logo: Stanford University Emmett Interdisciplinary 
Program in Environment and Resources
Autumn 2011 Newsletter

E-IPER Ten Years Later:
Sustaining the Mission

In October 2001, with approval from the Academic Senate, E-IPER launched as a new Stanford interdisciplinary graduate program. Read more about where we are now, in our 10th year.

Venturing out for the Summer
Taking on the World
Learning from the River
Carrying on a Climate Legacy
Remembering Lee Schipper
Returning to the Land

Venturing out for the Summer

Ashish and Brendan in BhutanAshish and Brendan enjoy the view in Bhutan. Courtesy Ashish Jhina

Planting Trees
Brendan Speechley and Ashish Jhina (both Joint MBA-MS 3rd) spent part of the summer in Bhutan working with Mountain Hazelnut Venture, a company that is planting millions of hazelnut trees in Bhutan in collaboration with tens of thousands of small farmers on marginal land. Ashish and Brendan developed technology enabled monitoring systems to allow improved trace-ability and quality control throughout the system.

Advancing Solar Energy
Ivan La Frinere-Sandoval and Francisco Torrealba Fuenzalida (both Joint MBA-MS 2nd), with GSB colleague Jay Schoenberger, wrote about their summer internships in the solar industry in The Dawn of Solar Grid Parity, in the Stanford GSB Reporter. Ivan worked at SolarCity, the nation's leading provider of solar electricity to U.S. homeowners, to investigate energy storage solutions and to collaborate with PG&E to analyze the integration of renewable energy with the traditional grid. Francisco launched the Chilean-based project developer Valhalla Energy, with the aim to build utility-scale solar energy and pumped storage projects. To learn more about the quest for grid parity, visit the SolarFirst website.

photo: ..., Alaskan CedarsAn Alaskan forest in transition. Courtesy Lauren Oakes

Frolicking in Forests
Lauren Oakes (PhD 3rd) returned to campus with a backpack full of tree cores and a ream of tattered Write-In-The-Rain paper from her remote field site on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska. Her research focuses on understanding succession in dying yellow-cedar forests associated with climate change and what the shifting dynamics in these forests mean for long-term management and conservation planning. With a team of dedicated and determined field assistants, a strong base of community support and regional partners, and a wardrobe of rubber rain gear and wool, Lauren established 40 plots in the West Chichagof Yakobi Wilderness and initiated preliminary study in Glacier Bay National Park this summer. Lauren and her team maintained a blog, Frolicking in Forests, throughout the field season.

Influencing Policy
Nikit Abhyankar (PhD 5th) has been designing energy efficiency policies and analyzing their financial impact as part of the development of India’s 12th five year plan (2012-2017). Nikit presented his model to the Indian government for evaluating costs and emissions of a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies.

Austin Becker (PhD 4th) was an invited expert at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Ad hoc expert meeting on climate change impacts and adaptation: a challenge for global ports in Geneva. Austin joined colleagues from international transport policy, finance, coastal engineering, and climate science to identify solutions to the cross-cutting impacts of sea level rise and increased storminess. Austin presented the case-study and survey research he has been conducting with Profs. Pam Matson (Earth Sciences), Martin Fischer (CEE), Meg Caldwell (Law), and Mike Mastrandrea (IPCC). Read more in the New York Times at: Little Preparation Under Way for Climate Change at World's Seaports.

Investing in Cleantech
Andrew Longenecker (Joint MBA-MS 2nd) worked for Khosla Ventures, a cleantech-focused venture capital firm, supporting all aspects of KV investing such as sourcing new deals, conducting due diligence, hearing pitches and meeting entrepreneurs, and portfolio company work. Andrew also evaluated academic-level energy and clean technology research for potential commercialization opportunities, covering a broad range of clean technologies ranging from aquaporin membranes to zeolite nanostructures. Andrew greatly enjoyed the experience of working with Vinod Khosla and other KV partners and is excited to pursue his entrepreneurial cleantech interests.

Taking on the World

What kinds of jobs do E-IPER Joint MS graduates get? Is the Joint MS degree opening new doors for them on the job market? Recent alumni updates suggest their E-IPER experiences are launching them in interesting directions:

Protecting Ecoystems
Megan Herzog (Joint JD-MS 2011) is enjoying her work as a Law Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC, working on projects related to preventing cumulative ecosystem impacts on the Pacific Coast, restoration of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and mitigating the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling in central Appalachian states, among other exciting domestic and international legal research and policy projects.

