THE Board


Etienne Benson

Etienne Benson is an assistant professor in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science, where he teaches courses on the history of technology, environmental history, and posthumanism. His research focuses on the history of the environmental sciences, environmentalism, and human-animal relationships in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Wired Wilderness: Technologies of Tracking and the Making of Modern Wildlife (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), he explored the relationship between the use of electronic surveillance technologies to study and manage wildlife and changing understandings of wildness and wilderness in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. He has also published shorter studies of urban squirrels, national parks, environmental satellites, electric power transmission, animal history, endangered species protection, movement ecology, ecological simulation, and other subjects at the intersection of the histories of science, technology, and environment. His current book project concerns the history of environmental ideas and environmentalisms since the late eighteenth century. He has been the co-convener of the Faculty Working Group on Environmental Humanities since 2016 and is the PPEH Topic Director for 2017-2018 on the theme of "How Did We Get Here?"

Austin Bream

is an undergraduate student in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business and a candidate for majors in International Studies, Business, and German ('17). As a member of PPEH's inaugural round of research fellows, Austin explored Berlin's spaces of sustainability and helped us overcome our early challenges. On campus, Austin is also on the board of SSAP and Green Acorn, interns at Green Campus Partnership, and loves photography. 


is a Professor of Biology and Department Chair, who has studied everything from the New Jersey Pinelands to droughts. Her teachings and research focus mainly on plant ecology, but her broader interest in sustainability has led her to actively work on many initiatives, including PPEH. 


Gerardo Cedillo is an undergraduate student in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, pursuing a dual degree in Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering and a minor in Fine Arts. He is currently working in the Shu Yang lab to develop responsive plastics for architectural skins that modulate the flow of solar radiance to improve energy efficiency in buildings. As a fellow for Penn Humanities Forum on Translation, he is researching how bodily movement and awareness in contemporary art have opened new paths for empathy and understanding. His research interests include issues of (im)materiality and preservation in the landscape (as an object-place) and plastic (as an object-material), and ways in which art practice can propose alternative modes of making and living in the Anthropocene.



Leah Davidson graduated in 2016 as an undergraduate student in the Wharton School, concentrating in management and global innovation. A co-founder and inaugural fellow for PPEH, Leah works hard on many environmental initiatives. She has worked with youth delegates at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, campaigned to protect the Earth's polar regions, and volunteered with the Urban Nutrition Initiative. As an undergraduate fellow, Leah researched the role of environmental art in the fight for sustainability.  


is a Penn PhD candidate in Spanish. His dissertation examines representations of ecological crisis in Renaissance Spain. He brings to PPEH a desire to expand the linguistic, geographic, and temporal scope of Environmental Humanities at Penn. As an avid cyclist, he is excited by the expansion of the East Coast Greenway through the Philadelphia area.


is a John Welsh Centennial Professor of English and Director of the Penn Humanities Forum. In addition to studying modern British fiction, Jim has pioneered new approaches to the Digital Humanities, both at Penn and among a wider community. Jim has taught courses on British cinema, globalization, and critical theory. His interest in the humanities strengthens PPEH's attempt to connect the diverse array of sustainability initiatives at Penn. 


is the Program Director for the Theatre Arts Program at Penn and a Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts. Marcia has taught, acted, and directed all over the country and the world, from New York to Tokyo to Rome. At Penn she has lectured on everything from Renaissance Theater to Realism, Theatrical Science to Improvisation. Marcia has also published two books. Her knowledge of theater will help PPEH reach out to a field too oft ignored in sustainability.



is a Penn doctoral candidate in Spanish & Portuguese currently completing a dissertation examining how 20th century Latin American texts theorize the dynamic imbrication of human and nonhuman life. In 2014, Carolyn founded the Anthropocene Reading Group, an interdisciplinary cohort at Penn that discusses readings about relationships to the environment. Carolyn was PPEH Program Coordinator from 2015-2016.


is the Environmental Sustainability Director for Penn. A Peace Corps volunteer, LEED accredited architect, a founding member of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and a lecturer in the Earth and Environmental Studies Department, Dan is a big part of campus sustainability efforts. He is also the founder of the Philadelphia pro-bono Community Design Collaborative and works with student groups across campus and Philadelphia on diverse sustainability initiatives.



