SEEKCommons Fellows

2024 Fellows

Meet the SEEKCommons Fellows working on STS, Open Science and Socio-Environmental research projects.

Jose Ramon Becerra Vera

Jose (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University, working in the Farmer Learning, Agriculture, Culture, Humanities, Social science laboratory. While pursuing his doctoral degree, Jose has held positions working on pollution issues and environmental justice across non-profits and government, including as a Yale University Environmental Fellow, with Chicago’s non-profit organization Elevate, and as a University of New Hampshire Sustainability Fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His dissertation uses qualitative ethnographic and quantitative exposure science instruments to examine the drivers of toxicity in ecological landscapes and uneven contamination exposure. Through his work across the social and environmental sciences, Jose aims to democratize science, contribute to community health, and advocate for environmental justice.

Valerie Berseth

Valerie (she/her) is an environmental sociologist studying how people understand and manage the risks of human interventions into nature. She completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of British Columbia and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Carleton University. Her work is motivated by the urgent challenges facing humans and non-humans as climate change continues to accelerate ecosystem shifts and biodiversity loss. Climate adaptation requires confronting and re-imagining human relations to the environment. Novel technologies offer potential pathways forward, but are accompanied by risks, uncertainties, and power dynamics, requiring careful attention to issues of fairness, equity, and justice. Valerie conducts interdisciplinary research that spans multiple areas, including environmental politics, climate adaptation, and perceptions of risk related to genomic science applications in conservation and natural resource management.

Ñawi Flores

Ñawi (tikzi/he/they) is a citizen of Apya Yala and Turtle Island, Tawantinsuyu, Kichwa Nation, Kutakachi, Chichupampa Klan, who practices regenerative partnerships and builds bridges between Indigenous knowledge systems and Western perspectives, honoring Indigenous Philosophy of knowing and not knowing. Before joining this systems integration journey, he earned a BS in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Brooklyn College, an MA in Plant Biology from Lehman College, an MBA in management in the global economy from the University of the People, a Next Economy MAB in Indigenous economy stewardship from the Lift Economy, and a MicroMasters in Circular Economy from edX Wageningen University & Research.

As the visionary behind Kinray Hub, developed through the K’allam’p ecosystem, Ñawi is pioneering innovative approaches to Indigenous research governance and data sovereignty, Indigenous socio-economy regeneration, and reduction of educational hierarchy. His transformative leadership integrates Indigenous philosophy, nRhythm Regenerative Leadership, and Bio-Leadership frameworks, honing skills in living systems thinking, regenerative design, and organizational resilience.

Tikzi serves as stuart of Ancestral Lands in Kutakachi, Ecuador; a Translational Indigenous Leader at the International Advisory Panel on Biodiversity Credits (IAPBC), Biodiversity Credits Alliance (BCA), and World Economy Forum (WEF); and a co-editor of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development (JAFSCD), special issue Community-Based Circular Food Systems.

Madhuri Karak

Madhuri (she/her) is an independent researcher and writer working at the intersections of climate, technology, and culture. She has supported earth defenders, small-scale fishers and farmers, environmental and climate activists, and digital rights practitioners to secure and manage the commons for collective wellbeing. Her work spans landscape research, podcasts, narrative longform, toolkits, and strategic community engagement. Most recently, she led a project mapping opportunities for coalition building between climate justice and digital rights advocacy efforts across the EU for the European Digital Rights Network (EDRi). Madhuri was a Mellon - American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow (2019-2021) and has a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her writing on indigenous sovereignty, design thinking, and AI has appeared in Slate, the Container Magazine, fiftytwo, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Behavioral Scientist, and Public Books. She currently lives between Ankara, Turkey and Kolkata, India.

Erin Robinson

Erin (she/her) contributes to the fields of information science and environmental science, particularly at the intersection of environmental information infrastructures and place-based collaboratories. She initially studied long-range transport of smoke and dust which required data from different providers, in different formats – none of it intended for her use. Through this experience, she realized the social and behavioral challenges of data reuse. This led to her work with the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) for 10 years as the Information and Virtual Community Director and then as Executive Director. There, she created programs and ran two conferences annually to build community and find common solutions to challenges sharing data. In 2020, she left ESIP and joined Metadata Game Changers, a small consultancy that continues work on these issues. In 2021, she took one of her consulting projects, FAIR Island, the precursor to the iPlaces Project, and began to build her dissertation around it in Information Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is now in the third year of her Ph.D. and focused on the data work practices at environmental field stations by designing and implementing infrastructural interventions to improve collaborative data sharing and reuse.

Tiffany Tang

Tiffany (she/her) is currently an Environmental Engineering doctoral student at Northeastern University. She obtained her MS and BS in Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University, focusing on factors affecting removal of emerging contaminants 1,4-dioxane and PFAS from drinking water. At Northeastern University, she’s excited to conduct environmental engineering research from an environmental justice standpoint through investigating the validity of private well water location methods and exploring the way these methods interplay with demographics, social equity, policy formation, and water quality. She aims to develop her skills as a community-focused researcher with a multifaceted understanding of drinking water issues ranging from treatment to policy.

Vincent (Vince) Tozzi

Vince (he/him) is network artisan, researcher, and activist who works with Free Software, popular culture, and agroecology. He has been working for almost two decades with “Casa de Cultura Tainã” (one of the key nodes of the Quilombola (Maroon) network “Mocambos,” which is dedicated to sharing traditional knowledge with Free Software technologies). Vince is participating in the SEEKCommons Fellowship as a representative of Mocambos Network. Vince is the main developer of Baobáxia software and coordinator of the “Digital Research and Development Group” (NPDD) of the Mocambos Network. He is also the founder of the “Núcleo DPadua,” based in the historic Mercado Sul of Taguatinga in Brazil, where he participates in the Radio Mercado Sul project. He graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the Università degli Studi di Firenze. He has experience with the implementation of Intranet services and Free Software migration projects in the Brazilian government. In addition to his technical contributions, he has also been dedicated to the promotion of “Digital Culture,” involving popular culture and traditional knowledge projects.

Katie Ulrich

Katie (she/they) is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Rice University. Their work is at the intersection of environmental anthropology, feminist science and technology studies, political economy, and energy humanities. Katie’s current research examines how science and resource extraction come together in the making of renewable materials to address climate change, with a specific focus on sugarcane-based biofuels, bioplastics, and other bioproducts. This research is based in Brazil and the US, and is supported by the National Science Foundation. Katie is currently Managing Editor of Platypus, the CASTAC blog and Coordinator of the Ethnography Studio at USC. Prior to starting doctoral studies, Katie worked as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab at the University of California San Francisco.

Sebastian Zarate

Sebastian (he/him) is a PhD candidate in Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, where he also serves as a fellow in the AgBioFEWS program at the Genetic Engineering and Society Center (GES). Drawing upon the field of science and technology studies (STS), he explores the governance of crop data platforms and the implications of emerging technologies in the Andes. Sebastian has experience working in Peru and the U.S., conducting research on diverse topics such as ethnicity and social stratification, public perceptions of climate change, sustainability, and the circular economy. More recently, he participated in the CompCoRe project, which compares national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CRISPR in Latin America and the Caribbean project, which examines the regulatory and institutional frameworks of novel technologies for the agricultural sector. Currently, he is exploring issues of data justice, digital literacy, and the long-term adoption of citizen science data platforms for agrobiodiversity conservation.