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Graduate Students


Leah Anne Dundon

Leah Dundon is a practicing attorney with the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., one of the nation’s premier environmental law firms. Her practice has focused on civil litigation in both state and federal courts and on advising clients on regulatory matters arising under environmental laws. She has also served as the chair of the Committee on Innovations, Management Systems and Trading, a committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of the Environment, Energy and Resources. Leah is currently working on her Ph.D. through the Center for Environmental Management Studies at Vanderbilt University and is part of a research group that focuses on enterprise risk management, assessing the impacts of extreme weather on infrastructure adaptation, and the strategic and operational deployment of intelligent transportation systems.

Leah received her law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1997 and her B.A. from American University in 1993.

Kate Nelson

Kate Nelson is a doctoral student in Environmental Engineering, Management and Policy at Vanderbilt University, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that integrates social and technical systems to address environmental challenges. She received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis where she served as Lab Manager of the Nano Research Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, for two years.

Kate’s research interests are in coupled human and natural systems and include: environmental justice, spatial relationships between social vulnerability and physical exposure to hazards, and adaptive management strategies related to climate change and natural hazards. She is currently focused on development of high spatial resolution social vulnerability indices and modeling of climate change effects on barge transportation along the Mississippi River.

John Jacob Nay

John Jacob Nay is a doctoral student in Integrated Computational Decision Science, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University focused on utilizing computational and statistical models to better understand and improve decision-making. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Distinction from the University of Virginia and has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and the Senator John Warner Public Leadership Research Award. His professional experience includes interning for the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and working at an environmental policy firm in Washington, D.C.

He is currently designing experiments to investigate behavior relevant to climate change adaptation. In addition to investigating economic and psychological factors that may influence adaptation outcomes, by coupling agent-based simulations with data on physical processes he intends to model dynamics of integrated human-natural-engineered systems.

John specializes in: combing behavioral game theory and artificial intelligence to create predictive models of individual and group dynamic decision-making using large datasets generated from economic decision experiments.