Advisory Committee for ERE - Biographies

Photo of Lora Billings


Lora Billings is the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at Montclair State University. She is the first woman to hold the position of Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics in the University’s 110 year history. Billings holds a Ph.D. in Applied Math from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Lafayette College. Her specialty is the mathematical analysis of dynamical systems and her current research focuses is on modeling stochastic complex systems in ecology and epidemiology. Billings works to promote diversity in STEM, and she continues to incorporate students in her research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Billings is an Associate Editor for the SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems and a board member of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey. She also served as a program director for the Applied Mathematics Program in the Division of Mathematical Science at the National Science Foundation.


Photo of Andres Clarens


Andrés Clarens is an Associate Professor of Engineering Systems and Environment (Civil and Environmental Engineering) at the University of Virginia and Associate Director of the Pan-University Environmental Resilience Institute. His research is focused broadly on anthropogenic carbon flows and the ways that CO2 is manipulated, reused, and sequestered in engineered systems. The results of his work are important for developing efficient strategies for mitigating the emissions that are driving climate change and for understanding how infrastructure systems must be adapted to meet these changes. At the largest scales, his system-level modeling work has explored the life cycle of systems in the manufacturing, transportation, and energy sectors such as algae-to-energy processes and waterless fracturing. In the laboratory, he is pursuing complementary research in the phase behavior and surface chemistry of carbon dioxide mixtures at high pressure to develop new ways to store CO2 underground or derive carbon-negative cements. In the classroom, Prof. Clarens engages in peer-to-peer learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level with an emphasis on developing innovative tools for teaching the fundamentals of climate change. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Young Investigator Award and is a US Fulbright Fellow. He has held visiting faculty positions at Utrecht University (Netherlands) and the Technical University of Argentina. He is the incoming chairman of the Environmental Research and Education Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation. In his spare time, he enjoys running, backpacking, fly-fishing, and traveling. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia, and an M.S.E. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Photo of Vicki Grassian


Vicki H. Grassian began her independent academic career at the University of Iowa in 1990. She rose through the academic ranks and was name the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Chemistry in 2010. At Iowa, she was involved in a number of initiatives. She was appointed the Founding Director of the newly formed Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute by the Vice President for Research, a position she held for a decade; she directed the Nanotoxicology Core of the NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Sciences Research Center in the College of Public Health; she was the PI of a multi-department, multi-college NSF-REU program focused on Environmental Systems; and she developed and led the Environmental Chemistry track of the Environmental Science program for nearly a decade. In 2013, Professor Grassian became co-Director of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE), a multi-institutional NSF-Chemical Center of Innovation headquartered at the University of California San Diego. In January 2016, she joined the faculty at UC San Diego as Distinguished Professor. She currently chairs the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry there.

Professor Grassian's research focuses on the chemistry and impacts of environmental interfaces including atmospheric aerosols, geochemical interfaces, nanomaterials in the environment and indoor surfaces. She has published over 350 peer-reviewed and 16 book chapters as well as edited three books. She has given over 300 invited presentations on her research, including the 2019 American Chemical Society National Meeting Presidential Plenary Lecturer, 2018 Florida State University - Hoffmann Lecture, 2017 TEDx San Diego, 2016 Indoor Air Conference Plenary Lecturer, 2015 Goldschmidt Conference Silver Anniversary Plenary Lecturer, 2012 Hascoe Distinguished Lecture at the University of Connecticut, and keynote speaker for the 2012 Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin Symposium at the University of Zurich. Professor Grassian is a Fellow of six scientific societies and is also the recipient of several national and international awards. Most recently, she received an ACS-CEI Award for Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemistry Education (2018), the William H. Nichols Medal from the New York Section of the American Chemical Society (2019), the IUPAC Distinguished Woman in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Awardee (2019), and the American Chemical Society National Surface Chemistry Award (2021). In 2020, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Photo of Charles Isbell


Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr.’s research passion is artificial intelligence. He focuses on applying statistical machine learning to building autonomous agents that must live and interact with large numbers of other intelligent agents, some of whom may be human. Lately, Dr. Isbell has turned his energies toward adaptive modeling, especially activity discovery (as distinct from activity recognition); scalable coordination; and development environments that support the rapid prototyping of adaptive agents. As a result, he has begun developing adaptive programming languages, worrying about issues of software engineering, and trying to understand what it means to bring machine learning tools to non-expert authors, designers, and developers. Charles also pursues reform in computing education. He was a developer of Threads, Georgia Tech's new structuring principle for computing curricula and one of the key developers in Georgia Tech's new MOOC-supported Masters of Science in Computer Science, the first of its kind in the world.

