Geospatial Energy Resources & Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) Research Group

Marie-Odile P. Fortier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Merced

Updates

6/24/2021 - GERLCA PhD student Amir Sharafi gave an oral presentation of his research titled "Influence of road traffic patterns and installation types on the carbon footprint of piezoelectric energy harvesting systems" at the virtual International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) 2021 conference. This marks the first international conference oral presentation given by a GERLCA PhD student!

6/3/2021 - Dr. Fortier participated as an invited panelist at the Future of Wine Americas 2021 conference on life cycle sustainability considerations for wines.

5/24/2021 - Welcome to our new GERLCA undergraduate researchers Christy Duong, Sierra Lema, Jose Lopez, Stephanie Orozco, Sonia Ronquillo Perez, and Ravinderjit Sidhu!

5/15/2021 - Congratulations to GERLCA undergraduate researchers Miguel Gongora Melara and Sara Perez Vite on graduating today with their Bachelor's of Science degrees in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced! Miguel and Sara have been members of the research group since Summer 2019 and have contributed to and led several research projects. They are the last of the inaugural group of GERLCA undergraduate researchers to graduate, after Santiago Cisneros Castillo, Joanna Solano, and William Montz. We are proud of them all!

[Photo credit: 2021 UC Merced School of Engineering Virtual Commencement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzIYqJI19EY]

4/9/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited lecture at the 2021 Energize Merced event organized by UC Merced's Solar Energy Association, titled "How do you really mitigate climate change with sustainable energy?".

3/23/2021 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Well-deserved congratulations to Alyssa!

3/22/2021 - A news item is now available on Dr. Fortier's NSF CAREER award here!

3/3/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture for ENG 130 Writing to Save the Planet at UC Merced, titled "How do you really mitigate climate change with sustainable energy?".

3/1/2021 - Our study titled "Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol produced via fermentation of sugars derived from shrub willow (Salix ssp.) hot water extraction in the Northeast United States" is now published in Biotechnology for Biofuels. The paper's first author, Dr. Obste Therasme, now an assistant professor at SUNY ESF, was a PhD student on whose committee Dr. Fortier served when the study began. Congratulations to Dr. Therasme!

2/26/2021 - Dr. Fortier's proposal to NSF "CAREER: Geospatial life cycle climate change impacts of solar and ocean renewable energy systems" was awarded!

2/26/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited seminar titled "Climate change impacts of energy from waste sources" for the Environmental Engineering Sciences graduate seminar at the University of Florida.

1/8/2021 - Our study titled "Climate change impacts of electricity generated at a waste-to-energy facility" is now available in Environmental Science & Technology. GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling is the first author, and her undergraduate capstone advisor, Dr. Timothy Volk (SUNY ESF), and Dr. Fortier are coauthors. Congratulations to Alyssa on her second publication!

End of Year 2020 Update - We are still working remotely, and our entire team is safe and healthy. We currently have three manuscripts under review, two of which are in their final rounds of minor revisions.

12/19/2020 - GERLCA undergraduate student researcher Santiago Cisneros Castillo graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. Congratulations, Santiago!

12/10/2020 - Our study titled "Greenwashed energy transitions: Are US cities accounting for the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of energy resources in climate action plans?" is now published in Energy and Climate Change. This is GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling's first publication, and as first author as well!

8/17/2020 - Our study titled "Willow Biomass Crops Are a Carbon Negative or Low-Carbon Feedstock Depending on Prior Land Use and Transportation Distances to End Users" is now published in Energies. The paper's first author, Sheng Yang, was a SUNY ESF PhD student on whose committee Dr. Fortier served.

7/30/2020 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling submitted her second manuscript for publication with Dr. Fortier as coauthor, based on her first dissertation chapter. Alyssa started her degree at UC Merced approximately 6 months prior and is already well on her way towards a productive research career!

