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The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis


Graduate Students, Research Associates, and Postdocs

Graduate Students for 2014–15

ADAM ABELKOP (vitae) is a fourth-year student in the joint PhD in Public Policy program administered by the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Adam’s research focuses on the judicial and regulatory translation of scientific and economic principles into risk regulation for environmental and public health protection. This research agenda has manifested in studies on the interaction between toxic torts and regulation, comparative regulation of chemicals in consumer goods, and international governance of climate geoengineering. Before coming to IU, Adam earned his law degree at the University of Iowa College of Law, where he served as a staff member for the Journal of Corporation Law and coached the highly successful University of Iowa policy debate team. He earned his BA in Sociology and History at Wake Forest University. From June 2011 to April 2012, Adam worked as a research assistant for Vice President Al Gore, where he conducted and organized research and editing for Vice President Gore’s newest book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.

JESSICA ALCORN (vitae) is a second-year student in the joint PhD in Public Policy program administered by the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Prior to beginning studies at IU, she worked as a research associate at the Center for International Trade and Security, focusing on a range of domestic and international security issues. Jessica’s research interests broadly encompass the use of interdisciplinary approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of various environmental policy mechanisms. More specifically, she is interested in electricity policy mechanisms, community and regional economics, energy policy, land use change, and applied econometrics. Jessica earned a MPA in Public Administration and Policy and BAs in both Political Science and International Affairs from the University of Georgia.

ELIZABETH BALDWIN (vitae) is in her final year of the Public Affairs PhD program at IU’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs. Her primary research interest is in natural resource policy implementation, and her dissertation work examines the way that stakeholder involvement affects the outcomes of U.S. state energy policies. She is a research assistant to two faculty research teams that are affiliated with the Ostrom Workshop, contributing to ongoing research on renewable and distributed generation in developing countries and water policy implementation in Kenya. Elizabeth earned a JD from IU Bloomington in 2011.

STEFAN CARPENTER (vitae) is a second-year student in the joint PhD in Public Policy program administered by the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Prior to attending IU, Stefan worked as an attorney and provided pro bono services for several non-profit environmental organizations. His research interests include the use of community-based resource management to supplement national and international environmental law. Stefan earned a JD from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.Ed. from Boston University.

YUAN (DANIEL) CHENG (vitae) is a second-year Joint PhD student in Public Policy in the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. His research interest is broadly in central-local relationship in environmental policy implementation, collaborative management, property rights, and the nonprofit organizations' role in the policy process. Daniel holds a master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Zhejiang University, China.

CHUNG-YUAN (CY) CHIU (vitae) is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science from Taiwan. Over the past few years, he has been working on several policy issues such as water rights politics, irrigation management, environmental politics, as well as local governance, and had extensive field experience working in both Taiwan and Mainland China. He approaches these issues through examining institutional constellations of governance, where regime factors, government structures, local politics dynamics, and informal social rules interact with one another. He is also interested in exploring the political implications of governance consequences based on the institutional analysis framework, with an emphasis on democratic transition. Parts of his research results have been published in Comparative Politics and other Taiwanese journals.

MARTIN DELAROCHE (vitae) is a first-year student in the Joint PhD in Public Policy at IU's School of Public & Environmental Affairs and Department of Political Science. His research interests focus on the governance of natural resources and lie at the intersection of law, economics, anthropology, and geography. He is interested by the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between land property rights and environmental degradation, particularly in the Amazon region in Brazil, and also of foreign large-scale investments in land. A Fulbright scholar (2014–2015), Martin holds a joint BA in Economics and Law, a Masters in Applied Economics, and a Masters in International Economic Law from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France.

GRAHAM EPSTEIN (vitae) is a student in the joint PhD program in Public Policy at the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. He is broadly interested in exploring the social, ecological, and institutional factors that effect the sustainability of social-ecological systems and our ability to diagnose those factors. More specific interests include public good provision, rule compliance, and methodological approaches to the study of sustainability. Graham holds a BSc in Ecology from the University of Waterloo and an MSc in International Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph.

TRISH GIBSON (vitae) is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. She specializes in Comparative Politics and Public Policy with an area focus on Latin America, and Mexico in particular. Trish is interested in how public policy affects development outcomes in lower-income countries. Her dissertation examines how the Mexican federal government and subnational state governments negotiated the intercultural university project for indigenous peoples. She further traces the political logic of state governments in choosing to participate in the project and in their decision of where to locate the universities. Trish seeks to contribute to literature on subnational indigenous politics through a mixed methods approach.

