Ernesto Alvarado

Dr. Ernesto Alvarado is a research associate professor of wildland fire sciences in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. He’s an expert on fire ecology and management and can provide insight on the role climate change plays in wildfires and what we should do to better manage forests.

Alvarado’s research focuses on forests in Alaska and the western and southeast United States, in addition to his international work in Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia. 

Topics of study include fire behavior, biomass assessment, combustion modeling, fire ecology, fire management, prescribed fire, fires and climate change, landscape ecology, smoke emissions, and the impacts of smoke on public health.

He’s also looked into traditional fire use and forest management by indigenous communities

At the University of Washington, Alvarado teaches courses on wildland fire management, fire ecology, and the role of culture and place in natural resource stewardship in the Yakama Nation. He also leads graduate seminars on forest dynamics and disturbances and traditional ecological knowledge and fire use. 

Alvarado is also a member of the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Research Team of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle.

Location: Seattle, WA

Expertise Field: Forest fire ecology, wildfires, fire management, prescribed fire, smoke emissions, climate change, forestry

Contact information:

Email: alvarado@uw.edu 

Phone: 206-616-6920

Listen to Ernesto Alvarado on KING5 Seattle:

Last updated August 27, 2020

Isabel Araiza

Dr. Isabel Araiza is an associate professor of sociology at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where she teaches in the Mexican American and women and gender studies programs. She’s an expert on sociology and its intersections with education, social class and inequality. 

Araiza has also spoken up against the university’s plans for in-person classes this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic. Many schools have abandoned plans for in-person instruction this fall due to outbreaks — most notably, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made the rest of the semester entirely online after 130 students tested positive in the first week of classes.

Araiza’s recent research has focused on access to clean water, the political preferences of Latinos, Hispanic serving institutions of higher education in Texas and the community impact of the integration of Corpus Christi Independent School District in the 1970s.

Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Araiza went on to earn her PhD in sociology from Boston College. As a public sociologist actively engaged in her community, Araiza is a founding member of For the Greater Good, a local advocacy organization that pushes for access to clean water and investment in public institutions and infrastructure.

She’s also co-authored several health needs assessments on the community needs and uses of hospitals in the Coastal Bend region of South Texas.

Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Expertise Field: Universities and the coronavirus, sociology, Mexican American studies, women and gender studies, social class, education, inequality 

Contact information:

Email: isabel.araiza@tamucc.edu

Phone (cell): 361-779-3927

Phone (office): 361-825-3936

Listen to Isabel Araiza on KIII:

Last updated August 24, 2020

Dr. Joris M. Ray

Dr. Joris M. Ray is the superintendent of Shelby County Schools in Tennessee and an expert in K-12 education.

Ray grew up in Memphis and attended Shelby County Schools, graduating from Whitehaven High School. He went on to earn his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from The University of Memphis. 

As superintendent, Ray has focused on combating education inequality with efforts including providing digital devices and internet access for every student, the third grade commitment to improve reading skills, promotion of African American male empowerment and the alternative education program.

Ray worked for the district for more than 23 years as a teacher, principal and in several other administrative roles before he was unanimously elected to serve as superintendent by the Shelby County School Board in April 2019.

Shelby County Schools is the largest district in Tennessee and one of the 25 largest in the United States. It operates over 200 schools educating more than 100,000 students with a $1.5 billion annual budget.

Location: Memphis, TN

Expertise Field: K-12 education, educational leadership and policy studies, school operations and reopening schools during the coronavirus

Contact information:

Email: superintendent@scsk12.org or mediarelations@scsk12.org 

Phone: 901-416-5623

Twitter: @SCSSuptRay

Listen to Joris M. Ray on WBUR’s On Point:

Last updated August 17, 2020

Alannah Hurley

Alannah Hurley has worked extensively in community development and environmental justice and is dedicated to helping make self-determination a reality for Alaska’s indigenous people.

She is the executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, a tribally chartered consortium of 15 federally recognized tribes opposed to the Pebble Mine in Alaska, and can provide insight on the environmental and Alaska Native opposition to the project.

The proposed mine has long been controversial due to its location in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. Opponents say the massive gold and copper complex will likely pollute the bay and harm the salmon runs.

The Obama administration agreed, and blocked the project, but the Trump administration reversed course — last month’s environmental review said it would pose no major harm.

But the project still faces bipartisan opposition, including from the President’s son Donald Trump Jr., so it’s unclear if the Army Corps of Engineers will give the final federal go-ahead.

Hurley is Yup’ik, and was born, raised and currently lives in the Bristol Bay Region. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in Native American studies and a minor in political science.

Location: Dillingham, AK

Expertise Field: Alaska Native opposition to the Pebble Mine, environmental conservation and activism

Contact information:

Email: ahurley@utbb.org 

Phone: 907-843-1633 or 907-842-1687

Twitter: @UnitedTribes_BB

Listen to Alannah Hurley testifying at the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:

Last updated August 13, 2020

Trevon Logan

Dr. Trevon Logan is a professor of economics and the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University. As an expert in economic demography, economic history and applied microeconomics, Logan can provide insight on the racial disparities of the economic impact of the coronavirus and how the lapse in federal unemployment benefits is affecting the economy.

Logan’s economic history research looks into how the human standard of living has changed over time. He’s currently focused on historical health patterns, racial discrimination, political economy, mortality, morbidity, and racial disparities in health.

His economic demography research has covered everything from dowries in South Asia to the economic, social and health impacts of male sex work. Outside of his two larger areas of focus, Logan has also researched the economics of sports betting and college football polls.

