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Connecting the Dots 2015 Speaker Bios

Karen Ross
Karen Ross
Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture

Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 12, 2011 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Secretary Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Prior to joining CDFA, Secretary Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Before her time at the United States Department of Agriculture, Secretary Ross served more than thirteen years as President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), based in Sacramento. During that same period she served as the Executive Director of Winegrape Growers of America, a coalition of state winegrower organizations, and as Executive Director of the California Wine Grape Growers Foundation, which sponsors scholarships for the children of vineyard employees. Among Secretary Ross’ many achievements at CAWG was the creation of the nationally-recognized Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which assists wine grape growers in maintaining the long-term viability of agricultural lands and encourages them to provide leadership in protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and enhancing their local communities.


Stacey Bent
TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Chemical Engineering

Stacey F. Bent is the Department Chair of Chemical Engineering and the Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, where she is appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Electrical Engineering. Professor Bent serves as the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and a senior fellow in the Precourt Institute of Energy. Professor Bent obtained her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Stanford. After carrying out postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at New York University. She moved to Stanford University in 1998. Professor Bent’s research is focused on understanding surface and interfacial chemistry and materials synthesis, and applying this knowledge to a range of problems in sustainable energy, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology. Her group currently studies new materials and processes for electronics, solar cells and solar fuels, and catalysts.

As the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Professor Bent oversees the center’s mission to make human electricity and transportation systems more sustainable for the long term. The center also aims to educate tomorrow’s energy leaders, through outreach events, course grants, and summer internship programs.


Rosamond Naylor
Rosamond Naylor
Center on Food Security and the Environment, Earth System Science

Rosamond Naylor is the Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, William Wrigley Professor in Earth Science, the William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and Associate Professor of Economics (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She received her B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado, her M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics, and her Ph.D. in applied economics from Stanford University. Her research focuses on economic and biophysical dimensions of food security and environmental impacts of crop and animal production. She has been involved in many field-level research projects around the world and has published widely on issues related to intensive crop production, aquaculture and livestock systems, biofuels, climate change, food price volatility, and food policy analysis. At Stanford, Naylor teaches courses on the World Food Economy, Human-Environment Interactions, and Sustainable Agriculture.

Naylor currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Beijer Institute in Stockholm, is a Science Advisor for United Nation's Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's initiative on Sustainable Development (Sustainable Agriculture section), and trustee of The Nature Conservancy California Chapter. Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of the journals Global Food Security and Journal on Food Security.


David Lobell
Center on Food Security and the Environment, Earth System Science

David Lobell is an Associate Professor in Environmental Earth System Science and Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University. His research focuses on identifying opportunities to raise crop yields in major agricultural regions, with a particular emphasis on adaptation to climate change. His current projects span Africa, South Asia, Mexico, and the United States, and involve a range of tools including remote sensing, GIS, and crop and climate models.

Lobell's work is motivated by questions such as: What investments are most effective at raising global crop yields, in order to increase food production without expansion of agricultural lands? Will yield gains keep pace with global demand for crop products, given current levels of investment? And, what direct or indirect effects will efforts to raise crop productivity have on other components of the Earth System, such as climate? Answering these questions requires an understanding of the complex factors that limit crop yields throughout the world, and the links between agriculture and the broader Earth System.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Lobell was a Senior Research Scholar at FSE from 2008-2009, and a Lawrence Post-doctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 2005-2007. He received a PhD in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2005, and a Sc.B. in Applied Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude from Brown University in 2000.


Marshall Burke
Environmental Earth System Science, FSE Center on Food Security and the Environment

Marshall Burke is Center Fellow at the Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSI), and Assistant Professor of Environmental Earth System Science. He received his BA in International Relations from Stanford in 2003, and his PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Berkeley in 2014. His research focuses on understanding how changes in environmental conditions affect a range of social and economic outcomes, and on understanding the causes and consequences of rural productivity improvements. He has authored over 20 published papers, which have appeared in both economics and science journals, including Science, PNAS, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Economic Journal, and which have been cited over 2900 times.


Steve Luby
Steve Luby
Stanford Medicine, Woods Institute for the Environment

Stephen Luby is Senior Fellow at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Sr. Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Research Deputy Director for the Stanford University Center for Innovation in Global Health; and Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases. Dr. Luby earned his MD degree from the University of Texas--Southwestern Medical School at Dallas.

Previously, Dr. Luby directed research for the Centre for Communicable Diseases at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He conducted research and taught epidemiology at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, and worked as an epidemiologist in the Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Luby is best known for his work demonstrating the impact of hand-washing on disease reduction in low-income countries, characterizing the epidemiology of Nipah virus transmission in Bangladesh, and explicating the importance of unsafe injections in the transmission of hepatitis C in low-income countries.

His research focuses on developing practical solutions to environmental problems that directly impact human health in low-income countries. He works primarily in Bangladesh. His ongoing projects include 1) assessing the health impact of strategies to improve water, sanitation and hygiene with particular attention to interventions that are applicable at scale; 2) reducing the adverse environmental and health consequences of brick manufacturing in Bangladesh; 3) reducing the exposure to lead among residents of rural Bangladesh; and 4) characterizing and preventing zoonotic disease transmission especially of henipa and influenza viruses.


Scott Rozelle
Scott Rozelle
Rural Education Action Program, Freeman Spogli Institute

Scott Rozelle is the Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow and the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He received his BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MS and PhD from Cornell University. Previously, Rozelle was a professor at the University of California, Davis and an assistant professor in Stanford’s Food Research Institute and department of economics.

