Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Instructor Information


Welcome to GEOG 438W: Human Dimensions of Global Warming!

Brandi Robinson
Brandi Robinson, Instructor
Credit: B. Robinson (good ol' selfie! 2019) Gosausee near Salzburg, Austria

What I'm working on now...

Hi there! My name is Brandi Robinson, and I am the instructor for this course. I am an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Energy and Sustainability Policy program.  I've been teaching in ESP since 2010.  In addition to teaching and advising ESP students, I teach one graduate course, EME 803 Applied Energy Policy and I've even been dabbling recently with teaching a residential section of GEOG 30N on campus.  In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I'm on the Faculty Senate and the College's Academic Integrity Committee (see our Climate Action Resolution from 2020).  I'm also the Green Team leader for our Institute for e-Education.  I'm currently the chair of my township's Climate Action Committee, and we're working hard to figure out how to be carbon neutral by 2050 to comply with this resolution.  Our inventory is done, now we need to pull that curve down!  

A bit about my professional background...

Prior to coming to Penn State, I worked for Environment Credit Corp. (ECC) here in State College, PA. ECC is a greenhouse gas offset project development company focusing on agricultural methane and landfill methane projects. ECC works mostly with farms, landfills, and composting facilities to capture and destroy methane emissions and monetize these reductions in the form of carbon credits. In addition to managing many of our agricultural offset projects, it was also my responsibility to understand how policy developments at the state, regional, and national scale affect our projects and, ultimately, the environment. ECC works to educate lawmakers on the environmental and economic benefits of implementing offset projects.

I'm homegrown - born and raised just up the road from University Park in Williamsport, PA. The only thing you may know Williamsport for is the Little League World Series. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2003, with a dual BA in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. I then began the graduate program in Geography here at Penn State that fall and graduated in 2005. My primary research interests included local scale mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and invoking behavioral changes for energy and resource conservation. My thesis work focused on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the University Park campus of PSU.

After graduating with my Masters, I worked briefly on a climate change grant at Penn State and then accepted a position with the University's Office of Physical Plant. There, I developed and maintained the greenhouse gas emission inventories for all of the Commonwealth campuses and worked with energy engineers to develop emission reduction strategies.

I'm really interested in the local scale response to this global problem of climate change.  Some of you may have taken my GEOG 432 Energy Policy class, and so you know that enacting legislation is no small feat.  But it gets easier at the smaller scales - so I'm trying to make a dent there where I can.

Out of the office Brandi...

So, what do I do when I'm not working? Like you, I have a very busy life outside of work and have to find time to juggle it all in a way that makes sense. Some days I feel like that works better than others. My husband, Anthony and I met when we came to Penn State to begin the Master's in Geography.  Map love! We have a second grader who is an insatiable book worm and meticulous with her (entirely too large) Playmobil collection.  In 2017, my family had the chance to live in Salzburg, Austria for half of the year while Anthony was on a Fulbright.  That means I now have a kid who is fluent in German and loves schnitzel.  My picture here is from our trip back to Salzburg this summer.  This is the Gosausee which is a lake probably about an hour's drive from Salzburg.  The scenery in the Salzkammergut region is just breathtaking.

In my very copious free time, I like to bake, play Playmobil with my kiddo, and scour local thrift shops for old Pyrex and Glasbake dishes.  I also really enjoy consignment shopping for clothes and books, too.  Recycle!  Save money!  Everyone wins.

Writing Tutor

Maria Scalzi Wherley
Maria Scalzi Wherley, Writing Tutor
Credit: Some unidentified guy taking free headshots at a conference in 2016

Contact Information

Official Title: Learning Designer and Writer-In-Residence, Dutton e-Education Institute
Email: please use the course email system
Zoom: please contact me via email to set up a Zoom meeting

Hi! I'm Maria Wherley, the writing tutor for this course. I've got a long history of teaching and helping people with their writing, from best-selling authors to professors and college students, to high school and elementary school kids. Please get in touch with writing questions of any kind or for full-on tutoring for your projects in this course. I look forward to hearing from you.