Logan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He went on to receive two master’s degrees demography and economics and his doctoral degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Location: Columbus, OH

Expertise Field: Economic history and demography, health economics, microeconomics

Contact information:

Email: logan.155@osu.edu 

Twitter: @TrevonDLogan

Listen to Trevon Logan on KCRW:

Last updated August 10, 2020

Jayce Farmer

Dr. Jayce Farmer is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He’s an expert in public finance and state and local government administration and can provide insight on how the coronavirus has devastated state and local government budgets.

Farmer has more than a decade of experience in public fiscal administration — before joining UNLV, he worked as a policy and budget analyst for local governments in Florida. There, he coordinated and managed the capital budget process for municipalities and oversaw the implementation of several large municipal government funds.

He has also advised appointed and elected local officials and, in 2016, conducted several citizen satisfaction surveys for municipalities in Central Texas.

Farmer’s research into local government policy and fiscal issues has been published in The American Review of Public Administration, Public Budgeting and Finance, Urban Affairs Review, Public Performance & Management Review, and Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Expertise Field: Public finance, state and local governance, public policy, urban affairs

Contact information:

Email: Jayce.Farmer@unlv.edu 

Phone: 702-972-5878

Twitter: @JayceFarmer

Listen to Jayce Farmer on KNPR:

Last updated August 3, 2020

Tung Yin

Tung Yin is a professor of law at Lewis & Clark College. He’s an expert on national security and terrorism law and can provide context on the power of federal law enforcement in American cities.

Yin’s academic research has covered topics including indefinite military detention of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, drone strikes and race, religion and the perception of terrorism. His scholarship has been cited in judicial opinions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, the Florida and Georgia Supreme Courts, and other lower state and federal trial courts.

Before joining Lewis & Clark College in 2009, Yin taught for seven years at the University of Iowa. From 1998 to 2002, he worked as a lawyer specializing in employment law and white collar corporate criminal defense at Munger Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles.

Outside of the law, Yin writes about running for the Run Oregon blog.

Location: Portland, OR

Expertise: National security and terrorism law

Contact information:

Email (preferred): tyin@lclark.edu  

Phone: 503-768-6772

Twitter: @TungYin

Listen to Tung Yin on KGW:

Last updated July 30, 2020

Christen A. Smith

Dr. Christen A. Smith is an associate professor of anthropology and African and African diaspora studies and the director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She’s an expert on Black liberation and state violence against Black communities in the Americas.

Smith can provide context on the anthropological background of police violence against Black communities. Her recent research examines the lingering and deadly impacts of police violence on Black women, communities and families in the U.S. and Brazil.

Her 2016 book Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil explores the ironic relationship between police violence against Black Brazilians in Salvador, Bahia and the celebration and consumption of Black culture, music and art.

Smith is also the founder of Cite Black Women, which promotes the intellectual and academic work of Black women — historically overlooked and undervalued. Through a blog, podcast and social media campaign, the project pushes people to reexamine their blind spots on race and gender and start using and citing the work of Black female sources.

Location: Austin, TX

Expertise: Black liberation, resistance and state violence against Black communities in the Americas

Contact information:

Email: christen.smith@austin.utexas.edu

Twitter: @profsassy

Listen to Christen A. Smith on KQED’s World Affairs:

Last updated July 22, 2020

Kartik Cherabuddi

Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi is a clinical associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Florida and the hospital epidemiologist and director of antimicrobial stewardship at UF Health.

As an expert on infectious diseases, Cherabuddi can provide insight into the current coronavirus situation in Florida and how things will develop over the coming weeks.

At UF Health, Cherabuddi provides specialist care to patients with complex infectious diseases, HIV and antibiotic resistant infections. Outside of COVID-19, Cherabuddi’s research includes antibiotic resistance and genetic sequencing, and he collaborates with the university’s Emerging Pathogens Institute on emerging viral diseases like the Zika, Chikungunya and Keystone viruses.

Location: Gainesville, FL

Expertise: Infectious diseases and coronavirus in Florida

Contact information:

Email (preferred): cherabuddi@ufl.edu

Phone (office): 352-294-5481

Twitter: @kartc

Listen to Kartik Cherabuddi on WUSF:

Last updated July 16, 2020

An Xiao Mina

An Xiao Mina works on program strategy and operations at Meedan, a technology non-profit that builds software for newsrooms and NGOs to improve the quality of information online. She’s an expert on digital creative culture and how memes influence protest movements and politics.

Internet memes have gone from silly image macros to salvos in cultural and political struggles. And that trend continues with the ongoing movement for racial justice following George Floyd’s death — see the memeification of arresting the cops who killed Breonna Taylor or the widespread use of Karen as a negative term for a privileged and racist white woman.

As the author of the 2019 book Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power, Mina can provide context on the ways internet memes are shaping pop culture, politics, protest and propaganda.

Before joining Meedan, Mina was a research fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a 2016 Knight Visiting Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. She’s the co-author of the upcoming Hanmoji Handbook, which uses emojis to teach Mandarin Chinese, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and Hyperallergenic.

Mina has worked with The Civic Beat and China Residencies to create workshops and art exhibitions in spaces including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City and the Center for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania.

Credit Jan Chipchase/Studio D Radiodurans (©)

Expertise: Digital creative culture, how memes influence protest movements and politics

Contact information:

Email: anxiaomina-berkman@protonmail.com 

Listen to An Xiao Mina speaking at the Data & Society Research Institute:

Last updated July 14, 2020