CIRG is a predecessor of SSEHRI at Brown University during Phil Brown’s time there as a faculty member

Elizabeth Boxer 
Environmental Studies
Northeastern University

Elizabeth Boxer graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies in 2018. She was a research assistant on the PFAS team.  She was also a research associate at the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative. Elizabeth’s research interests include environmental health, urban policy, and the social determinants of health.  Upon graduating from Northeastern, Elizabeth plans on continuing her education with a MPH in Environmental or Urban Health.  Previously, Elizabeth completed a co-op at MIT’s Energy Initiative and studied Environmental Science abroad at Swinburne University in Australia.

Maryann R. Cairns, PhD
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
Southern Methodist University

Dr. Maryann Cairns is an environmental anthropologist dedicated to using creative research design and cultural understanding to safeguard environmental resources and human health. Her work has examined the politics of water and sanitation system design and development, the impacts of tourism on coastal water quality and human health, and the viability of low-cost technologies to treat wastewater-polluted rivers. Her newest research focus examines waste from the fashion industry from an interdisciplinary perspective, and forwards an ethnographically-informed approach to data science and supply chain modeling. Cairns has led major research investigations in multiple world regions, including Latin America & the Caribbean, the Western Balkans, and the United States. She is PI of a combined 1.5 Million-dollar Collaborative National Science Foundation-supported research program, entitled the MERA investigation, which studies exposure to pathogens in ocean environments. She is a previous recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, and was very recently awarded a Fulbright US Scholar Fellowship for her research in North Macedonia. Notably, much of her research was completed collaboratively in strong partnerships with international colleagues and representatives from foreign municipal and national governments. Cairns has served on the board of the Anthropology and Environment Society at the national level. Her work has been published in several major interdisciplinary journals, including Environmental Science & Technology and World Development. Dr. Cairns is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University, where she is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the SMU Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award and the Extra Mile Award, which is awarded to professors who “support students who learn differently.” She has mentored and trained many undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars both in the US and internationally. She is particularly dedicated to innovation in mentorship practices and research methods training. Several of her current and past mentees have themselves received prestigious external grants and recognitions, including Fulbright awards, McNair scholarships, and other accolades, as well as coauthored articles with Dr. Cairns that have been published in journals including Water Research and Human Organization.

Chelsea Canedy
Biology and Political Science
Northeastern University

Chelsea Canedy is a Northeastern University student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Political Science. Her interest in environmental health began while studying the social determinants, specifically found in preconception health, and their impacts on health disparities in the United States. She completed a co-op with Dr, Phil Brown through researching perfluorinated compounds and pre-term birth in Puerto Rico in 2016. Chelsea worked as the director of preconception peer education through the Health Disparities Student Collabroative in Northeastern University. Chelsea is also the directer of Students Against Institutional Discrimination (SAID) an on campus racial and social justice group on campus. Chelsea also is a Resident Assistant for Northeastern University.

Jennifer Carrera
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Michigan State University

Jennifer Carrera was a postdoctoral research associate with SSEHRI in 2014-2015. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. At MSU she has a joint appointment between the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program.  Dr. Carrera is part of a campus-wide Global Water Initiative. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in Biostatistics from Emory University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Boston University.  Her doctoral research explored the context of water shutoffs in Detroit, Michigan and failing septic systems in Lowndes County, Alabama.  Through environmental engineering Dr. Carrera considered mechanisms for incorporating community member needs and values into technology design for sanitation systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Her area of research focuses on access to clean water and sanitation in low-income populations domestically and internationally.  She uses water as a lens through which to examine mechanisms of exclusion and through her work aims to articulate the everyday practices that produce and reproduce environmental injustices.  Through citizen science research and community based participatory research she aims to provide communities with resources to make inequities visible.  By doing so she hopes to transform data as a tool for power within marginalized communities and direct technology design and policy initiatives towards integrated, sustainable solutions for improving access to environmental resources for low-income populations.

Nick Chaves
Environmental Studies and International Affairs
Northeastern University

Nicholas is a student at Northeastern University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and International Affairs. Nicholas was the first co-op student to work with Dr. Phil Brown which involved research on the social discovery of perfluorinated chemicals. Other interests include international and domestic environmental policy and law. Nicholas is also involved with Delta Tau Delta Fraternity on campus.

