Seven Grad Students Chosen for BBISS GRA Scholars Program

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The inaugural class of seven Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems (BBISS) Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) Scholars was recently selected for a 2-year program of working, studying, and training as an interdisciplinary sustainability research team. Launching in the Fall of 2021 with funding provided by a generous gift from Brook and Shawn Byers and guidance from a Faculty Advisory Board, the BBISS GRA Scholars will receive supplemental training in sustainability, team science, and leadership. They will apply their skills and talents, working directly with their peers, faculty, and external partners on a long-term, large team, sustainability relevant Vertically Integrated Project. They will participate in the organization and hosting of a seminar series in which they will invite and meet global leaders in sustainability, and they will have additional opportunities to develop professional networks, to publish, to draft proposals, to acquire knowledge, and to develop other skills critical to their professional success and relevant to their intellectual interests.

The first class of Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems Graduate Research Assistant Scholars are:

  • Bettina Arkhurst - Ph.D. student, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Katherine Duchesneau - Ph.D. student, School of Biological Sciences
  • Marjorie Hall - Ph.D. student in History of Technology, School of History and Sociology, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Meaghan McSorley - Ph.D. student, School of City and Regional Planning, College of Design
  • Udita Ringania - Ph.D. student, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Ioanna Maria Spyrou - Ph.D. student, School of Economics, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Yilun 'Elon' Zha - Ph.D. student, School of Architecture, College of Design, and Master of Science candidate in statistics, Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering

The Faculty Advisory Board for the BBISS GRA Scholars is composed of the faculty who submitted the students' nominations. Nominations for Classes II and III of the BBISS GRA Scholars program will open in Spring 2022 and Spring 2023. It is expected that 6 to 8 scholars will be selected for each year’s group.

The Faculty Advisory Board for the inaugural class are:

Updates and outcomes will be posted to the BBISS website as the project progresses. Additional information is available at


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Brent Verrill
  • Created:06/11/2021
  • Modified By:jhunt7
  • Modified:06/23/2021