2019-20 Cohort: The ACES Graduate Learning Community

Cohort 2 Participants

Emily Cook

Emily is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental engineering, working under Lisa Alvarez-Cohen in collaboration with David Sedlak. Emily researches methods to remediate groundwater contaminated with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of highly fluorinated, persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic compounds. Beyond her interest in and passion for environmental microbiology, water chemistry, sustainability, and engineering as a form of stewardship, Emily is highly motivated to build communities within academia and to improve the academic institution, all with the goal of making academia an easier and kinder space in which students can thrive. To that end, Emily’s interest in the ACES Graduate Learning Community revolves around understanding the academic institution and how she can help improve it now and in her future (potentially as a professor). With our discussion with Stanford’s Graduate Public Service Fellows, I hope to learn about the allies and resources these students have across their campus. Are there key allies or relationships with administrators on campus who support these efforts (with scholar activism and community-based research) and, related to this field, encourage students to question the current function and role of the academic institution?

Casey Finnerty 

Casey is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental engineering and is advised by Baoxia Mi. His research has focused on developing materials that use sunlight to directly desalinate saline water sources. Outside of his research, Casey has been involved in building community within his home program of environmental engineering and was drawn to the ACES Graduate Learning Community to connect with other communities across campus. Through a discussion with Stanford's Graduate Public Service Fellows, he is hoping to learn more about how to better incorporate community-engaged scholarship into STEM-related research.

Tessa Maurer 

Tessa is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Energy, Civil Infrastructure, and Climate program in the Civil & Environmental Engineering department. Her research focuses on incorporating novel techniques, including real-time data collection and machine learning, into streamflow modeling in snow-dominated headwater catchments. Tessa has been involved in grass-roots and social justice organizing outside of academia but became involved in the ACES graduate community in order to learn how to better merge the two. She would like to learn more about how social power dynamics and traditions of hegemony have and continue to shape research priorities and approaches in technical fields. 

Talia Leibovitz 

Talia Leibovitz is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the School Psychology program in the Graduate School of Education. Her research explores how white parents’ school choices for their children are informed and shaped by policy, notions of merit, colorblindness, and the social construction of race; focusing especially on the ways in which white parents contest and reinforce the social construction of school quality through dialogue and behavior. She has been involved in community-based research in her work with parents organizing for racial integration and equitable schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She would like to think more deeply about how to implement a pedagogy of abundance rather than austerity in relation to resources, power, and social capital for graduate students within the Academy.

Jes Parker 

Jes is a Ph.D. candidate in the Systems program of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Their research is in laboratory seismology--simulating earthquakes by inducing stick-slip motion on a lab-scale fault and studying the onset of sudden shear failure. They have a long history of student government and campus committee participation, seeking to understand the most effective paths to advocacy in a campus setting. The ACES community is a dream come true, which Jes only learned about through a chance interaction on a campus committee. They hope to learn more about community finding and building, and the ways that individuals build identity, within and without the university.

Student Co-Facilitators

Katherine Wolf 

Katherine is a third-year doctoral student in the Division of Society and Environment in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management advised by Rachel Morello-Frosch. Her research identifies structural barriers to environmental health equity in the United States. She is particularly interested in strategies to move resources from universities to local community groups.

Lucy Andrews 

Lucy is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California Berkeley. She is also a researcher at the Geospatial Innovation Facility, where she works to make the latest California climate science relevant and usable through tools like Cal-Adapt and the California Adaptation Clearinghouse. Prior to starting her Ph.D. at Berkeley, she specialized in water loss control as a consultant with Water Systems Optimization and supported the implementation of recent California laws and executive orders promoting urban water use efficiency. Beyond her academic pursuits, she is an avid runner and leads San Francisco Zen Center’s Unpacking Whiteness group to promote compassionate racial justice through the lens of dharma. 

Chrissy Stachl 

Chrissy is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Berkeley Department of Chemistry. Her research focuses on quantifying academic sense of belonging among graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty. As the president of the Chemistry Graduate Life Committee, Chrissy has dedicated much of her time as a graduate student to advancing diversity and create opportunities to promote equity and inclusion within Berkeley Chemistry. In 2016, she launched a longitudinal study aimed at assessing the department’s academic climate. The results of this work are now being used to address the issues that negatively impact the graduate Berkeley Chemistry community.