Speaker Topics and Bios-Weekend-Today - Carnegie Mellon University

Speaker Topics and Biographies

Environmental Justice

Peggy Shepard: WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Heinz Award for the Environment Winner
Topic: Developing Community-Based Capacity to Advance Environmental Health and Justice

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color. She is a former Democratic District Leader, who represented West Harlem from 1985 to April 1993, and served as President of the National Women’s Political Caucus-Manhattan from 1993-1997.

From January 2001-2003, Ms. Shepard served as the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is co-chair of the Northeast Environmental Justice Network. She is a former member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the National Institutes of Health and a member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Ms. Shepard serves on the Institute of Medicine’s committee: Ethics of Housing-Related Health Hazard Research Involving Children, Youth, and Families.

Joel Tarr: Carnegie Mellon Faculty in Departments of History and EPP, and at the Heinz College
Topic: Pittsburgh's Environmental History: Water, Air and Land

Joel Tarr studies the environmental history of cities and the history and impact of their technological systems. He is particularly interested in using history to understand contemporary problems. In 1992 Carnegie Mellon University awarded him the Robert Doherty Prize for Contributions to Excellence in Education, and in 2003 he was elected a University Professor. In 2008, the Society for the History of Technology awarded him its highest award, the Leonardo da Vinci Medal, presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the history of technology. His book, Technology and the Rise of the Networked City in Europe and America, edited with Gabriel Dupuy, won the 1988 Abel Wolman Prize of the Public Works Historical Society; his book, The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective, was named an “outstanding Academic Book for 1997” by Choice; his edited volume, Devastation and Renewal: An Environmental History of Pittsburgh and Its Region, received a Certificate of Commendation from the American Association of State and Local History in 2004; and, his co-authored book, The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the 19th Century, was awarded Honorable Mention in 2007 for the Lewis Mumford Prize of the Society for City and Regional Planning History. He is co-editor with Martin V. Melosi of the University of Pittsburgh series, “The History of the Urban Environment.” He served as President of the Public Works Historical Society in 1982-83 and as President of the Urban History Association in 1999. He has served on National Research Council committees dealing with issues of urban infrastructure, public transit, water pollution, and the Human Dimensions of Global Change.

Caren Glotfelty, Phil Johnson: Heinz Endowments
Topic: Clearing the Haze: Understanding Western Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Problem

Caren Glotfelty is director of The Heinz Endowments’ Environment Program. Under her leadership, the program’s grant making has expanded to promote smart growth and land use at regional and state levels, recognizing that ecologically sound development is an essential component of economic prosperity and environmental protection.

After earning a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania, Caren spent much of the early years of her career working in Pennsylvania and Maryland state government on policy and planning issues involving land use and water quality. During Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey’s administration, she became the first deputy secretary of water management for the state Department of Environmental Resources. Subsequently, she held the Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resources at Pennsylvania State University.

Caren has been honored many times for her career accomplishments, including being named co-chair of Gov. Tom Ridge’s 21st Century Environment Commission in 1998. She received a Three Rivers Environmental Award from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council in 2000; the Friend of Pennsylvania award from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania in 2004; and a Pennsylvanians Lighting the Way award from Gov. Ed Rendell and his wife, federal appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, in 2005.

Philip Johnson is a senior officer with the Endowments’ Environment Program. He manages a grants portfolio and community initiatives that focus on environmental health.

Philip joined the Endowments in February 2009 while completing a doctorate in environmental health and risk management at Yale University. He has two master’s degrees from Yale, one in environmental science and the other in public health, and received an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Northwestern University in 1991.

Outside of academics, Philip has worked for government agencies and nonprofits on air and water pollution issues. He founded the nonprofit Air Intelligence, a Washington state-based organization that provided scientific and legal expertise to communities facing serious contamination issues. He also worked for the U.S. National Park Service on salmon fisheries restoration in the Pacific Northwest.

Before beginning his doctoral work, Philip was a senior scientist and program manager for the Boston-based nonprofit, NESCAUM, which provides scientific analysis and policy advising to the air-quality agencies of the eight Northeastern states. His memberships include the American Public Health Association and the Society for Risk Analysis.

John Soluri: Carnegie Mellon Faculty in Department of History
Topic: Brewing Eco-Justice? Coffee, Small-scale Agriculture, and Climate Change

Professor Soluri's research and teaching explore the relationship between social and environmental change in Latin America. His book, Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States, examines the relationship between the mass consumption of a tropical commodity (bananas) in the United States, and environmental and social change in Honduras during the late 19th and 20th centuries. His current book project in centered on animals, commodity markets, borders, and environmental change in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Professor Soluri is a founding member of SOLCHA, the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Environmental History and is presently an Associate Editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. He is also involved with Pittsburgh-based organizations promoting human rights, fair trade, and alternative agriculture in the Americas.

Andrew Butcher: CEO, GTECH Strategies
Topic: The Great Sunflower Hunt:  In Pursuit of Inspiration. Thoughts on the social entrepreneurial dilemma and how to make change that happens

Andrew holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelors in Political Science from American University in Washington DC. He participated in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in St. Louis, and holds certificates from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS).

A Colorado native, and the youngest of 5 older sisters, Andrew is a committed practitioner of creative social and environmental responsibility. He has installed solar panels in South America, deconstructed buildings in Colorado, and farmed Brownfields in Pittsburgh. Since co-founding GTECH in 2007, Andrew has been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, presented at the Brookings Institute, The National Vacant Properties Conference, The Imagining Solutions Conference and has been honored at the White House as an emerging leader in the field of social innovation. In 2008, Andrew was awarded a prestigious, international Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurs with business partner Chris Koch.