7/2/2020 - Our study titled "Life Cycle Assessment of Forest Biomass Energy Feedstock in the Northeast United States" is now published in GCB Bioenergy. The paper's first author is Dr. Fortier's former MS student at SUNY ESF, Ryan Quinn, and the corresponding author is Dr. Fortier.

6/8/2020 - The GERLCA research group started sharing anti-racism resources and readings on anti-Black racism in STEM and academia internally via email. Black Lives Matter.

6/2/2020 - The GERLCA research group welcomes Marvin Prieto, our new undergraduate student researcher through the UC Merced UROC program!

5/29/2020 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling submitted her first manuscript for publication with Dr. Tim Volk (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Fortier as coauthors. Congratulations on this major milestone, Alyssa!

5/20/2020 - Dr. Obste Therasme (now Assistant Professor at SUNY ESF) submitted a manuscript for publication based on his dissertation LCA research coauthored by Dr. Fortier.

5/16/2020 - GERLCA undergraduate student researcher Joanna Solano graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. Congratulations, Joanna!

3/9-3/11/2020 - Dr. Fortier and Dr. Youngwoon Kim traveled to Syracuse NY to coordinate with SUNY ESF collaborators on research supported by their USDA BRDI grant.

2/8/2020 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited presentation titled "How do you save the climate using sustainable energy? Figure out where to put it" to the student-organized 2020 Energize Merced event at UC Merced.

January 2020 - The GERLCA research group welcomes new Environmental Systems PhD student, Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling, and new postdoctoral researcher, Youngwoon Kim!

1/6-10/2020 - Dr. Fortier participated in the Faculty Success Initiative Extramural Funding Fellowship program at UC Merced.

12/13/2019 - Dr. Fortier and two undergraduate student researchers, Joanna Solano and Sara Perez Vite, are presenting a poster titled "Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of kite power across multiple deployment sites" at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA.

12/12/2019 - Julia Burmistrova, Environmental Systems Master's degree student under Dr. Marc Beutel at UC Merced, gave an oral presentation co-authored by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Erin Hestir (UC Merced) at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA, titled "Satellite Remote Sensing of the Effect of Lithium Mining Salt Evaporation Ponds on the Albedo of the Nevada Desert."

11/7/2019 - Dr. Fortier presented a seminar titled "From Bioenergy to Ocean Energy, Location Affects the Life Cycle Climate Change Impacts of Emerging Energy Systems" for the Enviro-Lunch group at UC Merced.

11/6/2019 - Dr. Fortier presented a seminar titled "From Bioenergy to Ocean Energy, Location Affects the Life Cycle Climate Change Impacts of Emerging Energy Systems" for the Environmental Systems graduate program at UC Merced.

10/31-11/1/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended a workshop titled "Transdisciplinary Research on the Changing Arctic and Its Global Impacts: Enhancing Capacity for Convergence Science" at the University of California, Irvine.

10/21-25/2019 - Dr. Fortier traveled to Washington, DC and Syracuse, NY for research advancement purposes.

10/21/2019 - Dr. Tim Volk (SUNY ESF) gave an invited talk coauthored by Marie-Odile Fortier at the 2019 Bioenergy Sustainability Conference in Nashville, TN. In addition, HakSoo Ha and Dr. Obste Therasme of SUNY ESF presented two posters coauthored by Dr. Fortier at the conference.

Summer & Fall 2019 - The GERLCA research group at UC Merced welcomes Amir Sharafi (PhD student in Environmental Systems), Farhana Sharmin (MS student in Mechanical Engineering), and five undergraduate researchers (Joanna Solano, Sara Perez Vite, Miguel Gongora, Santiago Cisneros Castillo, and William Montz).

8/23/2019 - HakSoo Ha and Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) submitted a manuscript from HakSoo's dissertation and the USDA BRDI project for publication in a peer-reviewed journal with Ryan Quinn (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier as coauthors.

