Information for prospective students
Potential PhD students considering an application to work with me at the Division of Society & Environment need to keep certain points in mind. As a newly appointed professor, I am working with other faculty members and graduate students to build a new science, technology and environment community at ESPM. Therefore I plan to give priority at this point to those students who are interested in topics within science, technology and environment generally, as well as within my major research areas. A note: this will also apply to undergraduate students considering working with me.

Creative students with initiative who are potentially interested in working in the following areas, namely,

  • Green chemistry science, politics and policy
  • Biofuels/biomass resources science, politics and policy
  • Environmental health and justice
  • Sustainability learning processes and tools (this can be construed very broadly to include food, chemicals, human rights, neighborhood health, and other areas)
  • Sustainable industrial systems
  • Consumption studies
  • STS approaches to environmental regulation and policy

are encouraged to apply. I am particularly interested in working with students who are service-oriented and focused on combining scholarship with policy-making, or who already have a strong background in information technology or engineering but who would like to learn more about social scientific and policy approaches to enhance their work. However, I emphasize that students should take time in their first one or two years to explore widely and think beyond their boundaries, before actually settling on a particular dissertation topic.

Admitted advisees will have a range of opportunities, including:

  • Working as Graduate Student Researchers through my grants (hopefully starting soon!). For example, I plan to engage in joint projects with the Berkeley School of Public Health on green chemistry policies, and with fellow Society & Environment faculty on participatory approaches to environmental health science. This will help expose students to research methodologies, theories and the challenges of outreach to communities and governments.
  • Working as Graduate Student Instructors for my courses (as well as other faculty), depending on teaching interests.
  • Participating in a monthly laboratory meeting with fellow Society & Environment peers and faculty. This meeting enables students to share their research ideas and problems in a supportive atmosphere.
  • Beginning publishing, writing and conference paper endeavors with my guidance and commitment.

You are very welcome to write to me at iles-at-nature.berkeley.edu and explore the possibility of applying with my support. If you do so, please send me a CV and a detailed statement of your research interests and career experiences to date. If I consider that you might be a good match with ESPM, I will respond, or introduce you to other ESPM faculty who might be a more suitable supervisor. You can also learn more about the ESPM application process here.

Please note that many students approach me for advice of all kinds. So I may not be able to respond with alacrity. But I will do my best!