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Global Environmental Politics | SIS

Student Research

During the course of their studies, students in the GEP and NRSD programs conduct research into myriad topics — from international institutions to development solutions to specific conservation problems. Some of these research projects unfold in individual courses; others form a master's capstone project: a thesis or a significant research paper (SRP).

Recently, the School of International Service, has also started offering semester-long special team projects that are overwhelming student-driven. In these practica, a small group of students essentially acts as a consultant team for a particular client organization. They combine efforts to produce a wide range of outputs, from original research papers to policy analyses to filmed documentaries.

Individual and team research takes GEP/NRSD students across the U.S. and the globe. Recent projects by our students have ranged from studying local D.C. neighborhoods to fishers in India to protected area management in Ecuador.

Many of our students also travel to present the findings of their research at regional, national and international conferences; others ultimately have their research published by NGOs, governments and respected academic journals.

Recent research projects completed by GEP and NRSD students


Bury, Sarah (2012), Gardens as Roots of Resistance

Cimino, Andrea (2009), Food Security and Nutrition in West Africa: Bushmeat, Overfishing, Industrial Agriculture and Alternatives to the Consumption of Animal Protein 

Crehan, Philip (2012), Ag Development in Detroit

Dodge, Kris (2008), Agribusiness of the Global Monoculture: Durable Alternatives for the Rural Philippines

Dozoretz, Lindsay (2008), Will Corporatization Kill the Soul of Organics?: The Implications of the Organic Movement's Engagement with Big Business and What it Means for the Future of Food

Edge, Joshua (2007), Groundwater Irrigation and the Food Supply: The Case of the Ogallala Aquifer

Follett, Jeff (2007), Who Will Take the Lead? Social Movements and Strategic Alliances for an Alternative Food System in the United States

Hunt, Suzanne (2004), The Future of Agriculture: Certification and Ecolabeling

Newbold, Elizabeth (2008), Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Manure Production & Pollution on Water Systems

Ostfeld, Jacqueline (2006), Cultivating a Sustainable Agricultural Sector: Policy Tools for the 2007 Farm Bill

Climate Change

Arakelian, Lynda (2003), Clean Development Mechanism Baselines, Costa Rica

Baker, Leah (2007), Congress & Sustainability Pivot Points: A Case for Incorporating Tougher Metrics into the Unfolding U.S. Climate Regime

Edmonson Alisha (2011), Demand Side Carbon Financing: the Case for Cites as Unified Sectoral Crediting

Hodum, Ryan (2007), Advancing Action to Avoid Additional Anthropogenic Activity in Asia's Atmosphere:The Potential Promise and Peril of Chinese Capitalists Combating Climate Change

Keller, Stephanie (2008), The Post-2012 Climate Change Agreement: A Role for the European Union

King, Ashley (2006), Modeling Vehicle Miles Traveled: Implications for Local Climate Change Policy in Portland,Oregon

Lubetsky, Jonathan (2003), Adaptation and Climate Change

Martin Allison (2011), American Indian Knowledge: Why Indigenous Participation is Essential for Effective U.S. Climate Policy

Matter, Julie (2008), Renewable Energy: Mitigating Climate Change

McMahon, Sean (2007), Reframing Climate Change: Morality, Human Health, and National Security

Meyer, Richard (2007), The Interplay of Corporate Governance and Climate Change: The Cases of BP and ExxonMobil

Piloyan, Diana (2007), How the Market of Tradable Emissions Permits Can Help Solve Global Climate Change

Rinnerberger, Nina (2006), Drowning Islands: Social Justice Through Litigation?

