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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Our Team: Graduate Fellows

The Hanley Sustainability Institute at the University of Dayton launched a graduate fellowship program for the 2021-2022 academic year to attract high-quality students with sustainability interests to UD through an internationally-advertised fellowship competition.

2021-2022 Graduate Fellows


Attea, a December 2019 University of Dayton graduate with a B.S. in environmental biology, is working with Professor of Biology Ryan McEwan.

"I enjoy the solutions-oriented approach that sustainability takes on and how no discipline is excluded within the field," Attea said. "It opens the door to interesting and productive conversations that end up helping human and ecological communities alike."

Their project will use analysis of long term changes in forest composition to study the link between forest dynamics and a complex of ecosystem drivers in forests of southwestern Ohio.

This position will include the expectation of teaching one lab a semester in the Department of Biology. Attea also will work with HSI to advance sustainable landscape efforts on campus, and to help advance a partnership focused on sustainable regional land management with Five Rivers MetroParks, which manages more than 15,000 acres of natural areas in the region.

"What drew me towards this specific opportunity was the array of different paths that could be taken," Attea said. "It has granted me a unique chance to combine my enthusiasm for both forestry and sustainability and to work with them as dynamic, interacting pieces."


Barnett, who has a B.S. in biological sciences and M.S. in environmental health from Colorado State University, is a law student at the University of Dayton. She is working with Assistant Professor of Sustainability Felix Fernando.

"Growing up, my mom always made an effort to keep my siblings and me informed of the importance of a healthy environment," Barnett said. "We regularly recycled, spent summers camping and being in nature, and we were always encouraged to learn more."

Their project will examine the feasibility and practicality of integrative sustainable strategies in the City of Dayton, thereby identifying potential practical action. The project will enhance relationships already established with community stakeholders such as the City of Dayton Office of Sustainability and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The project will benefit and contribute to the advancement of current sustainability and resilience efforts undertaken by those community partners and is expected to lead to publications in journals such as Resilience; Society and Natural Resources; Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure; and Climate Resilience and Sustainability.

Barnett sees the fellowship as a perfect blending of her scientific and legal interests.

"During my graduate studies, it seemed like I was reading study after study demonstrating significant links between environmental exposures and adverse health outcomes, issues drastically exacerbated by our changing climate," she said. "This evidence seems to be misunderstood and politicized by lawmakers, and I decided a degree in law might help me translate and bridge the gap between these two worlds, especially in terms of environmental justice issues."


Etienne, who has post-graduate studies in environmental science at Miami University and public administration at Wright State University, is pursuing a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree from the University of Dayton which intersects both subjects. 

She works on the market transformation and development team the the U.S. Green Building Council and has been leading sustainability-based programs for two decades. An advocate of zero waste and the circular economy, she is the creator of “Women in Circularity," a monthly feature in Resource Recycling magazine. 

She is also working with Assistant Professor of Sustainability Felix Fernando to find community based integrative sustainable strategies to address climate change and build resilience. 

"Much of my work experience has been at the national and regional levels — so I was intrigued by the opportunity to engage in sustainability at the local level, both at the University of Dayton and in the Greater Dayton area," Etienne said. "While I have years of on-the-job training and the practical application of environmental programs, my hope is that a Masters program that combines my passion for sustainability and my interest in the public administration of resilience initiatives, will help take my career to the next level."



Turner, a 2019 Miami University graduate with a degree in psychology and minors in
disability studies and women's studies, is expected to graduate in 2022 with a M.A. in clinical psychology.

She has been working with Professor of Psychology Roger Reeb in his behavioral
activation project in homeless shelters, which is affiliated with St. Vincent de Paul.

Turner assists with the implementation of behavioral activation in the shelters as well as
assisting with the therapeutic shelter farm, which produces a harvest each year to be
used in the shelter kitchens.

"My general interest in sustainability is motivated by a concern with how humans are
mishandling the current climate crisis, which increases the effects of natural and
technological disasters," Turner also said. "Due to worldwide resource inequity, certain
demographics are at a greater risk for mental and physical health complications
following community traumas."

The project involves building on a decade-long effort that provides residents at the
homeless shelter with opportunities to engage in productive activities that yield
response-contingent reinforcement (a feeling of reward), which increases their
productive behavior, sense of mastery, quality of life, mood and cognition.

Turner is assisting to sustain the behavioral activation project in the shelter
in the face of the pandemic, and this also involves working to sustain the therapeutic
shelter farm. In addition, she works to recruit residents to volunteer on the therapeutic shelter farm."

The research team is obtaining approval to reimplement psychological and/or sustainability research in ways consistent with COVID-19 safety regulations. "This fellowship provides me with a solid foundation for understanding the role of psychologists in addressing sustainability issues and mental health issues in the public domain," Turner said.


Hanley Sustainability Institute

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2950