meet our team members
Our interdisciplinary project team includes faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from Political Science, Anthropology, Ecology, and Natural Resources from Purdue University and Northwestern University.
Dr. Kimberly Marion Suiseeya is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Her research examines the interactions between norms, institutions, and justice in global forest governance. Her areas of expertise include: environmental justice, global environmental governance, political ecology, and the politics of biodiversity conservation in Laos and mainland Southeast Asia. Photo Copyright: Justin Barber Photography
Dr. Laura Zanotti is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University. She is is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist whose research program partners with communities to better understand how local, mostly rural, livelihoods and well-being can be sustained for future generations. Her areas of expertise include: feminist political ecology, space and place, decolonizing and collaborative methodologies, digital anthropology, communities and conservation.
Kate Haapala is a Master’s student studying Political Science and Ecological Sciences and Engineering at Purdue University. Her research focuses on how entrenched resource allocation and equity norms in global environmental governance transcend scales to impact fishing communities in Alaska. Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to conservation, equity norms within global environmental governance, and community vulnerability. Kate is a member of the WCC team and has worked as a Research Assistant on the larger project.
Bailey is an undergraduate student studying Political Science and Science in Human Culture with a minor Environmental Policy and Culture at Northwestern University. Her research interests are global environmental policy, sustainable farming, and climate change adaptation. She works as a research assistant with the Presence to Influence team.
Sarah Huang is a graduate student studying cultural anthropology at Purdue University. Her research examines the perceptions of 'local food' with immigrant and refugee communities in Anchorage, Alaska. Her research interests focus on food justice, food security, transnational migration, immigration and citizenship. Sarah is part of both the COP21 and WCC research teams.
Savannah’s research focuses on the impact of global environmental governance and conservation initiatives and polices on indigenous forest people in southwestern Uganda. More specifically, her PhD work investigates the ways that displaced Batwa communities have renegotiated their cultural identities and relationships with the forest and gorillas in response to global conservation governance and local management practices in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and nearby region. Savannah is a member of the WCC team.
Andy is an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying political science and history. He is working on a literature review with Dr. Suiseeya and Dr. Zanotti on theories of recognitional justice and their practice in environmental justice scholarship. Currently, Andy is in Cajamarca, Peru, conducting research on the environmental justice dimensions of the Conga mining conflict.
Elizabeth Wulbrecht is a graduate student in political science at Purdue University, studying the representation of marginalized groups in a policy setting. Her focus concerns mental health policy and the stigma that surrounds the mentally ill. Currently, Elizabeth is apart of both the COP21 and WCC research teams.
Kate Yeater is an undergraduate senior studying anthropology at Purdue University. She has worked on the Presence to Influence team as a Wilke Research Scholar, research assistant, and now as a member of the World Conservation Congress team. Kate’s research interests include tropical forest conservation, indigenous rights, and the impacts of development on traditional livelihoods. Kate is part of the WCC research team and has worked as a Research Assistant for the larger project.
Fernando Tormos is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Purdue University with a specialization in social movements and the politics of social groups. Specifically, his research is interested in how transnational social movements overcome internal divisions and gain political influence over global decision-making processes. His work focuses on labor, environmental, human rights, and student movements. Tormos also helps coordinate the Diversity and Inclusion in Social Movements research team at Purdue, which studies the challenges and consequences of building solidarity across social group differences. Fernando is part of the COP21 research team.
Suraya Williams is an undergraduate studying Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Purdue University. She also has a minor in Environmental Policy and Politics. Suraya’s research interests are conservation ecology, climate change, international environmental policy, and environmental governance. She is participating in the COP21 ethnography. Soraya is part of the COP21 research team.
undergraduate and graduate student mentoring
A central objective of the Presence to Influence project is to enhance mentoring and research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. In doing so, we aim to deepen our understanding of the processes of global environmental governance, enhance interdisciplinary literacy among team members, and experiment with new approaches to collaborative learning and research. We currently engage students in a variety of aspects of our project, from opportunities to conduct field research, support dissertation and senior thesis research, provide on-campus research assistantships, and integrate our project into our courses.
The Presence to Influence project engages graduate and undergraduate students as part of our collaborative event ethnographies at sites of global environmental governance. To date, eight students (3 undergraduate and 5 graduate) have been part of our field teams. We look forward to expanding these opportunities at future sites. Current and past sites include:
- International Society of Ethnobiology, Belem, Brazil, Summer 2018
- World Conservation Congress, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Summer 2016
- 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, Paris, France, Fall 2015
We regularly hire graduate and undergraduate research assistants to assist with on-campus data management, processing, and analysis, and additional research tasks. Our undergraduate opportunities are funded through competitive fellowship opportunities, like the Farrell Fellowships at Northwestern University and the Wilke Internships at Purdue University. Research assistants are trained in our project approach and methodologies. If you are interested in exploring paid and unpaid research opportunities with the project, please contact Kim Marion Suiseeya (Northwestern) or Laura Zanotti (Purdue) with a brief statement of interest and resume.
To provide students with applied research experience, we integrate our research into our courses. Below are snapshots of these initiatives to date:
- Global Environmental Justice (POL395/EPC390, Northwestern, Suiseeya), Winter 2018: 10 undergraduate students are engaged in a collaborative research project that utilizes P2I data to ask: what forms of representation do maps, technologies, and built spaces reflect? Their goal is to produce a collaboratively authored, peer-reviewed article.
- Anthropology of Water (Anth 392, Purdue, Zanotti), Fall 2016: Undergraduate Students Performed Digital Ethnography of the World Conservation Congress
- Ethnographic Methods (Anth 605, Purdue, Zanotti), Fall 2016, Fall 2016: Graduate students enrolled in course learned about Module on Collaborative Event Ethnography
- International Environmental Politics (POL423, Purdue, Suiseeya), Fall 2015: 33 undergraduates conducted digital ethnographies of key organizations engaged at COP21 to understand how these organizations seek to expand their influence through the use of social media, blogs, and websites. They also blogged about their experiences.
dissertations and senior theses
To date, the following students have integrated some aspect of the P2I project into their work:
- Kate Haapala, PhD student, Political Science, Purdue University (expected 2020)
- Sarah Huang, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Purdue University (expected 2020)
- Savannah Schulze, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Purdue University (expected 2019)
- Fernando Tormos, PhD, Political Science, Purdue University (2017), Dissertation: "Mobilizing Difference: the Power in Inclusion in Transnational Social Movements"
- Kate Yeater, BA (honors), Anthropology, Purdue University (2017), Senior Thesis: "Supporting Forest Defenders: An Anthropologist’s Perspective on Advocacy and Research."