REFRESCH Alumni

Anil Bhargava

Assistant Vice-President

Ironshore Insurance

For six months, Anil supported REFRESCH on an effort with Professor Rebecca Hardin and graduate student Matt Vedrin, designing a survey/assessment approach for REFRESCH. Anil is now an Assistant Vice-President, Agriculture at Ironshore Insurance in San Francisco, California.

Katie Brown

PhD Candidate, School for Environment and Sustainability

University of Michigan

After graduating with a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on Environmental Justice from UM's School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), Katie split her time between REFRESCH and Rebecca Hardin's Michigan Sustainability Cases (MSC) grant during the fall of 2015. Then in the second semester of the 2015-2016 year, Katie spent five months in Gabon laying the groundwork for a highly successful multi-stakeholder workshop May 2016. She was responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative research partnerships and networks, coordinating logistics, directing community outreach operations with local villages and leaders. Katie has since gone on to begin a PhD in SNRE at the UM, where she is focused on climate policy and international frameworks for climate governance. 

Kiran Chawla

Senior Associate

Energy and Environmental Economics

Kiran graduated with a MS from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment with concentrations in Sustainable Systems and Environmental Policy and Planning in 2015. Her research focus was on energy, water-energy nexus, and multi-criteria decision analysis. In REFRESCH, she worked with the student group in exploring the concepts of sustainability and life cycle analysis. She is now a Senior Associate at Energy and Environmental Economics, a consulting firm in San Francisco, CA.

Heather Goetsch

PhD Candidate

Civil and Environmental Engineering - University of Michigan

Heather Goestch received her MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois. Currently, Heather is evaluating microbial risks in human urine prepared for fertilizer use and throughout different fertilizer processing methods. Specifically, she is investigating the fate of human polyomavirus in source separated urine and determining methods to quantify the spread of antibiotic resistance genes in source separated urine for a risk model. She has also assisted in designing a urine treatment system for urine that will be collected by the urine diverting toilet and waterless urinal installed in the UM Civil and Environmental Engineering building. Heather is co-advised by Prof. Krista Wigginton and Prof. Nancy Love.

Lizzie Grobbel

Community Engagement Coordinator

Fenway Community Development Corporation

Lizzie graduated with a MSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2015. The focus of her REFRESCH-supported research was testing a pilot-scale sustainable shrimp farm in the basement of a vacant house in Detroit, MI. She is now at Fenway Community Development Corporation as Community Engagement Coordinator - part of the New Sector Alliance Residency in Social Enterprise.

Anna Hayden

Chemical Engineer, Army Corps of Engineers

Washington Aqueduct

Anna graduated from the University of Michigan with a MSE in Chemical Engineering.  She is now working at a drinking water plant that produces the water for DC - Washington Aqueduct, operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Her work in REFRESCH was driven by a recognition that the lack of water and sanitation infrastructure in many developing countries poses a significant threat to public health, productivity, and quality of life. Anna worked on assessing drinking water quality and communities' needs and desires for water treatment technologies. Then she matched that up with the most relevant technology, which she’d came to believe, through research and conversations with experts at UM, to be ceramic pot water filters.  Anna’s encouragement led to Prof. Joe Trumpey and Ceramic Studio Manager John Leyland to dedicate a significant effort in Stamps School of Art and Design to build up the capability of making these filters. Anna then also worked with undergraduate students to design an educational workshop in Gabon regarding ceramic pot water filters.   This technology is currently being explored with the people in Gabon because they are highly effective at removing many types of biological contamination, are easy to use, can be made with local materials, and have high cultural acceptance in locations worldwide.  

Bailey Keeler

In 2016, Bailey received a Masters of Science from University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) concentrating in Conservation Ecology and specializing in aquatic ecosystems. The focus of her research was aquaculture in both developed and developing countries and sustainable commercial fisheries management. She worked on community ponds in Nepal and helped drive the effort to connect with fisheries in Kazakhstan. Most recently (2015-2016) she worked as a fisheries biologist technician for Grand Teton National Park. Her work there focused on Trout and Utah Sucker spawning surveys, water quality sampling and analysis for E. Coli., habitat surveying, project planning, fish population surveys, GIS data management, and aquatic invasive species education and management.

Jordan Lutren

Designer

Callison RTKL

Jordan graduated in 2015 with a Master of Architecture from UM's Taubman College. For REFRESCH, Jordan collaborated in interdisciplinary team to research food, energy and water solutions for resource-constrained settings. He also designed deployable, modular aquaponic and hydroponic pod systems for urban and industrial locations and developed a plan for renovating an abandoned building on the property of a school in Kazakhstan to become a greenhouse. Now a designer at Sheehan Partners Architects (SPARCH), Jordan helps design highly complex mission critical facilities (such as data centers) for tech companies.

