BOONE, N.C. — After a national search, Dr. Christine Ogilvie Hendren has been named director of Appalachian State University’s Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (RIEEE). Hendren, who began her new position Aug. 3, also serves as a professor in Appalachian’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES).
Appalachian’s RIEEE, established in 2008, facilitates opportunities for faculty, staff and students to engage in research and scholarship in the areas of environment, energy and economics — especially the points at which these subjects intersect. The institute is an umbrella organization for the Appalachian Energy Center, the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA) and the Southern Appalachian Environmental Research and Education Center (SAEREC).
Hendren said RIEEE is well positioned to drive Appalachian’s recognition as a “world-renowned center of excellence” — one that is sought after for impactful scholarship and called upon to solve complex issues that affect human culture, the environment and the economy.
Dr. William Anderson Jr., professor in and chair of the GES department, said Hendren brings with her an impressive environmental research record, which includes investigations into environmental risks and hazards associated with nanomaterials — nano-sized chemical substances or materials (think smaller than the width of a human hair) — and hydrofracking, a technique that uses water and other chemicals, at high pressures, to extract oil and natural gas from the Earth’s surface.
“Her research expertise will complement and enhance our current research efforts, and we foresee many future collaborations on these and other environmental topics,” said Anderson, who also serves as a research adviser for students in Appalachian’s Honors College.
“The excellent faculty, unique infrastructure and natural setting, deep cultural commitment to sustainability and engagement of students throughout the research lifecycle make Appalachian a special place. I’m thrilled to be joining this community,” Hendren said.
Her aims as RIEEE director are three-fold:
- Elevate Appalachian’s research capacity and visibility by capitalizing on RIEEE’s existing strengths, which include faculty expertise, “an interwoven culture of faculty mentorship for students” and “one-of-a-kind facilities that are uniquely positioned to serve as test beds for research,” Hendren said.
- Support diverse teams through evidence-based team science approaches.
- Listen to faculty and students about how RIEEE can decrease barriers to undertaking research challenges in sustainability.
More about RIEEE
In addition to facilitating research and scholarship, RIEEE and its affiliated centers manage external grant funding for Appalachian faculty and staff. Examples of such funding include the following:
- Appalachian’s $50,000 AT&T grant to conduct research designed to help communities in the southeastern United States build resilience to climate change. The grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Tammy Kowalczyk, is an RIEEE faculty affiliate and professor of accounting and sustainable business in the Walker College of Business (WCOB).
- Two National Science Foundation grants, totaling $843,110 in funding, that support research on high elevation climate–precipitation dynamics in the Andes Mountains. Dr. Baker Perry and Dr. Anton Seimon, professor and research assistant professor, respectively, in the Department of Geography and Planning, are the grants recipients.
- An approximately $98,000 grant from the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to evaluate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the regional economy (Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga and Wilkes counties). The grant recipient, Dr. Ash Morgan, is a professor in WCOB’s Department of Economics and the director of CERPA.
Work supported by RIEEE is integrated into Appalachian’s academic programs, used to facilitate discovery among K–12 student students and teachers, and employed in the region’s economic development.
About Dr. Christine Hendren
Before joining Appalachian’s RIEEE and GES department, Hendren served as executive director of Duke University’s Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology and as a faculty member in the university’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She also served as faculty co-lead for the Team Science Core in Duke’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
In addition, she is the founder and chair of INTEREACH (Interdisciplinary Integration Research Careers Hub), a community of practice that provides assistance to professionals whose research spans disciplinary and institutional boundaries. The organization is an affiliated special interest group of the International Network for the Science of Team Science.
She has been successful in securing external funding from a variety of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Science Foundation.
Hendren holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University, a professional science master’s degree in environmental analysis and decision making from Rice University and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University.
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About the Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics
Since 2008, Appalachian State University’s Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (RIEEE) has fostered interdisciplinary research on the environment, energy and economics, especially the areas in which these subjects intersect. The institute serves as an umbrella organization for three centers: the Appalachian Energy Center, Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA) and the Southern Appalachian Environmental Research and Education Center (SAEREC). The work supported by RIEEE is integrated into Appalachian’s academic programs, used to facilitate discovery among K-12 student students and teachers, and employed in the region’s economic development. Learn more at https://rieee.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Located in Western North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides the perfect setting to study geological and environmental sciences. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences provides students with a solid foundation on which to prepare for graduate school or build successful careers as scientists, consultants and secondary education teachers. The department offers six degree options in geology and two degree options in environmental science. Learn more at https://earth.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About the Office of Research and Innovation
Appalachian State University’s Office of Research and Innovation supports the scholarly and creative activities of App State faculty, staff and students by expanding access to and facilitating the management of research opportunities. The office consists of four units: Grants Resources and Services, Sponsored Programs, Research Design and Analysis, and Research Protections. The office also collaborates with the university’s Special Funds Accounting on the fiscal management of awarded projects. Learn more at https://research.appstate.edu.
About Sustainability at Appalachian
Appalachian State University’s leadership in sustainability is known nationally. The university’s holistic, three-branched approach considers sustainability economically, environmentally and equitably in relationship to the planet’s co-inhabitants. The university is an active steward of the state’s interconnected financial, cultural and natural resources and challenges students and others think critically and creatively about sustainability and what it means from the smallest individual action to the most broad-based applications. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs that focus on sustainability. In addition, 100 percent of Appalachian’s academic departments offer at least one sustainability course or course that includes sustainability, and all students graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome. Learn more at https://appstate.edu/sustainability.
About Appalachian State University
As a premier public institution, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.