Leveraging the Internet
Ed Castaño (Joint MBA-MS 2011) is interested in the CleanWeb space - clean technology that leverages the capability of the Internet, social media, and mobile technologies to address resource constraints. Ed is learning to program and recently launched his blog, MBAHacks. While at Stanford he created WriteGreen, an environmental advocacy platform to promote civic engagement.

Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency
While finishing his E-IPER degree, Brenden Millstein (Joint MBA-MS 2010) co-founded Carbon Lighthouse, which since last year has contracted with 160 schools and businesses in California and Oregon. Last month, Carbon Lighthouse finished construction at two more pilot sites, and the projects are saving 3 pounds of CO2 every minute and tens of thousands of dollars a year. Carbon Lighthouse is expanding, so contact them if you want to help reduce carbon emissions and know someone in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Moving the Solar Industry
Jason Kaminsky (Joint MBA-MS 2009) joined Wells Fargo's Environmental Finance Group in San Francisco this summer. He leads project finance investments into solar assets across the United States, working across the bank to identify and implement financial investments into other environmental sectors. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Jason was Strategic Assistant to the CEO at SPG Solar, Inc., one of the leading PV solar integration companies on the west coast with over 1,300 successful projects since 2001. In this position he drove strategic initiatives across the company, such as the company's growth plan and corporate partnerships. Prior to SPG, he spent time at Chevron (R&D investment strategy), Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Power Systems Group (US market analysis), and Aero Logistics (green products for the logistics industry), and worked on a number of start-ups related to the smart grid, water conservation, and carbon mitigation.

Financing Conservation
Since graduating from E-IPER, Brian Shillinglaw (Joint JD-MS 2008) has worked in the field of conservation finance, searching for actionable, real world methods to help make sustainable land management profitable and mainstream. He manages carbon investments and policy at New Forests, a company managing over $1 billion in capital for investments in sustainable forestry and associated environmental markets, including carbon, water and biodiversity. Brian is currently investing a fund in forest carbon offset projects for the California cap and trade market under AB32, with a goal of financing conservation forestry and protecting 100,000 acres of working forest in the Pacific coastal states over the next 3-4 years. Markets for ecosystem services are a small piece of the conservation puzzle, but an important one if we can make them work.

Learning from the River

Sophomore College course in Grand CanyonSophomore students explore the Colorado River. Courtesy Lauren Oakes

In late summer, E-IPER affiliated faculty David Kennedy (History), Buzz Thompson (Law), Nicole Ardoin (Education), and David Freyberg (CEE) and teaching assistants Amanda Cravens (PhD 3rd) Lauren Oakes (PhD 3rd), and Nicola Ulibarri (PhD 2nd) taught a Sophomore College course on "Water in the West: The Colorado River as Seen From a Raft in the Grand Canyon". The month-long course introduced twelve rising sophomores to the historical, political, environmental and socio-cultural issues surrounding management of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. In addition to more traditional readings and lectures, the field course included a two-week raft trip down the Colorado with daily seminars along the way, meetings with National Park officials and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a tour of Hoover Dam, and a service day on the South Rim. The students' final projects will be available on the Bill Lane Center for the American West's website. Read more about the Sophomore College program on their website.

Carrying on a Climate Legacy

photo: ..., Schneider SymposiumMarilyn, Mike, Terry and Carolyn at the Schneider Symposium. Courtesy Marilyn Cornelius

Mike Mastrandrea (PhD 2004), Carolyn Snyder (PhD 2010), and Marilyn Cornelius (PhD 5th) attended the first Stephen H. Schneider Symposium: Climate Change: From Science to Policy, in Boulder, Colorado in August. Terry Root (Woods Institute for the Environment), Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium), Linda Mearns (NCAR), and Ben Santer (LLNL) hosted the gathering of over 150 colleagues honoring the late Stephen Schneider. Presentations on the role of clouds and aerosols, uncertainty, mitigation and adaptation, and climate science communication and policy covered many of the fields to which Steve contributed. At the closing dinner, heartfelt remembrance speeches were a fitting tribute to a fearless leader, a brilliant scientist, an ethical citizen, and a stellar human being.