8/15/2019 - Ryan Quinn (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier submitted a manuscript from Ryan's thesis and the USDA BRDI project for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

6/25/2019 - Dr. Fortier is attending the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) 2019 in Portland, Oregon, and presenting a poster titled "Influence of geographic factors on the life cycle climate change impacts of sustainable energy systems."

5/31/2019 - We are recruiting a postdoctoral researcher in energy LCA to start this summer or fall 2019! Details and application portal can be found here.

5/28-30/2019 - Dr. Fortier led an accelerated Life Cycle Assessment workshop for summer undergraduate researchers in the research group and two graduate students.

5/23/2019 - Carbon Footprint of Wines from the Finger Lakes Region in New York State has been accepted and is now published as an open-access article in Sustainability. The authors are Amanda Trombly (Fortier Research Group 2018 graduate) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier. Congratulations to Amanda for her thesis manuscript being published, marking her first peer-reviewed publication!

5/14/2019 - Dr. Fortier participated on a question and answer panel for the Navigating the Academic Job Search workshop at the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) 2019 conference in Tempe, AZ.

5/14/2019-5/16/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the AEESP conference in Tempe, AZ.

4/25/2019 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF), gave a formal presentation of his Master's thesis and passed his defense, making him the fourth Fortier research group graduate! His thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment of forest-residue bioenergy pathways in the Northeast United States." Ryan also recently accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in Renewable Energy at SUNY Morrisville, starting Fall 2019! Congratulations, Ryan!

4/24-27/2019 - Dr. Fortier is traveling to SUNY ESF for her co-advised Master's degree student Ryan Quinn's capstone and thesis defense.

4/21/2019 - Amanda Trombly (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier submitted a manuscript of Amanda's thesis titled "Carbon footprint of wines from the Finger Lakes region in New York State" for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

4/17/2019 - Dr. Fortier hosted an orientation meeting for summer 2019 undergraduate student researchers on energy life cycle assessment projects.

4/9/2019 - Aleks Siemenn, undergraduate at the University at Albany and Fortier research group collaborator on oscillating water column systems, was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! He will be starting his PhD this Fall 2019 at MIT. Congratulations, Aleks!

4/4/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended a Broader Impacts workshop at UC Merced.

3/29/2019 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited research seminar at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for the Sustainable Systems seminar series.

3/22/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the HPC4 Energy Innovation Online Colloquium on Machine Learning.

3/18 & 3/20/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended UndocuAlly training at UC Merced.

3/15/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the Central Valley Geosummit at UC Merced.

3/14/2019 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited research seminar presentation at Fresno State for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences seminar series.

3/12/2019 - Dr. Fortier became a member of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced.

1-3/2019 - Dr. Fortier participated in the full Spring 2019 UC Merced Junior Faculty Productivity workshop series coordinated and hosted by Dr. Tanya Bolash-Goza.

1/10/2019 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, gave an oral presentation titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the 10th Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy, a section of the 2019 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ.

12/17/2018 - Interested in joining Dr. Fortier's research group? Please see our ad in the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors jobs page and the International Society of Industrial Ecology jobs page.

12/14/2018 - Dr. Fortier judged engineering capstone projects during the UC Merced School of Engineering Innovate to Grow design expo.

12/12/2018 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, presented an interactive presentation titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the NASA Hyperwall at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC. Aleks was among the Grand Prize winners in the highly competitive AGU Data Visualization and Storytelling Competition. Congrats, Aleks!

[Photo credit: Angel Fernandez Bou]

12/11/2018 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, presented a poster titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC.

12/10-12/11/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended the Energy & Mines World Congress in Toronto, Canada.

12/9/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended the Energy & Mines Pre-Summit Workshop for Energy Professionals in Toronto, Canada.

12/7/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, was awarded a Graduate Student Travel Grant by the Graduate Student Association at SUNY ESF to contribute towards his oral presentation of his research at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting. Congrats, Ryan!

12/6-12/7/2018 - Dr. Fortier met with collaborators on the USDA BRDI grant, coordinated for future collaborative proposals, and met graduate students on whose committees she serves during a visit to SUNY ESF.

