Class 1: 2021-2022
Milton Arencibia is a PhD candidate in Physics at West Virginia University with research expertise in theoretical solar and space plasma physics. He is currently finishing his doctoral research and exploring careers that involve applying the broader skills from his scientific background to inform policymaking and communicating complex subject matter to non-expert audiences. Milton is based in Morgantown, WV. Milton’s fellowship was in the WV Office of Energy, WV Development Office, WV Department of Commerce working with Kelly Bragg, Director of the WV Division of Energy.
Michael Duncan (he/him) is a PhD candidate in Economics at West Virginia University with interests in macroeconomics relating to fiscal and monetary policy. He has some research experience in housing policy from work for an MA in Economics from Pennsylvania State University. His end goal is to attain a position working for the United States Federal Government. Previously he has worked with the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives on policy issues related to urban affairs and criminal justice. Michael is based in Morgantown, WV. Michael’s fellowship was in the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) working with John Deskins, Director of the BBER.
Brooke Eastman (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Biology at West Virginia University. Her dissertation research has focused on how human activities, such as acid rain, affect the way that forests store and sequester carbon– especially in the soil. She also collaborates with the National Center for Atmospheric Research by applying her field and lab data from a forest in West Virginia to their global carbon models that are used to make future climate predictions. Brooke is interested in exploring a career in science policy, and she is interested in the intersections between ecology and climate change, ecological economics, and environmental justice. She is especially drawn to local and state-level policy and capacity building. Brooke’s fellowship was in the WV Legislature working with Delegate Evan Hansen.
Alanna Higgins (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Geography at West Virginia University. Her dissertation examines changes in US federal nutrition policy via the 2014 & 2018 Farm Bills, alongside looking at produce prescription programs to examine the programmatic and material impacts of these changes. Alanna obtained her B.S. in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior from Rutgers University, her MSc in Food and Rural Development Research from Newcastle University, and was previously a Marie Curie ITN Fellow. An advocate for creating research in aid of social change, her research interests include political ecologies of health and bodies, food justice and sovereignty, and pedagogies in service of educational equity. Alanna routinely works with community organizations and policymakers in areas of geoscience education, food policy, and public health interventions. Alanna is based in Morgantown, WV. Alanna’s fellowship was in the WVU Extension Service working with Jennifer Williams, Associate Dean for Programs and Partnerships.
Tim Hoheneder (he/him) is a PhD candidate in Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) at the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, Tim researches the potential for UAS (drone) technologies to quantify climate change impacts in cold-weather regions, specializing in snow-based properties and avalanche monitoring. Previously, Tim received his undergraduate and master’s degrees at West Virginia University in Environmental Geosciences and Geography, respectively. He also completed graduate certificate programs in Water Management Policy from UniLaSalle in France. Tim is a former West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellow and a current CARPE Arctic Studies Fellow at UNH. Following the completion of his doctorate, Tim hopes to join academia professionally, researching the intersection of remote sensing and UAS technology with snow and cold-climate environmental policy implications or in collegiate athletics academic compliance. Tim currently spends his time between residences in the New Hampshire Seacoast Region and Central Maryland. Tim’s fellowship was with the WVU Energy Institute working with Sam Taylor, Assistant Director for Strategic Partnerships and Technology.
Rachel Hostetler (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at West Virginia University. Her doctoral research focuses on investigating the diversity of neuronal subpopulations and their circuitry in the brain. She has an interest in communicating complex scientific topics to the general public and policymakers, and has spent her years in graduate school involved in science outreach, communication, and policy activities. She hopes to have a career in those fields after graduation. She has a BS from the University of Minnesota, where she majored in Neuroscience and German. Rachel resides in Morgantown, WV. Her fellowship was with WVU’s Government Relations working with Suzanne Bentzel, Director of Federal Relations.
Erika Davies (she/her) is a PhD candidate at West Virginia University specializing in urban/regional, tech policy, and education economics. Erika has undergraduate degrees in both economics and philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and master’s degrees in economics from both George Mason and West Virginia University. In her dissertation, Erika measures the effect of internet access on educational attainment in Appalachia. She exploits precipitation as an exogenous shock to school attendance and shows that broadband providers decrease high school dropouts during years with high precipitation. Erika’s fellowship was with the WV Small Business Development Center in the WV Department of Economic Development working with Debra Martin, State Director, WV Small Business Development Center.