People

Len Albright
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Phone: 617-373-6849
Office: 573 Holmes Hall
Email:l.albright@neu.edu
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Len Albright is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a faculty member in the Urban Sustainability Initiative at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and was a recipient of the University’s Phoenix Fellowship from 2004-07. His dissertation was supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the MacArthur Foundation. A native of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Len maintains an interest in the history and impact of the Mt. Laurel Decisions, a series of NJ Supreme Court decisions that advocated for inclusionary zoning and housing equality. His dissertation is an ethnographic study of an affordable housing complex in a suburban New Jersey community. Trained as an environmental sociologist, Dr. Albright is also researching issues of community mobilization around hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania.

 

Phil Brown
Director of Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences
360 Huntington Avenue, 310INV
Boston, MA 02115
617 373-2022
Email: p.brown@neu.edu

Phil Brown is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, and Director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. From 1980 to 2012, he taught at Brown University, as Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies. His recent books are Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement and Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements. He maintains connection with Brown University as an Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. At Brown, he served as co-director of the Contested Illnesses Research Group, director of the Community Engagement Core of Brown’s Superfund Research Program, and director of the Community Outreach and Translation Core of Brown’s Children’s Environmental Health Center.

 

Maryann Cairns
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
ma.cairns@neu.edu

Maryann Cairns is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Her research centers on issues of environmental development, water and sanitation, alternative waste treatment, waste-energy systems, and health risk from de facto wastewater irrigation.  Her dissertation, entitled “Environment, Rights, and Waste in Bolivia: Addressing Water and Sanitation Processes for Improved Infrastructure,” builds on concepts of political ecology, human rights, and critical development to evaluate the human impact of water and sanitation infrastructure placement.  She gives specific focus to wastewater treatment as a key element of this infrastructure.  Her dissertation work was funded as part of the NSF grant entitled “Sustainable Water Management Research Experience in Bolivia: Influence of a Dynamic World on Technological and Societal Solutions.”  Her ongoing work addresses locally-relevant design and implementation of alternative strategies for wastewater treatment and nutrient management in Bolivia, Belize, and the U.S.  Cairns is particularly interested in the use of open source solutions for data collection and mapping and has employed KoBo and Open Data Kit software in her work.

 

Lauren Contorno
Sociology PhD Student
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
549 Holmes Hall
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115
Email: contorno.l@husky.neu.edu

Lauren Contorno is a first year PhD student from Illinois Wesleyan University. She is interested in environmental justice, environmental health, and political economy. Her most recent research focused upon issues of sustainable agriculture and food justice in rural Colorado.

 

Daniel Faber
Director of Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative
Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
509 Holmes Hall
Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115
Email: d.faber@neu.edu
617-373-2878 (w)

Daniel Faber is Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University and Director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NEJRC).  His research is focused in the areas of political economy and crisis theory, environmental sociology and policy, social movements, classical and contemporary social theory, environmental justice, philanthropy, Central America and underdevelopment, climate change, and globalization.  He co-founded and worked as Research Director for the Environmental Project On Central America (EPOCA), Earth Island Institute (1984-90), and has published numerous works on the political ecology of Central America.  He is also a co-founding editor of the international journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, and a participating editor with Latin American Perspectives.  He is the author of Environment Under Fire: Imperialism and the Ecological Crisis in Central America (Monthly Review Press, 1993), recognized by Choice Magazine as an “1993 Outstanding Academic Book of the Year on Latin America.”  His most recent work is concerned with problems of environmental injustice and equity in America, and includes the edited collection, The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States (Guilford Press, 1998) and Capitalizing on Environmental Justice: The Polluter-Industrial Complex in the Age of Globalization (Rowman & Littlefied, 2008), which was a finalist for the prestigious C.W. Mills Award in 2009.  Dr. Faber has produced a number of major research reports relating to environmental justice, including Green of Another Color, which assesses relations between the foundation community and the U.S. environmental justice movement.  Another major study includes, Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards 2005: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the co-edited collection Foundations for Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefied, 2005).  Dr. Faber is a board member of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT), a coalition of scientists, health professionals, environmental advocates, and labor unions working for a precautionary approach to environmental policy in Massachusetts.  In 2006, Dr. Faber received the “Champion for Justice Award,” granted by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT), and the “Friend of the Earth and Environmental Justice Award” from Salem State College and HealthLink for his “path-breaking leadership and work in Environmental Justice in Massachusetts and beyond.” In 2010 he received the Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award from the Environmental Sociology and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.  He has also received recognition for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and many other organizations for his work in advancing a more transformative environmental justice politics.  He is currently working on a new report on climate justice, ecological refugees, and equitable policy approaches for dealing with global warming.  Dr. Faber is also a co-founding Board member of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance (MEJA), and Coordinator of the New England Environmental Justice Research Network (EJRN).

