Alumni - Student

  • Aguirre, Jonathan (‘17 - ‘19)

    Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

    Jonathan C. Aguirre is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He studies environmental history, literature, and politics in the Andes region of South America focusing on mechanisms of land dispossession formulated during the progressive cycle of politics of the 21st century. He is particularly interested in the state violence and erasure economies that occur in the construction of utopian ecological imaginaries. In addition, he studies environmental racism and inequality in the United States concentrating specifically on the representation of pollution-induced diseases in Latinx literature and film.

  • Ai, Xuyuan (Ellen) (‘18 - ‘20)


    Ai is based in the Department of Geosciences, where she studies the changes in biogeochemical conditions in the Southern Ocean through glacial-interglacial climate cycles during the past 450,000 years, with a focus on surface-nutrient consumption by phytoplankton. She is advised by Daniel Sigman, the Dusenbury Professor of Geological and Geophysical Sciences and professor of geosciences.

  • Alkon, Meir (‘17 - ‘19)

    Princeton School of Public and International Affairs


    Meir is a joint PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. A core theme of his research is the domestic politics of energy and the environment in large developing countries, specifically China and India, and their implications for climate change and global environmental governance. This research has spanned topics including India’s groundwater access and use; the political behavior basis of support for energy subsidies; the political economy of rural electrification programs; the public opinion consequences of urban air pollution; and the intergovernmental bargaining behind coal-fired and renewable power in China. His work in these areas combines insights from international and comparative political economy with an interdisciplinary approach.

  • Azar, Jose (‘09 - ‘12)


    José’s research interest lies in studying the incentives to increase the adoption of clean energy energy-saving technology by the general public. His current research is focused on using the tools of time series econometrics to study the joint dynamics of oil prices and public interest in electric cars and other alternative technologies in the transportation sector.

  • Baker, Rachel (‘15 - ‘17)

    Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

    Rachel’s research combines climate and socioeconomic data to investigate how climate affects livelihoods in developing countries. In particular she is interested in how climactic variations affect employment and migration in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research hopes to inform predictions regarding the future impact of climate change in this region. Rachel has an undergraduate degree in physics and a master’s in applied mathematics from Cambridge University.

  • Baldwin, Jane (‘15 - ‘16)

    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

    Jane studies jointly between Princeton’s Atmospheric and Oceanic Science program and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, where she is advised by Dr. Gabriel Vecchi. In her research, she uses a combination of dynamical climate models and atmospheric observations to elucidate the ties between global and regional climate, and move towards useful predictions of climate change at regional levels. Inspired by previous study in China and interests in environmental policy and history, she is currently studying the extratropical arid regions that stretch across interior Asia. She hopes to improve understanding of the controls on this region’s basic climate, as a prerequisite to examining its environmental change.

  • Batterman, Sarah (‘11 - ‘13)

    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    Sarah studies nutrient limitation on primary productivity in terrestrial ecosystems. Her work focuses on symbiotic nitrogen fixation, what controls its prevalence, and how patterns of fixation change across heterogeneous tropical forests. She finds symbiotic fixation particularly fascinating not only because plants can use it to bypass the soil to get essential nitrogen and build up nitrogen in the ecosystem, but also because it could help tropical forests store more carbon as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise. This would offset some of the world’s carbon emissions.

  • Bennett, Joshua (‘13 - ‘14)


    Joshua’s academic interest include, but are not limited to, black studies, disability theory, performance, and eco-criticism. He is interested in the way 20th century African American writers employ ecological metaphor as a means of theorizing black ontology, or, in other words, how these authors think about black nature writing as part of an ongoing conversation with various, often deeply problematic, kinds of scientific and philosophical writing about the nature of blackness and black social life.

  • Benveniste, Hélène (‘18 - ‘20)

    Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

    Benveniste is in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs’ Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP). Her research focuses on quantifying economic impacts of climate change on human-migration patterns using integrated assessment models.

  • Bilgir, Ozlem (‘10 - ‘11)

    Electrical Engineering

    Ozlem’s research focuses on decreasing the energy consumption and the carbon footprint of Data Centers. Data Centers’ energy consumption was around 60billion kWh in 2006 and this amount will be doubled between 2006 and 2011. Moreover, data centers cause even more carbon emissions than some countries. By using the resources efficiently, the energy consumption and the carbon emission can be reduced. Currently, Ozlem is working on the Chip Multiprocessor (CMP) technologies and exploring alternative ways to manage the cores in a way to contribute to the reduction in the energy consumption.

  • Bozym, David (D.J.) (‘12 - ‘14)

    Chemical and Biological Engineering

    D.J.’s research is focused on tackling a piece of the energy storage problem by improving the energy density of ultracapacitors, electronic devices which store energy in the form of static charge. To accomplish this, he aims to engineer high surface area electrodes using functionalized graphene sheets (FGSs), atomic planes of defective carbon lattices, and ionic liquids, room temperature liquid salts. On the science side, he is working to understand how the interfacial chemistry of FGSs influences their complex assembly. His research involves material synthesis, electrode processing and electrochemical characterization.