11/29/2018 - Introduction to evaluating energy justice across the life cycle: a social life cycle assessment approach is now published in the Energy Justice special issue of Applied Energy.

11/8/2018 - Introduction to evaluating energy justice across the life cycle: a social life cycle assessment approach was accepted for publication in the Energy Justice special issue of Applied Energy. The authors are: Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, Dr. Lemir Teron (SUNY ESF), Dr. Tony Reames (University of Michigan), Dynta Munardy (Fortier Research Group graduate), and Breck Sullivan (Fortier Research Group graduate).

11/6/2018 - Dr. Fortier became affiliate faculty in the UC Merced Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program. Students interested in joining her research group can apply to either the Mechanical Engineering or the Environmental Systems PhD program, depending on their best fit. Note that applications for Fall 2019 (or Spring 2020 if deferred) are due by January 15, 2019. The Environmental Systems Graduate Program has an earlier deadline of December 15, 2018 for priority of consideration for admission and funding. Please email Dr. Fortier if you are considering applying. More general information can be found here.

11/1-11/2/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended a Software Carpentry workshop held at UC Merced.

11/1/2018 - Jenny Frank, a SUNY ESF graduate student, gave an oral presentation titled "Replicating Indian Point’s energy generation using renewable energy pathways: a technical and economic stochastic analysis" based on research performed under a Syracuse Center of Excellence Faculty Fellow grant (PI: Tristan Brown, co-PIs: Tim Volk, Robert Malmsheimer, and Marie-Odile Fortier) at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

10/30/2018 - Dr. Fortier is now on the Environmental Systems Admissions Committee at UC Merced.

10/30/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, gave an oral presentation titled "Life cycle assessment of forest biomass energy pathways in the Northeast US" at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

10/28/2018 - HakSoo Ha and Obste Therasme, two SUNY ESF graduate students, presented research on forest residues and willow biomass as bioenergy feedstocks, supported by a USDA BRDI grant (PI: Tristan Brown, co-PIs: Tim Volk and Marie-Odile Fortier), at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting.

10/16/2018 - Dr. Fortier participated in the Fiat Lux Scholar Program Faculty Reception at UC Merced.

10/5/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, was awarded a Graduate Student Travel Grant by the Office of Instruction & Graduate Studies at SUNY ESF which will contribute towards his upcoming oral presentation of his research at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting!

9/25/2018 - Dr. Fortier gave one oral presentation and three poster presentations on recent research at the SETAC Europe 24th LCA Symposium in Vienna, Austria.

July 2018 - Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Merced as tenure-track faculty.

7/10/2018 - Amanda Trombly, who is advised by Dr. Fortier, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her defense, making her the third Fortier research group graduate! Her thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment of wines produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State."

6/27/2018 - Three proposals were submitted for consideration for Department of Energy funding with Dr. Fortier as lead PI on University of California, Merced subawards.

6/26/2018 - Fortier research group graduate Breck Sullivan won first place in the student poster competition of the 2018 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) in Buffalo, NY for her poster titled "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States."

5/24/2018 - Sheng Yang, Tim Volk, and Marie-Odile Fortier submitted a paper on geographically specific life cycle assessment of willow biomass crops for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

5/12/2018 - Congratulations to Breck Sullivan and Dynta Munardy on graduating with their Master's degrees!

[Photo credit: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]

5/2/2018 - Dynta Munardy, who is advised by Dr. Fortier and funded by a Fulbright fellowship, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her thesis defense, making her the second Fortier research group graduate! Her thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment and techno economic analysis of electricity from community-based bamboo gasification in a rural and remote island of Indonesia."

4/26/2018 - Dr. Fortier gave an oral presentation on "The Necessity of Geospatial Data in Calculating the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Energy Systems" at EnerGIS 2018 in Canonsburg, PA.