Sher, Lauren (2010), From Nil to $100 Billion: The United States' Commitment for Climate Financing Contributions in the Post-Kyoto World

Spak, Brain (2010), The Success of the Copenhagen Accord and The Failure of the Copenhagen Conference

Vizzier, Kirk (2007), The Creation of a Global ETS: Expanding the market for international emissions trading through system linkages


Heller Avra (2011), A Critical Analysis of Community-based Management in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Toledo District, Belize

Hulkower, Samantha (2008), A Comparative Analysis of the Development and Restoration of the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands and Florida Everglades

Makihara, Sei, The Giant Panda Program

McLaughlin Caroline (2011), People living in Protected Areas: A Comparative Study of the Social Impacts of Conservation in Latin America's Maimirauá Sustainable Development Reserve and Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve

Tourville, Sarah (2006), Debt-for-Nature Swaps: Trading External Debt for Environmental Conservation in the Developing World

Rowell, Toby (2008), Perceptions of Protected Areas, Wildlife, and Hunting: A Case Study of the Coto Brus Area in the Southwest Talamanca Mountain Range of Costa Rica

Witkowski, Kelly (2008), Guanacaste National Park and Roaring Creek: Assessment of the Relationship Between a National Park and a Buffer Community

Zanelli , Suzanne (2005), Seeing Through the Eyes of Dragons: Connecting Conservation, Science and Society through Traditional Folklore

Environmental Economics

Ash, Kyle (2006), The Political Economics of Population Decrescendo in Wealthy Countries

Kushner, Benjamin J.(2009), Navigating a Sea of Values: The Role of Economic Analysis in Promoting the Sustainable Management of Marine Protected Areas in the Caribbean

Environmental Education

Weissinger, Rebecca Kiersten (2011), Revitalizing the Rímac: Environmental Quality and Nonformal Education in Peru


Leahu-Aluas Oana (2011), Engaging in Sustainable Behavior: How Does Individual Action Translate Into Policy

MacLane, Daniel (2005), Connecting to Nature in Leopold, Abbey, and Carson

Guitar, Christine (2005), Valuing Values: Going Back to the Fundamentals

Perry, Dana (2007), The Human-Nature Disconnect: Understanding the Causes, Investigating Solutions

Simpson, Summer (2005), Environmentalism for the South

Slavin, Michelle (2007), Creating Environmental Literacy: The Role of Local Knowledge in Environmental Education Programs

Van Horn, Meredith (2007), Checking the Pulse of Environmentalism: Finding Varying Shades of Green

Zhu Rong(2011), Mobilizing for a Green World: the Use of Internet as an ENGO Campaingning Tool in the US

Environmental Justice and Pollution

Weissinger Kiersten (2011), Revitalizing the Rimac: Environmental Quality and Nonformal Education in Peru

Barry, Fatoumata Binta (2010), Environmental Injustices: Conflict & Health Hazards in Niger Delta

Bredehoeft, Chris (2003), Brownfields: An Economic Case Study of Virginia's Program Initiative

da Costa, Alexandra (2005), Raiding the Village Pharmacy: the Integration of Equity into International Environmental Agreements

De la Batista, José Luis (2009), Development in the Amazon Basin Countries: Alternatives to Extraction of Non-Renewable Natural Resources

Hong, Udom (2007), Persistent Organic Pollutants: Comparing American and European Chemical Management Policies

McIlmoil, Rory (2007), One Step Back Toward "Almost Heaven": A Production-Based Proposal for the Elimination of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in West Virginia

Schneider, Lynn (2010), A Sweeter Alternative for Whom? Sugarcane Ethanol Production and Rural Livelihoods in Northeast Brazil

Stanley, April (2007), Tar Creek: A Case Study in the Limitations of the Superfund Program

Williams, Larke (2009), Managing the Air: Environmental Governance of China's Air Quality

Environmental Security

Bucchianeri Kristine (2011), Incorporating Natural Security into Disaster Risk Reduction Programs to Increase Resilience in Small Island Developing States

Demas Alex (2011), Disaster Diplomacy: The USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program and the Role of Science in Diplomacy

Caras, Dean (2000), Global Environmental Problems & U.S. National Security

Houshower, Nicholas (2009), Fluid Dynamics: The Politics of Oil and Water in China and Kazakhstan

