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Political scientist, geographer, environmental health specialist, and engineers join the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

On July 1st, Michael L. Ross (Department of Political Science), Tom Gillespie (Department of Geography), Jenny Jay (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Yoram Cohen (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), and Yifang Zhu (Department of Environmental Health Sciences) officially became Institute of the Environment and Sustainability faculty members.

Professor Michael L. Ross is an ivy league-educated expert in comparative politics. His work centers on economics, globalization, law, and public policy. In addition to teaching, Ross serves as director of the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. He has published widely on the political and economic problems of resource-rich countries, civil war, democratization, and gender rights. In 2009, he received the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the best article published in the American Political Science Review. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Harper's, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and many other publications.

Professor Tom Gillespie’s interests focus on using geographic information systems and remote sensing data for predicting patterns of species richness and rarity for plants and birds at a regional spatial scale. He works in the fields of biogeography, forest ecosystems, and remote sensing. His research concentrates on surveying tropical dry forests in biodiversity hotspots. Gillespie also studies how climate change impacts ecosystems. Additionally, Gillespie advised an IoES Education for Sustainable Living Program Action Research Team that worked on a tree-mapping project.

Associate Professor Jenny Jay was the first recipient of the Pritzker Fellowship for Environment and Sustainability Education. Her expertise is in geochemical and microbial processes that govern the fate of contaminants in the environment. Professor Jay has already taught two courses for the IoES: Environment 12 – Sustainability and the Environment, and Environment 186 – Comparative Sustainability Practices in Local/Global Settings. Jay’s goal is to contribute to a better understanding of how, as a society and as individuals, we can accomplish the essential goal of a creative and peaceful, rather than destructive, relationship with Earth.

Professor Yoram Cohen is an accomplished chemical engineer who has trained scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  His work centers on developing “smart water systems.” Over his nearly 30-year academic career, Cohen has advised and collaborated with industry partners, government regulators, and water agencies. As one of the world's top water technology experts, Cohen has made revolutionary advances toward helping solve growing global water shortages.

Associate Professor Yifang Zhu earned her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from UCLA and has been teaching the subject at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health since 2010. Dr. Zhu's research focuses on identifying key factors that affect human exposure to ultrafine particles on and near roadways. These efforts are supported by two prestigious national awards, the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award and the Walter Rosenblith New Investigator Award from the Health Effects Institute.

The IoES’ mission to offer interdisciplinary education at UCLA. By adding experts in a variety of fields to the faculty roster, the institute is able to further the commitment to establishing an academic program that examines environmental science and sustainability from multiple viewpoints.