  • Buchanan, Maya (‘15 - ‘17)

    Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

    Maya Buchanan is a PhD student in climate impacts and adaptation policy at Princeton, examining coastal adaptation for urban areas in the face of sea level rise and non-stationary flood impacts. Her objective is to improve decision-makers’ ability to plan for the future by understanding expected damages resulting from different adaptation responses to coastal threats, despite imprecise and variable parameterization of coupled natural and human systems. Her research focuses on modeling these systems to better understand limits to adaptation and optimal adaptation pathways. Maya studied economics and environmental science and policy as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, and environmental engineering (water resources and systems optimization) as a master’s student at Johns Hopkins. Before starting her PhD, Maya was a liaison for the White House Subcommittee of Global Change Research and collaborator on a federal-private-academic partnership to model the risks of weather and climate extremes with the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Previously, she worked as an Earth science, energy, and water policy analyst respectively for NASA, the Department of Energy, the Architect of the Capital, and UNESCO’s Science Branch.

  • Burke, Michael (‘08 - ‘10)

    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

    Michael’s main research project was the experimental characterization and development of chemical models for the combustion of synthetic gas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) at typical gas turbine engine conditions. Burning synthetic gas is the final stage of coal-based Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) systems, offering an opportunity for utilizing an abundant and relatively cheap power generation resource while still controlling air pollutant emissions, achieving high energy conversion efficiencies, and possibly sequestering carbon. He collected data at these conditions and extending the current chemical models to provide the knowledge base necessary for the successful design of reliable and efficient gas turbine engines.

    He had been involved in a project focused on the spontaneous ignition of hydrogen and natural gas during high pressure tank ruptures. His group had shown experimentally that hydrogen or natural gas tank leaks can ignite without an external ignition source. They worked to identify causes of spontaneous ignition to prevent this hazard.

  • Cannarella, John (‘13 - ‘15)

    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

    John Cannarella is a PhD candidate working under Craig Arnold in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Princeton University. His research interests focus on the broad topic of clean energy production and storage. Specifically, John’s current research activities aim to understand how the mechanical stress that arises during normal lithium-ion battery operation affects the battery’s cycle life. The ultimate goal is to develop lithium-ion energy storage systems with longer cycle/calendar lives, which is critical to making large scale batteries economically viable.

  • Charpentier, Victor (‘15 - ‘17)

    Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Victor is a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering advised by Professor S. Adriaenssens. His research interests lie in reducing energy consumption of buildings and elastic deformation of shell structures. The Department of Energy estimates that around 30% of the total american energy consumption takes place in buildings. Victor is working on active façades (shading systems) for energy efficiency and specifically on the use of large elastic deformations of thin shell structures.

  • Chou, Cleo (‘14 - ‘16)

    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    Cleo’s research is on the relationship between nutrient and carbon cycling in lowland tropical rainforests, with a focus on trees. She incorporates the effects of ecological competition and species traits to understand nutrient limitation of the growth of tropical forests, an important carbon sink. To do this, she uses a combination of theoretical modeling and field measurements and experiments in the forest of Costa Rica. Broadly, her interests include forest dynamics, nutrient and carbon cycles, tropical forest ecology and conservation, and the role of biodiversity and species traits in these topics, as well as the intersection between science and environmental policy.

  • Court, Benjamin (‘10 - ‘11)

    Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Ben is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is working with Professor Michael Celia on CO2 Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in deep saline formations.

    Ben’s early work focused on CO2 sequestration safety, quantifying CO2 and brine leakage risk through abandoned wells. He modeled different potential leakage scenarios following a large-scale CO2 injection in the Wabamun lake area of the Alberta Basin (Canada).

    His current work considers both the limitations of simplified CO2 injection models and approaches to address CCS implementation barriers. First Ben investigates how the variability in certain formation characteristics impacts CO2 plume modeling. The results of this study will allow a better determination of where and when simplified models could be applicable or improved. Ben has also been working on the challenges to large-scale CCS implementation with a focus on technical, regulatory, and public acceptance barriers. Examining these collectively has allowed him and his collaborators from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to identify several promising integrated solutions. Specifically Ben is investigating potential synergies to tackle both the additional water demands of CO2 capture, as well as CO2 sequestration pressure management challenges.

    Prior to coming to Princeton, Ben received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bristol (UK) after being raised in France.

  • Dalin, Carole (‘12 - ‘14)

    Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Carole is interested in water, food security, and climate issues. Her work focuses on the use of water resources for food, by quantifying and analyzing the global virtual water trade network and its evolution. Taking into account the time and space variability of agricultural water use efficiency, she is able to identify key importers and exporters of water and to assess whether international food trade leads to an increasingly efficient use of global water resources.

  • Davies, Greg (‘15 - ‘17)

    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

    Greg is a graduate student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. His research explores low cost batteries for grid-scale energy storage. Cost is a significant factor limiting deployment of current battery technologies at scale. This limitation can be reduced by considering battery architectures that use low cost battery materials and reduce the requirement for large amounts of packaging, which add wasted weight, volume and cost. Specifically, his research focusses on several novel flow-battery designs which work towards these goals. He is also interested in the expansion of low-carbon power generation in the electric grid, and policies which can be applied to significantly increase the penetration of renewable energy sources.

  • Deng, Hang (‘11 - ‘13)

    Civil and Environmental Engineering