4/24/2018 - Breck Sullivan presented a poster on her thesis research at the SUNY ESF Spotlight on Student Research, which won third place among all graduate student posters. On the same day, Breck was also awarded as the 2017-2018 Outstanding Master's Degree Scholar in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF!

4/14/2018 - Dr. Fortier judged engineering research posters at the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Statewide Student Conference in Bolton Landing, NY.

4/9/2018 - Breck Sullivan, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Malmsheimer in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her thesis defense, making her the first Fortier research group graduate!

2/15/2018 - Breck Sullivan, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Malmsheimer in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF, gave an oral presentation titled "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States" at the 2018 Oceans Sciences Meeting in Portland, OR.

2/12/2018 - Dr. Fortier was PI on a federal-level proposal and co-PI on a state-level proposal submitted to funding agencies for review within the past week.

2/4/2018 - Dr. Fortier was unanimously recommended for continued appointment as an Assistant Professor by the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management faculty, Departmental Review Committee, and Interim Chair based on her third year review dossier.

1/1/2018 - Dr. Fortier's scholarship now has over 200 citations.

12/12/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave an oral presentation titled "Influence of geographic factors on the life cycle climate change impacts of renewable energy systems" at the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

11/16/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on biofuels and harnessing energy from waste to students from the Expeditionary Learning Middle School.

11/14/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on social life cycle assessment and energy justice via Skype for Dr. Tony Reames' NRE 501 Energy Justice course at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

11/12/2017 - Dr. Fortier participated on a panel at the Women's Empowerment Brunch at SUNY ESF, an event organized by the Undergraduate Student Association and the Baobab Society.

10/22/2017 - "Determination of the life cycle climate change impacts of land use and albedo change in algal biofuel production" is in press at Algal Research and now available online. Dr. Fortier is the lead author.

10/9/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on "Energy Systems and Environmental Impacts" in FOR 132, the departmental orientation seminar for undergraduate students.

10/1/2017 - Dr. Fortier and two graduate students in the group (Dynta Munardy and Breck Sullivan) with Dr. Lemir Teron (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Tony Reames (University of Michigan) submitted a paper invited for publication in a special issue.

8/28/2017 - We are welcoming two new Master's degree students to the Fortier research group this Fall semester: Julio Rosado and Ryan Quinn.

8/25/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a speech at the SUNY ESF New Student Convocation to welcome students on behalf of the faculty.

8/20/2017 - Dr. Fortier participated on a panel for CONNECTIONS, a pre-orientation program for entering freshmen at SUNY ESF.

Research

We model bioenergy systems, emerging renewable energy systems, and related climate change mitigation strategies to determine their climate change impacts by prospective implementation location using life cycle assessment (LCA). We develop geographically specific methodology for energy LCAs.

What are we missing from the way that we currently assess life cycle environmental impacts and how can we address these issues?

How do the life cycle climate change impacts of novel renewable energy systems compare to our current systems, and how do geographic and temporal variables affect these impacts?

How are the life cycle climate change impacts of the materials we need for the energy transition changing?

Courses

UC Merced:
ES 292: Life Cycle Assessment (fall 2020)
ES 291: Environmental Systems Seminar (2018-2019, co-taught as ESS 190 with Dr. Rebecca Ryals)
ENVE 160 / ES 260: Sustainable Energy (spring, recurring)

SUNY ESF (2015-2018):
SRE 225: Physics of Energy (fall)
SRE 325/525: Energy Systems (fall)
SRE 479/679: Life Cycle Assessment (spring)
FOR 797: Sustainable Energy Graduate Seminar (fall & spring, co-taught)

The Team



Dr. Marie-Odile Payne Fortier

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Merced (2018-present)
Assistant Professor, Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, SUNY ESF (2015-2018)
PhD Environmental Engineering (University of Kansas, 2015)
BS Environmental Engineering (University of Florida, 2010)

Current GERLCA Members


Graduate Students


Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling (2020-present)

Alyssa is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Systems under the supervision of Dr. Fortier. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she focused on renewable energy. For her undergraduate capstone research she conducted a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of a Waste-To-Energy power plant utilizing system expansion to account for the multifunctionality of the technology. At UC Merced, as part of the Geospatial Energy Resource Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) group, she is researching renewable energy-based climate change mitigation strategies using life cycle assessment methodology.


