Current students

Rebecca Minardi, PhD. Student

Rebecca is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Sustainability and is specializing in Environmental Science and Policy. She received her BA in International Affairs and History from Marshall University in West Virginia and her Master of Public Health from Des Moines University in Iowa. After researching differences between male and female coffee farmers in Burundi and Rwanda last year, she has now joined a multi-disciplinary team researching the impacts of dam construction on human communities and the environment in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. She is interested in pursuing research on how communities fare after being resettled following dam reservoir construction. She will look at current compensation schemes utilized by the Brazilian government to understand how these help or hinder a resettled community's social cohesion and individual success.

Andrew Gerard, PhD. Student

Andrew is a doctoral student and studies institutional and economic issues related to sustainable international agricultural production. He is interested in influences on farmer decision-making, the agricultural and environmental policy development process, and economic transactions in the absence of enforceable contracts. Andrew works with MSU's African Great Lakes Coffee Support Program on coffee policy research in Rwanda and Burundi. He also serves as a Global Partnership Specialist in MSU's Center for Global Connections. Prior to coming to MSU, Andrew was a Senior Program Officer at the Global Knowledge Initiative, a non-profit international development organization based in Washington, DC. There he built collaborative networks and supported policy and strategy efforts in East and Southern Africa. 

Pardeep Toor, PhD. Student

Pardeep is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Sustainability. He's interested in researching physical and social infrastructure in industrial urban areas. He completed his master's in Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University in 2014. He currently works and lives in Flint, Michigan.

Kyle Metta, PhD. Student

Kyle is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Sustainability and the Global Urban Studies Program. Kyle is interested in understanding how social norms, rules, and conventions operate in the management of social-ecological systems. Specifically, he plans to study the governance and re-emergence of urban commons within shrinking cities. His research, which is place-based and problem oriented, focuses on the role of social networks and prosocial behavior in resource sharing.  As a student of complex systems and institutional and ecological economics he utilizes computational, experimental, and participatory methods in his work. In his free time, he enjoys baking bread, biking, camping, and reflecting on radical forms of deliberative democracy.

Laura Castro-Diaz, PhD. Student

Laura is a doctoral student at the Department of Community Sustainability.
She is interested in studying coupled human-environment interactions of fishing communities in Latin America. Laura received a B.S in Ecology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia and a MSc from the Department of Community Sustainability at MSU. In her master's thesis, under the direction of Dr. Lopez, Laura explored the impacts generated by the Belo Monte Hydroelectric dam on the lives and livelihoods of fishers in a riverine community in the Amazon basin. Laura has experience working with indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in Colombia, rural mestizo communities in Peru and riverine communities in Brazil. 

Natalia Ocampo Diaz, MS Student

Natalia is a first year master's student at the Department of Community Sustainability. During her master program, she is aiming to explore the way in which communities manage collective territories. Natalia is a human ecologist with a B.S. in Ecology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. She has experience working in different areas of Colombia, such as the Amazon, Pacific, Orinoquia, and Andean Regions. Her research experience focuses on topics such as community-based management of natural resources, insights from local and traditional knowledge for public policy, the relation between local livelihoods and ecosystems, as well as bird ecology.

Former Students

Sara Torres, 2016

Master's degree from the Department of Community Sustainability.

"The effects on Values, Beliefs and Norms of Payments for Environmental Services: evidence from a PES program in Colombia".

Sara finished her Master's degree in May 2016. Her interests are focused on the way perceptions affect how people interact with policy. Her Master’s thesis was focused on pro-environmental behavior and applying Values-Beliefs-Norms theory to a payment for environmental services program with cattle ranchers in rural Colombia. Sara received her B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she studied how perceptions of scarcity of a resource affect how individuals know and follow the rules that protect said resource. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Geography Department at MSU.

Maneth La, 2015.

Master's degree from the Department of Community Sustainability.

"An Evaluation of the Land Use Planning Process in Cambodia within the Current Climate Change Context."