Purdue University

Symposium Speaker Bios

Keynote Speaker

Carlton Waterhouse

Professor Carlton Waterhouse is an international expert on environmental law and environmental justice, as well as reparations and redress for historic injustices. He recently testified on the importance of reparations for African Americans before the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. He is a Fulbright research scholar and is a board member of the Environmental Law Institute. His views have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. He is a highly sought-after speaker who regularly addresses national and international audiences. His forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press explores the historic and contemporary role of the United States Supreme Court in maintaining racial hierarchy. His scholarship includes essays, articles, and book chapters focused on the ethical and legal dimensions of environmental justice and reparations. Professor Waterhouse is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, where he studied engineering and the ethics of technology before deciding to study law. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law. While in law school, he served as an intern with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Using an interdisciplinary approach, Professor Waterhouse examines civil rights and human rights issues in his scholarship and service. Professor Waterhouse actively participates in national and local organizations protecting civil rights and formerly served on an advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In January 2021, President Biden appointed Dr. Waterhouse to serve as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land & Emergency Management (OLEM) at the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining the Administration, he taught property law, environmental law, and administrative law related courses and was building the Howard University Environmental Justice Center at the Howard University School of Law.

Performance Artist

Latrice Young

Ms. Latrice Young , also known as Distinctly Unique, is a choreo-poet, ghost writer, voice actor, creator/manager of Dunique LLC. from East Chicago and Gary Indiana. Ms. Latrice graduated from Wirt-Emerson Visual Performing  Arts in 2014 as Class Poet/Valedictorian and graduated  from Purdue University in 2018 as a Creative Writing-Poetry major,with minors in African-American Studies, Communication, Dance, Spanish, & Theater.  Her recent  theatrical performances include “THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES”, “THE RACE",  and “BEING BLACK”.  Ms. Latrice now resides in Indianapolis, IN and is currently narrating Karen Danzey's, "The Locked Box: The Powerful Impact of a Silent Epidemic" with Franc Village Studios. We are grateful to our partnership with the Black Cultural Center to organize this event.

Conference Panelists

Elizabeth Grennan Browning is a U.S. historian specializing in environmental history and cultural history in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Midwest. She is the Midwestern/Indiana Community History Fellow at Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) in Bloomington, and adjunct faculty in the Department of History. Her forthcoming book, “Nature’s Laboratory: Urban Environmental Reform, Human Nature, and Social Control in Chicago, 1880-1945” examines how Chicago’s public intellectuals relied on environmental thought in an effort to stem the tide of labor radicalism. Browning’s current research and public history work at the transdisciplinary ERI focuses on histories of environmental health and environmental justice in the Midwest.

Kirsten Cornelson is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. She received her B.A. from Mount Allison University in 2007, her M.A. from the University of Toronto in 2008, and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2017. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., she worked as an economist at the Royal Bank of Canada. Her research focuses on the role of social interactions in perpetuating inequality by race and gender; she also does work on the economics of the family, and on immigration.

Anna Erwin is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. Dr. Anna Erwin is an interdisciplinary social scientist and environmental justice scholar who studies how people perceive and respond to social-ecological change and investigates how organizations and policies respond to those changes.

Gabriel Filippelli is a biogeochemist, focusing on the flow and cycling of elements and chemicals in the environment. This includes his work on pollutant distribution and exposure to human populations, and ways to engage communities to reduce their own exposures. He is also an affiliate of the Environmental Resilience Institute, funded through IU's Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative. He directs the Center for Urban Health and is the editor-in-chief of GeoHealth. He has well over 100 publications, ranging from technical scientific reports to essays for broader audiences. He is funded by multiple private and federal agencies and frequently speaks on topics including climate change and children's health.

Fushcia-Ann Hoover is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). Dr. Hoover is a social-ecological urban hydrologist focused on exploring the intersections of urban stormwater hydrology, green infrastructure (GI) and ecosystem services through an environmental justice lens. At SESYNC, she examines ways of incorporating equity into urban planning and GI across U.S. cities by framing her analysis within environmental justice and Black geography perspectives. Her current project analyzes the language and methods that city policies and plans use to place and evaluate GI. She is also the founder of EcoGreenQueen, a company dedicated to teaching and expanding the use of environmental justice frameworks and methods across research and practice, and runs the EcoGreenQueen Blog where she distills important connections between people, place and the environment. She earned her master's and PhD from the Interdisciplinary Ecological Sciences and Engineering program in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Purdue University, and holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of St. Thomas, MN. You can follow her on IG/Twitter @ecogreenqueen.

David Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Political Science at Purdue University. His work uses simulation modeling, economic analysis, and decision support tools to improve environmental policy and adaptation to climate change. He emphasizes decision-making under uncertainty, risk analysis, and evaluation of tradeoffs between competing objectives. He is the lead developer of the flood risk model used to evaluate flood protection options for Louisiana’s 50-year, $50 billion Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. He also studies topics such as the potential for bioenergy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the long-run sustainability of agricultural practices, and water resources management.

Jennifer Lee Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University. Dr. Johnson received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2014, completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Program for Agrarian Studies at Yale University in the Spring of 2015, and joined the Purdue University faculty in the Fall of 2015. Dr. Johnson's research is historically rooted, ethnographically engaged, and focused on gender, vernacular practices, and the ontological politics of sustainability. By foregrounding women’s work with diverse species and forms of fish – both indigenous and introduced – alongside the development of global markets for African fish products, her current research retheorizes the intersection of economic development, social history, and environmental governance in and around Africa’s largest body of freshwater where she has conducted long-term ethnographic research since 2007.

Jennifer Latimer is Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems at Indiana State University.

Sa Liu is an Assistant Professor in the School of Health Sciences at Purdue University. From 2012-2018 Dr. Liu was an Assistant, then Associate, Researcher in the School of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences and M.P.H. in Industrial Hygiene from UC Berkeley, a M.S. in Environmental Sciences from University of Idaho, a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Tianjin University (China), and a B.S. in Chemistry from Nankai University (China). Dr. Liu is a certified industrial hygienist (CIH). Her research is focused on assessing chemical exposure by multiple pathways (inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure) in both occupational and environmental settings, including the development of methodologies for assessing exposure, the implementation of these methods in epidemiologic studies and the evaluation of health effects of these exposures. Dr. Liu has recently extended her research into the emerging field of exposome, in which she takes untargeted -omic approaches to assess chemical exposure through biomarkers in human blood.

Dr. Michael Mendez is an assistant professor of environmental policy and planning at the University of California, Irvine. He previously was the inaugural James and Mary Pinchot Faculty Fellow in Sustainability Studies and Associate Research Scientists at the Yale School of the Environment. Michael has more than a decade of senior-level experience in the public and private sectors, where he consulted and actively engaged in the policymaking process. This included working for the California State Legislature as a senior consultant, lobbyist, and as vice chair of the Sacramento City Planning Commission. In 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Dr. Mendez to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The board regulates water quality in a region of 4 million people.

​During his time at UC Irvine and Yale, he has contributed to state and national research policy initiatives, including serving as an advisor to a California Air Resources Board member, and as a participant of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s workgroup on “Climate Vulnerability and Social Science Perspectives.” Michael is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS), and is on the board of directors of the social justice nonprofit, Alliance for a Better Community. He also serves as a panel reviewer for the National Academies of Sciences’ Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP).

Dr. Mendez holds three degrees in environmental planning and policy, including a PhD from UC Berkeley's Department of City and Regional Planning, and a graduate degree from MIT. His research on the intersection of climate change and communities of color has been featured in national publications including Urban Land (published by the Urban Land Institute); the Natural Resources Defense Fund Annual Report; the American Planning Association’s Planning Magazine; Green 2.0: Leadership at Work; USA Today; and Fox Latino News. His new book “Climate Change from the Streets,” published through Yale University Press (2020), is an urgent and timely story of the contentious politics of incorporating environmental justice into global climate change policy.

Shannon McMullen is an Associate Professor in the Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance, and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Purdue University. Dr. McMullen engages issues in contemporary culture at the intersection of nature, technology and social inquiry through a practice she and her studio partner define as critical gardening. Collaborating as McMullen_Winkler, their speculative social spaces and time-based installations have been shown internationally at venues such as Science Gallery, Dublin, IE and Art Center Nabi, Seoul, Korea. This body of work is based on an expanded idea of gardens as sites with expressive, conceptual, and ideological qualities.

Charmaine (Charlie) Renee is a Graduate Student in Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University. Charlie is a midwestern femme, queer mom, and interdisciplinary artist whose work revolves around the intersection of a queer Midwest identity with a focus on liberation through food justice and radical gardening. In their work, midwestern mothering and queer domesticity are translated into comfort constructions, quilts, everyday objects, as well as practical collaborations with ACE Food Pantry and Purdue Student Farms.       

