top of page

Student Researchers


The University of Illinois

Anneli Cers photo.jpg

Anneli Cers

    Anneli Cers is a junior in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. As a Global Food Security Scholar, she studies how and when women influence dietary diversity in forest-dependent families in India. She has also collected data to determine global trends in funding women-related development projects. Along with colleagues at the School of Information, we have used topic modeling and other machine learning methods to determine how the goals of development projects focused on women’s empowerment have changed throughout time. Additionally, she has worked as a research assistant to analyze global trends on financing forest-related projects and presented her results as a poster in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Nikolas Merten

    Nikolas Merten earned a B.S. in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois. He has contributed research on capacity development and has entered data related to a workshop activity from Madagascar. He is now involved in a project about the methods used to validate theories of change within the field of biodiversity conservation. Nikolas will assist with a systematic review of this literature before starting a graduate program at Ohio State University.


Cynthia Segura

    Cynthia Segura is a graduating senior studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science with a concentration in Human Dimensions and a Spatial and Quantitative Methods minor. Her research focuses on how the narrative on women's empowerment has evolved over time analyzing policy reports from international organizations, academic documents, and media articles.


The University of Michigan

Samantha Russel.jpg

Samantha Russel

    Samantha Russel is an Information major with a focus on Information Analysis and a minor in Applied Statistics. Sam worked with Jennifer my freshman and sophomore years through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and the Women and Gender Summer Fellowship Program. During our time together, she studied the livelihood and climate adaptation strategies of farmers in rural India, utilizing NVivo, OpenRefine, and R along the way. Her main focus was data cleaning and model development in R. She has presented three posters at UROP symposiums and has given oral presentations at the Sustainable Development Conference and the Michigan University-Wide Sustainability and Environment Conference.

Hanna Droessler pic.JPG

Hanna Droessler

    Hanna Droessler is majoring in Economics and minoring in Sustainability. She worked with Jenn from 2017-2019 during my freshman and sophomore years as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and through an independent study through School for Environment and Sustainability. Her research included coding interview responses in NVivo and compiling 375 articles on income diversification in order to analyze trends in the literature and write memos. During her experience she had the opportunity to present at the Sustainable Development Conference, the Michigan University-Wide Sustainability and Environment Conference, and the UROP symposium.


Zoe Engle

    Zoe Engle is an Erb Undergraduate Fellow majoring in Environmental Studies and Organizational Studies. Zoe was a funded research assistant during her freshman year through University of Michigan’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).  She studied the impact of women economic empowerment initiatives on households in rain-fed, agricultural dependent regions of India. She conducted a literature review on intra-household bargaining and time allocation to learn how they affected female empowerment. Our research opened her eyes to pressures put on disfranchised groups for social development. She has presented her results at the UROP symposium and at the Michigan University-Wide Sustainability and Environment Conference.

Pia Lu.jpg

Pia Lu

    Pia Lu studied Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity at the University of Michigan. Pia worked with Jenn in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and the Women and Gender Summer Fellowship Program (WAGSFP) from 2018 - 2019. Pia's conducted a literature review about unexpected disturbances faced by rural smallholder farmers and wrote memos about emergent themes across  the 200 articles she collected. Pia also helped analyze data related to how quickly people in rainfed regions of India could rebound from a shock. Pia presented at the UROP symposium, the Michigan University-Wide Sustainability and Environment Conference. She was also accepted to present a poster at the 2019 Global Conference of Capacity Building for Conservation and secured a travel grant from UROP to attend.


Shuichi Tomobe

    Shuichi Tomobe is majoring in Computer Science. He worked with Jenn his junior year through University of Michigan's Changing Gears Program, which is part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). As part of his research, he conducted a literature review on capacity building in biodiversity conservation. He also processed data for a nutritional database as part of a wider research about seasonal food security in rainfed regions of India. He presented results as part of a summer symposium through the UROP and he created a poster that was presented at the Capacity Building for Conservation Global Conference in 2019 in London.

bottom of page