Institute for Sustainable Solutions Staff

Robert Liberty

Robert Liberty
503-725-8989 |

Robert works with the ISS staff and PSU faculty, students, and community partners to advance the Institute’s research, academic, and community service agendas and to attract the resources needed to increase the impact of ISS. Prior to becoming director of ISS, he helped create the Urban Sustainability Accelerator at PSU, a program he continues to lead. Before coming to PSU, Robert was a Metro councilor (the Portland area’s regional elected government), senior counsel to Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and a staff attorney and executive director at 1000 Friends of Oregon. Robert serves as a member of the Columbia Gorge Commission, which administers the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Robert has degrees from the University of Oregon Honors College, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School. In his spare time, he enjoys backpacking, painting, and gardening. 


Fletcher BeaudoinFletcher Beaudoin
Assistant Director
503-784-5981 |

Fletcher focuses on sustainability research, education, and community engagement, working to build links between the PSU community and sustainability practitioners. He develops programs focused on scaling applied research and curriculum across the university, serves as a convener and connector for advancing collaborative actions for addressing complex sustainability issues, cultivates university-practitioner partnerships around topics of urban sustainability and ecosystem services, and provides the day-to-day management of the Institute’s activities and programs. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from the University of Oregon and his Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy and Energy Policy from Columbia University. When he’s not collaborating on how to make the Northwest even greener, Fletcher can be found brewing beer, sprinting on the soccer field, or biking around Portland.


Vivek ShandasVivek Shandas 
Research Director
503-725-5222 |

Vivek supports the development of ISS research agenda, which focuses on the production, translation, and implementation of university knowledge. By engaging faculty, students, and staff through proposals, projects, and planning, his role offers an opportunity to catalyze university research in addressing the pressing sustainability challenges to society. Vivek is an associate professor urban studies and planning and is trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, with an undergraduate degree in biology (University of California, Santa Cruz), graduate degrees in environmental policy, and economics (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and a doctorate in urban ecology (University of Washington). In his spare time, he enjoys playing "monsters" with his son, looking for the Cascadian sasquatch, and tasting beverages made with fermented grains. 


Beth GildenBeth Elaine Gilden
Project Manager

Beth facilitates the connection between PSU sustainability research teams and community partners. She coordinates the Portland Climate Action Collaborative and other interdisciplinary research programs, including initiatives around affordable and sustainable accessory dwelling units (ADUs), climate change risk and resilience, and neighborhood-level response to climate change challenges. Beth has a Bachelor of Science in Decision Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from PSU. Beth is the proud owner of a Bernese Mt. Dog, and in her free time she enjoys cooking, running, and listening to podcasts.


Jihane NamiJihane Nami
Project Manager

Jihane manages projects that match PSU faculty and students with local community groups, government agencies, and businesses to advance mutual sustainability-related priorities. She has extensive experience facilitating multi-stakeholder international development projects, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and French from Willamette University and a Master of Science in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Staffordshire University. In her free time she enjoys traveling, exploring Portland, reading historical fiction, and sampling diverse cuisines.


Molly Baer Kramer
Project Manager
503-250-2223 | 

Molly has nearly two decades’ experience in Portland in nonprofit administration and development, primarily with conservation and political organizations. Molly received a B.S. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University and a D.Phil. in Modern History from the University of Oxford, UK. Her research is a critical examination of the animal protection movements in England and America after the Second World War. Molly enjoys fostering the development of an idea into action. She can often be found in Hoyt Arboretum, walking her dog and looking out for owls and coyotes.


Mary VanceMary Vance
Sustainability Career Counselor
503-725-4005 |

Mary connects students across the University with meaningful internship experiences and green job opportunities designed to translate the systems thinking and sustainability problem-solving skills they are learning in the classroom into resume-building job experiences. She holds Master's degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Columbia University and Counseling from University of Maryland, College Park; and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she's not out developing new internship programs, she loves to be doing anything outside but especially exploring the Sandy River Delta with her dog.  


Judy WaltonJudy Walton 
Program Administrator, Urban Sustainability Accelerator
503-725-5839 |

Judy joined the Urban Sustainability Accelerator in winter 2014. She has experience in green building consulting, neighborhood planning, and open space planning, and has taught courses in sustainable cities and urban geography at Humboldt State University and Portland State University. Judy received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the University of California at San Diego; an M.A. in Geography from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in Geography from Syracuse University. Her academic area of emphasis is urban geography, including downtown revitalization and sustainable cities. Judy was the founding director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and an initiator of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as well as the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), the premier sustainability assessment system used by colleges and universities. 


