Happy New Year - Looking Forward

Dear C4E affiliated staff, faculty, and students,

Welcome back to Purdue and happy new year. I am honored to begin my appointment as Director of Discovery Park’s Center for the Environment, and want to thank Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, Suresh Garimella, Gebisa Ejeta and the rest of the search committee for this opportunity serve.

I am very happy to announce that Dr. Laura Zanotti has accepted the position of Associate Director of the Center for the Environment. For those of you who don’t know her, Dr. Zanotti is an Associate professor of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts. She is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist who explores how local livelihoods and well-being can be sustained for future generations. She has served as Convener for C4E’s Building Sustainable Communities Signature Area since August of 2017 and her research is affiliated with programs across campus including the Center for the Environment, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, American Studies, and Latin American and Latino Studies. In this role, Dr. Zanotti will work with me and the C4E community to provide leadership in the development of collaborative, interdisciplinary environmental research, teaching and engagement programs and initiatives. 

In this sesquicentennial of Purdue’s founding, the Center has much to celebrate given our long-standing leadership in regional and global environmental research. As we also celebrate our past during this, our 150th year, our attention will, however, primarily look to the future and how to push the envelope of interdisciplinary research at the intersection of society and the environment. Our colleges, schools, institutes and departments work to bring outstanding faculty, students, and staff across the physical, natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities, and technology to Purdue, and many of these individuals are deeply committed to identifying and solving our world's most important environmental challenges. The C4E will work to create an ecosystem for convergence research where Purdue’s diverse talent and our affiliated stakeholders come together to address society's environmental challenges. The Center will also create opportunities to attract environmental solutions entrepreneurs and industries to better integrate the knowledge and perspectives of these professionals with C4E programs as we help translate the discoveries of our faculty into new products and innovations that directly address environmental problems.  

We are at a time in our history when meeting the demands of a growing population while controlling and reversing environmental degradation are among our most important problems. Happily, our Center is ready for the challenge. We have a strong portfolio of exciting and impactful research with local to global reach, and a vibrant collective leadership model in our signature areas that includes Professors Laura Bowling, Jennifer Freeman, Bryan Pijanowski, and Laura Zanotti. In this next year the C4E community will engage in a strategic planning exercise to explore how the Center can best support and promote existing, nascent, and future environmental research, education and public engagement.  We will, of course, accomplish this by working together along with the dedicated support of the staff and administrators in Discovery Park including the Center’s own Administrative Assistant LeAnne Williams. 

Exciting times are ahead so stay tuned for programming and events updates for the spring semester.  Please also continue to reach out to us with details about your work and any opportunities you want to discuss.



  • Looking FOrward