Forest Issues

Budiansky, Ethan (2007), Forests and Conflict: The Relationship Between Forest Decentralization and Social Conflict

Chutz, Noah (2010), What Will It Take To Make REDD Work? Identifying the Weaknesses, Exploring the Role of Sustainable Forest Management and Supporting the Post-Development Potential

Johns, Bryan (2012), PES and REDD+: The Case of Costa Rica

Kipalu, Patrick (2010), Reducing Emissions form Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Perspectives of the Indigenous Peoples

McFarland, Brian (2010), Origins, Development and Potential of the International REDD Market

Medeiros, Michelle (2004), Logging in Liberia: The US Role

Norikane, Adam (2007), Restructuring Community Forestry: A Look at Tenure, Institutions and Gender in The Gambia

Shriver, Jeff, Reaping Profits while Restoring the Environment: Lessons from Central America (Published)

Tararan, Samuel (2005), Agroforestry and Payment for Environmental Services

Yadrick, Michael (2006), Peacemaking through Forest Conservation: Conflict Transformation in The Maya Biosphere Reserve, Petén, Guatemala

Zamgochian, Ani (2010), Supporting the Conservation of Indigenous Territories in the Brazilian Amazon: Analysis of the Suruí Community's Road to REDD

Zoll Deidre (2008), FSC and the Global Timber Trade: Solution or Stop-loss

Green Building

Falk, Elizabeth (2006), Edible Roof Gardens and Rainwater Capture: A Proposal to Enhance Justice of the School of International Service

Joldersma, Bretton (2005), Green Roofs: A Sustainable Development Tool for the United States

Marine Issues

Cunningham, Leda (2006), Fish for the Future: The Quota System as a Model for Managing the Global Fishing Commons

Edwards, Alyssa (2005), Integrating Population Dynamics into Coastal Management   

Ferguson, Rob and Padilla, Glenis (2010), A Longitudinal Assessment of the Socioeconomic Impacts of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve on the Coastal Communities of Southern Belize, Central America (1999-2009)

Lee, Tina (2012), Illegal (IUU) Fishing

McConnell, Michael (2012), International Tuna Fisheries

Marks, Jacqueline (2007), Sustainable Seafood: The role of Eco-certification in Marine Fisheries Management

Marrs, Alicia (2007), Environmental Protection Mechanisms of the International Maritime Organization (IMO): Can International Shipping Really Help Protect the World's Oceans?

McKinney, Vanessa (2007), Epistemic Communities – Their Composition, Research and Policy Role

Mumbauer, Kyra (2005), Beyond Consultations and Regulations: Meaningful Engagement of Small-Scale Fishers in Marine and Fishery Management

Renewable Energy

Jiang, Lian (2006), The Promise of Solar Energy: Exploring Policy Innovation in Technology Dissemination in China

Kaiser, Paul (2005), Wind Power and California's Energy Future

Lee, Jacqueline (2005), Comparative Wind Energy Policy in Denmark and California

Linnett, Tobias (2005), A Case for Renewable Energy in the United States

Madeira, Lindsay (2006), From the Poorest to the Globe: Harvesting the Sun for a Just, Green, and Sustainable Future

Morey, Jessie (2006), Clean Power in Costa Rica: Strategies for a Fossil Fuel Free Power Sector in 2020

Sutch Aaron (2011), Solar Distributed Generation: An Alternative to Large Scale Hydropower in Costa Rica

Sustainable Business

Arabshahi, Ida (2009), Sustainable Development in Costa Rica: A Case Study on the Impact of the Intel Corporation and the Need for Life Cycle Assessment Methodologies

Arnold, Emily (2008), "Can Business Green AND Grow?"- A Case Study Looking at WalMart's Sustainability Campaign

Hillis, E. Nicole (2006), Focusing on Small Enterprises to Reduce Environmental Impact: Small Lithographic Printers in the United States