Remembering Lee Schipper

Lee Schipper
Lee Schipper. Courtesy L.A. Cicero/
Stanford News Service

Lee Schipper, senior research engineer at the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and E-IPER affiliated faculty member, passed away in August. Lee, who advised several E-IPER students, was well-known around campus for his fearless irreverence and optimism. Several students remembered Lee:

"Lee was one in a million. What other member of your PhD committee e-mails you from his doctor's office with photos of the offending Safeway yoghurt aisle that tripped him over? Or invites you to his jazz performance? He was brilliant at both the nitty gritty of transport and energy data (and was never shy to call out government agencies that fudged their data), and on drawing together the big picture storylines that grabbed policy and media attention. He also had the most terrible collection of transport puns that he rolled out at any opportunity - Biofools, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulteration [of gasoline] and Kyotus Interruptus were some of the more memorable."
Adam Millard-Ball (PhD 2011)

"Despite a reputation for irreverent and often pointed humor, Lee was the last person to say an unkind word about any honest opinion in the contentious world of climate and energy policy. He was also the first to call out nonsense when he saw it. At all times he was true to himself and inspired those around him to that high standard."
Danny Cullenward (PhD-JD 4th)

"I only knew Lee for a brief period of time, but working together with him this past summer on deciphering Mexico's transport data was an incredible learning experience. I got to know Lee as someone with a fundamentally different -- generous and oftentimes "institutionally-blind" -- approach to knowledge-sharing in science and policy research that I've usually found missing in most professional environments."
Aiga Stokenberga (PhD 1st)

Lee was a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a long-time associate of the World Resources Institute, and founder of EMBARQ, WRI's center for sustainable transport. A scholarship in Lee's honor is being established by his family and EMBARQ. Read more tributes by WRI and Stanford.

Returning to the Land

Elizabeth (Beth) Richards (PhD 2008), a member of E-IPER's first PhD cohort, is leaving her long-term position as an engineer and interdisciplinary scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico to focus on her water sustainability research interests and to take up farming, managing her family's 1,000 acre farm in central Iowa. In addition to the Conservation Reserve Program wetlands and wildlife habitat projects already underway on the land, Beth looks forward to applying her E-IPER education to explore practical science, policy, and implementation questions associated with transitioning conventional corn and soybean production to more sustainable practices. She’ll be contacting her E-IPER colleagues for advice on private lands conservation, ecosystem services, the farm bill, water quality, and organic agriculture and food security and for collaborative research ideas. Beth will remain involved in her New Mexico water resources and Indian water rights activities, splitting her time between New Mexico and Iowa.

E-IPER Autumn Events

Dissertation Defense:
Kaitlin Shilling

Climate Change and Conflict - Identifying the Mechanisms
Stanford Law School, Crown Quadrangle, room 90
Friday, Oct. 28, 11:15a-12:15p

Alumni Reunion Dinner
Thirsty Bear Brewing Company
661 Howard Street, San Francisco
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 6:00p

Joint MS Capstone Symposium
Y2E2, room 299
Friday, Dec. 9, 1:00-5:00p
Holiday Open House immediately following

Alumni at AGU

American Geophysical Union, Dec. 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Ecosystem Services: Hydrology and Biogeochemistry in a World of Environmental Change, organized by alumni Kate Brauman (PhD 2010) Global Landscapes Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota; Veena Srinivasan (PhD 2008) Research Associate, Pacific Institute; and Kimberly Nicholas (PhD 2009) Assistant Professor, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.

New Faculty and Students Join the E-IPER Community

E-IPER is pleased to welcome new affiliated faculty members: Karen Casciotti, Environmental Earth System Science; Larry Crowder, Biology and the Center for Ocean Solutions; Brian Knutson, Psychology; Anna Michalak, Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution; Ram Rajagopal, Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Michael Wilcox, Anthropology.

The E-IPER Executive Committee welcomes new members: Lisa Curran, Anthropology; Eric Lambin, Environmental Earth System Science; and John Weyant, Management Science and Engineering; and continuing members Gretchen Daily, Biology; Jenna Davis, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Erica Plambeck, Graduate School of Business; Buzz Thompson, Law; and Peter Vitousek, faculty director and professor in Biology.