Farhana Sharmin (2019-present)

Farhana Sharmin is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at UC Merced under the supervision of Dr. Fortier. She previously completed her Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Production Engineering with distinction in Manufacturing from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). After earning her undergraduate degree, she worked on energy resource management and developing climate change mitigation strategies with the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD). Now as a part of Geospatial Energy Resources & Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) Research Group, she is conducting research on life cycle assessment of bioenergy conversion pathways and electricity from solar updraft towers.


Amir Sharafi (2019-present)

Amir Sharafi is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Systems program under the advisory of Dr. Fortier. He previously earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden. He has years of experience designing and manufacturing piezoelectric technology through a research project called “Energy Harvesting from Road Traffic” supervised by his co-advisor, Dr. Jian-Qiao Sun. Using the knowledge gained through this ongoing project, Amir is developing life cycle assessment models of piezoelectric technology, which transform mechanical energy in the form of vibration of vehicles into electricity.


Undergraduate Researchers


Christy Duong (Summer 2021-present)

Christy Duong is from Oakland, CA and is an undergraduate in her fifth year at UC Merced pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. She enjoys learning about plants and insects in her free time and is currently in the second-year cohort with the Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP).


Sierra Lema (Summer 2021-present)

Sierra Lema is from Hayward, CA, and is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. After completing her lower division courses at Diablo Valley College, she transferred to UC Merced and is now in her fourth year. Sierra has always been interested in renewable energy systems, and more specifically in the social and political aspects of the field. She is involved in the Geospatial Energy Resources and Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) project as an undergraduate researcher.


Jose Carlos Fernando Lopez-Vela (Summer 2021-present)

Jose Carlos Fernando Lopez-Vela was born in Guatemala but has lived in Los Angeles for the majority of his life. Jose is in his last year pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. As for pastimes, he loves to run with his dog, and run marathons or long-distance races. Jose is an active student member in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).


Stephanie Orozco (Summer 2021-present)

Stephanie Orozco is from Los Angeles, CA and is on her last semester of her undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced. She has been an Recycling/Composting Intern at UC Merced. She focuses on sustainably managing all waste produced by the university in order for all waste to be recycled properly. She is a new undergraduate researcher for GERLCA research group and is excited to learn more about life cycle assessments in order to find a focus within it.


Sonia Ronquillo Perez (Summer 2021-present)

Sonia is from the small beach town of Half Moon Bay, CA, located in the bay area. She is a transfer student currently in her last year pursuing an Environmental Engineering undergraduate degree at UC Merced. Sonia has been an active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SPHE) since 2018. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, petting her cats, and taking care of her autistic brother.


Ravinderjit Sidhu (Summer 2021-present)

Ravinderjit Sidhu is from Union City, CA, and is going into his last semester of his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at UC Merced. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the batting cages, and hiking. Ravinderjit is a current undergraduate member of the Geospatial Energy Resources and Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) research group.


Fortier Research Group Graduates & Alumni


Undergraduate Researchers


Sara Perez Vite (2019-2021)
Sara Perez Vite is from San Jose, CA, and is in her last semester of her undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced. She has been active in the Solar Energy Association student organization and in research activities in renewable energy. She is involved with the kite power life cycle assessment project (with GERLCA alum Joanna Solano) and the geospatial algal biofuel life cycle assessment scenario development project.

Miguel Gongora (2019-2021)
Miguel Gongora is from Los Angeles, CA, more specifically Korea town. Miguel is currently a 4th year undergrad pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Applied Mathematics. In his free time, he enjoys watching basketball and soccer. Miguel is involved with the sustainable asteroid mining project (with GERLCA alum Santiago Cisneros Castillo) and the vertical wind turbine life cycle assessment project.