Kirk Harris (vitae) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at IU. His dissertation focuses on how underlying social features like ethnic divisions and levels of civic participation in public life affect accountability linkages between citizens and politicians in recent democracies in the development world, as applied in a comparative study of local development initiatives by Kenya's Constituency Development Fund (CDF). This research connects to a broader interest in African politics, democratization, and political economy in the developing world. Prior to coming to IU, Kirk worked for humanitarian relief, development, and peacebuilding organizations in Nairobi, Kenya, New York City, and Khartoum, Sudan. He has a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Whitworth University.

CATHRYN E. JOHNSON (vitae) is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Political Science. Prior to beginning her studies at IU, Cathryn worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs where she supported programs to strengthen political participation and democratic institutions in West Africa. Cathryn’s research interests are rooted in the democratization process. Specifically, she is interested in how formal and informal institutions influence citizen engagement in democratic processes and shape the outcomes of policies to improve citizen welfare. Cathryn earned an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and a BA in International Studies and French from Whitworth University.

URSULA KREITMAIR (vitae) is in her final year of the joint PhD program in Public Policy of IU's School of Public & Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Her research concerns the management of common-pool resources at both the local and international levels and the utilization of behavioral research to craft more effective environmental policies. She is particularly interested in the role of information and social networks in determining collective action outcomes in social dilemmas and studies these using experimental and computational methods. Ursula holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University; an MSc in Environmental Policy, Planning, and Regulation from the London School of Economics; and an MSc in Environmental and Resource Economics from the University College, London.

PAUL MCCORD (vitae) is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Geography, with a concentration in human-environment interactions. His focus is on governance structures of common-pool resource regimes and agroecological systems in semi-arid environments, as well as the application of geospatial technologies in studying complex spatial problems. Interdisciplinary questions are often addressed in his work, particularly socio-hydrological issues focused on livelihood adaptation to climate variability and change. His current work analyzes the livelihood strategies of smallholder farmers in the Mount Kenya region and the governance structures of the irrigation systems from which they receive water. Farming is the primary livelihood activity in this region and a changing climate has major implications for the overall well-being of residents. Additionally, an increasing population within the Mount Kenya region has led to a growing number of river water users and has reduced water availability for downstream users. This work will help better understand the agricultural and water management strategies that allow smallholder farmers to adapt to changing water availability within the region.

SANCHAYAN NATH (vitae) is a doctoral scholar in the Joint PhD Program in Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Department of Political Science. His doctoral research examines the relationship between leadership and outcomes in collective action scenarios around water bodies in urban centers in India. Prior to joining the doctoral program, he has worked for more than five years across the academic, nonprofit and corporate sectors. He holds a graduate degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and an undergraduate degree in engineering from RVCE Bangalore in India. He has also completed a post graduate diploma in environmental law from the National Law School of India University Bangalore in India.

NAVEED PAYDAR (vitae) is a doctoral student in the Joint PhD program in Public Policy at the School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Department of Political Science at IU. His research interests include energy policy, multilevel governance, and applied econometrics. He is interested in factors that motivate firms in various industries to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, and the market potential and diffusion of sustainable technologies, such as plug-in electric vehicles. He has an ongoing theoretical interest in the Institutional Analysis and Development framework and the Social-Ecological Systems framework.

LUKE SHIMEK (vitae) is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Joint Public Policy program at Indiana University's School of Public & Environmental Affairs and Department of Political Science. He received his BS in Mathematics, Economics, and International Relations from Wheaton College (IL), and his MA in Economics from Indiana University Bloomington. He has also worked as a Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His field of interest is institutions and governance with a particular emphasis on understanding the origins of bureaucracies and how they affects broader development and governance indicators, both through empirical study and the use of game theory.

SHANNON LEA WATKINS (vitae) is a doctoral student in the School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) with fields in environmental policy and policy analysis. Her primary research interest is in urban natural resource policy and management, and her dissertation work examines the impact of urban nonprofit tree planting, including the impacts that residents’ participation might yield on the biophysical environment and in their social community. Shannon Lea is an affiliate of the Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group (BUFRG) at the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) where she and her colleagues examine urban systems through the perspective of social-ecological systems. Shannon Lea earned a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil) degree in Political Science and History from the University of Pittsburgh.

LANDON YODER (vitae) is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Geography. His research interests include understanding how social, ecological, and institutional factors interact and impact the use of common resources, especially in agricultural contexts. His current research explores the institutional dynamics of water management in the Everglades Agricultural Area in south Florida, a region of former Everglades habitat drained during the twentieth century to establish farming. The governance approach and management practices in the EAA provide a valuable case study to evaluate the potential for agricultural and ecosystem restoration to coexist. He holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs from IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a Bachelor's degree in History from Goshen College.

