2014 Spicer Award Winner
Emily Brooks is a Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology and a Research Affiliate with the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Reed College, and an M.A. in Anthropology from UC Irvine. Her graduate research investigates the science and cultural politics of slow ecological disasters through a focus on water scarcity, climate change, and applied environmental science in the Southwestern United States. Her research asks: what are the stakes of acknowledging and responding to slow environmental threats that exceed both everyday human perception and conventional problem-solving timeframes like careers and lifetimes? How do community members, public officials, and environmental scientists perceive water scarcity and climate change as slow disasters, and how do these perceptions shape the ways that they participate (or don't participate) in projects to respond to them? Emily's graduate work is informed by her experiences working with UC Irvine researchers to develop a community-based participatory research initiative on water use and climate change in the town of Borrego Springs, California. For her dissertation project, she will follow both sides of this emerging research partnership - the community members and the academic scientists - as they work together to develop a collaborative response to environmental threats.
2014 Spicer Award Winner
Tungalag Ulambayar is a PhD candidate in Rangeland Ecosystem Science at Colorado State University. Tungaa grew up in Southgobi of Mongolia raised by her grandparents who were Gobi nomadic herders. She received her undergraduate degree from Moscow State University after Lomonosov and did her MA degree at International University of Japan. Tungalag was one of the pioneering PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) facilitators in Mongolia from the mid 90s which has been the major tool for many community-based projects for the rural development in her country. Since 2003 she joined United Nations Development Programme in Mongolia as a Team leader for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction. During her tenure, she led design and implementation of several community-based projects in the fields of natural resource management and disaster risk reduction by building capacities of pastoral community groups. Tungaa’s research interests include specifics of nomadic pastoralism, pastoral institutions for rangeland management, traditional norms, social capital and collective actions of nomads essential for rural livelihoods. As part of her dissertation Tungaa examines these social outcomes of formally organized herder groups in comparison to non-formal community groups as indicators of their adaptive capacities and resilience in newly transitioned market economy conditions and changing climate.