Rachel Scarlett is a research scientist, ecologist, social justice scholar, mentor, and teacher. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecological Sciences and Engineering Interdisciplinary Program at Purdue University. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she strives to think beyond disciplinary silos. Broadly, she asks: what are the linkages and feedbacks between environmental and social aspects of urban water and how are these linkages developed and maintained? Her dissertation is built on a socio-environmental framework— social relations and environmental processes are not considered independent, but they are conceptualized as mutually entangled and co-dependent on each other. Her ultimate goal as an academic is to teach and train marginalized students to think beyond disciplinary silos and engage in culturally relevant conversation on global and local socio-environmental change. Further, she strives to envision STEM fields as critical to knowledge production on socio-environmental justice and solving complex environmental issues.

Mangala Subramaniam is Professor and Butler Chair and Director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence at Purdue University. Her research examines the ways in which disadvantaged groups, with attention to gender and its intersections with class, caste, race and ethnicity, particularly in the non-western world, engage in daily resistances and collective protests to demand rights. Her fourth and most recent book is about local and global struggles for water rights. Professor Subramaniam is currently working on a co-edited volume on leadership in higher education which reflects her expanded research interests in gender, careers, leadership, and inclusive excellence. Her piece on leadership has appeared in Inside Higher Ed and her Best Practices Tools have been referenced in the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is currently an Associate Editor of Social Problems.

Sandra Sydnor is Associate Professor and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University. Dr. Sydnor’s investigations of resilience science, regenerative design, climate change, and mindfulness science, apply theory and insights to practitioner and classroom settings. Most recently, her interests have led her to assume leadership positions in diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice. She is recently chair emeritus (2020) of the Tippecanoe County (Indiana) Human Relations Commission and currently leads the School of Hospitality and Tourism’s diversity reckoning as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion in the college of Health and Human Sciences. In this role, Dr. Sydnor collaborates with multiple stakeholders (university, community, businesses) to define, understand, assess, foster and cultivate diversity.

Leigh Raymond is Professor of Political Science at Purdue University. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University. His research focuses on environmental policy design, enactment, and implementation, especially the role of norms about justice and fairness in policy and behavior change. Dr. Raymond is the author of more than 30 refereed articles or book chapters and three books, including most recently Reclaiming the Atmospheric Commons from MIT Press.

Ellen Wells is an Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational health at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  She received a B.A.in Biology from Oberlin College in 1998, a M.E.M (Masters of Environmental Management) in Environmental Health Policy and M.P.H. (Masters of Public Health) in Environmental Health from Yale University in 2004, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009. Dr. Wells teaches courses in public health, epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, and environmental health science.  She conducts environmental epidemiology research related to metal and endocrine disruptor exposures and their relationship with neurologic and cardiometabolic health, particularly among children.

Lisa Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the College of Charleston. Dr. Young completed her Ph.D. in American Studies with a focus in Science, Technology, and Environmental Studies. Before coming to the College of Charleston, she completed a postdoc in African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Her dissertation, Lethal Housing: Reading Restrictive Covenants and Urban Black Women’s Grassroots Health Activism, 1930-1980, won the national American Studies Association's Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for best dissertation in the field. Her research examines the intersections between race, housing, health/wellness, and the environment. Specifically, she is interested in the enduring legacy of the racial restrictive covenant and how its invisible legal status inspired new forms of medical and public health activism by Black women writers. She has worked previously as a research associate with the US Department of Transportation in Washington, DC.

Laura Zanotti is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University. Using a feminist political ecology framework, she maps out historical and spatial inequalities and injustices and highlight pathways for self-determination and sovereignty in the context of acute change. My work focuses on the intersections of the environment, media, and power. She is committed to feminist, antiracist, and decolonizing scholarship. In all of her work, Zanotti stiches stitch together insights from engaged anthropology and visual anthropology to create collaborative projects. In addition to environmental anthropology, she finds kinship with decolonizing approaches to research inquiry alongside insights from cultural geography, Indigenous studies, and Latin American studies. She has partnered with the Mebêngôkre-Kayapó Peoples, an indigenous community in Brazil, for over fifteen years and am currently working on team-based and community-driven projects around the United States, in Latin America, and throughout the globe on media sovereignty and digital landscapes, environmental justice, and community resilience and healing.