Humphrey School News—September 2, 2014

Humphrey School Welcomes Inaugural PhD Cohort

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs this fall welcomed seven highly accomplished students to its new Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Affairs program. Together these emerging scholars bring extensive experience and a passion for studying policy and planning related to many pressing societal concerns, including energy innovation and environmental practices; private sector philanthropy and social welfare; transit development and social equity; infrastructure development; and citizen engagement.

Under the direction of Professor Edward Goetz, the Humphrey School’s PhD program offers doctoral students personalized opportunities for rigorous, advanced study in one of four academic sub-plans—public policy; urban and regional planning; public and nonprofit management; and science, technology, and environmental policy.

Students will be advised by five highly accomplished Humphrey professors with research expertise related to environmental and energy policy, infrastructure development, urban and regional planning, transit and transportation policy, social justice and public policy.

The ultimate goal of the Humphrey School's PhD program is to prepare students to become public affairs scholars in the Academy or to join innovative institutions involved in cutting-edge research in public affairs, policy, planning, and management.

Find additional information about the PhD.

Vivek Bhandari
Humphrey Faculty Advisor: Associate Professor Elizabeth Wilson
Areas of Expertise: Renewable energy, energy systems, micro-grids, distributed generation, energy policy

Bhandari, a native of Nepal, has an undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Kathmandu University (KU) in Nepal, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Minnesota as a Fulbright scholar. After exploring technical avenues as an electrical engineer, Bhandari plans to examine the broader areas that shape energy and environmental sectors.

Dana Boyer
Faculty Advisor: Professor Anu Ramaswami
Areas of Expertise: International development, urban sustainability and resilience, food systems, social entrepreneurship, vertical farming

Boyer has undergraduate degrees in environmental engineering and German studies with a minor in landscape design from the University of Connecticut, and a master’s degree in engineering for sustainable development from the University of Cambridge. After working as an external consultant, leading an Engineers Without Borders road repair project, and working in India with social entrepreneurship NGO, Ashoka, she is ready to focus on developing low-carbon cities in the U.S., China, and India.

Gregg Colburn
Faculty Advisor: Associate Professor Maria Hanratty
Areas of Expertise: Housing, homelessness, social policy, comparative social policy

Colburn has an undergraduate degree in economics and management from Albion College, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University. He has more than 17 years of private sector experience, including working as an investment banker with Goldman, Sachs & Co. Colburn has a broad interest in social welfare policy with a particular interest in housing and homelessness. 

Andrew Fang
Faculty Advisor: Professor Anu Ramaswami
Areas of Expertise: Urban sustainability, energy systems, industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, water-energy nexus

Fang earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in sustainable energy systems from the University of Michigan. Recently, he has worked to evaluate environmental footprints of algal biofuels, vehicles, and urban water infrastructure. His interests lie in scalable solutions that will address energy/water infrastructure challenges at the urban scale. 

Andrew Guthrie 
Humphrey Faculty Advisor: Associate Professor Yingling Fan
Areas of Expertise: Transit planning research, regional accessibility, improved performance measures, transit service and facility design, and transit-oriented development; rail transit and the social equity implications of transportation

Guthrie obtained a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Georgia and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. As a member of a group that developed a light rail station plan, he received the Planning Award for a Student Project from the American Planning Association of Minnesota. Guthrie’s interests include the resurgence of rail transit and the social equality implications of transportation. 

Kangkang (KK) Tong 
Humphrey Faculty Advisor: Profesor Anu Ramaswami
Areas of Expertise: Sustainable cities, energy-GHG (greenhouse gas) footprints, public finance

Tong, a native of China, earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Wuhan University of Technology and a master’s degree in ecology from Chinese Academy of Sciences. Tong worked as an assistant consultant in China, working with the local government to attract people to a famous ghost city in China, Kangbashi New Area. Her world views have sparked her interest in sustainable development.

Chen Zhang
Humphrey Faculty Advisors: Associate Professor Jason Cao and Professor Anu Ramaswami
Areas of Expertise: Transportation policy, land use and transportation interactions, transit planning, industrial ecology, sustainable infrastructure design, urban system analysis, social entrepreneurship

Zhang, a native of China, obtained her bachelor’s degree from Sun-Yet Sen University, China, and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from University of California, Irvine. Zhang won the John S Adams Award in 2014 for her academic achievements in transportation policy and planning fields. Zhang hopes to build bridges between academia and practice of transportation policy working on low carbon cities’ development in the U.S., China, and India.

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