 

Bridget Hanna
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Bridget Hanna is a post-doctoral research associate with SSEHRI. She holds a PhD in medical anthropology from Harvard University. Her research focuses on the social construction of the science of risk, exposure, and harm, and her dissertation, Toxic Relief: science, uncertainty, and medicine after Bhopal examines the production of knowledge about illness in the aftermath of the world’s worst industrial disaster. She has published on issues of environmental health, disaster relief, global health, and caregiving, and is co-author of the 2003 Bhopal Reader.

 

Matt Judge
Ph.D. Candidate/Research Assistant
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 336INV
Boston, MA 02115
Email: jmjudge@neu.edu
617.373.7326

Matt Judge is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. His dissertation “The Contaminated NICU: Nurse Activism, Contested Science, and the Control of Life” explores how nurses have been instrumental in the reform of the use of potentially harmful phthalated plastics in neo-natal intensive care units. He serves 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.

 

Max Liboiron
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 336INV
Boston, MA 02115
Email: maxliboiron@gmail.com
617.373.7326

Max Liboiron is a postdoctoral fellow at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute 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 upcoming edited volume Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic (July 2013). She writes for the Discard Studies Blog and is a trash artist and activist.

 

Mercedes Lyson
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Email: m.lyson@neu.edu

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’s former Brown CIRG 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 is working 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.

 

Jacob Matz
Sociology Ph.D. Student/Research Assistant
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 566 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Email:matz.j@husky.neu.edu

Jacob Matz is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology focused on environmental sociology and environmental health and justice issues surrounding unconventional oil and gas extraction. Jacob received a Master’s degree in Sociology from West Virginia University where he investigated narratives employed by the oil and gas industry in the Marcellus shale region. An article derived from his Master’s thesis entitled “Selling ‘Fracking’: Energy in Depth and the Marcellus Shale”, co-authored with Anthropologist Daniel Renfrew, was recently published in Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, and describes the framing strategies used by a high-profile oil and gas industry public relations initiative operating on the Internet. Jacob is currently investigating the use of low cost environmental health monitoring tools by residents and advocacy groups to monitor air pollution surrounding unconventional gas activity.

 

Bindu Panikkar
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 336INV
Boston, MA 02115
Email: b.panikkarz@neu.edu
617.373.7326

Bindu Panikkar is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environmental Health and Research Ethics at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at the Northeastern University and a Research Affiliate at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Science, Brown University where she co-ordinates 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 also serves 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.

 

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, M.P.A., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Health Sciences
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 336INV
Boston, MA 02115
m.ramirezandreotta@neu.edu
617.373.7326

Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University. Additionally, Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta is part of Northeastern University’s Superfund Research Program Community Engagement and Research Translation Cores. Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta 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 (UA) 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 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

 

Mia Renauld
SSEHRI Research Assistant
PhD Student
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 566 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115
renauld.m@husky.neu.edu

Mia Renauld is a PhD graduate student and research assistant for SSEHRI and member of NEJRC. She received her bachelor’s degrees from University of California, Santa Cruz in Anthropology and Political Ecology. Her research interests include environmental justice, political economy, urban theory, and sustainability including past research the explored the transforming political economy of New Delhi and its impacted the urban poor’s rights to citizenship and access to water. She is currently researching environmental justice policies in California and how the oil complex influences the daily life of Richmond residents.

 

Lauren Richter
Sociology Ph.D. Student
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 566 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115
richter.l@husky.neu.edu

Lauren Richter entered the graduate program in Sociology at Northeastern University in 2013, and is a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. she worked at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in California. She received her M.A. in Sociology from Washington State University, and B.A. in Sociology from Connecticut College. She is a member of the Boston-based environmental justice group Alternatives for Community and Environment.

 

Ron Sandler
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Director, Ethics Institute
Northeastern University
371 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5000
Tel: (617) 373-3619
Fax: (617) 373-4359
r.sandler@neu.edu

Ronald Sandler is an associate professor of philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, a researcher in the Nanotechnology and Society Research Group, and a research associate in the Environmental Justice Research Collaborative at Northeastern University. His primary areas of research are environmental ethics, ethics and technology, ethical theory, and Spinoza.
Sandler has taught courses on subjects ranging from philosophy of religion to ethics after Darwin and from contemporary moral issues to history of philosophy. He has received Northeastern University’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

 

Dvera Saxton
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Northeastern University
d.saxton@neu.edu

Dvera Saxton 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.

 

Laura Senier
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
Email: senier@wisc.edu

Laura Senier holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology and in Health Sciences. She holds an MPH in epidemiology from the BU School of Public Health and a PhD in Sociology from Brown University. Her research interests include the sociology of medicine and public health, community environmental health, and environmental justice. Her dissertation was funded by a fellowship from the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Her current research focuses on barriers in research translation, or the migration of basic discoveries to clinical and public health applications. She is currently exploring this problem in an NIH-funded grant to study how state health agencies are modernizing their genetics programs.

