Current SSEHRI Members

Len Albright
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Phone: 617-373-6849
Office: 573 Holmes Hall
Email:l.albright@neu.edu
Download CV

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 at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute that specializes in Social Science-Environmental Health collaborations and includes both National Science Foundation and National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Training Grants to educate and train people in such collaborations. He is the author of No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia, and Community Action, and Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement, and co-editor of Social Movements in Health, and Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements. He studies biomonitoring and household exposure, social policy and regulation concerning flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds, reporting back data to participants, and health social movements.  He is co-director of the Community Engagement Core and Research Translation Core for Northeastern’s Superfund Research Program PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats). He has been awarded the 2015 Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award from the Environmental Sociology and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association, becoming the second SSEHRI member to receive this award.

 

 

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.” Cairns has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Michigan Technological University. She will defer the position for one year for an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development in Washington, D.C. 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.

 

 

Stephanie Clark-Reynes
Sociology PhD Student
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Stephanie Clark-Reynes received her BA in Sociology from the University of Texas-El Paso in 2013 and recently finished her MA there. 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. She has considerable experience as a teaching assistant.  She has presented research at the Association of American Geographers and the Southwestern Social Science Association, and has been a co-author on two articles in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, has a resubmission in to Environmental Science & Technology (the #2 environmental health journal in the world), and another article in progress.  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, and with an environmental justice framework.

 

 

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 is a second year PhD student in the department of Sociology and Anthropology, and a member of both SSHERI and the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NJERC). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois Wesleyan University. Lauren’s research interests include environmental justice, social movements, and political economy. She is currently researching mobilization around the issue of climate justice within the U.S. labor movement and is interested in how unions across various economic sectors are framing and responding to the climate crisis. Before coming to Northeastern, Lauren served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA researching food justice and sustainable community agriculture in rural Colorado.

 

 

Elicia Cousins
Sociology PhD Student
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
cousins.e@neu.edu

Elicia Cousins joined the Department of Sociology and SSEHRI as a doctoral student in 2015. She is from Tokyo, Japan but 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 has been involved in relief work for children still living in contaminated areas of Fukushima. She is interested in studying human health and environmental chemicals, as well as food activism and knowledge production about nutrition and illness.

 

 

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).

 

 

Danielle Falzon
Sociology Ph.D. Student/Teaching Assistant
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 549 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Email:falzon.d@husky.neu.edu
Danielle Falzon is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology and a member of SSEHRI and NEJRC. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Sociology. Her interests include environmental sociology, environmental justice, political economy, and globalization. Her past research includes the analysis of risk and risk perception surrounding nuclear energy and the inequalities embedded in its production. She is currently interested in studying the policies and politics surrounding climate refugees.

 

Sharon Harlan
Professor of Sociology
School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Arizona State University

Sharon L. Harlan is Professor of Sociology in the School of Human Evolution & Social Change and Senior Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University. She will join SSEHRI as a Northeastern faculty member in January 2016.  Her research explores the human impacts of climate change that are dependent upon people’s positions in social hierarchies, places in built environments of unequal quality, and policies that improve or impede human adaptive capabilities.  Focusing on excessive heat as a significant and increasingly critical threat to human health and well-being in cities, she studies urban landscapes in arid environments that produce unequal risks for people in neighborhoods divided by social class and race/ethnicity.  Her approach is interdisciplinary, integrating social theories about the historical production of environmental injustices with data and models from the ecological, geospatial, and health sciences. Dr. Harlan is a co-principal investigator of the National Science Foundation’s Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program at ASU, where she led the development of a longitudinal metropolitan area survey on environmental attitudes and behaviors.  She is beginning new multi-university, collaborative and comparative projects on urban heat and water challenges. Her research is published in a wide variety of interdisciplinary and disciplinary journals and she is co-author (with David Pellow and J. Timmons Roberts) of a chapter on climate justice in a new volume by the American Sociological Association Task Force on Climate Change (Dunlap, Riley and Robert Brulle (eds.) Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives, Oxford University Press, August 2015).

 

 

Bridget Hanna
Affiliate Research Associate
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Email: bridget.hanna@gmail.com

Bridget Hanna was a post-doctoral research associate with SSEHRI in 2014-2015. 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
500 Holmes Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
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.

 

 

Stephanie Knutson
Administrative Assistant
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, 314 INV
Boston, MA 02115
s.knutson@neu.edu

Stephanie Knutson joined SSEHRI in March 2015. She does event planning and grants management and attempts to keep things running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Stephanie is a Northeastern alumna who previously worked at the university’s Snell Library. Her interest in environmental issues and epic organizational skills led her to this position.

 

 

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 energy 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, recently published in Environmental Communication,  describes the framing strategies used by a high-profile energy industry public relations initiative operating on the Internet. Jacob is currently focused on the use of low cost environmental health monitoring tools by residents and advocacy groups to monitor air pollution surrounding unconventional gas activity in the Marcellus shale region.

 

 

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 that explored the transforming political economy of New Delhi and how it has 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
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 a 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.

 

 

Laura Senier
Assistant Professor of Sociology & Health Sciences
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Northeastern University
Email: l.senier@neu.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.

 

 

Boris Templeton
Sociology PhD Student
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
549 Holmes Hall
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
templeton.b@husky.neu.edu

Boris is a PhD student in the department of Sociology, with interests in environmental sociology and environmental justice issues related to climate change, and the sociology of environmental law. Boris received his BA from Binghamton University in Philosophy, Politics, and Law, and a JD from Georgetown University. Prior to entering the PhD program at Northeastern, Boris worked for several years at various non-profit and academic environmental law and policy organizations on issues of clean air, climate change, hazardous wastes, environmental justice, environmental health, and regulatory policy.

 

 

Christine Vatovec
Research Assistant Professor
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, College of Medicine
303C Aiken Center
cvatovec@uvm.edu
Personal Website

Christine Vatovec is an Assistant Research Professor at the  University of Vermont with joint appointments in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and the College of Medicine. 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.

 

 

Sara Wylie
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences
Northeastern University
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 an Assistant Professor in Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Wylie is jointly appointed in Sociology/Anthropology and Health Sciences. She is also a JBP Environmental Health Fellow with Harvard School of Public Health. She teaches Science and Technology Studies (STS) in Sociology and Community Based Participatory Research Health Sciences. She 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 as 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 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 role helping to build Northeastern’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute she continues to work actively with Public Lab.