Stephanie Clark
Sociology PhD Student
Northeastern University

Stephanie Clark-Reyna received her BA and MA in Sociology from the University of Texas-El Paso in 2013 and 2015. She held both undergraduate and graduate research assistantships on a National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities/Environmental Protection Agency funded project, “Social, built and natural environmental determinants of children’s lung health – a multilevel examination.” She led a statistical analysis pairing the survey data with National- Scale Air Toxics Assessment data from the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the effects of air pollution and health on children’s academic performance and has considerable experience as a teaching assistant. She has presented research at the Association of American Geographers, the American Sociological Association, and the Southwestern Social Science Association conferences, and has been a co-author on two articles in
the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and has had additional articles published in Population and Environment, Environmental Research (2nd author), Family and Community Health (1st author), and BMC Medical Education (2nd author). She was awarded the Ford Foundation Pre Dissertation fellowship and is currently studying healthcare provider’s perceptions, attitudes and training on environmental health and clinical practice in Texas. She wants to continue studying effects of environmental toxicants on children’s health, with a focus on racial and ethnic differences in exposure and outcomes, through an environmental justice framework.

Lauren Contorno 
Sociology PhD Graduate
Northeastern University

Lauren graduated with her PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University in the summer of 2019. She was very actively involved with both SSEHRI and Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NJERC). Her research interests include environmental justice, socio-technical transitions, social movements, and political ecology.

Her dissertation research examines the social and cultural impacts of coal plant closures at the community level, decision-making processes surrounding redevelopment in these “transition towns,” and the broader political economic dynamics of the transition to a renewable energy economy.

Elicia Cousins 
Sociology PhD Student
Northeastern University

Elicia Cousins is a doctoral student in sociology and a research assistant in SSEHRI. She is from Tokyo, Japan and received her BA in Environmental Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota. Her previous research addressed nuclear power and environmental justice in the US and Japan, and she continues to be involved in relief work for children still living in contaminated areas of Fukushima. Based on this work, she is interested in the potential for nature immersion to promote physical and psychological health for children exposed to toxins and traumatic events. Elicia is currently researching retailer and consumer-based campaigns to reduce emerging chemical exposure, as well as the ethical barriers to reporting individual biomonitoring and personal exposure results to study participants. She is also interested in pursuing research on food justice and activism, and knowledge production surrounding nutrition and illness.

Vanessa De La Rosa, PhD 

joined in the summer of 2016 as a SSEHRI postdoctoral research fellow in
collaboration with the Silent Spring Institute. Dr. De La Rosa has expertise in
genomics and alternative models to study the toxicity of chemicals.  Her
projects included employing new genomic technologies to develop cell culture
models that can be used to study breast carcinogens and mammary gland
development. As a SSEHRI fellow, she was also interested in bridging her
background in toxicology with community participatory based research to
facilitate change in chemicals policy and public health.

Prior to Silent Spring, Dr. De La Rosa was an NIH IRACDA fellow at the University of
New Mexico, where she conducted studies on nutrition and heavy metal exposure
during pregnancy in Navajo communities. As a fellow, she also developed and
taught courses in introductory biology at New Mexico State University. Vanessa
is actively involved in STEM diversity initiatives through local and national
organizations to engage and support underrepresented students in the sciences.

Vanessa earned a PhD in Molecular Toxicology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on identifying molecular mechanisms of trichloroethylene (TCE) and toxicity using in vitro functional genomic approaches.

Sokona Diallo
Human Services and Communications Student
Northeastern University

Sokona Diallo is a Human Services and Communications student from Mali, West Africa. She was first exposed to environmental justice and public health through witnessing the devastating effects of toxic waste on her community. Sokona firmly believes research is crucial to understanding how environmental factors can lead to health disparities when the communities where people live, work, learn and play are toxic, burdened by chemicals, and social inequities. Her previous work at Northeastern and in the community has given her a strong background in community organizing, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. At ROUTES, working on the PFAS project, she connected her work on chemical policy reform to how strategic prevention, intervention, and treatment can be implemented to minimize social determinants of health. Her special area of interest is how we bridge research and community engagement to ensure that all communities have an equitable and meaningful voice in the health, sustainability, and future of their neighborhoods.