He received his B.S. in Computer Science in 1990 from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998. After four years at AT&T Labs/Research, he returned to Georgia Tech to join the faculty of the College of Computing.

Photo of Kimberly Jones


Dr. Kimberly L. Jones is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education (College of Engineering and Architecture) and Professor and Chair (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) at Howard University. She holds a B.S in Civil Engineering from Howard University, a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests include water and wastewater quality, membrane separations, global water treatment, environmental justice, risk evaluation and environmental nanotechnology.

Dr. Jones has served on the Chartered Science Advisory Board of the US EPA, where she chaired the Drinking Water Committee and was liaison to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council. She is an alternate Commissioner of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin in Washington, DC. Dr. Jones has served on the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Board of Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, where she was Secretary of the Board. She has served on several committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She served as the Deputy Director of the Keck Center for Nanoscale Materials for Molecular Recognition at Howard University. She also serves on the Center Steering Committee of the Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT) and on the Management Board of the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP).

Dr. Jones has received the Researcher of the Year award from Howard University, a Top Women in Science Award from the National Technical Association, the Outstanding Young Civil Engineer award from University of Illinois Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, an NSF CAREER Award, an Outstanding Leadership and Service and Outstanding Faculty Mentor award from Howard University, and Top Women Achievers award from Essence Magazine.

Photo of Robin Leichenko


Robin Leichenko is Professor of Geography at Rutgers University and co-Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute. Her current research explores the economic and equity impacts of climate change with a focus on the Northeastern United States. Dr. Leichenko serves as co-chair of the fourth New York City Panel on Climate Change, an independent 20-member advisory body that synthesizes scientific information and advises city policymakers on local resiliency and adaptation strategies. Dr. Leichenko previously served as a review editor for Working Group II of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Additionally, she served on the U.S. National Academies panel on Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses. Leichenko has authored or co-authored three books and more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Her book, Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures (2008, Oxford University Press, with Karen O’Brien), won the Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution from the American Association of Geographers. Her latest book, Climate and Society: Transforming the Future (with Karen O’Brien) was published by Polity Press in 2019.

Photo of Maria Carmen Lemos


Dr. Maria Carmen Lemos is Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment and co- Director of the Great Lakes Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also Senior Policy Scholar at the Udall Center for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Arizona. During 2006-2007 she was a James Martin 21st Century School Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. Her research focuses on environmental public policymaking in Latin America and the U.S., especially related to climate change (adaptation and adaptive capacity building) and the co- production of science and policy and different means to narrow the gap between useful and usable knowledge; and the role of technoscientific knowledge and environmental governance. She was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR5) and has served in a number of the US National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences committees, e.g., Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change (2009), America Climate Choice Science Panel (2010) and the Board on Environmental Change and Society (2008-present). She has MSc. and PhD degrees in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Photo of Amanda Lynch


Amanda obtained her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Melbourne in 1993. Her research focuses on the intersection between atmospheric science and environmental governance, with particular interests in the Arctic and in arid regions as places that express convergences of rapid change in natural and human systems.

Amanda developed the first Arctic regional climate system model in 1993, won the Priestly Medal in 2008, and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research, and the World Academy of Art and Science. She has been an editor at Journal of Climate, Weather, Climate and Society, and Science Advances. At the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, she is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel. She was the founding director of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society.


Photo of Benjamin McCall


Dr. Ben McCall is a Professor of Sustainability and the inaugural Executive Director of the Hanley Sustainability Institute at the University of Dayton. In this role, he works to advance sustainability research and education, in addition to campus sustainability efforts and community engagement.  At HSI, he has built a community of Sustainability Scholars consisting of over 100 faculty and other researchers in more than 30 different departments across campus and has supported the launch of two interdisciplinary majors in sustainability.  His recent scholarly activity includes a techno-economic analysis of a conversion of the UD campus to 100% renewable energy, as well as the launch of the transdisciplinary Planetary Limits Academic Network.  Prior to joining the University of Dayton, he was a Professor of Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His previous work in the interdisciplinary area of astrochemistry has yielded nearly a hundred research papers, early career awards such as NSF CAREER/PECASE and a Packard Fellowship, and fellowships from the American Physical Society and from Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America).  He holds a PhD in Chemistry and Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Chicago, an MS in Chemistry from Chicago, and a BS in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.


