Co-Directors & Staff


Professor, Natural Resource Economics,
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics
College of Natural Resources

David Zilberman is a Professor and holds the Robinson Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Zilberman’s areas of expertise include agricultural and environmental policy, marketing, risk management, the economics of innovation, natural resources, water, biotechnology, and biofuels. He is a Fellow of the AAEA and AERE. He has published 250 refereed articles in Science, AER, Econometrica, AJAE, and JEEM, among others, and has edited 13 books. He has served as a consultant to the EPA, USDA, the World Bank, FAO, and OECD. He received his B.A. in Economics and Statistics at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1979.

J. Keith GillessJ. KEITH GILLESS

Dean & Professor, Forest Economics
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
College of Natural Resources

J. Keith Gilless is Dean of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at UC Berkeley, and holds a joint professorial appointment in CNR’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and its Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

His research program has encompassed issues in forest products trade and markets, regional economic analysis of resource-dependent communities, wildland fire protection planning, forestry decision support systems, and international development. He is a recipient of Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the co-author of two textbooks on forest resource management and economics. He has previously held visiting professor and researcher appointments at Beijing Forestry University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Gilless earned his B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University and a joint Ph.D. in Forestry and Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Program Administrator, Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program
College of Natural Resources

Anita Ponce is the program administrator for the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program. She received her BA from UC San Diego in Political Science-International Relations and her MSc from the London School of Economics in Population and Development.  She has previously worked at UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego supporting the work of a non-profit dedicated to helping parents prepare their children for school from the ages of 0-4. Anita has studied international migration from Mexico to the United States and is the co-author of “The Dynamics of Migration: Who Migrates? Who Stays? Who Settles Abroad?” in the book Four Generations of Norteños: New Research from the Cradle of Mexican Migration.  Anita has spent significant time abroad including Mexico and Chile, is fluent in Spanish, and has a strong background in quantitative and qualitative data management.


1074921_988116324812_1880118571_o (2)PEILEY LAU

Peiley Lau is a 2012 graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Her academic interests include the role of diversified food systems in developing economies, the impact of international aid on agriculture and health, food security, and food sovereignty. She currently is also an Intern Scholar at the Oakland Institute think tank where she researches the role of the informal rural agricultural economy in the economic development of Papua New Guinea. Peiley plans to pursue her PhD in agricultural economics. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, trail running, reading contemporary literature, learning new languages and cooking Californian-Asian cuisine.


Graduate Student Researcher

Madhyama Subramanian is a development communications and sustainability professional from India. Over the past nine years, Madhyama has worked with a number of international organizations such as The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), UNDP, UNESCO and BBC Media Action and developed high impact communication material on topics such as natural resource management, climate change adaptation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and anti-human trafficking. She also worked with a grassroots organization in the Central Indian Tribal Belt where she contributed to the design and marketing aspects of sustainable livelihood enterprises. Madhyama currently is a graduate student in the Master of Development Practice Program at UC Berkeley, an interdisciplinary program aimed at developing sustainability professionals. Apart from her passion for nature and the outdoors, Madhyama enjoys music, reading, films, travelling and meeting new people.


Office Assistant

Megan Otsuka is an office assistant for the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program and is currently an undergraduate at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Public Health. In the future, she would love to collaborate with health professionals in developing countries to give medical care to families in struggling communities. She is originally from Orange County in Southern California and when she isn’t studying or working, she enjoys playing basketball and lacrosse, running outdoors, and trying out new recipes.


544926_4102183292080_216591663_nERIK SWAN
Office Assistant

Erik Swan is an office assistant for the Beahrs ELP. He is currently a senior undergraduate at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in English with an emphasis in Victorian literature. Originally from Newbury Park, a sleepy suburb outside of Los Angeles, Erik transferred from Moorpark Community College in the fall of 2012 to universal adulation. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano and reading science fiction. He is excited to be part of such a wonderful program and looks forward to seeing it succeed once again this summer.


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