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Four Faculty Named IonE Associates

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October 23, 2017

IonE recently selected four UMD faculty to join a cohort of IonE Associates.  

Assistant Professors Ryan Bergstrom, Geography, Urban, Environment, and Sustainability Studies, Salli Dymond, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Aparna Katre, World Languages and Cultures, and Neil Wilmot, Economics, have been named as Associates of the Institute on the Environment (IonE).

According to IonE, Associates are “early-career researchers who are developing engaged and interdisciplinary careers in environmental scholarship,” and show great potential to become “internationally recognized for their environmental and sustainability research.” 

This two-year fellowship program will provide cohort members with opportunities to attend media and stakeholder engagement workshops, develop project management and strategic thinking strategies, interact with environmental leaders across government and non-government sectors, and receive formal mentorship from IonE Fellows to help navigate a successful career as an interdisciplinary environmental scholar.    

Ryan Bergstrom
Bergstrom's research involves the complexity of coupled social-ecological systems and the human dimensions of global change, specifically as they relate to rural areas, agriculture, natural resource extraction, and recreation and tourism. Recent research for Bergstrom has focused on amenity-driven communities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and how local and regional decision making facilitates (or hinders) a transition toward sustainability.  

In addition, he is undertaking research on Minnesota’s Iron Range to determine how resource-dependent communities perceive, prioritize, and act upon issues of sustainable natural resource management and community development in the face of proposed precious metal mining.  His most recent publication examines how locally led, grass-roots efforts re-envisioned Minnesota’s Cuyuna Iron Range as a world-class mountain bike destination, and in the process revitalized local communities and sustained the natural environment.

Salli Dymond
Dymond's research focuses on how vegetation interacts with the water cycle to influence water resources and how natural and anthropogenic disturbances may alter these ecohydrological feedbacks. Dymond's current research projects include investigating how varying levels of tree removal in coast redwood forests modify subsurface water movement, streamflow, and the amount of water used by the remaining vegetation.

Additionally, she is working to improve quantification of forest evapotranspiration in northern Minnesota to improve the accuracy of hydrologic models and ameliorate forest and stream restoration practices to preserve hydrologic function. Ultimately, Dymond hopes to elucidate the role that forests and disturbance play in providing clean and sustainable water resources to reliant communities.

Aparna Katre
Katre’s research interests are at the nexus of entrepreneurship, strategy, and design thinking for social change. Her research has explored social entrepreneurs’ motivations, behaviors and strategies particularly during the startup stages of social venture creation. Recent research looks at entrepreneurship in emerging economies, with an emphasis on rural communities, energy poverty and women entrepreneurship, all for social change.

One of Aparna's research involves exploring socio-technical aspects of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions for very remote communities where extending national grids is cost prohibitive. She focuses on community-owned DRE solutions in India to examine the conditions under which these solutions can sustain and also scale to thousands of remote villages in order to lift people out of energy poverty.

Neil Wilmot
Wilmot’s research examines the intrinsic stochastic nature of natural resource markets, specifically those of crude oil and natural gas prices. The incorporation of discontinuities into a model of energy commodity price paths affects the valuation of real options - the decision to undertake large-scale, capital projects common to the energy industry - as well as the pricing of traditional financial instruments such as options and derivatives. Models that include discontinuities, or ‘jumps’ also reflect observed characteristics of crude oil markets, which are frequently hit with unexpected news arising from natural disasters, strategic actions, or other unforeseen events.

Further research has examined the degree of integration of the world’s energy commodity markets. Current research investigates the role of volatility spillovers in energy commodity markets, and the potential for structural breaks in the causal relations between US and Canadian primary energy production given the recent shale revolution experienced in the US.