Environmental Policy Initiative Announces Summer 2015 Research Grant Winners

Aug. 12, 2015

By James Goodenberger

Ohio State’s Environmental Policy Initiative (EPI) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 summer research grant competition. Each year, EPI summer research grants support doctoral students conducting innovative, environmental policy-related dissertation research. Recipients receive an award of $4,000 to aid them in their research during the summer semester.

This year, the award was given to three outstanding Ohio State doctoral students: Nora Sylvander from the Department of Geography, Angel Arroyo-Rodríguez from the Knowlton School of Architecture, and Yuxi Zhao from the Department of Geography.

Sylvander is advised by Dr. Kendra McSweeney. She studies the little-known dynamics by which non-indigenous mestizo migrants are blamed for undermining conservation goals in Nicaragua’s Bosawas Biosphere Reserve and how they consequently become marginalized and excluded from the conservation policy framework. Her working hypothesis suggests that this socio-political marginalization and exclusion of mestizos may partly explain why conservation policies have, to date, rarely been successful in Bosawas.

Sylvander earned BSc and MSc degrees in Forest Science from the University of Helsinki, Finland and worked with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in Nicararagua.

Arroyo-Rodríguez is advised by Dr. Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Professor of City and Regional Planning. His research examines how social psychology theories can help increase our understanding of household’s attitudes regarding food scrap odors and potential for animal/pest attraction and how these might affect their participation in curbside collection of food scraps commingled with yard waste.

In addition to attending graduate school, Arroyo-Rodríguez works in the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention of the Ohio EPA as a sustainable materials management coordinator and environmental planner focusing in solid waste planning and the development of policies and markets for recyclable materials.

Zhao is advised by Dr. Darla Munroe. Her work focuses on the land-use decision-making processes of family forest owners in the post-productivist transition. Through establishing an intellectual conversation between three disciplines: economics, regional planning, and forestry, her research aims to create interdisciplinary theories to reveal the barriers preventing family forest owners from adopting forest cost-share policies.

Zhao received her M.S. in Environmental Conservation from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

EPI, which is housed in Ohio State's Department of Agricultural, Environment, and Development Economics, aims to stimulate and focus systematic collaboration in environmental policy through research, graduate and undergraduate education, communication with the policy community, and interaction with the national and international community of scholars in environmental policy.

August 12, 2015