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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Sustainable Communities Scholars

Below you can find scholars whose work would help us ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; and promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels:

Joshua Ambrosius

Joshua is interested in sustainable communities, governance structures and public policies. His work explores sustainable urban neighborhoods, housing policies that include historic preservation, environmental attitudes among the public, regional government collaboration and speculation about a sustainable future for humans on earth and in outer space.

Joshua Ambrosius bio
Janet Bednarek

Janet is interested in exploring how cities, especially so-called Legacy Cities (like Dayton), can become sustainable (environmentally, but also socially, economically and politically). She also is concerned with that sustainability extending to all city residents, not just the young and the affluent.

Janet Bednarek's bio
Steve Bein

Steve's primary research interest regarding sustainability is how we think of ourselves, at the individual and societal level, in the face of climate change. Since individuals are products of their cultures and cultures are products of the natural environment where they arise, responding to climate change requires a rethinking of who and what we are.

Steve Bein's bio
Jana Bennett

Jana's focus is primarily on food sustainability in relation to Christian practices such as fasting and abstaining from meat. She also researches other Christian ascetic practices that enable environmental sustainability.

Jana Bennett's bio
Corinne Brion

Interests in sustainability are at the intersection of sustainable livelihoods and communities. In her community based work in Ghana and other African nations, she collaborates with local partners and community members to improve the lives of locals by capitalizing on the communities’ strengths, educating, empowering girls and women while also caring for the environment on earth and in the ocean. 

Corinne Brion's bio
Sarah Cahalan

Sarah is interested, broadly speaking, in the intersections of sustainability and climate change with cultural heritage work. This includes disaster planning, sustainable preservation practices, reassessment of best practices including professional travel, collaborative work to preserve endangered materials, and collecting the stories of endangered communities.

Sarah Cahalan's bio
John Clarke

John is interested in how visual communication can promote awareness and practical knowledge of issues involving sustainability. His course “Design|Science|Synthesis” engages graphic design majors to address and understand scientific content toward an end of creating thorough clear and stimulating visual and textual representation. 

John Clarke's bio
Matthew Currie

Matthew’s sustainability interest centers on the praxis of social justice law and the solidarity economyy. As a practicing lawyer and educatorhe focuses on how to create systemic change, specifically the role of attorneys in supporting community driven efforts to replace our capitalist economic model with one that centers people and the planet.

Matthew Currie's bio
Carola Daffner

Coming from the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities, Carola strongly believe that the pressing issues of climate change and the protection of our environment require a dialogue across the disciplines. She is particularly interested in exploring different ways in which the growing need for environmental awareness can be reflected in the global humanities curriculum.

Carola Daffner's bio
Deogratias Eustace

Deogratias' interest that relates to sustainability is promoting sustainable transportation that includes walking, cycling, public transportation, car sharing, bike sharing and green vehicles.

Deogratias Eustace's bio
Felix Fernando

Felix's interests are on the human dimensions of sustainability planning and action. He explores questions such as how do people make decisions around sustainability and how such information can be used in planning.

Felix Fernando's bio
Matthew Fisher

Matthew researches and develops computational methods for constructing and optimizing complex sustainable systems. He hopes to develop automated reasoning models that can contribute to participatory decision making and sustainable resource management.

Susan Gardstrom

Susan's interest in sustainable practices has manifested primarily in an initiative to reduce plastic use and collect compostable material during departmental events. For the past several years, she has donned her gloves and gone "dumpster diving" for re-usable items. She stepped up these efforts in 2018 to initiate a student neighborhood porch collection process with the moniker "Divert From the Dumpster and Channel to Charity."

Susan Gardstrom's bio
Erin Gibbemeyer

Erin's Interests include analysis of complex systems for multiple sustainability metrics, optimization in the design of sustainable systems and sustainability education.

Erin Gibbemeyer's bio
Jeanne Holcomb

Jeanne's sustainability related work is primarily related to food justice. Specifically, she has been working with an interdisciplinary team to explore food insecurity on college campuses.

