2016 Students & Faculty


Alison AnastasioAlison Anastasio

I earned my PhD in ecology and evolution in 2009 and currently work with physician scientists in the University of Chicago’s MSTP. My interests in the Calumet primarily center around plants, history of American ecology, remnant and constructed habitats, and bringing attention to the benefits of healthy and resilient urban ecosystems. I grew up in suburban northern California and spent summers on the north coast with my family hiking in the redwoods and the headlands, staying a safe distance from harbor seals, and gazing into tide pools for hours.

Maddie McLeester

I am a PhD Candidate in Anthropology, specializing in archaeology and pollen analysis. My research investigates how Native Americans shaped the environment prior to European arrival here in the Calumet Region. I grew up camping every summer with my family and even still head back home once a year to grab a weekend of beach camping. I am an avid birder and look forward to the warblers coming to Chicago during migration season!

Sabina Shaikh

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.36.08 AMI am an environmental economist on the Faculty in the Program on Global Environment and Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, where I teach Environmental Management and Planning in the Calumet Region. I grew up in Milwaukee and have fond memories of going to Doctor’s Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan with my family. I currently work with several Great Lakes and Calumet stakeholder organizations to help understand the economics related to the environment and natural resources in the region.

Mark LycettMark_Lycett_BW

I hold a PhD from the University of New Mexico. My current interests focus on the historical anthropology and social ecology of colonial landscape formation in Latin America, western North America, and South Asia. I have directed the Program on the Global Environment since its launch in 2007.

Sonia Grant

I am a PhD student in Anthropology, and my research examines the
political ecologies of oil and gas rsz_me_san_juansdevelopment in the Four Corners region of the United States. I study the relations between extraction, settler colonialism, and property regimes in the region, and am also working to understand burgeoning atmospheric sciences that look at greenhouse gas and other emissions from oil and gas production. I grew up on the East Coast of Canada, in Nova Scotia, where I learned to love the ocean, hiking, and the smell of seaweed. In Chicago I enjoy running and biking along the Lakeshore Path, playing music, and exploring the greater Calumet Region.


Hill Bonin

I am a second year environmental science major from Denver, Colorado.IMG_1002
My life has always revolved around soccer and nature. I play on the varsity soccer team at the University of Chicago. When I am home, I enjoy mountain biking and hiking 14ers. I am also an avid fly-fisherman and I try to spend as many on the river as possible. Most of my time in Colorado has been spent in pristine natural environments so I am trying to learn a different side of nature by studying the damaged habitats of the Calumet and the process of protecting and/or rebuilding them.

Nora Hardy

I am a third year, originally from Albany Park, a neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago. I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Visual Art. I am very interested in sustainable agriculture and the impact of large-scale industrial farming, especially in the Midwest. I like making sculptures, painting, and playing guitar, and am involved in a ceramics RSO on campus. My dream pet is a miniature duck. My favorite legumes are lentils and chickpeas.

Sam Koenig

I am a second year from coastal New Jersey majoring in Environmental Studies. My academic interests include wilderness preservation and urban planning. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, boating, and cloud gazing, and on campus I am a member of the UChicago Climate Action Network (UCAN) and the president of Global Water Brigades. At home, I own a dog, a horse, and four goats, for which my cat in Chicago is a poor substitute.


Saul Levin

I am a third year from the Detroit suburbs double majoring in Geography and Environmental Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies.  My academic interests include sustainable urban ecology, planning and design as well as environmental ecology in unusual biomes.  In my free time I write folk music, cook vegetarian food, enjoy the outdoors and help organize and coach in the Chicago Basketball League (CBL).  My favorite book is Shogun by James Clavell.


Erik Muelheims

I am a second year from Spokane, Washington double-majoring in Environmental Studies and Public Policy. I play on the basketball team for the University of Chicago and enjoy hiking, camping, rock climbing, and pretty much any outdoorsy activity. Coming to Chicago from the Pacific Northwest, I feel I have a great appreciation for “Big Nature” and am excited to learn more about Urban Ecology and the newer conception of “Chicago Wilderness.”


