About Kelly Heber Dunning

IMG_6971I am Kelly Heber Dunning, a PhD student of public policy with specialization in environmental issues in the MIT Science Impact Collaborative and an advisee of Professor Lawrence Susskind. A Fulbright Scholar, MIT Presidential Fellow , Policy and Environmental Governance Fellow, and Carroll Wilson Awardee, my research focuses on interdisciplinary public policy analysis, regional planning, and sustainable international economic development with an environmental focus. Here is my CV. Being at MIT has allowed to me leverage a world class setting for training in the social and environmental sciences.

I have three main research interests. First is how developing countries and regions undergoing economic transitions can do so in a sustainable way. My work uses community engagement strategies with diverse stakeholders to examine resilience along social, ecological, and economic dimensions. My dissertation uses comparative analysis to examine ecological and economic outcomes of national and regional public policy and economic livelihood strategies. I have attracted significant funds for my work through FulbrightUSAID MIT D-Lab grants, and others. I am very interested in coming up with new ways to use innovative research design, methods and empirical analysis to answer public policy questions.

Second, I am interested in developing models for long term sustainability planning of heavily urbanized regions and cities. I am  a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Marine Policy Center through the WHOI Guest Student Program. I am supervised by Professor Porter Hoagland where I work on an NSF Funded Coastal SEES Project on the economic valuation of ecosystem services in large urban estuaries, specifically the Hudson River estuary, Manhattan, and the Port of New York and New Jersey. There we are using biophysical models coupled with policy scenarios and economic models to measure the impacts of dredging policy.

Stakeholder outreach in Kampung Sinaran Bahru, Malaysia Agro-tourism venture

Stakeholder outreach in Kampung Sinaran Bahru, Malaysia Agro-tourism venture

Third, I am interested in quantitative data analysis using integrated, complex systems data. I received a scholarship in spring 2014 for training in modeling methods at Stanford University’s NatCap Program. I am also a recent winner of the EPA’s Coastal Data Challenge involving its National Aquatic Resources Survey Data for a project using econometric methods to model benthic ecosystem health to local marine economies in Florida and the Gulf. I have also been awarded a funded trip to present at the Association of European Schools of Planning’s annual Young Academics conference in Palermo 2015 to present my work on economic development.

My departmental websites can be found here and here. Check out my blog entries listed in the archives and categorized on the lower left hand side of this page, which include some of my political writing, blogs from my field sites, and informal writing on natural resource management, economics, politics, and policy.


Field visit to the coastal village of Kampung Sungai Melayu with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority. (Photo credit Tok Muharam Parlie)

I serve as a teaching assistant for a variety of courses related to international development, policy analysis, and statistics. These include Environmental Policy and Planning, Statistical Research Design, Participatory Action Research Methods, and a Malaysia Practicum on sustainable development. As part of this practicum, I lead a small group of students to perform engaged fieldwork in Malaysian communities . Accounts of the past two years can be read here and here.

My instructor reviews as well as syllabi from the courses I help teach can be found in the Teaching Reviews section on this website. In spring of 2015 I created a new course titled Regional Ocean and Coastal Zone Management Planning Working Group in MIT’s Environmental Policy and Planning cluster. It focuses on integrated coastal zone management for a range of uses ranging from oil and gas facilities, to fisheries and aquaculture, to offshore wind. We also tackle issues of stakeholder participation, resilience, ecosystem-based management, and domestic/international oceans and coastal governance.

Christ Church College, Oxford

Christ Church College, Oxford just after exams!

I hold an MSc from the University of Oxford Center for the Environment, specialized in ecosystem services valuation, GIS-based spatial analysis, and community-based natural resource management. There I was offered the prestigious Clarendon Award. I wrote my masters thesis on ecological restorations, ecosystem services, and adaptive management in the Everglades. My scholarly mentors and advisors include Marta Lang and Paul Jepson.

Before that, I taught for two years with Teach for America in Washington D.C. while working on a contractual basis for DataGrid Inc. as a Natural Resource Management Specialist in land use planning in Uganda. I hold a B.A. from the University of Florida, where I graduated magna cum laude, with Phi Beta Kappa honors (Go Gators!). And way back when,  I was the valedictorian of the 2005 graduating class of A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

Contact me:

email: k_heber1@mit.edu

Twitter: @Kelly_Heber here

My Oxford Blog: http://twocornishchoughs.blogspot.com/

Related links:

Iain Dunning, MIT PhD candidate in applied mathematics: here

Viresh Patel, Oxford DPhil Student in Geography and Environment: here

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