Jeanne Holcomb's bio
Glenna Jennings

As a photographer, Glenna is interested in how art and visual culture inform our notions of landscape and identity and how these notions influence our active relationships to both the built and natural environment. As a socially-engaged artist, she is passionate about art used in the context of social change, with a specific focus on issues of food justice and immigration.

Glenna Jennings' bio
Kelly Johnson

Kelly is a scholar of theological ethics whose work explores, among other things, truthful practices of gratitude, hope and joy in the midst of the climate catastrophe.

Kelly Johnson's bio
Masha Kisel

Masha has written on sustainability issues and is an activist in Oakwood to raise awareness about plastic waste. She collaborated with Dayton Regional Green to start the No Straw Initiative at local businesses and participated in the planning of BYO: Bring Your Own program to reduce plastic waste in the Miami Valley. She co-teaches ASI 320:Cities and Energy with Dr. Bednarek, where she focuses on the future of sustainable cities.

Masha Kisel's bio
Benjamin Kunz

Benjamin has a sincere interest in environmentalism and sustainability issues broadly, but a particular interest in the ways in which people's sensory experiences influence their attitudes and behaviors regarding the environment and issues of sustainability. He's also interested in the application of virtual reality technology to the challenges of educating people about environmental issues and promoting sustainable behaviors.

Benjamin Kunz's bio
Erin O'Mara Kunz

Erin is interested in the application of social psychology to sustainability. In particular, how do our own self-views impact our views of sustainability-related issues and our own sustainability-related behaviors?

Erin O'Mara Kunz's bio
Li-Yin Liu

Li-Yin’s current research focuses on environmental nonprofit organizations’ influence in the policy making process and citizen engagement in environmental policy implementation. Her teaching interests are in advanced/introductory public administration theory, public policy, non-profit management, research methods and environmental governance and policy.

Li-Yin Liu's bio
Joy Losee

Joy's interests in sustainability stem from her research in social and cognitive psychology. Her research examines people's perceptions of uncertain threats (e.g. climate change) and people's intentions to engage in behaviors (e.g. sustainable behaviors) that minimize threat.

Joy Losee's bio
Geno Luketic

Sustainability concerns are woven throughout Geno's studio-based research practice, courses and labor within the University and wider community. His explorations in clay and functional ceramic production have intersected with craft theory, performance art, theater, geology, deep adaptation, ceramics, site specificity, land art, woodfiring, mining, ecoart, objects old and new, storytelling and spirituality.

Geno Luketic's bio
Theo Majka

Theo has been a long-time environmentalist and is enthusiastic about the Hanley Sustainability Institute. In his Sociology of Human Rights class, there is some emphasis on environmental rights, such as the conditions that create environmental migrants. One of the books has a series of short articles on environmental issues, including one on energy democracy with an emphasis on several elements of sustainability such as resisting the continued use of fossil fuels, ballot initiatives and more public investments in renewables.

Theo Majka's bio
Scott McDaniel

Working at the intersection of religion, cultural studies and philosophical theory, Scott approaches the concept of sustainability with a focus on the existential weaving of humans, animals, plants and stones in their common materiality and shared environment(s). The fundamental question that orients my thinking is, "What do we seek to 'sustain' when we advocate for sustainability?"

Scott McDaniel's bio
Nancy McHugh

Nancy is the Executive Director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community and a professor of Philosophy. Her interests in sustainability are at the intersection of health, marginality and resilient communities. She is especially concerned about the ways our lack of action on sustainability continues to unjustly impact marginalized communities and what actions (systems change, policy and practice) are needed to move toward sustainable and increasingly resilient communities.

Nancy McHugh's bio
Raul Ordonez

Raul brings his expertise in mathematical systems theory, systems analysis and feedback control design to the analysis and simulation of social systems. He is particularly interested in teaching mathematical systems theory to a large audience in order to help students better understand the connections between this body of knowledge and a multiplicity of social issues and environmental phenomena with a focus on sustainable development. Raul believes the powerful engineering and scientific tools available to us should be broadly applied to try to better understand and solve social and environmental challenges via a methodical study of policy-making.

