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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 J. Nay is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, developing and applying machine learning methods to better understand and predict dynamic social and environmental systems. His computational work is directed toward policy and management applications, including simulating climate prediction marketsforecasting droughtpredicting cooperationestimating decision-making models, and forecasting law-making. He is currently collaborating with social scientists, environmental scientists, and engineers on National Science Foundation-funded projects where he integrates social and environmental data with models. More information can be found at

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