Research Team: Energy-Climate Transitions

Energy-Climate Transitions Research Team March 2017.jpg

From left to right: Jennie Stephens, Liam Monahan, Hannah Lyons, Lisa Miller, Jess Sparacino, Sahar Mirzaee, Josh Laufer, Saina Mehrab Zadeh, Will Walker


Current Members of the Energy-Climate Transitions Research Team @ Northeastern

Former Members of the Energy-Climate Transitions Research Team (@ UVM)

Climate and Energy Research Team Photo September 2015

From left to right: Bonnie Reese, Dan Kopin, Austin Thomas, Jennie Stephens, Matthew Burke, Dan Fredman, Brock Gibian, Kristen Raub, Sonya Ahamed, Elizabeth Palchak

Daniel (Dan) FredmanDan Fredman_headshot_

Research Interests: The emerging Smart Grid and its implications for human behavior, energy technology, and public policy. Dan is a PhD Student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Gund Graduate Fellow and a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow at UVM. Prior to starting his doctoral studies at UVM, Dan was a Sustainability Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he managed outreach and education programs relating to energy efficiency and conservation, recycling, sustainable food, and active transportation at UIC. He earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning & Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Geography, from the University of Vermont.

Elizabeth Palchak Palchak_photo

Research Interests: Climate change education and framing, understanding human behavior to create effective energy policies and stakeholder engagement in the fossil fuel divestment movement. Elizabeth is a PhD student at the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont and a Graduate Fellow at the Gund Institute. She is also a fellow in the Office of Sustainability at UVM, focused on socially responsible investing. Prior to her current work, she was a faculty member in Teton Science School’s Graduate Program in Jackson, Wyoming and also served as the school’s first sustainability coordinator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from The College of Wooster and her Master’s degree from Antioch New England. In Vermont, she is a committed bike commuter and trail runner.

Kristin Raub

Research Interests: Climate change from natural science, social science and technical perspectives, the overarching influence of climate change perception, behavioral economics, energy transitions and technology, climate change policy.

Kristin_RaubKristin is a PhD student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and NSF IGERT Fellow at UVM. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from Boston University with minors in Earth Science and Environmental Analysis & Policy. Most recently, she earned dual Master’s in Oceanography and Agriculture & Resource Economics from the University of Connecticut. Kristin will be taking a year long leave of absence from UVM beginning in January to work in Washington, D.C. as she has been selected as a 2016 NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.

Austin Thomas

Advisors: Jennie Stephens and Paul HinesAustin Thomas

Originally from the Chicago area, Austin has completed two degrees in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.S.) and the University of Reading in England (MSc). He is now working within the UVM Smart Grid IGERT program to apply his meteorological background to renewable energy generation and resilience.


Former Members of the Energy-Climate Transitions Research Team at Clark University

Research team October 2013 Zoom in

Elizabeth Allen

Research Interests: Public perceptions of climate change, stakeholder

outreach and engagement in environmental modeling processes, communication between researchers and stakeholders. Liz earned her PhD at Washington State University in spring 2016 working with Jennie Stephens and the communication research team within the

BioEarth Project.

Ryan Collins  Collins_Ryan 2012

Ryan earned dual graduate degrees in environmental science and policy (MS) and business (MBA) from Clark University.  Ryan’s project responsibilities included coordination and facilitation of focus groups in Massachusetts and Vermont pertaining to competing visions of smart grid. In addition, Ryan was the project lead on ‘Post-Sandy Stakeholder Discourse on Energy System Change’ where he utilitized a climate change mitigation and adaptation framework to explore links among Superstorm Sandy, energy system change and climate change. Ryan’s other research interests include clean energy infrastructure, energy policy and sustainable business innovation. 

Peter FrongilloFrongillo

Peter was a dual degree graduate student at Clark University pursuing a Masters in Environmental Science and Policy and a Masters in Business Administration. He worked with Professor Stephens researching energy system change and smart grid implementation with a particular focus on emerging developments in Worcester, MA.

David LoveLove_David 2014PICTURE

David earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University, where his primary research interests included sustainable development and the interactions between the economy and environment. He worked as a research assistant for Professor Stephens and the Smart Grid team.

Melissa SkubelSkubel Photo for Website

Melissa was a graduate student at Clark University studying Environmental Science and Policy. Her primary research interests involve energy policy and energy efficiency and she is working with Professor Stephens researching media perceptions of smart grid and grid modernization in the state of Massachusetts.

Grant Troester
Grant Troester was a part of the research team 2014-2015 at the University of Vermont focused on documenting Vermont’s commitment to a renewable energy transition.

Lauren Ziemer
Lauren Ziemer Lauren earned her Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark working with Professor Stephens on research focused on media discourse on Climate Change and Energy following Hurricane Sandy.

Xiao Chen                                         

Xiao worked with Professor Jennie Stephens 2011-2013 on identifying and defining the parameters of the political and economic debate over smart grid, and understanding how socio-political contexts influence smart grid deployment and policy-making in the United States.  Xiao completed his M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University in Spring 2013.

Will Maxwell

Will was an undergraduate student at Clark University with a strong interest in the environment and its relationship to development and economics. As part of the research team in 2012-2013, Will worked on media representation of Smart Grid technology.

Ria LangheimRia Langheim 2012

Ria completed her M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University in Spring 2013. During her 2 years on the research team, Ria conducted research on Smart Grid with a focus on media representations of the phrase “Smart Grid.”

Gabe Rand – 2006-2008

Leah Melnick – 2006-2008

Leah and Gabe wind turbine

Leah Melnick and Gabe Rand. Hull Wind Turbine


Copenhagen October 2012Cluster research Team December 2011