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Meet Our Staff

Dr. Christa McDermott

Dr. Christa McDermott is a social psychologist whose work focuses on environmental behavior change at institutional and individual levels. She has a long history of involvement in environmental policy, the use of social science to inform behavior change, and advocacy for better materials management. As an APA Congressional Fellow and AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, she worked for Senator Robert Menendez, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy on projects that ranged from climate change policy to improving uptake of energy efficiency initiatives. While working in federal government, she kept active in local zero waste efforts, serving on the advisory board of SCRAP-DC, an affiliate of Portland’s SCRAP. She holds a joint Ph.D. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan where she conducted research on the relationship between personality and environmental attitudes and behaviors. She was hooked on reducing waste before graduate school, starting a recycling program at her undergraduate college and helping run an NCRA conference on recycling in California. As a psychologist, Dr. McDermott has a special interest in our emotional relationships with possessions, how we construct identities through consumption, and hoarding. She looks forward to working with CES students, PSU faculty, and community partners on using a lifecycle approach in materials management, improving social equity and environmental health while reducing waste, and finding ways to encourage re-use. She likes to process ideas by taking ‘walking meetings’ but know that if she invites you to one, she inevitably ends up with her hands full of litter picked up along the way and she might ask you to hold some when she spies that 'last' piece.

Contact Christa McDermott


Emily Murkland

As Projects Manager at CES, Emily oversees daily operations, project work, and staff. Emily currently manages the Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project, the City of Portland Events Recycling Project, the City of Portland Sustainability Services Project, and various private Solid Waste Assessment contracts. Emily has worked on the Fairview Recycle at Work project, the EPA Pollution Prevention and Outreach project, and the Portland Multifamily Recycling project, in addition to Solid Waste Assessments.  She holds a Bachelors of Science in Community Development from Portland State University. Emily has also worked as an intern with ROSE CDC, SPI Industries, and SOLVE. In her free time she enjoys backpacking throughout the NW, spending time with her dog, and working on various crafting projects. 

Contact Emily Murkland

CES Student Staff:

Calvin Agricola

Calvin joined CES in June of 2017 as the lead for the City of Portland Event Recycling Project. He’s in his senior year at Portland State finishing his Bachelors in Environmental Studies with a focus on water resources. He previously worked in retail which he helped implement a recognized recycling program as part of his Master Recycler certification project. His interests include sustainable living through thoughtful consumption, water conservation, and community health. In his free time, Calvin enjoys relaxing outside shooting hoops, walking his dog around the neighborhood, volunteering, and he loves to cook. 


Arlene Ammaya

 Arlene joined CES in August 2015 as Assistant Coordinator for the Portland Multifamily Recycling project and is pursuing a degree in Economics with minors in Math and Community Development at Portland State University. She is also currently an intern for the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.  Previously, Arlene has been involved with a variety of organizations that promote self-resiliency, sustainability, and Hispanic community involvement. Her current focus is in gaining experience in efficient resource management, effective community outreach, and applying a systems approach to problem-solving. In her free time, Arlene enjoys bike-riding, reading, traveling, multiple outdoor activities, and developing community education courses on a variety of subjects.



David "Doc" Billings       

David "Doc" Billings joined CES in the beginning of 2017, as the lead Graduate Research Assistant for the DEQ Food Waste Study. He was previously a graduate assistant and teaching assistant for the Sociology Department, where he is working on his Master's Degree in Sociology. Doc received his B.S. in Sociology from Portland State as well, in 2015. While working on this degree he was a board member of the PSU Sociology Club, an intern for the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, and he worked with the Learning Gardens Laboratory. Doc is interested in urban sustainability, with a focus on food systems and social justice. He aims to pursue a career in urban planning after he graduates and marries his partner in the Fall of 2018. In Doc's free time he loves to play in the garden, go camping, and watch movies. 



Reed Brodersen

Reed joined CES in October of 2016 as a project support staff. Reed is a first year graduate student in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program, and holds bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He’s a Midwest transplant, making his way from Nebraska where he grew up, went to school and worked as an independent sustainability consultant. He’s happy to be closer to PNW’s mountains, forests and beaches, and enjoys spending time in the back-country, taking long road-trips and bicycling around Portland. Professionally, he is interested in making food systems more sustainable and equitable, with special interests in minimizing and diverting food waste. 



Hayley Cron

Hayley joined the CES team in June 2017 as a Project support staff. She is currently in her senior year at Portland State, pursuing a Bachelors in Social Work. Hayley graduated from Portland Community College in 2015 with an Associate in Arts degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling. She has always been deeply concerned about safeguarding the planet and hopes to use her social work practice to advocate for environmental justice and protections for marginalized communities that will be impacted most due to the effects of climate change. Hayley is a native to Portland, OR and grew up with an appreciation for the outdoors. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, jogging with her dog, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying nature.




Monica Fleisher

Monica joined CES in July of 2016 as a Data & Materials Manager with the Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project (PTAP).  Monica grew up in Richmond, Virginia and studied Environmental Planning & Policy at Virginia Tech, College of Architecture & Urban Studies. Before coming to CES, Monica worked with the On-Site Environmental team with the Virginia state government and served as an AmeriCorps member for Clark County in Vancouver, Washington and Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon. With Clark County’s Department of Environmental Services, she was focused on developing the county’s Green Business Program, promoting low impact practices and sustainability in the workplace. For Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability, Monica built capacity around green infrastructure planning, community engagement workshops, and climate resiliency public health programs in East County Portland. She is pursuing her Masters in Leadership for Sustainability Education at PSU.










