Subhrendu K. Pattanayak is a Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, and the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. He studies the causes and consequences of human behaviors related to the natural environment to help design and evaluate policy interventions in low income tropical countries.  He has collaborated closely with multi-lateral agencies, NGOs, governments, and local academics in Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the U.S. Currently, Professor Pattanayak leads a new multi‐disciplinary initiative at Duke University on household health and energy and a faculty fellow of the South Asian Network of Development and Environmental Economists.


Marc Jeuland is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. His research interests include nonmarket valuation, water and sanitation, environmental health, energy poverty and transitions, trans-boundary water resource planning and management, and the impacts and economics of climate change. He has worked in the past with the World Bank on projects involving economic modeling in the Ganges Basin in Asia, economic planning in the eastern Nile river basin, rural sanitation in Egypt, and waste water reuse in the Middle East and Northern Africa.



Hannah Girardeau is the Program Manager for the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative. She is committed to promoting solutions to energy poverty in developing nations. As a master’s student in the Nicholas School of the Environment, she focused her studies on international energy poverty and renewable energy. Hannah recently served as the Program and Development Fellow for Empower Generation, a social enterprise supporting a women-led renewable energy distribution network in Nepal. For three years prior to Duke, she worked to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy policies alongside the Midwest Energy team at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Hannah holds a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from Loyola University Chicago and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University.

Research Assistants

Eric Burton is a Master of Environmental Management student concentrating on Energy and the Environment at the Nicholas School of the Environment. He holds a BS in Geography from Appalachian State University, where he focused on the relationship between climate and Glaciers in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia. This experience led to his current interests that include energy transitions, energy access, and the environmental impacts of energy use in the developing world.


Samantha Childress is a Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School of the Environment, focusing on Energy & Sustainability. She is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Appropriate Technology and a minor in Sustainable Development. As a member of the Board of Directors for United Solar Initiative, a nonprofit that provides energy access solutions to remote communities through solar photovoltaics, she has led the installation of PV systems on community centers and schools in rural Nicaraguan communities. She is also responsible for maintaining the productivity of PV projects to deliver a lasting impact on the system’s users. She has also interned with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, performing market research and analysis for U.S. clean energy projects and is motivated by the growing opportunities at the nexus of business and energy access.

Sara Dong is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Nicholas School of Environment and concentrating in Environmental Economics. She would like to apply quantitative methods to solve global environmental issues in these topics under the international development framework. Sara holds a BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and minor in Statistics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



Vanessa Ferrero is getting her Master of Environmental Management in Energy and the Environment through the Nicholas School of the Environment. She is also pursuing a certificate in international development and policy through the Sanford School of Public Policy. Vanessa recently graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.A. in French from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. Her career interests focus on energy access issues in developing countries, particularly in the African context. She hopes to work on the development of renewable energy in these countries to help limit the effects of their industrialization on worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Caitlin Graovac is a Master of Public Policy student at the Sanford School of Public Policy. She is specializing in global policy and pursuing a certificate in international development policy. Her interests lie broadly within poverty reduction and sustainable development. Prior to coming to Duke, Caitlin worked in non-profit education, primarily on improving civic engagement among high school students. Caitlin holds a BA in Political Science from Indiana University.



Sumin Wang is a 1st year Master of Environmental Management student at Duke University with a concentration in Energy & Environment. She recently graduated from University of California, San Diego with dual degrees in B.S. Management Sciences and B.S. Earth Science (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). She strives to look for solutions at the intersection of sciences and social sciences to help companies and countries to achieve higher energy efficiency and develop a cleaner society. Her current focus is on finance in renewable energy projects, transformation of China’s energy sector and energy access in the developing world. Prior to Duke, she worked as a research assistant in projects on evaluating the effectiveness of carbon tax on reducing carbon emission in cement plants and economic analysis of substance use and abuse in the United States.


Rob Fetter is a Senior Policy Associate at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke. He works with researchers from multiple disciplines (including policy, business, economics, law, science, and engineering), as well as global practitioners and policy makers, to advance opportunities for increasing energy access and the use of low-carbon and sustainable energy sources. Rob previously earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy at Duke, where he wrote about global energy transitions and also about regulation and firm learning in the emerging technology of hydraulic fracturing. He also holds Master’s degrees in environmental economics from Yale and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Yating Li is a PhD candidate in the University Program in Environmental Policy, studying environmental and energy economics. Her research focuses on modeling and forecasting the residential electricity consumption in China using micro data, to highlight both the effect of income growth and the implication of climate change. With an interest in understanding the development outcomes and fiscal implications of wind and solar investment, she is actively involved in several energy-related on-campus groups including GLEAN, SETI and GEHE. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Economics from Renmin University of China and a certificate in Business, Language and Culture from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Prior to her PhD study, she worked as an intern at the national Energy Research Institute, the Greenpeace Beijing office and Delegation of European Union in China.

Erin Litzow is an Associate in Research at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Her interests lie at the intersection of development and environmental economics, with a particular focus on energy. Currently she is working on a number of projects focused on assessing the impacts of clean energy solutions on welfare and environmental outcomes in Bhutan, Indonesia and Senegal. She received her Masters of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment in May 2017, concentrating in Environmental Economics and Policy.  During the summer of 2016, Erin interned at the World Health Organization, supporting the Public health, environment and social determinants of health program in their work as a custodial agency for Sustainable Development Goal 7. Prior to coming to Duke, Erin worked as both a researcher and development practitioner in East Africa, focusing on a broad range of topics spanning agriculture, market access, governance, and education. She has also worked and studied in Latin America and Europe. Erin holds a BSFS from Georgetown University, where she studied international political economy and development.

Faraz Usmani is a PhD candidate in environmental economics at Duke University. His research looks at the economics of energy and development, with a particular focus on the drivers and impacts of access to modern energy in low-income settings. Prior to coming to Duke, he worked on environmental management in developing countries in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management network at the World Bank. Faraz holds an MA in International and Development Economics from Yale University and a BA in Economics from New York University.

Former research assistants

Nina Brooks, MPP
Genna Gomes, MEM
Sherri Haas, MPP
Luke Horvath, MPP
Koichi Kanaoka, MEM
Jessica Lewis, PhD
Lauren Masatsugu, MEM
Laura Morrison, MPP
Jeffrey Paulk, MPP
Alisha Pinto, MPP
Lisa Philippone, MSc
Alayne Potter, MEM
Sushmita Samaddar, MPP
Lavanya Singh, MPP
Aubrey Zhang, MPP