Beth Lloyd-PoolBeth Lloyd-Pool
Program Manager
503-725-8556 |

Beth manages ISS’ internal operations and programs to promote sustainability research and education across the campus and community. A PSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, she has over 10 years of experience working at the University. She administers the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, manages various funding opportunities for faculty and students, and helps develop strategic planning and assessment of sustainability initiatives. When she’s not gastronomically musing at a local restaurant, Beth is out hiking, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.


Tania HoodeTania Hoode
Program Assistant
503-725-9940 |

Tania provides administrative support for the Institute’s internal operations, making sure that details behind the scenes are completed in a timely manner. She also offers a friendly face at our front desk and keeps the office running smoothly. Tania holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College and is a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA). In her spare time, Tania enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, gardening, reading, walking, camping, taking outdoor photos, and occasionally beading and playing guitar.


Graduate Assistants

Maria SipinMaria Sipin
Communications Assistant 

Maria enjoys working on projects combining social justice and public health. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Cal Poly Pomona, and her work experience has been dedicated to nonprofit organizations in health care and transportation advocating for the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ youth and low-income communities of color. Maria is a pursuing dual Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Public Health degrees at Portland State University, actively volunteers for Multicultural Communities for Mobility, and is a certified bicycle safety instructor. She spends her free time going on walks, taking photos during local adventures, and learning do-it-yourself projects via YouTube.


Amanda HudsonAmanda Hudson 
Student Fellows Community Coordinator

Amanda is the community coordinator for the ISS Student Fellows program, which provides students interested in sustainability issues an opportunity to build their networks, skills, and experience on campus and beyond. Amanda received her Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Southern Oregon University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Urban Studies, with a focus on community development, participatory democracy, and popular education. As a first-generation college student, Amanda is passionate about serving communities and students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and connecting them to opportunities for empowerment and transformative learning. In her spare time, Amanda can be found reading fantasy literature, hanging out with her family, recruiting people to play board games with her, or exhorting the virtues and vices of the Portland community.


Neol Plemmons

Noel Plemmons
Interagency Preparedness and Resiliency Coordinator

Noel is woking with ISS and the City of Portland on a project to improve Portland’s disaster preparedness, resilience, and long-term sustainability. The project involves bringing together multiple city bureaus for collaborative planning and is part of an international, five-city project funded by the Global Consortium for Sustainable Solutions. Noel received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UC Berkeley. He is currently working on his Master's in Applied Environmental Anthropology at PSU, with a focus on adaptive and sustainable solutions in development, primarily among indigenous societies impacted by climate change, globalization, and environmental degradation. In his free time, he choreographs, gardens, builds things, travels and spends as much time as possible outside, appreciating plants, animals, dirt, air and water.  


Liliana CaughmanLiliana Caughman
Research Assistant

Liliana is working on a variety of projects with ISS, including an energy analysis of Portland buildings, supporting Portland Parks and Recreation on climate resiliency planning, and helping with sustainability education initiatives. Liliana earned a B.A. in Physics from UC Berkeley and a Master's in Environmental Studies from Evergreen. She is now working toward a Ph.D. in Earth, Environment, and Society, with a focus on sustainability and resiliency in the wake of climate change. Outside of academia, Liliana loves to cook and eat food, spend time with family, play/watch sports, listen to old records, and daydream about moving to the Arctic; she tries to live a hygge style life.


Research Professors

Rebecca McLainRebecca McLain
Research Assistant Professor
971-570-3294 |

Rebecca studies the effects of forest management practices on human and natural communities. She is currently exploring GIS techniques for mapping cultural values associated with Pacific Northwest ecosystems, and is studying the policy barriers to integrating non-timber forest products into urban ecosystem management. Rebecca has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s College of Forestry, a Master of Science in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Texas-Austin. When not working, Rebecca enjoys gathering fruit and firewood in southeast Portland, picking wild mushrooms in the Cascades, and reading detective novels.


David Ervin
Senior Research Faculty

Dave's research and policy outreach center on the value of ecosystem services for urban regions and agriculture, and on the use of community-based approaches to manage the wicked problem of herbicide resistance. His undergraduate and Master's degrees were received in agricultural economics from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University in agricultural and resource economics. When not wrestling questions of valuation and management, Dave enjoys exploring beautiful natural areas on foot, in a kayak, or on a bicycle, and experiencing fine food, wine, music and art wherever he travels.


Sean GordonSean Gordon
Research Assistant Professor
503-808-2698 | 

Sean studies the design and use of information systems for supporting natural resource decisions. His current work involves developing assessment and prioritization models for the Northwest Forest Plan and the Integrated Landscape Assessment Project. He is also studying how natural resource data is used in landscape and urban decision making, and teaches a course on urban ecology for the PSU Honors program. Sean has a Ph.D. from the Oregon State College of Forestry, as well as a Master of Environmental Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Computer Science from Yale University. When not working, Sean cheers his son’s soccer team, jogs with his dog, and imagines getting back into gardening.