 

Sara Shostak
Department of Sociology
Brandeis University, MS 071
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Phone: 781-736-2213
Fax: 781-736-2653
Email: sshostak@brandeis.edu
Website: Brandeis Faculty Profile and CV

Sara Shostak is Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Health: Science, Society, and Policy Program at Brandeis University. Her research and teaching interests include the sociology of health and illness, science and technology studies, and environmental sociology. Across these domains, she focuses on how to understand – and address – inequalities in health.

Shostak’s first book - Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health - received the Robert K. Merton Book Award from the ASA’s Section on Science, Knowledge and Technology and the Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the Medical Sociology Section. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation with nearly 100 environmental health scientists, policy makers, and environmental health and justice activists, Exposed Science analyzes the rise of the study of gene-environment interaction in the environmental health sciences and examines its consequences for how we understand – and seek to protect – population health.

Shostak served as an associate editor of a special issue of the American Journal of Sociology focused on how sociologists can use genetic information as a lever to illuminate dimensions of social organization and complex social processes, thereby advancing sociological theory and research methods. She leads the qualitative research component of a NINDS funded study of psychosocial dimensions of genetic information in the epilepsies. She recently has begun an ethnographic project focused on urban agriculture in New England cities.  Her research and teaching have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Epilepsy Foundation, among others.

 

Christine Vatovec

Christine Vatovec is a postdoctoral research associate in the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. She holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota, and a PhD in Environment & Resources from the University of Wisconsin. Her teaching and research interests focus on sustainability science, ecological health, and environmental sociology. She draws on theories and tools from these subdisciplines, but also from anthropology, ecological systems theory, environmental justice, environmental and medical history, environmental psychology, environmental studies, and public health sciences. Christine’s research examines connections between human health and well-being and the natural and built environment. Her ultimate career goal is to broaden our societal understanding of “health” and “well-being” in a way that helps us move from a society seeking cures to one that focuses on prevention by recognizing that human flourishing is deeply connected to the resilience and flourishing of our ecological community.

 

Elisabeth Wilder
Sociology Ph.D. Student
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 566 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Email: wilder.e@husky.neu.edu

Elisabeth Wilder is a PhD student at Northeastern University. Her thesis project, entitled “‘Game Over’ for the Climate: The Keystone XL Pipeline on TV News” explores what kind of information leading media sources provide about the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and what the relationship between these frames and the political economy of the mass media might be. She finds that television news stations exhibit biased coverage that encourages viewers to support pipeline construction for reasons of economic and national security rather than imagine alternatives that are more conducive to the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Furthermore, television news stations marginalize environmental and social concerns and disproportionately rely on business and government sources for information. Finally, the dominant frame employed by the news media is informed by neoliberal ideology and offers no challenge to the preferences of corporate and government elites—including the continued dominance of the fossil fuel industry. This type of coverage affords viewers a very limited basis for understanding the environmental and ultimately social threats posed by Keystone XL. For her dissertation, Elisabeth plans to investigate the social impacts of transnational pipelines on vulnerable communities using an environmental justice framework. Elisabeth can be reached at wilder.e@husky.neu.edu.

 

Sara Wylie
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Phone: 617-373-2385
Office: 338 International Village
Email: s.wylie@neu.edu
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Sara Wylie is a Senior Research Scientist in Northeastern University’s new Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. She teaches Science and Technology Studies (STS) in Sociology and Health Sciences and received her Ph.D. from MIT’s History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) Program in 2011. Her dissertation “Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds: An STS Analysis of the American Natural Gas Industry” is an ethnographic study of the role science based NGOs played in the emergence of public concerns about the human and environmental health impacts of chemicals used in natural gas extraction, particularly hydraulic fracturing. Investigating new methods for practicing STS research, her dissertation additionally developed and implemented web-based tools to help communities and experts across the country study and hold extractive industries accountable for their social and environmental impacts. This project (called ExtrAct) was developed in collaboration with artist and technologist Chris Csikszentmihalyi, in MIT’s Center for Civic Media. More generally, Sara seeks to develop new modes of studying and intervening in large-scale social issues such endocrine disrupting chemicals and corporate accountability through a fusion of social scientific, scientific and art/design practices. Pursuing these interests Sara taught in Digital+Media at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for three years before moving to Northeastern. She has worked extensively with Theo Colborn, lead author of “Our Stolen Future.” Sara is also a cofounder of Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit that develops open source, Do It Yourself tools for community based environmental analysis. Expanding her interest in transforming science practice through STS research, as Public Lab’s Director of Toxics and Health research she organized and initiated open source research projects on low cost thermal imaging, detection of indoor air hazards, community based methods for detection of hydrogen sulfide and home-testing for environmental estrogens. Through her new role helping to build Northeastern’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute she continues to work actively with Public Lab as a consultant and community organizer.