We also welcomed five new PhD and over 25 new Joint MS students in September, bringing the current student community to 36 PhD and 52 Joint MS students this year. Read more about E-IPER students on our website.

E-IPER Annual Retreat

E-IPER students and staff spent a beautiful October Saturday at Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Faculty director Peter Vitousek (Biology) gave a "State of the Program" address, and students shared ideas about how to continually improve E-IPER and successfully take the program into the next decade. Students participated in three different Jasper Ridge tours as part of the schedule of events: Mimulus Flowers, Nectar Yeasts and Hummingbirds, led by Tadashi Fukami (Biology); Searsville - Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't, led by JRBP Director Philippe Cohen; and The Jasper Ridge Global Exchange Experiment, led by Chris Field (Carnegie, Global Ecology).

Jasper Ridge hike
Students explore Jasper Ridge and Searsville Dam at the annual E-IPER Retreat. Courtesy Noah Standridge


Kate Brauman (PhD 2010), with J Foley, et al: Solutions for a cultivated planet, Nature, 2011. Read press release and supporting materials online.

Tom Hayden, E-IPER lecturer: How to Hatch a Dinosaur, Wired, Oct 2011.

Justin Mankin (PhD 2nd) with T. Siegfried et al: Will climate change exacerbate water stress in Central Asia? Climatic Change 2011.

L. Katrina ole-MoiYoi (PhD 1st): On the Waterfront: Breaking the Cycle of Despair in the Horn of Africa, Global Waters, USAID, Oct 2011.

Caroline E. Scruggs (PhD 6th), and Leonard Ortolano (CEE): Creating safer consumer products: the information challenges companies face, Environmental Science & Policy 14 pp. 605-614, 2011.

Aaron Strong (PhD 1st), with K. Levin and D Tirpak: Climate Science 2009-2010: Major New Discoveries , an annual publication of the World Resources Institute, Oct 2011.

Nicola Ulibarri (PhD 2nd): Bridging divides for water? Dialogue and access at the 5th World Water Forum. Water Alternatives 4(3): 301-315, 2011.

Jasper Ridge
View of Searsville Lake at Jasper Ridge Courtesy Jennifer Mason.


Lauren Oakes (PhD 3rd): awarded the Wilderness Society's Gloria Barron Scholarship and the George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship to support her research.

Gretchen Daily, former faculty director and professor in Biology, received the Prince Albert II of Monaco's Biodiversity Award in Monte Carlo, Monaco in October.

now it's up to us

we can feel
the tears
in our words
we can feel
the fears
in our world

we can feel
the urgency
of our time
but we harbor
in our hearts
and minds

we hold on
to his memory
we are awed
by his legacy

let's teach
our children well
let's allow them
to live to tell

a story of
our reckoning
our transformation
a world saved
by profound
and cooperation

in his dream
we trust
in ourselves?
we must!

for now
it's up
to us

Marilyn Cornelius (PhD 5th)
inspired by the 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium
Boulder, CO, August 2011

New E-IPER Staff

Jennifer Mason
Jennifer Mason, Student Services Manager, focuses on E-IPER's PhD program, managing the admissions process, financial aid, student degree progress, and general program administration. She brings over 10 years of student services experience to E-IPER. She was previously in the Department of Biology Student Services Office for over seven years and was involved in everything from undergraduate and research advising to PhD admissions. She also had prior student services experience at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara. Jennifer has an MA in Education-Higher Education Administration from San Jose State University and a BA in Law & Society from UC Santa Barbara.

photo: ..., Noah Standridge
Noah Standridge, Program Manager, focuses on E-IPER's Joint MS program by advising students and co-instructing the Capstone Seminar. He brings extensive experience in conservation, resource management, land stewardship, and county planning to E-IPER. Prior to moving to the Bay Area in December, he worked in Naples, FL as a principle in an environmental restoration and land-use consulting firm. He has an MS in Forestry specializing in management of environmental systems and human dimensions of natural resources. Noah has served as a board member of the Big Cypress Basin Water Management District overseeing flood protection, resource management, and operating budget.

Thank you to all the mentioned students and alumni for submitting updates, stories and photos. The E-IPER Newsletter is distributed quarterly and can also be found online or downloaded as a PDF.

Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources
Yang & Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building-4210
473 Via Ortega, Suite 226
Stanford, CA 94305

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Waimea Canyon
Courtesy Jennifer Mason