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Student Spotlight


Emily Burchfield

John Nay

Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering, Management and Policy

Emily Burchfield is a doctoral student in Environmental Engineering, Management and Policy at Vanderbilt University.  Emily received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Clemson University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and the Universit é Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium.  During her undergraduate career, she also spent time at Maastricht University, Netherlands and the University of Oxford, UK, where she received a scholarship to study climate change mitigation and adaptation.  She completed a Master’s in Economics at UCL focused on applied econometrics and critical theories of economic growth.  Her current research as a member of VIEE’s ADAPT-SL project applies remote sensing and GIS to the study of resource management.  In particular, she is interested in understanding how water allocation decisions impact the adaptive strategies employed by farmers in rural Sri Lanka.

John Jacob Nay

John Nay

Ph.D. Candidate, Interdisciplinary Program

John is a doctoral student in Systems Analysis & Behavioral Modeling at Vanderbilt, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program with a dissertation committee comprised of economists, psychologists, and environmental engineers and scientists. His research focuses on: (i.) improved computational modeling of dynamic decision-making and strategic choice under social and environmental uncertainty, and (ii.) developing decision-support models for policy and management application in complex systems. 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 current research—as part of VIEE’s interdisciplinary ADAPT-SL project—includes creating and testing agent-based models of climate adaptation related behaviors in Sri Lanka.

Debra Perrone

Deb Perrone

Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering

Debra Perrone received her undergraduate degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Lafayette College in 2008. An active member of Lafayette’s Engineers Without Borders chapter, she worked on water projects in rural Honduras. After graduation she began the Ph.D. program in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Debra has been a fellow of Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment for the past 4 years and, in 2011, she was awarded an EPA STAR fellowship. In Summer 2012 she participated in the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) affiliated with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria. This past summer, Debra was in Singapore with a NSF East Asia Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) fellowship. Her research focuses broadly on the water-energy-food nexus. Video: Debra discusses VIEE experiences

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