Raul Ordonez's bio
Michelle Pautz

Michelle is interested in the implementation of environmental regulations, particularly at the sub-national governmental level. Her research explores the interactions between government regulators and members of the regulated community to pursue regulatory compliance and sustain compliance motivation.

Michelle Pautz's bio
Francisco Peñas-Bermejo

Francisco developed the course Sustainability in Spanish to facilitate the development of students’ Spanish language and intercultural skills to engage Spanish-speaking communities actively and effectively on issues of sustainability in the U.S. and in the world. His interests include food justice and sustainable agro-food systems, particularly in indigenous, local and vulnerable communities, as well as the intersections of poetry and the environment.

Francisco Peñas-Bermejo's bio
Zachary Piso

Zachary investigates the ethics of interdisciplinary environmental research, proposing better practices of stakeholder engagement that ensure more just and democratic science, policy and management. His work focuses particularly on social-ecological systems and the values at stake in social scientific explanations of environmental change and resilience.

Zachary Piso's bio
Shazia Rahman

Shazia is interested in the ways in which stories can affect our relationships with and impacts on our environment. As a literary scholar, she applies ecofeminist theoretical frameworks to the narratives she studies in order to imagine a more environmentally just future.

Shazia Rahman's bio
Lis Regula

Lis' interests in sustainability parallels his research as a biologist centering on intersections, whether those intersections are various populations and communities in an ecosystem or intersections of biology and other disciplines such as politics, social justice, art and geography. Besides research and teaching, He has been heavily involved in creating resilient and sustainable communities through both governmental and non-profit mechanisms. His husband is the communications assistant at the Ohio Environmental Council.

Lis Regula's bio
Dalindyebo Shabalala

Dalindyebo works on the intersection of technology regulation and sustainability. He focuses on the role of technology regulation (intellectual property, procurement, trade) in enabling the generation, commercialization and diffusion of technologies to address environmental challenges, especially climate change.

Dalindyebo Shabalala's bio
Emily Sullivan Smith

Emily's scholarly research explores the push and pull between the natural world and human behavior. The work she produces visualizes the reality of what has transpired and provides an invitation for introspection and imagination of what could be.

Emily Sullivan Smith's bio
Richard Stock

Richard is the Director of the Business Research Group at UD and an urban economist by training. His primary work is research and evaluation in the early childhood education working closely with Preschool Promise of Montgomery County and Learn to Earn Dayton. When he has taught Urban economics in the past, the literature on planetary limits, urban agriculture and transportation were central to the course.

Richard Stock's bio
Andrew Strauss

Andrew is generally interested in sustainability issues, however his particular academic research areas have included international trade and the environment, litigating the climate emergency in international forums and the international legal ramifications of geoengineering.

Andrew Strauss' bio
Misty Thomas-Trout

Misty is interested in sustainability and its role in the graphic design discipline. She uses cartographic language and information design to engage and inform the public on ways one can insert themselves into the community, celebrate the rapport between people and place, promote local endeavors, reveal places in need of food access and other critical resources while educating the public in an effort to preserve information and promote equal economic opportunity.

Misty Thomas-Trout's bio
Adam Todd

Adam is a law professor and former legal services attorney with a long-standing interest in and commitment to public interest and international human rights law, both of which are inextricably connected to sustainability. He teaches courses in human rights, internet regulation and torts law (among others), all of which include modules addressing aspects of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Adam Todd's bio
Blake Watson

Blake was once an attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the U.S. Justice Department. He is interested in environmental law, oil and gas law (including hydraulic fracturing) and water law.

Blake Watson's bio
Chia-Yu Wu

Primary research focuses on using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and related software (such as Google Earth Engine, Python and R) as a tool to study issues related to physical geography, flood, hydrology, human-environmental interaction and environmental justice. Also involved in different projects on a variety of sustainability related issues and community engagement.

Chia-Yu Wu's bio

Hanley Sustainability Institute

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2950