[ Right photo credit: 2020 UC Merced School of Engineering Virtual Commencement ]

Santiago Cisneros Castillo (May 2019 - December 2020)
Santiago Cisneros Castillo is from Santa Ana, CA, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced in Fall 2020. He had transferred to UC Merced from Santiago Community College, where he earned an Associates of Science degree in Mathematics and Science. Santiago studied Environmental Engineering to allow him to help in reducing or even reversing the way that anthropogenic activity is altering global climate cycling and causing biodiversity loss in unique ecosystems around the world.

Joanna Solano (May 2019 - August 2020)
Joanna Solano is from Madera, CA, and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced in Spring 2020. Her interests are focused on energy systems that are relatively new and have yet to be used at a large scale. She is also interested in learning and using life cycle assessment methods for energy systems. Joanna has been working on a geospatial kite power LCA model with Sara Perez Vite in the GERLCA research group.

Marvin Prieto (Summer 2020 UROC program, UC Merced)

William Montz (May-December 2019)

Tasos Tentoglou


Postdoctoral Researchers


Dr. Youngwoon Kim (January-July 2020)

Dr. Youngwoon Kim was the first postdoctoral scholar in the GERLCA group. He received his PhD and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida and his BS in Environmental Engineering from Myong-Ji University in South Korea. His dissertation focused on sustainable aquaculture production using life cycle assessment. He developed a decision making tool for selection of sustainable energy systems for aquaculture. In Dr. Fortier’s research group, he expanded his knowledge on techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment by integrating the analyses in a USDA-funded project on forest residues. Youngwoon's research interests include life cycle assessment, statistical modeling, sustainable food production, and renewable energy.


Master's Degree Graduates


Ryan Quinn
Master's degree in Sustainable Energy (coadvised with Dr. Tristan Brown), SUNY ESF - May 2019Thesis: "Life cycle assessment of forest residue bioenergy pathways in the Northeast United States"Prior education: BA English Literature, SUNY Geneseo, and BT Renewable Energy, SUNY Morrisville.Current position: Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in Renewable Energy at SUNY Morrisville


Amanda Trombly
Master's degree in Forest Resources Management in the Sustainable Energy study area, SUNY ESF - July 2018Thesis: "Life cycle assessment of wines produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State"Prior education: BS Environmental Science Systems with Pre-Engineering, Le Moyne CollegeCurrent position: Project Coordinator at TRC Companies, an environmental services company


Dynta Trishana Munardy
Master's degree in Forest Resources Management in the Sustainable Energy study area, SUNY ESF - May 2018Thesis: "Life cycle assessment and techno economic analysis of electricity from community based bamboo gasification in a rural and remote island of Indonesia"Prior education: BS Environmental Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology, IndonesiaCurrent position: Technical Officer for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Energy

[Credit for third photo: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]


Breck Sullivan
Master's degree in Environmental Science in the study area of Environmental Monitoring and Modeling (coadvised with Dr. Robert Malmsheimer), SUNY ESF - May 2018Thesis: "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States"Prior education: BA Environmental Studies with a minor in Mathematics, Salisbury UniversityCurrent position: Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting Team Staffer for the Chesapeake Bay Program

[Credit for third photo: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]

Prospective Students

Please contact Marie-Odile Fortier at mfortier2@ucmerced.edu if you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in her Geospatial Energy Resources and Life Cycle Assessment research group at UC Merced, or if you are an undergraduate student at UC Merced who is interested in participating in her research group.

We are affiliated with the Environmental Systems and the Mechanical Engineering graduate programs. General information on applying to the UC Merced graduate programs can be found here.

CV

CV last updated in early March 2021

Contact Me

Email: mfortier2@ucmerced.edu

Google Scholar page

UC Merced faculty webpage

@MarieOdilePF on Twitter

My office is in Sustainability Research and Engineering building, room 233 on the UC Merced main campus. As of March 2020, I am working remotely from home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.