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Issue 9: Winter 2012
In This Issue
I. What's New with TEA
II. Events
III. TIE Update
IV. ENVS Update
V. Faculty Spotlight: Bea Rogers
VI. TIE Fellows 2011 - 2012
VII. On Campus Environmental Events
TEA logo


Meet the Steering Committee!
Read interviews with the TEA Steering Committe, past and present
TEA logo

Environmental Careers: Alumni Panel and Networking

March 6, 7:00 p.m., Dowling Hall 7th floor

Find out what it's like to work in the environmental field at this panel event with four Tufts alumni from the environmental field. Presentations followed by Q & A with job seekers and an informal networking session with alumni from a wide variety of environmental careers. Current students and alumni are encouraged to attend!


TEA's Annual Spring Speaker

April 25, 6:00pm

Join us for an exciting presentation by Dr. Paul Kirshen

Research Leader at Battelle and co-founder and external advisory board member of the Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program at Tufts University.  Dr. Kirshen is an expert in the field of water resources, including how global climate change affects water across the globe.  He will present on the future of Boston in light of rising global temperatures. An hour-long networking session will precede the presentation, including light refreshments and good conversation.

Quick Links
Upcoming Events


Welcome to 2012 from Tufts Environmental Alumni!


We hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.  

At TEA, the steering committee enjoyed putting together several successful events in 2011, including a tour of Genzyme, a speaker event, and an ecology walk at Crane Beach.  In addition, we were also pleased to be granted official status as a Tufts Alumni Shared Interest Group!  As such, we have been formally recognized by Tufts as a group of alumni that share a common affinity for environmental interests, and we hope this will provide our community with more tangible means to identify and engage further in the life of the university and its alumni population.  In order to achieve this goal, we plan to build off of our current communication tools (including this newsletter!) and to continue to expand our programming offerings, with a focus on putting on events that are meaningful and diversified both in topic and geographic area so as to represent the variety of interests and needs of our alumni group.  As a representation of these efforts, we are excited to have several happenings already planned for our calendar, including an Environmental Career Panel event at Tufts on March 7th, and a featured faculty speaker event with Paul Kirshen on the Impacts of Climate Change on Boston on Wednesday, April 25th.  

We hope to see you at one or more of these events!  

Jane Parkin Kullmann

If you have any feedback for the committee or would like to become more involved with TEA, please feel free to contact any one of the members of the steering committee with your interest.




Jane Parkin Kullmann EG'06

on behalf of the TEA Steering Committee
TIE Update  TIE Program Director Antje Danielson
By Antje Danielson  


Although the year has just begun, we've already been extremely busy at TIE. 

We've already rolled out a number of new programs and initiatives. Penn Loh, Tufts UEP Professor, joined us for the inaugural TIE Talks event (this semester's theme: Environmental Justice) and shared his experience working with Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) in Roxbury. The next TIE Talk will be on March 7th from 4:30 to 6:30pm at TIE with Professor Mary Davis - we welcome all members of the Tufts community to join us, especially alumni!

Our grant writing workshop was another resounding success with the help of the Office of Proposal Development and the Office of Research Administration. More than forty members of the Tufts community packed into the Miller event space to get advice on preparing a competitive grant proposal.


In March we'll select our next cohort of TIE Fellows. We've just released the RFP for the fellowship program and we're very excited to see what this year's applicants have to offer. Check out the projects that our 2011 - 2012 TIE fellows have been working on later on in this newsletter.  


We're also very excited to announce that on October 12, 2012, Tufts will be hosting a conference on Climate Change, Climate Justice. More on that to come!


Have you been to the TIE website lately? We've been making a few changes. If you visit the homepage you'll notice that there's a new Social Media sidebar on the left-hand side of the page. You can visit our Facebook page, our new Twitter account, as well as our LinkedIn and our publications on Issuu. Be sure to check out our YouTube account-we just added new videos about the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute (TELI) and the TIE Graduate Environmental Fellowship program.   


We're looking forward to connecting with you! 

ENVS Cluster Hire Success
Colin Orians
By Colin Orians

I am pleased to announce that two of the three cluster hires to support Environmental Studies were recently completed (next year, Geology will do their search).


Dr. Ujjayant Chakravorty, Professor of Economics, will be joining the Department of Economics next fall. His research interests include the economics of climate change, the consequences of biofuel mandates on poverty in India, and the economics of pollution, water allocation, and nonrenewable resources. He is highly collaborative and looks forward to interacting with faculty and students from across the University.


Dr. Alexander Blanchette will be joining the Department of Anthropology in January of 2013 as a new Assistant Professor. He does fascinating work on factory hog farms and what they mean to the local community, to the U.S. economy and to industrialization more generally. He has won numerous honors and grants, including a prestigious Wenner Gren Foundation grant. At Tufts he looks forward to teaching courses in environmental anthropology, industrial agriculture, food security, and animal studies.


The ENVS community looks forward to welcoming both to campus and to working with them in the future.

