Graduate Affiliates


Doctoral Candidate, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese & Latinx Student Alliance Liaison

Nicole’s research focuses on how climate refugees and climate changes are reflected in modern Italian and Latin American literature. Specifically, within the theoretical framework of ecocriticism, Nicole examines the environmental reasons why people emigrate, the ways in which they modify the space of the target regions, and the rhetorical and metaphorical ways in which the urban and oceanic landscapes are represented in nationalistic literature.

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Doctoral Student, Engineering Systems and Environment

Patrick’s research explores how to motivate the resolution of social dilemmas, like climate change, in ways which meet, or exceed, the scientific consensus for action. His dissertation proposal is still forming, but will likely focus on how to motivate the emergence of governance behaviors, in existing network structures, which facilitate more effective dilemma resolution. His interests more broadly lie at the convergence of complex systems theory and behavioral science in an attempt to promote more equitable and sustainable present states, and future possibilities, in the Anthropocene.

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MELISSA H. HEYHey_headshot.jpg

Doctoral Candidate, Environmental Sciences

Melissa’s research explores how a prevalent form of sensory pollution created by humans – light pollution – disrupts our environment. Her dissertation focuses on direct and indirect effects of light pollution on ecosystem processes and how these are mediated by animals’ responses to its presence. Her interests more broadly lie in urban ecology and trying to find sustainable ways for humans to co-exist with nature.

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LUKE BECK KREIDERLBK UVA photo - Hi res crop.jpeg

Doctoral Candidate, Religious Studies

Luke studies religion and environmental ethics, with particular attention to Christian environmental thought in the climate change era. His dissertation engages multiple connections between environmental change and violence as emerging problems for religious ethics and for Christian environmental and political thought.

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KEVIN STEWART ROSErose-headshot-2019 copy

Doctoral Candidate, Religious Studies & Graduate Coordinator, Environmental Humanities

Kevin’s work examines environmentalism among American Protestants in the second half of the twentieth century. His dissertation focuses on the relationship between shifting formations of American capitalism in the 1970s and 80s and Protestant conceptions of religious agency in response to the environmental crises of those decades.


JEREMY SORGENJeremy_Sorgen_Religious_Studies_02HR_DA

Doctoral Candidate, Religious Studies


Jeremy‘s research investigates strategies of environmental practice and social change. He is writing a “pragmatic ethics” that combines normative philosophy and the empirical social sciences to help scholars coordinate with policymakers and democratic publics on pressing environmental issues.


BLAIR WILNERBlair.Wilner_mja4f_201908-2935

Doctoral Student, Religious Studies

Blair‘s research considers conceptualizations of the human and of nature in modern Christian thought. His work specifically focuses on ways categories like nature and wilderness have been deployed by subaltern peoples in order to resist hegemonic conceptions of the human patterned on domination, violence, and exploitation.



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