Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

2011-2012 Fellows

Bridgette Black '12 is an environmental science concentrator with interests in aquatic ecosystems, climate change, and international environmental policy. She is working with Professor Heather Leslie (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology/Environmental Studies), investigating the linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being in Narragansett Bay.  She will link indicators of water quality with others related to ecosystem health, in order to explore how waste management and other water quality-related interventions influence the benefits provided by the Bay ecosystems. Bridgette is on the Cross-Country and Track & Field Team at Brown. She also enjoys swimming, sailing, and dancing in her spare time.

Veronica Clarkson '12 is an Economics and Environmental Studies concentrator interested in environmental health and food sovereignty.  She is working with Professor Kathryn De Master (Environmental Studies) on developing a series of economic indicators to determine the viability of heritage-based agricultural clusters in promoting resilient rural development in the United States.  In the face of climate change and other environmental pressures, resilient working agricultural systems will be vital. Veronica is particularly interested in the potential positive economic spillovers associated with the production of distinctive regional products, and her research will identify viable heritage-based clusters in the US and the factors that contribute to their success. She hails from Chicago, loves running along the water, and hopes to sleep outside on every continent.

Morgan Ivens-Duran '12 is a senior concentrating in Marine Biology, and is interested in anthropogenic impacts on marine coastal ecology. She is currently working on a senior honors thesis with Professor Leslie (EEB/ES) and Brown-MBL EEB graduate student Sarah Corman. She is studying the phenology of Spartina alterniflora, a foundation species in salt marshes along the East Coast. Sub-habitats within a salt marsh are characterized by different ecomorphs of S. alterniflora, which are a phenotypic indicator of the environmental conditions experienced by those plants. Her research considers the impact of tidal inundation frequency, which affects soil temperature and salinity, on the timing of S. alterniflora flowering by transplanting between and within different ecomorphs. Her  research will enhance our understanding of the S. alterniflora growth cycle, which has implications for the ability of salt marshes to persist in the face of climate change.  She is one of the two leaders of the Marine Biology Department Undergraduate Group at Brown, and is originally from Los Angeles, CA. She enjoys reading, cooking, and visiting aquariums in her spare time.

Kara Kaufman '12 is an environmental studies concentrator with interests in sustainability, climate change, and translating scientific knowledge to the policy arena. In Spring 2011 she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark to better understand sustainability and producer responsibility from a European perspective. This year, she is working with Professor Chris Bull (Engineering) and the nonprofit agency Clean Water Action to research the ways in which Rhode Island can most effectively encourage manufacturers to take back their products at the end of their use. She has spent a summer bicycling throughout Massachusetts to build the New England climate movement, and is an active member of the Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition. She also is an editor of the Catalyst, an interdisciplinary on-campus science, art, and literary magazine. Kara grew up in Chevy Chase, MD, and in her spare time enjoys going for long runs, dancing, and unplugging everything in her dorm room.

Shae Selix '12 is an environmental science concentrator with interests in natural resource management and climate change.  He is currently working with Professor Meredith Hastings (Geological Sciences) and Barbara Morin (Office of Air Resources, RI Department of Environmental Management) to examine the extent of various air pollutants along the major freeways in Providence.  They hope to inform governmental agencies and local environmental groups about the health and environmental justice implications of transportation-related air pollution.  Shae is involved in the Outdoor Leadership and Environmental Education Program, a partnership between the Swearer Center and the Met High School, as well as Watermyn Coop.  Off campus, Shae enjoys returning to the warm weather of his home in California where he likes to ski, hike, and go to the beach.

Carmen Tubbesing '12 is a senior human biology concentrator interested in terrestrial nutrient cycling and land use change. She is working with Stephen Porder (EEB, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology/ECI) and EEB graduate student Shelby Riskin on the effects of intensive soy agriculture on soil nutrients in Brazil. Her analyses will  help determine to what degree growing soy may alter nutrient balances in the Amazon. Carmen is from Washington State and loves to run, dance, and be outside.


Stephanie Yin '12 is an environmental science concentrator interested in marine ecology and geology.  Having grown up in suburban New Jersey, it wasn’t until she spent a summer in Indonesia after her freshman year that she discovered her love for marine ecosystems. In collaboration with Prof. Mark Bertness (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Steph is quantifying changes in the functioning and services provided by salt marshes as a result of creek bank die-off. Creek bank die-off has been occurring in Cape Cod salt marshes over the past three decades, but little is known about the effects on the many services these coastal ecosystems provide. Her research compares healthy and die-off marshes in Cape Cod to assess differences in ecosystem services (particularly nutrient assimilation and carbon storage) caused by die-off. Steph drums in Brown’s Japanese drumming troupe, Gendo Taiko, and volunteers with the Brown Refugee Youth Training and Enrichment program. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting seahorse paraphernalia, reading comic books, baking pies, and playing the banjo.

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