthropology, science and technology, climate change, historicism, and more. Her publications include “Ecotourism’s Ethics: Self-Organization and Care in Urban Guyana,” “Caribbean Technological Thought and Climate Adaption,” and “The Political Economy of Regions: Climate Change and Dams in Guyana.” Sarah’s book, Engineering Vulnerability: In Pursuit of Climate Adaptation, was published by Duke University Press in 2022.

Deidre Zoll, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow | Integrative Biology | University of Texas at Austin | USA

Deidre Zoll is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her current research interests include urban climate adaptation, environmental racism, climate justice, critical race studies, urban planning, environmental policy, mixed methods, GIS, spatial econometrics, and case studies. She has published several peer-reviewed articles, including “Hurricane Harvey: Equal opportunity storm or disparate disaster?” and “Climate adaptation as a racial project: An analysis of color-blind flood resilience efforts in Austin, Texas.” Dr. Zoll received her PhD in Community and Regional Planning from UT Austin in 2021.