Jesse (Card) DiValli
Sociology PhD Student
Northeastern University

Jesse (Card) DiValli is a PhD student, coming to Northeastern after completing his M.A. of Sociology at Howard University. While a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI), he pursued his interest in social/environmental interactions, particularly where people or communities are being negatively affected by human-caused environmental conditions. He is particularly interested in conducting social science research that responds to the needs of disadvantaged communities and informs public policy, especially in the urban environments.

Nickolas Faynshteyn 
Sociology MA 2018
Northeastern University

Nickolas graduated with an MA in Sociology in 2018. He was a member of both SSEHRI and the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NJERC). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Nickolas’s research interests include environmental justice and education as well as green jobs training. In the fall he will be searching for positions in community organizing and development.

Bridget Hanna 

Bridget is a Medical Anthropologist, and is also a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University Asia Center. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern in 2015 and 2016. Her research focuses on environmental risk, exposure, and translational science. Her dissertation, Toxic Relief: Science, Medicine and Uncertainty after Bhopal, analyzed the relationship between epidemiological research studies, clinical care, and illness narratives in the context of a chronic mass exposure, and is in revision as the manuscript The Gas Map. Her latest project, Exposomics and Onto-Ethnologies: Health in the age of Exposure, looks at the scientific praxis of interdisciplinary exposomics, and interrogates the risks and rewards of integrated environmental health facilitated by big data and semantic ontology. She tweets regularly about environmental health and interdisciplinarity @socioexposome, and directs The InterExposome Project. Learn more at her website.

Andrea Hindman 

Andrea R. Hindman was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in a joint appointment with Silent Spring Institute (SSI) and SSEHRI. Her main project at SSI was to employ the weight-of-evidence approach to take inventory and prioritize the biological events driving disrupted mammary gland development and later-life disease susceptibility. The goal of this work is to underscore the human health impact of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) on breast cancer risk and development, provide guidance for assay development to predict susceptibility and identify data gaps to solicit new evidence. As a SSEHRI fellow, she will supplement her training in molecular biology with methods in toxicology and community-based research. Her broader research interests are in developmental origins of health and disease, particularly early-life exposures and experiences that predispose later-life disease outcomes. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at The Ohio State University. Her thesis investigated the molecular mechanisms of EDCs and their impact upon estrogen signaling and breast cancer susceptibility following in utero exposures. She complimented her research interests in environment and human health through her dedication to student government, advocacy and campus sustainability. She is a native of Niagara Falls, NY and prior to her doctoral work, earned Bachelor degrees in Biological Sciences, B.S. and Chemistry, B.A., from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Elizabeth Hoover
Assistant Professor
American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Brown University

Elizabeth Hoover is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, indigenous food movements, Native American museum curation, and community engaged research. During the 2014-2015 academic year she worked under a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship as a visiting scholar at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University. Elizabeth received her MA and PhD in Anthropology at Brown University, with a focus on environmental and medical Anthropology as it applies to Native American communities responding to environmental contamination. Her book “’The River is In Us;’ Fighting Toxins in a Mohawk Community an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research, was published in 2017 through University of Minnesota Press. She is currently spending the 2018-2019 academic year as a fellow of the Stanford Humanities Center writing her second book From ‘Garden Warriors’ to ‘Good Seeds;’ Indigenizing the Local Food Movement, which explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country: the successes and challenges faced by these organizations, the ways in which participants define and envision concepts like food sovereignty, and importance of heritage seeds. Elizabeth has published articles about environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities, the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities, and food sovereignty.

Matt Judge
Sociology Ph.D. 2015
Northeastern University

Matt Judge is the first graduate of SSEHRI, having begun his Ph.D. before SSEHRI was established.  He served as a Research Assistant to Distinguished Professor Phil Brown. He has served as a Senior Teaching Assistant for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, having instructed courses: SOCL1001 Introduction to Sociology, SOCL 1248 Environment and Society, and SOCL1268 Social Movements.His dissertation is entitled ” Identification, Understanding, and Response: Exploring the Exposure Experience.”  Matt is now on the job market searching for academic advising jobs in higher education.