Alhena Herrera 

Alhena Herrera recently joined the CES team as an administrative assistant in September 2015. She provides administrative and office support to CES and the Urban Studies Ph.D. library. Alhena is currently pursuing a dual degree in psychology and criminology. Prior to joining CES, Alhena received an Associate in Arts degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities, as well as an Associate in Science degree in Administration of Justice from Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. Alhena recently attended a policy seminar in Washington D.C. to advocate and represent the interests of low-income and first generation students in accessing higher education. In her free time Alhena enjoys hiking, hunting waterfalls, and taking road-trips. 



Madeleine Lawrence

Madeleine Lawrence is in her senior year of a B.A. in Spanish and Community Development. Madeleine joined CES in August of 2014 as a project support staff for the EPA grant Pollution Prevention Project in partnership with the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resources Center and the EcoBiz program conducting outreach to automotive and landscaping businesses. She is also the project lead for the City of Portland Single-Family Can Weight Study and the Portland Multifamily Recycling project and provides assistance on toher CES projects.                

Antonio Leiva

Antonio Leiva recently joined the CES team as an administrative assistant in August 2017. He provides administrative and office support to CES. Antonio is currently pursuing an undergraduate in Conflict Resolution. Prior to joining CES, Antonio earned an Associate in Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. He worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Salem, Marion, and Polk Counties as a Teen Coordinator. Antonio has a background of working at Chemeketa Community College as a Student Ambassador, and has experience of being “community oriented” due to his involvement in non-profit work and community outreach. In his free time, he likes to play basketball, volunteer, and get involved with student life.



Julia Liu

Julia joined CES in 2017 as a project support staff. She is currently a fourth year at Portland State University majoring in Community Health Education, Health Science, and community Development. Her interest include international development and relief, waster issues, sustainable energy, and waste minimization. Julia currently works at a local solar farm and with  children of all ages with a focus on nutrition and advocacy for health, while incorporating waste management techniques. She hopes to pursue a master's in Urban and Regional Planning and Global Health. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, volunteering, and water sports.



Kayla McClanahan

Kayla is a Community Development student at Portland State and a nonprofit professional. She has worked with youth and workforce development nonprofits and is really just all about resources: ensuring access to high-quality tools, services, and community spaces that equip people to grow and improve, specifically in underserved areas. She joined CES as Project Support Staff in 2017 to explore interests in sustainable waste management, equity, and environmental justice. When she's not doing school work or work-work, she has her nose in a book and a cat on her lap.




Michael Moran

I joined CES in June 2017 in a support staff role. I am working toward my B.A. in Geography and a minor in Geographic Information Science. My passion is travel and exploring new cultures and learning people's stories, I believe everyone has one and they are each unique and fascinating to me, this is what lead me to my degree in Geography. Before coming to Portland State, I attended Clark College and worked on my geography and transfer requirements. In 2016, I became a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician and plan to use this in volunteer search and rescue. In my free time I love to hike, swim, take road trips, explore the Great Northwest. 


Karissa Pavlik

Karissa joined CES as project support staff in 2015 to work on the Multnomah County Surplus Project, Solid Waste Assessments, and Portland Events Recycling. She is a freshman at Portland State pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Community Health Education with a minor in Sustainability. Karissa worked on the City of Hillsboro's Sustainability Task Force and Youth Advisory Council, as well as working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland to improve scholastic retention through the summer. Her interests include waste minimization and natural resource conservation. She hopes to earn a Masters of Business Administration and focus on environmental health policy in her career. 


Kelsey Hill 


An avid reader, military brat, and would-be environmental crusader, Kelsey Hill is furthering his studies in sustainable development and the global political ecology through the Masters of Public Administration program. Having worked with several other social service organizations including AmeriCorps, as well as being a rapacious volunteer, Kelsey is extremely dedicated to building a socially just, equitable, and healthy planet. Having joined CES in January of 2017, Kelsey is excited to learn more about waste management, and to be a part of a dedicated group of involved and talented individuals.


Quyen Pham

Quyen joined CES team in April 2017 as a Recycling and Reuse Coordinator for Port of Portland Technical Assistant Project. She is currently a post-bac student pursuing a Bachelor degree in the School of Social Work. Additionally, she has degrees in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Policy. Previously, Quyen has been involved in a variety of community-based and technical waste management projects while working with many non-profit organizations, international and local corporations companies in Vietnam. Her current focus is making waste flow management more efficient and to involve the community and businesses as much as we can in the recycling and reuse processes. She loves finding new ideas, biking, reading, and having coffee with my friends in my free time.




Stephen Ryan

Stephen joined CES as a project support staff in June 2016, working closely with Portland Event Recycling. He previously worked in retail management before returning to school and is working toward his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies. Stephen moved to Portland from Cincinnati three years ago. His current interests are hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. 


Jennifer Stefanick

Jennifer joined CES in March 2015 as the Portland Event Recycling project lead while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies with a minor in sustainability from PSU with a long-term goal of working in community outreach and materials management. Jennifer’s passion for thoughtful consumption and sustainable behavior led her to becoming the sustainability coordinator for a large production catering kitchen in Portland where she additionally held down the position of lead pastry chef for over a decade. Jennifer also became a certified Master Recycler through the City of Portland in 2010 and continues to volunteer with numerous events and organizations working to guide the community towards waste reduction goals.




Tay Stone

Tay joined CES in October of 2014 and is currently the Materials Assessment Project Manager for CES' Solid Waste Assessments project. They are currently pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree after graduating in 2016 with a B.S. in Communication Studies and a minor in Sustainable Urban Development. Tay’s previous experience includes developing an energy efficiency best practices report for SoMa EcoDistrict, climate activism with 350PDX, and peer mentoring and education through PSU’s University Studies program. Their desired focus is sustainability project management and environmental policy.