Photo of Claire Monteleoni


Claire Monteleoni is an Associate Professor, and the Associate Chair for Inclusive Excellence, in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the founding Editor in Chief of Environmental Data Science, a Cambridge University Press journal, launched in December 2020. She joined CU Boulder in 2018, following positions at University of Paris-Saclay, CNRS, George Washington University, and Columbia University. She completed her PhD and Masters in Computer Science at MIT and was a postdoc at UC San Diego. She holds a Bachelor’s in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard. Her research on machine learning for the study of climate change helped launch the interdisciplinary field of Climate Informatics. In 2011, she co-founded the International Conference on Climate Informatics, which turned 10 years old in 2020, and has attracted climate scientists and data scientists from over 20 countries and 30 U.S. states. She gave an invited tutorial: Climate Change: Challenges for Machine Learning, at NeurIPS 2014. 


Photo of Julia Parrish


Dr. Julia K. Parrish is a marine ecologist whose research follows three major routes: marine conservation, seabird ecology, and citizen science. She is the Executive Director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a project enlisting ~800 volunteers along the U.S. west coast and Alaska to walk beaches in search of dead birds and marine debris. Julia is also the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of the Environment, University of Washington where she holds the Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield Endowed Professorship. She has been a Leopold Leadership Fellow and was one of 12 “Champions of Change” honored at The White House for her work in public engagement in science and scientific literacy.


Photo of Diane Pataki


Dr. Diane E. Pataki is a Foundation Professor and Director of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU). Prior to joining ASU, she was most recently Associate Vice President for Research, a Professor of Biological Sciences, and an Adjunct Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah.   She received a B.A. in environmental science at Barnard College and an M.S. and Ph.D. at the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Pataki’s work has spanned the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, the use of stable isotopes to study coupled human and natural processes related to urban CO2 emissions, and the impacts of urban vegetation on local climate, pollution, and hydrology. Her work is focused on improving mechanistic understanding of the interactions between vegetation, the physical environment, and urban planning, forestry, and design. Her lab utilizes methods from plant physiological ecology, ecosystem science, and bioclimatology to measure the impacts of urban landscapes on urban climate, pollution, atmospheric chemistry, and human thermal comfort and well-being. Dr. Pataki is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Ecological Society of America, a Leopold Leadership Fellow, a Fulbright Global Scholar, and the Vice President for Science of the Ecological Society of America. She has previously served as a Program Director in the NSF Division of Environmental Biology. 

Photo of Raina Plowright


Dr. Plowright is Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Montana State University. She is trained as an infectious disease ecologist, epidemiologist, and wildlife veterinarian. Her research focuses on the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in wildlife populations, the transmission of pathogens across species barriers, and links between environmental stressors and pathogen emergence. Her group focuses on W.H.O. priority pathogens that are emerging from bats into humans, including henipaviruses and coronaviruses, as well as other wildlife-pathogen systems that have human health and conservation implications. Dr. Plowright leads a collaboration of > 70 scientists (, funded by NSF and DARPA, working to prevent pathogen transmission from bats to humans. This group, spread across five continents, has ongoing field studies in Australia, Bangladesh, Madagascar, and Ghana.

Photo of Anu Ramaswami


Dr. Anu Ramaswami is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Princeton Environmental Institute. She is the inaugural director of the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India She is among the leading scholars on sustainable urban infrastructure and has seen her work adopted as policies and protocols for developing sustainable cities in the United States and internationally. Dr. Ramaswami’s research spans environmental modeling, environmental technologies, industrial ecology, sustainable infrastructure design, urban systems analysis, and integration of science and technology with policy and planning for real-world implementation in communities. She has developed novel interdisciplinary education programs and resources in these diverse areas. She is the lead author of a graduate-level textbook on integrated environmental modeling.

Dr. Ramaswami received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology “Madras, India, and her M.S. and PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She serves as chair of the newly founded Sustainable Urban Systems section at the International Society of Industrial Ecology and represents the United States in various international urban sustainability networks.