Research Associates

JAMPEL DELL'ANGELO is a postdoctoral research associate working on the National Science Foundation (NSF) project “Institutional Dynamics in Robust Social-Ecological Systems: Adaption to Climate Change in Snowmelt-Dependent Agricultural Systems.” He focuses on institutional analysis of community water projects water management and river basin governance around Mount Kenya. Previously, during his PhD research he applied, and modified, the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to two different case studies: (1) watersheds preservation and resettlement of Tibetan nomads in Qinghai’s rangelands and (2) the decision-making processes of geothermal electric energy power production development and its effects on the water basin of Mount Amiata in central Italy. During his research, Jampel has collaborated on the documentary on environmental conflicts Aquí nos vamos a quedar and he is now working on a video project related to the Kenyan activity.

SARAH MINCEY is the Associate Director for the Integrated Program in the Environment (IPE) at Indiana University and a Workshop Research Associate working with the Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group (BUFRG). In her administrative role with IPE, an interdisciplinary venture in academics, research, creative activities, and organizations focusing on the environment and sustainability at IU, she serves as faculty through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs which jointly administers IPE with the College of Arts and Sciences and as the Administrative Director of the IU Research and Teaching Preserve. Sarah is a social-ecological systems scientist and her research is focused on natural resource management and applied ecology with particular emphasis on urban and community forest management and related collective action and institutions. She earned her MSES/MPA and PhD in Environmental Science from the School of Public & Environmental Affairs at IU in 2012.

KEITH TAYLOR (vitae) is driven to create social structures that support human flourishing, primarily through utilization of the current co-operative business sector. Keith’s experiences growing up in a small, working-class central Illinois community and working for a member of Congress have influenced his professional trajectory. His focus is on individual capacity development toward collective action for community development, particularly in struggling regions with limited civic engagement. Keith's research interest is in understanding the processes of institutional, community, and economic development, specifically through optimization of organizational governance. Keith is exploring institutional interaction—specifically co-operative businesses, their host communities, and their markets—and the extent to which agents interpret and harness institutional logics, how such interpretations are operationalized through organizational governance, and the concomitant (un)intentional outcomes—entrepreneurial spillover—upon the host community. Part of Keith’s interest is rooted in understanding how individuals interact with, change, and craft external governance systems in an effort to allow for greater choice, and enhance public entrepreneurship.

JESSICA VOGT (vitae) received her PhD in Environmental Science from IU’s SPEA in 2014, and is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Furman University in Greenville, SC. Jess works with the Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group (BUFRG) at the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC), where she and her colleagues study urban forestry and urban ecology through the lens of social-ecological systems. Currently, BUFRG is evaluating the social and biophysical outcomes of nonprofit urban tree planting programs in five U.S. cities, focusing on tree growth and mortality rates as well as the social impacts of neighborhood and individual involvement in tree planting. Jess considers herself a social-ecological systems scientist, and her research and teaching is rooted in the idea that we cannot study systems of nature without also studying the concentric social, economic, and institutional systems of people.


Michelle L. Lute is a postdoctoral research associate, among other things, studying human judgment and behavior related to global change in the Attari lab, which operates within the Ostrom Workshop and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU. She is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in advancing knowledge about the psychology of human-nature relationships to inform conservation relevant behaviors and policy. She has conducted research across the global from North America to Madagascar and Southeast Asia. Her dissertation research explored the conservation ethics, social identity and risk perceptions of post-recovery wolf management in Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and an environmental science degree from Valparaiso University.

Joseph Stahlman (vitae) earned his PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at IU in 2014. In his dissertation research, Joseph focused on consensus building among the Tuscarora Indian Nation of New York as a way to preserve a pan-identity and maintain a cohesive community among all residents on the territory. The Tuscarora maintains a pre-European model of governance, struggles with modernity, and the plurality within the community. He incorporated aspects of Michel Foucault’s brand of post-structuralism to reach his goal. Through this avenue, he was able to demonstrate how the Tuscarora self-regulates the ever-changing definition of identity and community. While at the Workshop, he will broaden his focus to include how Northeastern Haudenosaunee communities employ traditional consensus governance to protect and regulate community resources. Joseph is excited to continue his research and to expand his view of how small indigenous communities strive to remain bureaucratically decentralized, preserve a historical perspective, and uphold their traditional forms of governance.

Julia DeBruicker Valliant (vitae) is a postdoctoral research associate focused on US farm policy, specifically: incentives and scaffolding to help existing farms transition from commodity production to food production. This program of the Vice Provost for Research Pooled Fund for Excellence, with Professors Farmer, Robinson, Fischer, and Reynolds, advances a more nourishing food landscape. It learns firsthand from farmers whose work crosses state lines in the region where Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio come together, applying and interpreting Elinor Ostrom’s framework for social-ecological systems as a lens. This inquiry follows on Julia’s prior research into the history of policy dialogues between the fields of public health and animal agriculture, with management of grazing lands in the US and Ethiopia as one place of focus. (PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2012).

Affiliated Research Associate