Winners Announced!

The final results have come in for the student presentation judging. The following individuals have been awarded prizes for their outstanding research in the areas of risk research that were showcased in the symposium. The first place presenters in both oral and poster presentations will be awarded $500, while the second place winner receives $300.


Carrie LiCarrie Li (Criminal Justice)Carson ReelingCarson Reeling (Agriculture, Food & Resource Economics, ESPP) Wuyu LiuWuyu Liu (Communications)
Ian WerkheiserIan Werkheiser (Philosophy)
Unai Miquel AndresUnai Miquel Andres, Lake Superior State University
Weston EatonWeston Eaton (Sociology)


  • 1st place: Shane Canaday, Eastern Michigan University, "Modeling of Volatile Organic Compounds Emission from Materials Used in Passenger Vehicle Interiors"
  • 2nd place: Matthew Herman, Biosystems Engineering, MSU "Application and Limitations of Stream Health Indices"
Bonnie McGillBonnie McGill (Zoology)Jackson CollegeBrandon Rose, Jackson College Ran DuanRan Duan and Anthony Van Witsen (Journalism)
Shane CanadayShane Canaday, Eastern Michigan University
Matthew HermanMatthew Herman (Biosystems Engineering)
Melissa Rojas-DowningMelissa Rojas-Downing (Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering)


Dr. Joe Arvai, Svare Chair of Applied Decision Research and Geography at the University of Calgary

TITLE: A researcher and a policy maker walk into a bar...An appeal for smarter risk management decisions.

ABSTRACT: We have witnessed, over the last several years, an explosion of interest in the science of judgment and decision-making. For example, bestsellers like Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow have provided engaging summaries of research focused on how people make choices. But, applications based on this research about how to improve the quality of important personal and policy choices has struggled to keep pace. This is especially the case when we think about problems (and opportunities) that demand what could be termed “active decision support.” I will talk about research conducted in MY lab at the University of Calgary, which has focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools for use by people when making choices involving complex problems and consequential outcomes.

BIO: Dr. Joe Arvai is Professor and Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research at the University of Calgary. He is based in the Department of Geography, the Institute for Public Health, and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Environment and Economy. Dr. Arvai is also a Senior Researcher at Decision Research in Eugene, OR, and an Adjunct Professor in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Joe’s research has two main areas of emphasis: First, his research is focused on advancing our understanding of how people process information and make decisions, with a specific emphasis on the interplay between cognitive and affective modes of judgment. Second, Joe and his team conduct research focused on developing and testing decision support systems that can be used by people to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts. These decision support systems can be classified as active (in that they decompose complex problems into more cognitively manageable parts) or passive (in that they modify human behavior in self-interested directions without modifying people’s decision-making tendencies). In addition to Dr. Arvai’s academic work, he is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Boards on Environmental Change and Society, and Public Interfaces for the Life Sciences. Website: Twitter: @DecisionLab

Joe ArvaiDr. Joe Arvai, University of Calgary

Dr. Andrew Maynard, NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Science and Director of University of Michigan Risk Science Center

Title: Thinking differently about risk and innovation

Abstract: If you’re not experiencing risk, you’re not alive. It’s a truism of course, but it’s easy to forget that risks to health and the environment we live in are a reality of every decision we make and every action we take - whether as individuals, or as society as a whole. Because of this, we are surrounded by laws and processes that are designed to help increase the likelihood of decisions leading to net increase on health and quality of life. Unfortunately the pace and complexity of technology innovation is now at a stage that many of the mechanisms designed to avoid unacceptable risks are beginning to fail. As a result, there is an increasing need for innovation in how we think about risk, to match the innovations that are changing the risks we need to be thinking about. This talk will explore both the drivers for new thinking about risk, as well as new ways of approaching technology innovation and health and environmental risk.

Bio: Andrew Maynard directs the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, chairs the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the U-M School of Public Health, and is the NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences (the National Sanitation Foundation, not the National Science Foundation). When not up to his eyeballs in academic administration, his work focuses on the responsible development and use of emerging technologies – most notably nanotechnology and synthetic biology. He is currently vice-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology, and has worked with a number of organizations on understanding the risks and benefits of technology innovation, including the National Academies of Science and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Andrew previously served as co-chair of the multi-agency Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications working group, and between 2005 – 2010 was science advisor to the Woodrow Wilson Center project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Much of Andrew’s current work is focused on effective evidence-based risk communication, and he is leading a number of efforts through the University of Michigan Risk Science Center to connect expert knowledge with non-expert audiences. He writes broadly on science, risk and communication on his blog – 2020 Science – and is responsible for the innovative Risk Bites channel on YouTube; something he is publicly embarrassed about but privately rather pleased with.

Andrew MaynardDr. Andrew Maynard, University of Michigan