is a Professor and Department Chair in Earth and Environmental Science. He received his PhD in Earth Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and his Venia Legendi at the University of Basel. He has extensive research and teaching experience with posts at the University of British Columbia (Canada), the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington D.C., the University of Siena (Italy), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Sydney, Purdue University in Indiana and the University of Freiburg (Germany). Reto is also an editor for the Journal of Petrology, Chief Editor for the European Journal of Mineralogy, and a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and the Geological Society of London. His research interests lie in the fields of mineralogy, petrology, environmental geochemistry, and health impacts of Earth materials.


is a Professor in the Political Science Department, specializing in American politics. Her interests range from criminal justice to health policy to business-labor relations. Marie has taught in China, been recognized by the Fulbright Program as a Distinguished Lecturer in Japan, and served on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences National Task Force on Mass Incarceration. She teaches courses on the American Presidency, Race and Criminal Justice, American Political Development, among others. 


Patricia Eunji Kim is PhD Candidate in the History of Art department, where she specializes in Greek and Hellenistic art and archaeology. Her dissertation on Hellenistic period royal women considers the visual culture of queens through postcolonial and ecofeminist frameworks, while engaging various theories of gender and the body. Patricia's broader research interests include issues of cross-cultural interaction, gendered power dynamics, and landscape in the Hellenistic period. She is also interested in public education, curatorial work, and cultural heritage issues--all of which have helped shape current PPEH collaborations and projects. Patricia was a PPEH graduate fellow (AY 2015-16) and is the current Program Coordinator for 2016-2017. Follow her work at and tweet her @kallixeinos


Anuradha Mathur

is an architect and landscape architect, is Professor in the Landscape Architecture Department, University of Pennsylvania. In collaboration with her partner Dilip da Cunha she is author of Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape (Yale University Press, 2001), Deccan Traverses: the Making of Bangalore’s Terrain (Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2006) and Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary (Delhi: NGMA and Rupa & Co., 2009), and co-editor of Design in the Terrain of Water (A+RD Publishers, San Francisco, 2014).

In 2011 and 2012 Mathur and da Cunha curated an international symposium titled In the Terrain of Water, held at PennDesign. In 2013/2014 they led a PennDesign Team for the project Structures of Coastal Resilience supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.


is a Senior Lecturer in the Religious Studies department, a Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum, and director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at the American Philosophical Society. Tim specializes in working with indigenous communities across North America with a focus on cultural revitalization and environmental stewardship of land and water rights. Most recently, he has been working with Ojibwe tribes in central, northern Canada on a UNESCO World Heritage Site proposal to protect more than 40,000 square kilometers of boreal forest that will hopefully be awarded in the summer of 2016. 


Simon Richter

is a Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures interested in cultural and cultural historical aspects of sustainability in Germany, the Netherlands, and the European Union. Simon teaches GRMN 150, Water Worlds: Cultural Responses to Sea Level Rise and Catastrophic Flooding, and directs a Penn Summer Abroad Program on Comparative Cultures of Sustainability in Rotterdam and Berlin (Link: 2015 Program). He is currently writing a book on Goethe’s Wetlands: Soggy Texts and Permeable Selves and is a faculty member of the Penn/Mellon Humanities, Urbanism and Design (H+U+D) Colloquium.




is an Associate Professor of German and affiliated faculty in English and Comparative Literature. Bethany co-founded PPEH and is its director. In 2016-2017 Bethany will also direct the Penn Humanities Forum. Her research and writing considers topics from utopianisms past and present to multilingual poetics and translation. In spring 2015 she was a visiting fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich and is an contributor to the Welcome to the Anthropocene exhibit. Her teaching explores new disciplinary configurations beyond the divide of natural sciences/humanities; she regularly teaches an environmental humanities seminar on Sustainability and Utopianism (cross-listed between Earth & Environmental Sciences, English, German and Comp Lit) and leads the research seminars for PPEH fellows.