Alexis Sakas

Coastal Conservation Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy

Alexis graduated in 2016 with a MS in Conservation Ecology from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. For her master’s thesis research, she conducted an aquaculture experiment to evaluate long-term growth and survival of whiteleg shrimp in freshwater, brackish water, and saltwater. The motivation is that reducing salt use in whiteleg shrimp production could improve the economics of intensive indoor shrimp farming and that wastewater from low-salinity culture has reclamation potential for use in other processes, such as aquaponics. Alexis is now working for The Nature Conservancy as a Coastal Conservation Coordinator in Sandusky, Ohio.

Gaurav Sardana

Designer

Bjarke Ingels Group

Gaurav Sardana works with BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group in New York City. While pursuing his graduate studies at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, he has been a Dow Sustainability Fellow in 2015 and KC Mahindra Education Trust Fellow in 2014. His approach of 'HYBRIDESIGN' has led him to develop and implement projects with the University of Michigan Energy Institute (REFRESCH), Microsoft's Real Estate & Facilities, United Nations - Habitat, and BMW Guggenheim LAB Mumbai.
 
Gaurav was awarded a Master in Architecture from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 2016 with a year-long research to investigate the potential of mobile architectural interventions through retrofitting the post-oil landscape of southern Louisiana. With other REFRESCH students, Gaurav investigated the feasibility of an integrated system involving urban food systems, water reclamation, and minimal energy inputs.

Nancy Senabulya

Post-doctoral fellow, Materials Science Department

University of Michigan

Nancy Senabulya is a postdoctoral fellow in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan. She is currently investigating the growth dynamics of quasi crystals in real time, using synchrotron based x-ray tomography, topography and diffraction. This work is motivated by the need to understand the fundamental and complex phenomenon e.g. interface kinetics, responsible for the nucleation of forbidden crystals from a liquid (alpha) phase. Additionally, correlations between the crystal structure and surface properties of these “peculiar-materials” will be drawn for potential technological relevance. Nancy received a PhD in Applied Physics from the UM, supported mainly by REFRESCH but also partially through a fellowship from Schlumberger and the Applied Physics Program at the University of Michigan.  Her thesis focused on the characterization of zinc tin nitride (ZnSnN2) films at atomic length scales and short time scales to better understand their structural and electronic correlations and, thus, how they could be exploited for the next generation of energy conversion and harvesting devices. Nancy came to the US from Uganda, where she had received a BSE in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University.  Within REFRESCH, Nancy acted as a consultant on REFRESCH’s effort in Gabon, providing an African perspective.  She was advised by Prof. Roy Clarke for her PhD and is currently working for Prof. Ashwin Shahani.

Sara Troutman

PhD Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Michigan

Sara is a PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UM. Within REFRESCH, her research explored systems-level modeling of urban hydrology, specifically in the context of Detroit's combined sanitary and storm sewer network. In this work, she developed a sensor-driven modeling framework that predicts combined sewer flow during severe wet-weather. This is being linked with a model of the wastewater treatment plant to understand the how wet-weather flows impact treatment performance and operation and how sewer control decisions can best be made to optimize treatment efficacy. Sara worked in REFRESCH for two years and was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She is co-advised by Prof. Nancy Love and Prof. Branko Kerkez.

Ed Waisenan

University of Michigan

Ed Waisanen is worked part-time for REFRESCH and Michigan Sustainability Cases (MSC) in 2017 after being supported Fall 2017. In April he received his Master's degree from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. He now works for the UM's School for Environment and Sustainability.

Cindy Yao

Master's Student

UM - School of Natural Resources and the Environment; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Cindy has finished her research with REFRESCH and is completing her Master’s degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Sustainability and Environment at the UM in 2018. Her research within REFRESCH centered around recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), which embody many interactions central to the food-energy-water nexus. With REFRESCH support and the efforts of a senior design team in mechanical engineering, a 550-gallon RAS for the intensive grow-out of whiteleg shrimp was designed and constructed with energy efficiency and material accessibility in mind, such that it could be feasible in diverse settings globally. For her thesis, Cindy operated this RAS and evaluated the system by assessing shrimp growth, nutrient conversions, and microbial community structure. The shrimp system is scheduled to move on this spring to the UM Botanical Gardens. Cindy is co-advised by Prof. Jim Diana and Prof. Lut Raskin. She anticipates graduating in May 2018.