Max Liboiron
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Newfoundland, Canada

Max Liboiron was a postdoctoral fellow at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute in 2013-2014. She is now an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a member of the Superstorm Research Lab. She is currently researching theories of scale in relation to environmental action. Her dissertation, “Redefining Pollution: Plastics in the Wild,” investigates scientific and advocate techniques used to define plastic pollution given that plastics are challenging centuries-old concepts of pollution as well as norms of pollution control, environmental advocacy, and concepts of contamination. Her work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, the Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage, and in the edited volume Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic. She writes for the Discard Studies Blog and is a trash artist and activist.

Mercedes Lyson

Mercedes received her PhD in Sociology from Brown University in May of 2013. Her dissertation was a qualitative study on the class politics of Rhode Island’s alternative food movement, which sought to understand the tension between individual self-governance around health through lifestyle-based consumption habits (i.e. participation in food alternatives), and the active policing (for example, through well-intentioned public health policies) of vulnerable and disadvantaged people who are unable or unwilling to achieve “optimum health.” Beyond her work on food systems, health, the body, and social theory, Mercedes has worked extensively on environmental health projects through Phil Brown’s former Brown University Contested Illnesses Research Group, and has also worked on urban/spatial/GIS research projects through Brown University’s Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences Initiative. As a postdoc at Northeastern, she worked with Professors Andrea Parker, Holly Jimison, and Misha Pavel on an evaluation of Aetna Foundation-funded grant projects for digital/mobile health interventions, with a focus on disadvantaged communities and the alleviation of health disparities.

Clare Malone 
Sociology and Cultural Anthropology
Northeastern University

Clare Malone graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology in 2018. Her interest in environmental health, public health policy, and community activism was sparked by previous co-ops at Boston Medical Center and Pathfinder International and past research opportunities within Northeastern’s Sociology Department. She did a co-op with the PFAS Project as an undergraduate research assistant. She plans to work in the public health field before pursuing a graduate degree in Public Health.

Kira Mok 
Sociology and Environmental Studies
Northeastern University

Kira is a recent graduate of Northeastern University, with a B.A. in Sociology and Environmental Studies. She joined SSEHRI in Spring 2020, initially as a research assistant with Dr. Sara Wylie. Later, she completed two co-ops with Dr. Phil Brown and Dr. Alissa Cordner at the PFAS Project Lab and worked as a part-time research assistant between co-ops. At the PFAS Project Lab, she maintained the contamination site tracker, conducted interviews for the activism and governance projects, and explored the impacts of PFAS on Tribal Lands. She is passionate about water equity and environmental justice and hopes to continue this work in her future career.

Yvette Niwa 
Environmental Studies & International Affairs
Northeastern University

Yvette Niwa graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies
and International Affairs in 2018. She first became interested in environmental
health while working on a sustainability campaign in the Japanese American community
of Los Angeles. She completed a co-op with Dr. Phil Brown, which involves
research on perfluorinated compounds and pre-term birth in Puerto Rico. In her
spare time, Yvette develops climate science curriculum for elementary school
students and served on the executive board of Northeastern University’s
environmental organization. She plans to move back to Los Angeles to study
for the GRE and apply to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) graduate

Bindu Panikkar
Assistant Professor
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
University of Vermont

Bindu Panikkar was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environmental Health and
Research Ethics at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at
Northeastern University in 2013-2014  and a Research Affiliate at the
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Science, Brown University where she
co-ordinated the Community Outreach and Translation Core of the Brown
Children’s Environmental Health Center and the Community Outreach Core of the
Brown University Superfund Research Program. She recently accepted a position
as Assistant Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural
Resources at the University of Vermont. She also served as the Program Director
of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment in RI. Her current research work
includes the ethical and legal challenges in communicating individual
biomonitoring personal exposure results to study participants,’ the ‘ethical
implications of fetal tissue research’ at the Brown Children’s Environmental
Health Center and science technology and society perspective on ‘thorium based
nuclear power and the dimensions of risk to society, environment, health and
security. Her prior work and publications include an environmental justice and
community based participatory work funded by the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health on occupational health disparities among
immigrant populations in Somerville, MA; the ethics of uranium mining research;
and the teratogenic effects of depleted uranium. Bindu has a Ph.D. in
Environmental Health and MA/MS in Environmental Policy and
Planning/Environmental Health from Tufts University.