Veronica Murashige

I am a fourth year Environmental Studies major from Southern California. I grew up in a suburb but have managed to interact with nature in national parks of the US and on a four day hiking trip in the Himalayas when I studied abroad.  I am interested in urban agriculture, sustainable food, and environmental justice, and am involved in the climate action network (UCAN) on campus as well.  I enjoy road trips, spending time with cats, and playing music with my friends.


Maya Scheidl

I am a third year majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Visual Arts. One day I  hope to develop creative strategies for promoting urban agriculture and sustainable practices in cities. I grew up in northern New Jersey where I was constantly surrounded by trees, hiking trails and bike paths within walking distance from my house. I am a captain for the varsity swim team at the University of Chicago and in my free time you will find me painting, exploring Chicago, practicing yoga or testing out new recipes.


Shreya Sood

I am a second-year Environmental Studies major and Philosophy minor. I grew up in Buffalo, NY and spent a gap year before college traveling and doing things around Europe and Asia. I am interested in environmental education and green urban planning, and I hope to help develop the sustainable, compact, and carbon-neutral cities of the future. You can find me on UChicago’s campus giving tours and dancing with Apsara and the UC Bhangra team. Among other things, I enjoy hiking, kitchen gardening, people watching, riding trains, playing piano, and learning languages.


Elizabeth “Zibby” Quintero

I am a third year English major and Environmental Studies minor. I grew up in the tiny town of Dobbs Ferry, NY, only 20 miles north of New York City and only 30 miles south of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, an area of forestry and farms that I visited often growing up. My biggest interests concern sustainable and innovative agriculture practices, as well as educating younger generations in healthy and environmentally conscious food choices. I also love to paint, play soccer, spend time with my sisters, and go hiking with my dog around the New York area.


Dario Rabak

I am a fourth year Environmental Studies major from a small town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and thus have a powerful appreciation for nature which still persists even though I now live in the great city of Chicago. I hope to help preserve green spaces in the urban environment, and have previously worked with the Green Sports Initiative and the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition to promote sustainability in the city and on campus. When not studying in the library for hours on end, I enjoy biking and exploring Chicago’s parks.


Noel Rubio

I am a second year Public Policy major, possible Theater and
Performance Studies minor, and pre-med with a planned
specialization in Global and Environmental Health. Having
grown up in the Philippines and on the island of Guam, I am
intimately familiar with the pervasive impacts coloniali11722555_965582003503354_7502343699978321191_osm, (de)industrialization, and rapid growth and development have on societies and ecologies. While the Calumet Quarter is my first academic foray into applied environmental studies, I have experience with coral reef monitoring and environmentalist initiatives spearheaded by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific (through both in-office work and community-based participatory research). During whatever spare time I have, one can find me acting on one of the University’s many stages, jamming out with my a cappella groups, coordinating delicious, advocacy-driven study breaks with Kababayan, the campus Filipino Students’ Association, or geeking out with friends over the latest culinary fad, Internet sensation, coffee blend, novel sport or hobby, or work of art. I am incredibly
excited to learn, collaborate, and work with this year’s Calumet
Quarter participants and partners, and look forward to an
engaging, enlightening, and exhilarating Spring to come!


Leandra Trudeau

I am a fourth-year Environmental Studies and Public Policy major. I grew up just south of Cleveland, Ohio, five minutes from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which greatly shaped my appreciation and enjoyment of nature. My biggest environmental interest is in climate change mitigation, but I also have a great passion for ecology and I am excited to be involved in exploring solutions for urban ecosystem restoration. On campus, I am the President of Phoenix Sustainability Initiative, sing in an a cappella group, and work for the
Admissions Office. I also love to paint, play frisbee, arrange
music, and take my cat for walks.


Chloe Yanny-Tillar

I am a third year student studying Environmental Studies and Visual Arts. Born and raised in Chicago, I am extremely interested in learning the ecological history of the city and gaining an understanding of the process by which residents, NGOs, and government officials can collaborate to take on the hard task of habitat restoration. My favorite pockets of nature in the city are the Loyola Beach dunes, Jackson Park, and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I also like making fiber arts and stained glass sculpture, and I am currently developing a couple of video games.