RISEUP: Research Internships for a Sustainable Environment with Undergraduate Participation

Meet your Mentors

2015 Mentor Profiles


Dr. Alisa Moldavanova
Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the Political Science Department at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). 

Dr. Alisa Moldavanova is a recently (2013) hired assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Wayne State University. She is a graduate of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas, where she defended her study of “Sustainable Public Administration: The Search for Intergenerational Fairness” with honors. Dr. Moldavanova’s research interests include sustainability and intergenerational justice, organizational theory, and public service ethics. She is currently doing research on the sustainability of cultural institutions in an urban context, and teaching courses on Managing Public Organizations and Programs, and Human Resources Management. Dr. Moldavanova’s work has been published in the International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, and presented at national conferences (American Society for Public Administration, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, and Public Management Research Conference). Her research in the area of sustainability of cultural institutions is bolstered by her training in Psychology (Ph.D., Institute of Psychology, National Pedagogy Academy, Ukraine) and Public Administration (University of Kansas), and her teaching in Political Science.


Dr. Larry Lemke
Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the Political Science Department at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). 

Dr. Lemke is the Director of the Wayne State University Undergraduate Environmental Science Program. Since arriving at Wayne State in 2003, Dr. Lemke has successfully mentored nine individual undergraduate research projects, three of which were conducted by African American students. In addition, Dr. Lemke has supervised four cohorts of undergraduate students engaged in team research projects (26 additional students, in total). Most of the student investigations culminated in the presentation and/or publication of research results, of which several are listed in the peer-reviewed products in his biographical sketch. Most recently, he directed Janai Quan's summer undergraduate research project within the RISEUP internship program, which she presented at the university-wide summer undergraduate research symposium and is planning to submit for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. Lemke brings to the Core Advisory Committee both academic and industrial earth sciences background that includes 12 years as an exploration geologist and project manager for Exxon Exploration Company and many research investigations in the areas of hydrogeology and groundwater contaminant transport, spatial and temporal modeling, air pollution, and soil contamination.


Dr. Jeffrey L. Ram
Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the Political Science Department at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). 

Dr. Ram (B.A., physics, University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., Biology, California Institute of Technology) has extensive experience in the organization and implementation of undergraduate research programs, an in depth understanding of the natural science aspects of watersheds and environmental issues, and experience mentoring undergraduates in research. Dr. Ram directed the Department of Physiology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program from 2004 to 2013. In 2014, Dr. Ram created Research Internships for a Sustainable Environment with Undergraduate Participation (RISEUP), a new undergraduate research program devoted to teaching research to a nationally-recruited cohort of research-motivated undergraduates in the broad range of institutions (academia, government, and both for-profit and non-profit businesses) that conduct environmental research. Dr. Ram has personally mentored more than 65 undergraduate students working in his laboratory. Of these undergraduates, 40 contributed sufficiently to the research projects on which they worked to become coauthors of papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ram has extensive experience with multidisciplinary projects, collaborating with faculty and students across the university, and interacting with public policy groups. Dr. Ram’s currently funded projects include a co-PI from Biological Sciences (Dr. Donna Kashian) and a co-PI from Electrical Engineering (Dr. Amar Basu). Recent (i.e., last ten years) peer-reviewed published research and grants include collaborative studies with epidemiology (Dr. Ikuko Kato) and computer science (Dr. Shuyong Lu). Active collaborations outside the university include research projects with the National Park Service (Phyllis Green, Director), the Northeast-Midwest Institute (Allegra Cangellosi, President), and Lake Erie Waterkeepers (Sandy Bihn, Executive Director). Dr. Ram is also co-director (with Civil Engineer Carol Miller and Pharmaceutical Scientist David Pitts) of UWERG, the university’s Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group. Research in Dr. Ram’s laboratory is currently funded by four environmental research grants (2 EPA, Great Lakes Protection Fund, and USGS) focused on protection of the Great Lakes from non-native species. Dr. Ram’s interest in public education and outreach is exemplified by his volunteer work as Director of Science Education at the Belle Isle Aquarium, Detroit’s 110-year old public aquarium.


Dr. Natalie Sampson
Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Human Services, University of Michigan, Dearborn

​Natalie Sampson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Human Services. Her research focuses on a variety of social and environmental determinants of health, including land use, transportation, water infrastructure, and climate change. In partnership with communities and local governments, she conducts research and plans and evaluates interventions to improve health equity. In collaboration with the Detroit Land Bank Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, she is currently co-PI (with Joan Nassauer) of a multidisciplinary study to assess green infrastructure in Detroit. She is a steering committee member of the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative and a member of the statewide Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. Dr. Sampson is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning in the field of public health, and has worked as a teaching consultant at University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.


Dr. Sanjiv Sinha, Ph.D., P.E.

Vice President - Environmental Consulting & Technology (ECT)

Dr. Sinha is a vice president for Environmental Consulting & Technology. He specializes in program management, natural resource management policy and planning, stream and lake restoration, and sustainable water resources. Dr. Sinha received his undergraduate education at the Indian Institute of Technology in 1989, received his Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1992, and completed his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1996. He serves on the board of directors for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and as on the Board of Advisors for a private equity company called Augment Ventures. In the past, he has served on the Urban Stream Restoration Committee for the American Society of Civil Engineers and the board of directors for Michigan League of Conservation Voters as well as Society for American Military Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit.


Dr. Donald CarpenterPhD, PE, LEED AP
Lawrence Tech University

Donald D. Carpenter, is Professor of Civil Engineering where he teaches courses on ethics/professionalism and water resources.  Dr. Carpenter received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2001.  He is an accredited green design professional (LEED AP) and practicing professional engineer (PE) whose expertise and research interests include engineering ethics, entrepreneurial engineering, Low Impact Development (LID), innovative stormwater best management practices (BMPs), hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, and field data collection for performance monitoring.  His University appointments include serving as University Director of Assessment from 2009 to 2012 after serving as founding Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning from 2006 to 2009.  In 2014, the Kern Family Foundation named him their national Most Outstanding Faculty member recognizing his efforts to bring innovative team based problem solving into the engineering curriculum to promote the entrepreneurial mindset.  As founding Director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at Lawrence Tech, he conducts research on stormwater BMPs and advises communities on how to implement innovative stormwater management practices.  Dr. Carpenter routinely provides professional lectures and short courses on innovative stormwater treatment design and their role in LID implementation and fulfillment of LEED Sustainable Sites Credits.  In 2013, he was elected to serve as a Governor for Cranbrook Institute of Science and a Director for the non-profit organization Pure Oakland Water. Finally, Dr. Carpenter is an active committee leader for the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute and a member of the SEMCOG Clean Water Partners, MDEQ Green Infrastructure Committee, and Rouge River Advisory Council.

Contact Us
540 E. Canfield St.
Detroit, MI 48201 USA
P: (313) 577-1558
riseup@wayne.edu