Hogan, Elizabeth (2007), Corporate Social Responsibility: Incentives, Trends & Strategic Evolution

Mahl, Bonnie (2008), Greening of Music Festivals

Zielke, Emily (2008), Stopping Large Agribusinesses from Getting Fat on Prison Food Contracts

Sustainable Development

Bringhurst, Sam (2008), USAID Funded Multiconsortium Conservation Projects With Specific Focus on "Bolivia Landscape Project"

Coley, Derrick (2003), Cuba's Tourism Industry: Past and Future Implications for Sustainable Development

Henderson, Candy (2008), Stakeholder involvement in land management in Costa Rica

Johnson, Melissa (2012), Ecotourism in Galapagos

Mach, Leon III (2009), The Need for Ecotourism Principles in International Surf Culture

Mathews, Mason (2004), Community-based Natural Resources Management

Mcconnell Michael (2011), Searching for Carbon Neutrality in Costa Rica

Merchant, Alefia (2008), Deconstructing Sustainable Tourism in Practice: A Comparative Case Study from Costa Rica and Egypt

Moon Sukran (2011),The Four Major Rivers Project in South Korea and Implications for Improving Environmental Governance

Negley Jr., Paul (2008), Sustainable Tourism: Strategy for the University for Peace in Costa Rica

Pineda, Mariel, The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the PPP

Sander, Ben (2010), The Importance of Education in Ecotourism Ventures

Shriver, Jefferson (2004), Economic Development and Biodiversity Conservation in Mesoamerica

Soden, Robert (2007), Unnatural Disasters: The Role of Hazard Risk Reduction in Sustainable Development

Toomey, Anne Helen (2008), A Transition To Sustainable Development: Empowerment and Disempowerment In a Nicaraguan Community; Empowerment and Disempowerment in Community Development Practice: Eight Roles Practitioners Play

Vaswani, Rahul (2003), How are Rural Communities in Developing Countries Trying to Live Sustainably?

Urban Issues

Assar Daryush (2011), Residential Compost Collection Program: Reducing DC's environmental footprint

Delfs, Christopher (2004), Redesigning the American Dream: Searching for Community in America

Lynch, Brian (2006), Urban Poverty Alleviation in Developing Countries: Using G.I.S. to Improve the Lives of Slum Dwellers

Mendoza Melina (2011), RUNNING EMPTY: A case of failed Urban Planning for the Mass Transit System in Puerto Rico

Paul, Alana (2007), Rebuilding A Sustainable New Orleans: Coastal Restoration, Urban Planning and Ecocity Design Solutions to Global Climate Change

Towell, Jessica (2012), Post Soviet Urbanism

Williamson, Douglas (2006), Not a Distant Beast

Water Issues

Dougherty, Shannon (2007), Public Participation and Marginalization on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Investigating Colonias and Water Service Provision in Ambos Nogales

Elinewinga, Helena (2002), Root Causes of Water Scarcity in Developing Countries: South Africa and Tanzania

Keino, Stella (2002), Water Management among the Nile River Basin Countries

Mergler, Holly (2008), A Dying River: The Social Impacts and A Community's Response

Sagna, Cheikh (2007), Diplomacy and Transboundary Water Challenges in West Africa : Conflicts, Co-operation and Peace-building Efforts in the Senegal River Basin (Mauritania, Senegal, Mali & Guinea)

Vertrees, Marisa (2004), Politics of Water in Central America

Alumni Spotlight

Conca and Jadhav pose together outside the School of International Service

Read alumni stories to learn about the GEP experience

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Galapagos Islands

Students interview a fisherman in the Galapagos as part of the interdisciplinary course The Practice of Environmentalism: Science, Policy and Communication in the Field

Student participants in the Galapagos Islands class, "The Practice of Environmentalism: Science, Policy, and Communication," have finished their varied projects.

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