Skip to Content

All University of South Carolina system institutions will be closed through the end of the spring semester. Columbia campus virtual instruction will continue through the conclusion of final exams in May. Details can be found on the coronavirus landing page.

School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Society, Policy, and Environment

Public policy is the crucial interface between societal goals and environmental science, to address environmental problems. Faculty are involved in research in diverse areas within this interconnected set of processes, including environmental policy and regulation, energy policy, remediation, adaptation, cultural and social responses to environmental degradation, communication and education, among other topics.

Society, Policy & Environment Faculty

Jessica Barnes

Jessica Barnes

Dr. Barnes received her Ph.D. in sustainable development from Columbia University in 2010 and held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Yale Climate & Energy Institute and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies from 2011 to 2013. She joined the University of South Carolina in 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography with a joint appointment in the School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment .

Monica Barra

Monica Barra

 Monica Barra completed her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York in 2018. Additionally, she holds a masters degree in American Studies from Rutgers University and a bachelors degree in Urban Studies and Literature from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. Monica joined the University of South Carolina in 2018 as an assistant professor in the area of Race and Environment at the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology.

Claudia Benitez-Nelson

Claudia Benitez-Nelson

Biogeochemical cycling and export fluxes of nutrients. Global climate change in past and present day environments. Utilization of cosmogenic and uranium series radioisotopes to study ecological processes. Development of new analytical techniques.

David Fuente

David Fuente

Dr. Fuente's research is situated at the intersection of infrastructure planning, environmental policy, and international development and focuses specifically on the provision of water and sanitaiton services in low- and middle-income countries. Trained as an environmental economist, urban planner, and environmental scientist, Dr. Fuente has conducted extensive fieldwork in East Africa (Kenya), the Middle East (Egypt), and South Asia (India). His research has been supported by the World Bank, USAID, the SIDA-funded Environment for Development Initiative, and the Global Development Network.

Gwendelyn Geidel

Gwendelyn Geidel

Prediction, prevention and remediation of ground and surface water contamination caused by mining and other anthropogenic disturbances of the earth’s surface. Examples include investigations of rock-water interactions from mining activities (including both coal and metal mining in the US and Canada), the degradation of water quality from the oxidation of sulfide minerals, laboratory evaluation of acid and alkaline potentials from rock strata, field investigations of the long term effects of mining, and the implementation at field sites of constructed wetlands, anoxic limestone drains, alkaline trenches and other remediation and reclamation technologies.

Dean Hardy

Dean Hardy

Dean holds his Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Geography, M.S. in Ecology, and B.S. in Marine Sciences. As a broadly trained geographer, he applies an integrative approach to work across multiple ways of knowing socio-environmental challenges. He draws on political ecology, hazards geography, environmental justice studies, and critical race theory to examine landscapes as socio-natural assemblages.

Conor M. Harrison

Conor M. Harrison

Dr. Harrison’s research examines the relationship between energy and society, with a particular focus on political economy and power relations.  Portions of his work have been published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geoforum, and Local Environment. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Center for Study of the American South, and the University of North Carolina.

W. Joe Jones

W. Joe Jones

Past Director of the UofSC Genomics facility, Joe Jones's research has focused on  conservation genetics, genetic connectivity, and  genetics of rare populations (especially in fish and plankton); molecular phylogenetics and ecology, microbial ecology, natural history, and technology development.  As the Faculty Principal of Green Quad, his most recent work connects this expertise to undergraduate and graduate hands-on learning experiences in aquaponics and heritage landrace propagation.

David Kneas

David Kneas

David’s research examines the history and contemporary articulations of Andean landscapes, in particular, how past discursive landscapes shape the material geographies of the present, and vice-versa. His current book project is a historical ethnography of an ongoing conflict over a proposed copper mining in northwestern Ecuador. This project draws on his doctoral dissertation, research that combined two years of two ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Ecuador with David’s own experience of working in the country since 2000, as well as archival research in the US and the UK.

Thomas Lekan

Thomas Lekan

Professor Lekan teaches specialized undergraduate courses and seminars on environmental history, the urban experience in modern Europe, and German social history. His research focuses on European environmental history and the global dimensions of nature conservation, ecotourism, and green imperialism; comparative urban and regional planning history; and the environmental humanities.  

Dwayne Porter

Dwayne Porter

Dr. Porter’s research interests include exploring and expanding the increasingly important roles that technology and technological innovations play in monitoring, assessing, modeling and managing our coastal environmental resources and associated environmental and public health issues. Dr. Porter focuses on the use of the tools of Geographic Information Sciences (GISciences) to develop and apply spatial models to study the impacts of anthropogenic and physiographic influences to coastal resources. 

Jennifer R. Pournelle

Jennifer R. Pournelle

Millennial-scale urban sustainability and complex societies, studied through: landscape archaeology, anthropological archaeology, archaeology of the Middle East, cultural ecology, historical ecology, as they relate to wetland environments. Interpreting and relating air photography and satellite imagery to other paleoenvironmental data, toward reconstructing past landscapes.

Katherine Ryker

Katherine Ryker

Dr. Ryker explores connections between reformed classroom practices, student learning, teaching beliefs and the implementation of inquiry-based labs in introductory geoscience lectures and labs. Her research interests also include online educational resources, professional development, and student learning strategies and engagement in large introductory courses. She is part of a team looking at the connection between teaching beliefs and practices for geoscience faculty members at a variety of institutions across the country.

Neal Woods

Neal Woods

Public policy (environmental policy, regulation), bureaucratic politics, federalism and intergovernmental relations

 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©