Lauren Hale graduated with a Bachelors of Science from North Carolina State University in 2007. During her time there she studied the use of bacteria to degrade pollutants such as gasoline additives and chlorinated solvents. In 2009 she began a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside where she currently researches the suitability of biochar to deliver plant growth-promoting bacteria into agricultural soils. When she completes her Ph.D. she hopes to continue to work with biochar and beneficial microorganisms and microbial generated enzymes of environmental significance.
Patrick Garrett York is a writer in UCR's MFA program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing arts. His interests include fiction, screenplays and criticism. O Best Beloved, his thesis—a novel and its screen adaptation—is a story about Annie Chevalier, searching the High Desert for a motorcycle that belonged to her late mother, which she can use to outride her loss. Patrick is recently engaged to a woman he loves more than Vonnegut loved smoking Pall Malls.
Michael Izbicki graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2008 and was selected to be a nuclear submarine officer. He trained to operate the S5W nuclear reactor as the engineering officer of the watch. However, a spiritual transformation, fueled by Christianity's teachings to "love your enemy," lead Mike to the realization that he couldn't participate in war. After two applications for discharge and a petition in federal court, the Navy discharged Mike as a conscientious objector in 2011. These discharges are extremely rare, and the case made national news in the NYTimes. Currently, Mike is a Ph.D. student at UCR studying artificial intelligence. His research endeavors to simplify learning algorithms so they can be easily used by amateur programmers. Mike can be found homebrewing beer in his spare time. Inspired by the brewing tradition of Trappist monks, Mike developed the "Food not Bombs" Belgian dubble recipe, which won 2nd place out of 550 in LA's Mayfaire 2012 homebrew competition. Mike likes to write about religion, programming and homebrew beer on his blog (http://izbicki.me).
Ian Breckenridge-Jackson is completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. He specializes in race, gender, and class inequality with an emphasis in social movements. Ian was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a grant from the University of California Center for New Racial Studies for his work studying volunteerism and activism in post-Katrina New Orleans. His work has appeared in Policy Matters, the Routledge International Handbook of World-Systems Analysis, the second edition of Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power, and the Handbook of Social Movements across Latin America (forthcoming). Ian is a co-founder and executive director of the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum in New Orleans, an entirely free and volunteer-run museum and oral history project dedicated the Lower Ninth Ward, which continues to struggle against its erasure nearly ten years after Hurricane Katrina. The mission of the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum is to promote community empowerment through remembering the past, sharing stories of the present, and planning for the future.