Martha Powers, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute

PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats) Superfund Research Program
Northeastern University

Martha Powers is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with SSEHRI and a Trainee with PROTECT. As part of SSEHRI, she is working with the Silent Spring Institute on the project PFAS-REACH (Research, Education, and Action for Community Health) to evaluate the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances on the immune systems of young children in local communities that have been exposed to contaminated drinking water, and to document the experiences of those affected. With PROTECT, she is part of Project 1: Phthalate Exposure and Molecular Epidemiologic Markers of Preterm Birth Among Women in Puerto Rico, as well as the Research Translation Core.

Martha joined SSEHRI to combine her epidemiology training with how to translate results into public health practice. She received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Environmental Epidemiology and Exposure Science. She was awarded an F31 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for her dissertation research on evaluating the relationship between exposure to inorganic arsenic and nonmalignant respiratory health outcomes in American Indian communities. Prior to that, she completed her Master of Public Health and Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, M.P.A., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Arizona
More resources:

Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and a former faculty member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University. Additionally, Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta was part of Northeastern University’s Superfund Research Program Community Engagement and Research Translation Cores. Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta’s areas of research include: environmental contamination and food quality and phytotechnologies to improve soil and air quality. In parallel, Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta is building citizen science programs to increase public participation in environmental health research, developing tools that can provide more robust exposure estimates and designing effective risk communication and report-back strategies that will improve environmental health literacy. She is dedicated to early academic outreach to underrepresented students and engaging underserved communities whose lives are affected by environmental health issues with increasing prevalence. Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta has a PhD in Soil, Water and Environmental Science from the University of Arizona that focused on integrating the fundamentals of environmental science, human exposure assessment, and developing methods for achieving environmental health justice. She also has a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Photography. For her dissertation project, Gardenroots she conducted a controlled greenhouse study along with a co-created citizen science program to characterize the uptake of arsenic by homegrown vegetables near a Superfund site in Arizona and designed graphically-rich materials to report the data back to participants. Lastly, Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta was the winner of the 14th annual Karen Wetterhan Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Isabella Raponi
Undergraduate Student
Northeastern University

Bella Raponi is a third-year undergraduate student at Northeastern University pursuing a combined Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Chemistry. She is a research assistant on the PFAS project and focuses on the contamination site tracker and the project website. She first became interested in environmental chemistry while aboard a research vessel traveling from San Diego, California to Seward, Alaska. This was followed by a field study in Iceland for volcanic and glacial processes; these diverse experiences further developed Bella’s interest in environmental issues and led her to the PFAS Project for her first co-op.

Mia Renauld

Mia Renauld is a Ph.D. who was a graduate student and research assistant for SSEHRI. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Political Ecology and Anthropology from University of California, Santa Cruz and her masters and doctorate in Sociology from Northeastern University. Her dissertation explored the evolution of corporate community relations between one of the nation’s largest and oldest oil refineries to understand how corporate strategies influence racial formation, community development, and community organizing. Renauld has left academia to utilize her research skills in a ux researcher capacity.

Derrick Salvatore
Environmental Science and Math, B.S. Student
Northeastern University

Ricky Salvatore is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in environmental science and mathematics. He is interested in the application of statistical analysis to environmental and health sciences, in an effort to address systemic injustices facing disadvantaged communities across the country and throughout the world. He is a research assistant on the PFAS project, primarily working on the contamination site tracker and maintaining the project website. Ricky is from New Hampshire, and became interested in studying environmental health problems when PFAS-related cancer clusters were identified in a nearby town. He plans to continue learning about and focusing on environmental justice for the remainder of his time at Northeastern and beyond.

