Team

Environmental Sustainability Working Group Coordinators


Angela M. Person | Co-Director| a@ou.edu

Dr. Angela M. Person is Director of Research and Strategic Planning for the Gibbs College of Architecture and lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. She has collaborated to author and edit three scholarly books: Affective Architectures: More-than-Representational Geographies of Heritage (Routledge 2020), Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture (OU Press, 2020), and  The Care and Keeping of Cultural Facilities: A Best Practice Guidebook for Museum Facility Management (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014), as well as journal articles and book chapters relating to design history and teaching, environmental behavior and perceptions, and Oklahoma history. Her courses explore social, emotional, and physical expressions of environment-society relationships. More info at http://angelamperson.com/.

Randy Peppler | Co-Director | rpeppler@ou.edu

Dr. Randy Peppler is Associate Director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) at the University of Oklahoma, and Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. He leads the double life of human geographer and meteorologist.  His interests include Indigenous knowledge of weather and climate, place-based tornado risk perception, environmental ethics, and environmental justice.  His course Environment and Society uses film, poetry, and music as interpretive tools.  His co-authored chapter “Hazardscapes: Perceptions of Tornado Risk and the Role of Place in Central Oklahoma,” recently appeared in Place Attachment: A Geographic Perspective.

Sonia Merkel | Research Mentor | s.h.m-1@ou.edu

Sonia, an Oklahoma native, was raised with a love of nature. When it came time to choose a degree, the University of Oklahoma’s Environmental Sustainability program combined Sonia’s love of policy, protection, and education into a perfect package. Sonia’s previous research includes: development of wind and renewable energy policy in Oklahoma; how climate change has impacted rural communities in Oklahoma; and how negative perceptions of climate change can be overcome with effective messaging. Her research has been published in Social Science Quarterly. Sonia now serves as a research mentor to new ESWG student researchers.

Environmental Sustainability Working Group: Current Team

Julie Bahr | juliebahr@ou.edu

Julie Bahr is a senior from Brownsburg, Indiana majoring in English and Environmental Sustainability with minors in Spanish and GIS. Her research explores environmental injustices stemming from topics in water infrastructure, including Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) and inadequate drinking water and sanitation systems in prisons. During her time at OU, Julie has enjoyed serving as the Executive Chair of Green Week and the Editor-in-Chief of The Honors Undergraduate Research Journal. Julie also works as a research assistant at the Oklahoma Water Survey and is currently involved in a project examining the prevalence of COVID-19 in wastewater samples from both OU’s Norman campus and the OKC metro area. After graduation, she plans to work in hydrology for a year before attending graduate school to obtain an M.S. in Natural Resources and hopes to eventually pursue a career as a conservation scientist.

Gabrielle Bittner | gabrielle.bittner@ou.edu

Gabrielle Bittner joined the ESWG as a junior at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Sustainability and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Gabrielle found her passion for consumer sustainability within the beauty industry studying the patterns of green beauty and what influences consumers to buy sustainably. Gabrielle has conducted research on greenwashing in the personal care industry and has focused on women aged 18-23. Focusing on consumer intention, consumption values, and brand loyalty and familiarity. After graduation Gabrielle hopes to work for a company that considers transparency and proper regulation as a necessary element for their brand and the personal care industry. She hopes to continue sustainable beauty work while completing a Cosmetic Science or Chemistry master’s someday and formulating her own products.

Noah Brown | noah.brown@ou.edu

Noah Brown is a senior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Computer Science along with minors in Environmental Sustainability, Mathematics, and Spanish. His interest in sustainability began prior to studying at OU where he spent large amounts of time in the Idaho outdoors in and around his hometown of Boise. During this time, he fostered an immense appreciation for the natural spaces. After arriving at the University of Oklahoma, he decided to pursue ES coursework in order to further his knowledge of sustainability. Through the ES curriculum, Noah developed an interest in how society responds to sustainability initiatives. This idea forms the crux of his research where he is examining how Big XII schools structure sustainability programs at their institutions and the relative effectiveness of their strategies.  He has been awarded an OU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant in support of this work.

Kathlyn Dannewald| kmdannewald@ou.edu

Kathlyn Dannewald is a sophomore from Louisiana at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor in Anthropology. She is also pushing an accelerated Masters in Public Administration. Interested in the intersection between public administration and environmental issues, her research focuses on environmental justice and park access, specifically in the Oklahoma City area. She hopes to eventually use her research to create suggestions for park programs and development in OKC. Beyond the University of Oklahoma, Kathlyn aims to work in the field of environmental policy.

Brooke Foster| brookefoster@ou.edu

Brooke Foster is a junior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Environmental Sustainability and International Studies along with a minor in Spanish. Her degrees have been the perfect way to explore her passions for the planet and the people who inhabit it. Her research this summer specifically explores topics of vulnerability, community agency, place attachment, and environmental injustice. After enjoying her time with OU Green Week, Student Heroes, and any other new and exciting organizations she may join over the next couple of years, Brooke plans to attend a graduate program or law school as she continues to promote environmental equity and sustainability in communities locally and around the world. Her research project, which has received financial support from the OU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the Honors Research Assistant Program. She won the Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference Poster Competition with a presentation of this project.