He sits on the Boards of GTECH, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, and Manchester Bidwell’s Green Tech Advisory Board. He lives in Pittsburgh, near a park with his wife Julie and dog Jasper-Bacon. His favorite words are gumption & grit and he enjoys sandwiches outside.


Stuart Pimm: Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Duke University
Topic: Biodiversity: The most beautiful carbon

Dr. Pimm is Doris Duke Chair of Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke and one of the most cited scientists working in the field of conservation biology. He’s also worked with the best minds in the world to share his passion for protecting the Earth’s biodiversity.

Dr. Pimm is author of A Scientist Audits the Earth, “a globe-circling tour of our endangered planet.” Before coming to Duke, Dr. Pimm was professor of conservation biology at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University in New York. He was the recipient of a Pew Scholarship for Conservation and the Environment (in 1993) and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship (in 1999). Pimm has testified before both the House and Senate Committees on the re-authorization of the Endangered Species Act. He’s also taken a lead role in a major initiative to restore the Florida Everglades. Pimm is the author of more than 150 scientific papers, as well as three books. He is passionate about sharing science with those outside his field, including non-scientists, and has published numerous popular articles and book reviews in such publications as New Scientist, Scientific American, Nature, and Science.

Indira Nair: Vice Provost for Education Emeritus, Carnegie Mellon University
Topic: Biodiversity in a Global Context

Dr. Indira Nair retired from Carnegie Mellon after 32 years. For the last 12 years there, she was the Vice Provost for Education and Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Northwestern University and a Pennsylvania teachers Certificate for high school science teaching. She has designed and taught several interdisciplinary courses including ethics of science and technology, environmental science, technology and decision making and radiation, health and policy. Her research has ranged over: risk assessment and communication, green design, bioelectromagnetics, education in general and pedagogies for the modern-day literacies such as scientific, environmental and global literacy. Dr. Nair currently chairs the national Global Learning Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U). She has served on numerous national committees including National Science Foundation's Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) and on the Division of Education and Human Resources Advisory Committee (EHR), the Educators Advisory Panel of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Board of Student Pugwash USA. Locally, she has been involved in K-12 education and served as a member of the Board of the Pittsburgh Regional Center for Science Teachers, the School Reform Task Force of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the group designing the Science and Technology High School, the founding Boards of two charter schools –City High and the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park, and on the Winchester Thurston Advisory Board. She is co-author of a book, Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering: No Universal Constants, (Temple University Press, 1997). She was voted a Women of Distinction by the National Association of Women in Higher Education (NAWE) and the George Morgan Award for Creativity and Innovation in Interdisciplinary Education by Brown University. She received the Doherty Prize for Excellence in Education in 1993, the Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring Award in 1994 and the Barbara Lazarus Award for Culture and Climate in 2005. She founded the Carnegie Mellon Chapter of Student Pugwash to encourage students to think about the social responsibility of science and technology. Her current quests and involvements include: a new scheme for general education including the new literacies; pedagogies for educating for innovation; increasing the inclusion of under-represented minorities across all segments of education; improving K-12 STEM education and bioelectromagnetics.

Patricia DeMarco: Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Institute
Topic: Preserving Biodiversity- Part of our Life Support System

Patricia M. DeMarco, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association in Springdale, PA. Throughout her 30‐year career in energy and environmental policy development and implementation, Dr. DeMarco has held a variety of positions including Executive Director of the Power Facilities Evaluation Council and staff to the Governor of Connecticut. She worked as the Manager of Resource Development for the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Co‐operative and started a technology development firm as a loaned executive. She operated and sold her own business, the Energy Roundtable, prior to moving to Alaska in 1998 to become President of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. After serving as a Commissioner of the Alaska Regulatory Commission and as Associate Dean for the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage, she returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh in September 2005 and, in addition to her position with the Rachel Carson Homestead, holds Adjunct Faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh. She received a Bachelor of Science and a Doctorate in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Christine Mondor: Professor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University
Topic: Living Cities: The Challenge

Christine Mondor has been active in shaping Pittsburgh’s buildings and landscapes as an architect, educator and activist. She was project architect for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) rated buildings in the country and has provided green building consulting for clients including the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, ALCOA Corporation and Carnegie Mellon University. She has produced other projects that have been recognized for their design and environmental quality, including a straw bale comfort station and the renovation of the CCI Center. Most recently, Christine has designed residential and commercial landscapes to create beautiful settings that reconnect people to the outdoors and improve environmental conditions such as storm water and habitat quality.

Christine teaches architecture and landscape design at Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham College. She has been a board member of a number of local organizations, including the Green Building Alliance, Three Rivers Association for Sustainable Energy (TRASE), and the citizen board to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission. She received her Bachelor’s of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University and studied sustainable design in Scandinavia. Christine is a LEED Accredited Professional.

Rick Relyea: Professor of Biology, University of Pittsburgh
Topic: Pesticides and declining biodiversity: When the dose doesn’t make the poison

Dr. Relyea is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and the Director of the University's biological research station, the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology.

Dr. Relyea's conducts research in the broad field  of ecology and evolution, and is internationally known for his work on the impacts of pesticides on aquatic ecosystems. In particular, his work has highlighted the limits of our knowledge regarding how pesticides affect wildlife and the multitude of unexpected ways that pesticides can negatively affect nature's biodiversity. Dr. Relyea has authored more than 80 scientific articles and recently published two textbooks in Environmental Science. In 2005, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.