Jamie San Andres 
Sociology MA 2016
Northeastern University

Jamie San Andres is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI). Her research focuses on the ways in which extractive development projects, such as Ecuador’s large-scale mining project El Mirador, impact Indigenous communities. She received bachelors degrees in Anthropology and Political Science from Fresno State University. In 2011, she interned with Yanapuma Foundation, an NGO that promotes sustainable development in Ecuador, and in 2012 she became an international human rights observer with Comisión Ecumenica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU) in Intag, Ecuador. During this time she lived in a mining community and participated in a fifteen-day march led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). Since then, she has worked as a union and community organizer. Most recently, she conducted participatory action research with the CONAIE during a historic Indigenous uprising.

Mariana Sarango, PhD
Research Assistant
Northeastern University

Mariana Sarango is a student in the Population Health PhD Program in the department of Health Sciences.  She holds a BA in sociology from Wesleyan University and an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, with a concentration in Urbanism and the Built Environment.  Her interests include the impact of housing, transportation, and land use policy on health of communities and on health inequities.  Her past research includes assessment of perceived water quality among public housing residents, evaluation of innovative service delivery models for people living with HIV who are disengaged from care, health impact assessment of the proposed opening of a bridge in New York City, and examination of home health hazards among marginalized elderly residents. She is currently working with Dr. Sharon Harlan as a research assistant on the National Science Foundation grant, “Urban Water Innovation Network: Transitioning toward Sustainable Urban Water Systems.”

Dvera Saxton
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
California State University – Fresno

Dvera Saxton was a post-doctoral research associate in SSEHRI in 2013-2014. She completed her Ph.D. in anthropology at American University. Her dissertation, entitled “Layered Disparities, Layered Vulnerabilities: Farmworker Health and Agricultural Corporate Power On and Off the Farm” is based off of two years of ethnographic field research in the Pájaro and Salinas Valleys of California’s Central Coast. Through engaged explorations of farmworkers’ experiences with the workers’ compensation system, pesticide policies and practices, state and non-profit social services, and the development of agribusiness-sponsored corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs, she documents how many of the policies and practices proposed as solutions to farmworker health actually perpetuate vulnerabilities and social and environmental suffering. During her research, Dvera mobilized a combination of methodological approaches, developing strong rapport with farmworker families and actively participating in the campaign against the toxic soil fumigant pesticide methyl iodide. She plans to continue her research and organizing around farmworkers’ knowledge of and experiences with toxic pesticides and work-related injuries within the context of transnational agricultural migration. She would also like develop curriculum and trainings for different audiences that foster trans-worker solidarity as well as alternative, non-capitalist strategies to redress shared social and environmental harms in different communities.

Nancy Toure 
Sociology MA 2017
Northeastern University

completed her MA in Sociology in May 2017. She has a Bachelor’s degree in
Geology from Bryn Mawr College. Nancy’s research interest includes
environmental justice and the intersections of race, class, gender, and the
environment. Her thesis, entitled “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Police
Brutality and Environmental Injustice” examines the relationship between
police brutality and environmental injustice using GIS and Statistics. Nancy
will continue her studies at the University of Illinois – Chicago where she
will pursue a PhD in Sociology.


Lourdes Vera 
Assistant Professor

Buffalo University

Lourdes Vera is a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) and a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. She received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University where she wrote her senior thesis on “Place and Justice in Urban Agriculture” and M.A. in Teaching Earth and General Science from CUNY Brooklyn College where she continued her research on community agriculture and education. As a former teacher, she is interested in how D.I.Y. tools and data visualization can facilitate deeper understandings of scientific phenomena to mobilize individuals from all skill levels and backgrounds for environmental advocacy. She is especially interested in using citizen science to address environmental health and justice concerns with communities affected by industrial development. Currently, she is a research assistant to Prof. Sara Wylie working to develop and validate a photopaper tool to measure and map low, chronic amounts of the toxic gas hydrogen sulfide that presents health risks to communities adjacent to oil and gas facilities. Lourdes won the Sociology Department’s Outstanding Contributions to Public Sociology award for her work with EDGI, including webmaster, Steering Committee member, and member of Environmental Data Justice working group; and for her community-based participatory research work developing a low cost tool for community monitoring of hydrogen sulfide that has  helped build a grassroots research organization in Karnes County Texas.