Pitt Names Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability For 2015

Issue Date: 
February 23, 2015

As part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Year of Sustainability, the Office of the Provost and Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation have announced the recipients of the 2015 Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability. Daniel Bain, assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; Walter Carson, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Dietrich School; and Jeremy Weber, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, will each receive a one-year fellowship with $25,000 in annual support and the option for renewal for an additional year. Fellows are expected to contribute to research within and across disciplines during the fellowship period and will develop new sustainability-related courses.

Daniel Bain, Department of Geology and Planetary Science, Dietrich School        

Daniel BainBain focuses his research on catchment hydrology, trace metal biogeochemistry, urban and riparian systems, and fluvial geomorphology. He received a PhD in geography and environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 2007.

As a Fellow in Sustainability, he is building an interdisciplinary team of Pitt researchers who can respond to requests for sustainability research and collaboration originating from government and other agents outside the University. Maintaining an available, established research team will allow Pitt to leverage its extensive knowledge to participate in collaborative team research, particularly on sustainability issues.

Bain is also developing a research and training program to create sustainable responses to the urban infrastructure crisis. The program will pair its graduate student-centered research teams with local organizations to devise sustainable solutions.  

Walter Carson, Department of Biological Sciences, Dietrich School 

Walter CarsonCarson focuses his research on the impact of herbivory on the diversity of tropical forests in Central America, the evaluation of underlying causes of failed oak regeneration in West Virginia, and the evaluation of biodiversity collapses among numerous old-growth forests in Pennsylvania. In collaboration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, Carson is testing ways in which exotic plant species such as purple loosestrife can invade and dominate novel habitats. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1993 and joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1994.

As a Fellow in Sustainability, Carson is tackling threats to habitat sustainability and biodiversity using a broad framework grounded in policy research. In collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Forest Service, and six other regional universities, Carson is leading a landscape-scale study to address the ecological and conservational impacts of salvage logging (i.e. the harvesting of trees following large windstorms). This collaborative research, along with Carson’s field-based contributions to a sustainability capstone course, will contribute to a dramatic expansion of research and expertise on sustainability in Pittsburgh and the region. 

Jeremy Weber, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Weber, who also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Economics in the Dietrich School, investigates energy and natural resource economics, development and agricultural economics, and applied microeconomics. He received his PhD in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 and joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 2014.

As a Fellow in Sustainability, Weber is researching the impact of policies regulating the generation and management of public revenues from natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. With assistance from researchers in the natural and engineering sciences, he will assess how the pace of drilling in shale—and the public revenues generated from it—will likely evolve over time. Weber will present his research to Pitt’s Center for Metropolitan Studies, making his findings accessible to state and local officials and broadening the University’s reach in sustainability issues. 

His proposed research will focus on approaches to managing revenues generated by the Pennsylvania Impact Fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas wells. The work will involve an empirical assessment of how impact fee revenues are used, particularly by local governments.