Help Choose the Book for the Class of 2016!


Each year, the Common Reading Program sends entering undergraduate students a book for summer reading, selected by the current Tufts community. The primary goal of the Common Reading Program is to provide a common academic experience for Tufts incoming students (for other goals, see our website at http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/commonbook).


The theme for this year's Common Reading Book will be a focus on the environment. 


The earth is what we all have in common."

- Wendell Berry, farmer, writer, academic, activist


You can read more about the goals of the program and the criteria for the book selection at our website. If you have an idea for a book that meets the criteria (including a focus on the environment), complete the submission form at  http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/commonbook. The deadline for submitting book suggestions is Friday, February 17, 2012.


We look forward to hearing from you!

The Common Reading Book Committe
Faculty Spotlight: Bea Rogers 

Bea Rogers


Dr. Beatrice Rogers is a professor at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Program Director of the Food Policy & Applied Nutrition program. In her 30 years at Tufts, she has done a range of environmental, economic and food policy research and co-founded WSSS. Her most recent work - funded by USAID - has taken her to Honduras, Bolivia, and India (with a colleague doing a companion study in Kenya) to study the persistence of the impacts of food aid programs after they have shut down. She spoke with TIE Communications Coordinator Libby Mahaffy (G'11) in October 2011 about successes in her current projects, lessons learned in the field, and why master's students should conduct field research. An excerpt of their conversation is below.   


Libby Mahaffy: How did you choose Honduras, Bolivia, India, and Kenya as sites for your research on food aid programs that had shut down?

Bea Rogers: We wanted to find programs that shut down that represented Asia, Latin America and Africa. In 2007 USAID changed its policies as to which countries were eligible to get Title II food aid, decreasing the number of eligible countries from 27 or 30 to 17. This gave us the opportunity for us to come in and study them. USAID logo


To participate, the countries had to hear about the study and volunteer; the Mission Directors had to be willing to participate. We really wanted to do Honduras and Bolivia because both had formal exit strategies. They had workshops and developed matrices of benchmarks for judging progress toward sustainability. At first we were only going to do Bolivia, Kenya and Honduras. But an advocate for India got the Indian USAID Mission to buy in, so we were able to implement the study in that fourth country. We're still in the middle of our work in India, but finishing up in Bolivia, Honduras, and Kenya.


We picked a range of communities in the selected countries and did repeated qualitative surveys, and then implemented a statistically representative quantitative evaluation. It not only allowed us to say how people perceived the process of exit, but also gave us the impact indicators that augmented the qualitative research. The devil is in the details, but it has turned out to be a really great study. This is the first time I've been involved in qualitative work where the qualitative methods were part of the data not just survey question development. I am such a convert! I'm overwhelmed by how useful the qualitative data are.

Latin America map 

What successes have you seen from studying these countries?

One of the things we've seen in Bolivia and Honduras is in the agriculture sector, Honduras focused on getting farmers to diversify their production and use improved techniques like contour plowing, low till, and organic fertilizer. So did Bolivia. The suggestion in Honduras not to burn fields has been a big success [because it] doesn't cost anything. The big difference between Honduras and Bolivia is that Bolivia, after the midterm evaluation, added a very strong focus on marketing and commercialization. In Honduras the commercialization hasn't been as much of a focus. We now have this very nice contrast. Bolivian farmers are now using improved techniques and making more money, and more money buys more fertilizer, better feed for their cattle, or improved seeds. One of our strongest lessons is that if you want these activities to be sustainable, people need to know the technological [aspects]: "How do I grow bigger better peaches?" The answer is pruning the trees; but they also need to know [the management side]. How do they know how much to charge? How do they know whether a costly intervention is worth doing? If you don't have that management training, you don't know, as in the case of Honduras: you ask how they decided to charge the price that they're charging for something, and they say, "well it seems like people are willing to pay it," without thinking about whether it covers their costs. That management component was critical.


You are a strong proponent of field research for graduate students, even those in terminal master's degree programs. Why is field research important?

I love doing field research. Fieldwork is where the juice is! That's where you really feel connected to the things that got you involved in the first place.


If you are in a terminal master's program, almost by definition you're not going to be an academic, but that doesn't mean you're not going to do research. The probability for a master's student is that you're going to be doing hands-on, applied, practical stuff....I teach survey research; with surveys, there is almost always a difference between how you want to do it versus how you're going to be able to do it. I want to give you a basis for deciding when you are so far from the ideal that it's not worth doing, and when you are far from the ideal but you're still getting get useful information, and what can you do to come closer to the ideal given the full reality of the situation. There's nothing better for learning than applying your skills.


Another reason why we push anyone who is interested in international work to get that experience is that it gives you a real reality check on whether this is the kind of work that you want to do...Better to know what field you want to work in when you have a chance to branch off in another direction; it's part of the learning experience.


Since you've done so much traveling, is there anywhere that you'd love to go-or go back to-to conduct research in the future?