His research focuses almost exclusively on China and is concerned with: agricultural policy, including the supply, demand, and trade in agricultural projects; the emergence and evolution of markets and other economic institutions in transition and their implications for equity and efficiency; and the economics of poverty and inequality, with an emphasis on rural education, health and nutrition. Rozelle's papers have been published in top academic journals, including Science, Nature, American Economic Review, and the Journal of Economic Literature. He is fluent in Chinese and has established a research program in which he has close working ties with several Chinese collaborators and policymakers.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Rozelle has received numerous honors and awards, including the Friendship Award in 2008, the highest award given to a non-Chinese by the Premier; and the National Science and Technology Collaboration Award in 2009 for scientific achievement in collaborative research.


Pam Matson
Pam Matson
Dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

At Stanford, Matson is the dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for Environment, and co-leads the Initiative on Environment and Sustainability, an effort that brings together faculty from around the university to help solve critical resource and environment challenges of the century. She is also the scientific director of the Leopold Leadership Program, a program that provides leadership and communications training to environmental scientists and analysts.

Matson is an interdisciplinary Earth scientist who works to reconcile the needs of people and the planet. Her research addresses a range of environment and sustainability issues, including sustainability of agricultural systems; vulnerability of particular people and places to climate change; the consequences of tropical deforestation on atmosphere, climate and water systems; and the environmental consequences of global change in the nitrogen and carbon cycles. With multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, managers, and decision makers, she has worked to develop agricultural approaches that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining livelihoods and human wellbeing.

Matson is the author of numerous scientific publications and books, including the National Research Council volume titled Our Common Journey: A Transition toward Sustainability and Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Green Revolution. A MacArthur Fellow and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she is the founding co-chair of the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability and a past president of the Ecological Society of America.


Christopher Seifert
Christopher Seifert
Graduate Student, Environmental Earth System Science

Christopher Seifert is a 2nd year graduate student in Environmental Earth System Science and works with the Lobell Lab on topics in climate change and agriculture. His research focuses on statistical analyses and crop models to investigate adaptation strategies as we move into the human-modified climate regime of the 21st century. This research is motivated by questions such as: What techniques could raise crop productivity as well as reduce environmental impacts? How should nation states and the private sector allocate investments in agriculture to obtain optimal outcomes? What role can science and data analysis play in fighting market failures in agriculture? He received a MS from Stanford in 2010 and a BS with honors in Environmental Science, Technology and Policy from Stanford in 2009.


Rebecca Gilsdorf
Rebecca Gilsdorf
PhD Candidate, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Rebecca works with Professors Jenna Davis and Lisa Curran on issues related to water and sanitation in East Africa. Rebecca’s main research, based in Uganda, focuses on waste stabilization ponds, a low-tech way of treating wastewater that is commonly used in developing countries. In addition to studying how well existing wastewater treatment systems perform, this work also examines the behavior and decision-making of farmers who use wastewater for irrigation, with an additional focus on understanding farmer health concerns associated with wastewater reuse.


Angela Harris
Angela Harris
PhD Candidate, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Angela studies environmental health microbiology working with Professors Alexandria Boehm and Jenna Davis. Angela seeks to better understand sources and drivers of fecal contamination in low-income countries, particularly working in Kenya, Tanzania, and Bangladesh. Angela is concerned about the transmission of food borne illness and is interested in identifying methods to reduce fecal contamination along the food supply chain. Recently, Angela worked on a study evaluating the levels of fecal contamination on vegetables from wholesale and neighborhood markets in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


William Chapman
William Chapman
Graduate Student, CEE-Atmosphere and Energy

Will Chapman is a Masters student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department with a focus on Atmosphere and Energy. His current research project considers personal choices and greenhouse gas emissions. Will earned his B.S degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at San Diego and he formerly worked at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, helping to develop off grid, deployable aerosol sensors.


Priya Fielding-Singh
Priya Fielding-Singh
PhD Candidate, Sociology

Priya Fielding-Singh is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Department studying food, health, and inequality. Her dissertation, based on field research at a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse high school in Silicon Valley, investigates how individuals’ economic circumstances impact what they eat and how those dietary behaviors translate into disparate health outcomes. Priya is also Co-Director of the annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference and a former researcher at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She holds a B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University, an M.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of Bremen, Germany, and an M.A. in Sociology from Stanford University.


Maria Deloso
Maria Deloso
Coterminal B.S./M.A. Candidate, Earth System Program

Maria Deloso is a coterminal Masters student in the Earth Systems program and has experience with school meals at the federal, business and local levels. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Child Nutrition Programs, Maria was involved with increasing local food in schools and improving participation in the Summer Food Service Program. She spent last summer with the school food manufacturer, Revolution Foods, aiding with the culinary development process and serving the meals she worked on to elementary and middle school children. At Stanford, Maria is a sustainability intern for Stanford Dining and a hospitality senator for the Forbes Family cafe.


Alexandra Heeney
Alexandra Heeney
PhD Candidate, Management Science & Engineering

Alexandra Heeney is a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in Management Science and Engineering, specializing in Production and Operation Management. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on how to use operations management (OM) approaches to reduce the environmental impact of the food system, which combines OM with life cycle analysis, policy analysis, and economics. She is co-advised by Professor Warren Hausman in MS&E and Professor Erica Plambeck in the Graduate School of Business. Alexandra is an International Fulbright Science and Technology Scholar, and her research is currently sponsored by Stanford's UPS Endowment Fund and Canada's prestigious Natural Science and Engineering Research Scholarship. Alexandra hails from Toronto, Canada and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.