Research Group

Meet the members of my research group, including current graduate student advisees, undergraduate research assistants, other students on whose thesis committees I serve or with whom I work, and former students.

Current Graduate Students


Xin Wang is a PhD student in Sustainability at ASU (2020-). She works on dryland sustainability, with particular interest in the effects of natural and anthropogenic processes on dryland ecosystems and landscapes, and how to sustainably utilize the resources in drylands to improve human well-being. Xin is also a member of Landscape Ecology & Sustainability Lab at ASU. She has earned a BS degree in Ecology from Peking University and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University.

Current Undergraduate Advisees

Penny Ren is an undergraduate student of Cornell University Class of 2026. She majored in Global Development and focuses specifically on the Social & Economic concentration. She
developed an interest in rural community development. Throughout high school, she
participated in field research on culture preservation in Guming Village, Guangxi, China.

Current Visiting Scholars

Yihua Chen is a visiting PhD student from the School of Social Development of East China Normal University. She engages in research of social welfare and policy, with particular interest in the Measuring and alleviating poverty. She has received a Master of Social Work and Policy degree from Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Yuan Yuan is a visiting PhD student from the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Fudan University. She specializes in urban ecology and studies the impact of natural and anthropogenic activities on urban ecosystems. Her current research focuses on the pattern of global urban heat island effect and its influencing factors over a long time series.

Former Research Group Members


Sidney Brandhorst completed her MS in Sustainability at ASU (2020-2022). She completed her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Michigan State University where she studied food security at the university level. In graduate school she explored the relationship between different environmental shocks in a system and how they impact both the type and level of conflict that happens. More specifically, she is interested in the conflict characteristics of populations that reside in African drylands. Since 2022, Sidney works as a Development Specialist of the Research Foundation at San Diego State University.

Haiyue Fu is an exchange scholar in the School of Sustainability at ASU (2019-2021). She is Associate Professor from Nanjing Agriculture University. She completed her PhD in Cartography and Geographic Information System at Nanjing University where she studied land use land cover change and land use planning. Her current research focuses on spatial planning, land resource management, and sustainable development in urban areas of China.