I was super excited to get back to India. I hadn't been in India since 1979. My very first consulting job after my PhD was a Title II program evaluation in India-talk about coming full circle! Traveling across India was one of the experiences that made me want to continue work in this field. [South Asia] is a part of the world where I would be interested in having the opportunity to go back. I love working in Latin America. Spanish is their first language, and I speak Spanish, so I can be a part of side conversations as well as work conversations in Latin America...There's another project we're doing in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a wonderful, fascinating country. I've really enjoyed working there, and that has to do partly with the culture. Getting to work there has been really cool; I've really enjoyed the projects, and the colleagues we've been working with there have been great. I've been fortunate to enjoy everywhere. There's no place where I'd say 'no, I don't want to go back there.'  

TIEFellows1112TIE Fellows 2011 - 2012  
The TIE fellowship program gives us the opportunity to recognize and provide greater visibility for stellar interdisciplinary students and their work. 
Below are the 2011-2012 fellows and their research titles. If you're in Boston, stay tuned to environment.tufts.edu for a schedule of the fellows' research presentations! 

Negin Ashoori 

Negin Ashoori 

School of Engineering

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Water Consumption Patterns and Enteric Infection Transmission: A Case Study in Vellore, India  


Andrea Brown     

School of Engineering 

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Transmission of Diarrheal Diseases Through the Land Surface: A Comparison of Urban Slums and Rural Villages in Southern India


Erin Kempster  

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Biofuels, Gender Equity, and Land Rights: The Impact of and Potential for Biofuel Development in Tanzania 




Jennifer Mortensen 
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 

Department of Biology 

The Role of Social Behavior in Buffering Populations from Extinction: Persistence of an Endangered, Cooperatively-Breeding Passerine

Jessica Perkins 

School of Engineering 

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Investigation of Air Quality in a Boston Interstate Tunnel



Ana Rosner  

School of Engineering  

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Detecting the Power of Climate Trends:   
A New Decision Tree Methodology to Assess Risks and Costs of Adapting to an Uncertain Future


Mary Schmid  

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Evaluation of Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria Cultured from Wounds in Sea Turtles Undergoing Rehabilitation



Jennifer (Yaning) Shen   

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences  

Department of Economics
An Economic Assessment of Water and Energy Tradeoffs in Rice Production of Developing Nations in Asia, Using a Generalized Optimization Model


Brian Thomas   

School of Engineering  

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Relationship Between Groundwater Recharge, Streamflow and Human Water User
On Campus Environmental Events     
TIE Talks
The Tufts Institute of the Environment is excited to announce a new speaker series! TIE Talks is a monthly educational event to facilitate interdisciplinary cross-pollination. The series theme for Spring 2012 is Environmental Justice.
  • March 7th: Dr. Mary Davis, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Professor
  • April 4th: Dr. Beatrice Rogers, Friedman School of Nutrition and Science Policy Professor,Food Policy & Applied Nutrition Program Director
  • May 2nd: Dr. Sivan Kartha, Senior Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute - US
When: The first Wednesday of every month, 4:30-6:30pm
Where: TIE Conferece Room, Miller Hall garden level
Refreshments will be served.
The 7th Annual Tufts Energy Conference presents: 
Transforming the Global Energy Debate: From Challenges to Solutions
April 20 - 21, 2012 
Tufts University Medford, MA


Today, more than ever, we face unprecedented global energy challenges. We find ourselves in a state of continued economic uncertainty confronted with the challenges of meeting growing energy demand, the increasing threat of irreversible climate change, providing a secure, safe and affordable energy supply, bringing access to energy to billions and sustaining our environment. How do we successfully tackle these challenges and transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future? The Tufts Energy Conference (TEC) 2012 will move beyond debating these known energy issues and focus on solutions. Registration will open in March 2012. 


Panel Titles
  • The End of "Easy" Fossil Fuels: Projections, Need and Innovation
  • Meeting Growing Energy Demand: Securing Energy Resources in Developing Countries
  • Clean Nuclear: Responsible Management for a Carbon-Constrained Future 
  • 21st Century Energy on a 19th Century Grid: Making Intermittent Energy Work
  • Renewable Energy Growth in a Post-Stimulus World: Boom or Bust?
  • Bridging the Gap: Towards a Nexus Approach to Water and Energy


The 3rd Annual WSSS Symposium presents:  

Glass Half Full: Valuing Water in the 21th Century 

April 27th, 2012
Tufts University Medford, MA


Keynote speakers

Ximing Cai, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign  

Jerry Delli Priscoli, US Army Corps of Engineers 


Panel Titles 

  • The value of clean water: Challenges of water sanitation  
  • Floods and Droughts: Managing the extremes
  • Economic valuation and analysis of environmental flows


Tufts Institute of the Environment - Tufts Environmental Alumni
Miller Hall, Tufts University
210 Packard Ave
Medford, MA 02155

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