Research Team

Nicole Sintov, i2s Founding Director

Nicole is an Assistant Professor of Research at Sol Price School of Public Policy. She has a joint appointment as Research Lead at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Information Sciences Institute, as well as a teaching appointment in the USC Department of Psychology. Her research seeks to better understand and model human decision-making with environmental impacts. She also designs and evaluates approaches to encourage pro-environmental behavior. Additionally, coupling decision-making models with evaluating intervention effectiveness, she aims to uncover psychosocial processes of change that result from behavioral interventions to uncover truths about more than just what changes, but also how it changes. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, World Wildlife Fund, US Department of Defense, and US Army Research Office. She holds a B.S. in Psychology / Ecology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master’s in Psychology, graduate certificate in Sustainable Cities, and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Outside of the lab, you may find her running, hiking, baking, or savoring a glass of wine.

Dan Mazmanian,i2s Co-Director

Daniel A. Mazmanian is Professor of Public Policy in the Sol Price School of Public Academic Director of the Schwarzenegger Institute. Author of eight books, numerous articles, and the recipient of National Science Foundation and other research grants, his areas of interest are public policy analysis with special emphasis on environmental and climate change policy.He served as Dean of the Price School from 2000-2005 and Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan from 1996-2000. In 2005-07 he served as a member of the Task Force on Environmental Governance for the Chinese Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Beijing. In 2009-2010 he served as director of the Task Force on California’s Adaptation to Climate change. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation since 1994. He holds a doctorate degree in political science from Washington University, St. Louis, with master and bachelor degrees from San Francisco State University.

Lee White, i2s Price Doctoral Scholar

Lee White is doctoral candidate at USC Price in Urban Planning and Development. Her dissertation research is centered on the question of how to reduce non-renewable energy consumption in cities. She is also collaborating with other i2s group members on a project investigating household decision-making around electric vehicle adoption. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, she examined the suitability of Feed-in Tariffs as a mechanism for city governments to promote renewable energy in absence of national policy measures. When she is not working at i2s, you may find her hiking or enjoying a late brunch out, sometimes both in the same day.

Ryan Merrill, i2s Price Doctoral Scholar

Ryan is a doctoral candidate pursuing his degree in Public Policy at the Sol Price School at USC. His research interests center around energy and environmental policy, public management, and institutional economics. He holds a B.A. in Government and Latin American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Pacific and International Affairs from the University of California San Diego. Ryan has several papers in progress and under review focused on the impact of community ties on energy policy, comparative analyses of environmental policy innovations, and a longitudinal analysis of unforeseen impacts of climate policies on the investment behavior of energy corporations. His research interests span several continents from Latin America to the United States, Europe, China and South East Asia. Outside of i2s you may find him working on his dissertation and going hiking in the woods with his new daughter Isla.

Zach Manta, i2s Dornsife Environmental Studies Research Assistant

Zach is a third year undergrad pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies accompanied by a minor in psychology. He is most interested in the impact of environmental problems on human well-being, and is particularly excited to develop win-win interventions that promote both personal sustainability and subjective happiness. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding environmental problems and developing solutions to address them, especially with regards to climate change mitigation. Zach is leading a project that aims to investigate the effectiveness of moral priming on increasing motivation to understand climate science facts. Away from the lab, you may find him at meetings of the Environmental Core pushing for more native California plants on campus, leading meditations with Mindful USC, or waxing poetic on the philosophical implications of removing beavers from the ecology of the lower 48.

Sarah Weingust, i2s Provost Fellow

Sarah is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Entrepreneurship. She has been passionate about environmental conservation from a young age, and is currently most interested in exploring the connection between sustainability and subjective well-being. She is collaborating with other i2s members on research to (1) identify protective factors that may deter poaching, and (2) understand and develop new ways to increase the motivation to understand climate science. After graduating, she will implement her knowledge of sustainability and psychological well-being as part of pursuing her rapidly budding, award-winning entrepreneurial venture (HostelPass), which will provide resources to help others adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives. She is excited to be working alongside the other talented and passionate members of i2s who value putting ideas into action as much as she does. When Sarah is not working on i2s projects, you may find her enjoying the great outdoors, or practicing yoga.

Elliott Wezerek, i2s Dornsife Environmental Studies Research Assistant

Elliott is a junior pursuing his B.S. in Environmental Studies and minoring in Social Entrepreneurship. He is interested in exploring the psychosocial determinants of pro-environmental behavior, and how this knowledge can be used to design effective public policies for environmental protection. Elliott is currently collaborating with other i2s group members to examine the effectiveness of moral priming on increasing motivation to think about climate science. Outside of i2S, he works in Undergraduate Student Government as a director of the Environmental Student Assembly – an organization that cultivates a greener culture and greater sustainability on campus. He reminds himself that the “gloom and doom” environmental rhetoric of today isn’t entirely true by practicing his photography in California’s mesmerizing national parks.