Attie Marshall|attie.e.marshall-1@ou.edu

Attie Marshall is a sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas studying Environmental Sustainability with a minor in Nonprofit Organizational Studies. She is currently researching effects of different communicational techniques associated with collegiate environmental activism and panel style discussion methods. Attie loves all things environmental sustainability and hopes to use her work with the ESWG to figure out what her futures passions and aspirations will be! She is also involved in the OU Student Government Association and Green Week, and can often be found studying in sunny spots around campus.


Environmental Sustainability Working Group Alumni

Madeline Wade (2019-2020)

Madeline Wade joined the ESWG as a senior studying Psychology and Environmental Studies and the University of Oklahoma. She has been interested in psychology and behavioral science since high school, and she found her passion for the environment and water while a freshman at OU. Madeline has conducted research on environmental attitudes and behavior change. She also has experience researching LID management practices in relation to water quality. With the ESWG, she researched Norman’s water reclamation plan and public acceptance of using recycled wastewater and stormwater. This work was published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and has received awards during consecutive SWAAG conferences. Madeline went on to pursue graduate studies in Geography at Texas State.

Sarah Melcher (2018)

Sarah Melcher joined the ESWG as an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Sustainability and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Sarah has long been fascinated by the challenge of maximizing the efficiency of human use of natural resources while reducing negative impacts on both humans and ecosystems. This fascination has led to an interest in recycling, life cycle analysis, repurposing, upcycling, environmental justice, large-scale composting, and more. Sarah is also interested in urban green spaces, particularly green rooves, and other elements of urban sustainability. She was named the 2019 Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) – Oklahoma Chapter Scholarship recipient. This award honors promising undergraduates each year, in particular those with a focus on issues related to waste. Her research was presented during the “Geographies of Waste” session of the 2019 American Association of Geographers’ Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (link), and it is currently under review with the Journal of Rural Studies.

Maya Henderson (2018)

Born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Maya Henderson has always been a Sooner fan. She has long had an interest in the environment and green living since her childhood, with inspiration coming from her grandfather, Phil Henderson. Maya was named a 2019 Udall Scholar, a national honor that recognizes sophomore or junior college students committed to careers related to the environment, Native American public policy or health care. Henderson’s recent research activity focuses on public perceptions of sustainability and green initiatives, a portion of which was published in the Southern Climate Monitor (link). Maya went on to graduate studies at the University of Georgia. She hopes to continue sustainable development work while completing her master’s and possibly earning a PhD.

Daniella Rodriguez (2018)

Daniella joined the ESWG as a junior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Environmental Sustainability. Ever since Daniella was a little girl, her parents educated her on why the environment is so important and why we should do everything in our power to conserve our precious resources and better the planet. The Environmental Sustainability program at the University of Oklahoma offers great knowledge to all of its students about protection and conservation of the environment and that is why Daniella fell in love with being an ES major. Daniella’s research with the ESWG incorporated sustainability methods implemented in some of our nation’s leading federal agencies, greenhouse gas emissions, and their strategic use of water; along with the history of her chosen agencies and how executive orders presented by the nation’s current president effects how these agencies operate. After graduation, Daniella hopes to utilize what she has learned as a student at OU and work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as an Environmental Protection Specialist.

Sonia Merkel (2017-2018)

Sonia, an Oklahoma native, was raised with a love of nature. When it came time to choose a degree, the University of Oklahoma’s Environmental Sustainability program combined Sonia’s love of policy, protection, and education into a perfect package. Sonia’s previous research includes: development of wind and renewable energy policy in Oklahoma; how climate change has impacted rural communities in Oklahoma; and how negative perceptions of climate change can be overcome with effective messaging. She was awarded an OU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant in support of this work, which was also published in Social Science Quarterly. Sonia now serves as a research mentor to new ESWG student researchers.


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Allyson Wiley (2017)

Allyson joined the ESWG as a senior attending the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Environmental Sustainability with a minor in Geographic Information Science. She was very involved in the campus community as chair of Green Week, president of OUr Earth and president of the Geography and Environmental Sustainability club. Allyson’s research includes renewable energy, voluntary environmental participation, environmental education, social behavioral changes, activism methods/strategies and the psychology behind environmental decision making. After graduation, Allyson attended the University of Michigan.


Victoria Johnson (2017)

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Victoria chose the University of Oklahoma due to their superior atmospheric research programs, as she has always had a strong interest in weather and the environment. During her undergraduate career, Victoria obtained a bachelor of science in Environmental Sustainability from the University and spent much of her time researching the effects of place attachment on tornado risk perception. After working with the ESWG, Victoria earned an M.S. degree in Geography with a concentration in Geospatial Technologies (GIS), then began her PhD studies in Geography. Her research interests include studying natural hazards, disasters, and public perceptions to environmental risks. Her ESWG research was recognized with an honorable mention during the American Meteorological Society annual meeting, and is forthcoming in the journal Weather, Climate and Society.