Our Team

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most recognized individuals on the planet, having led an amazing life and achieving beyond his dreams in Hollywood, fitness, and public service. In an effort to give back to the country that allowed him to accomplish so much, Schwarzenegger ran for public office and was elected California’s 38th Governor.

Called “The People’s Governor,” Schwarzenegger worked with leaders of both major political parties to address the greatest challenges facing the state in a bold and historic manner. His leadership put California at the forefront of the nation in addressing climate change, pushing for the development of renewable energies, rebuilding our critical infrastructure, investing in stem cell research, and putting in place health care and political reforms. Schwarzenegger pushed for historic investment in California’s roads, bridges, water delivery systems, and schools. He proposed a comprehensive health care reform initiative and ensured California was the first state to create a Health Benefits Exchange. He also put politics back in the hands of the people through citizen-based redistricting and primary election reform.

Recognizing that states have the responsibility to provide the best possible education to every child, Schwarzenegger committed himself to offering top-quality early childhood development programs, comprehensive after-school programs for all elementary and middle schools, parental choice through high-performing charter schools, and expanding career technical education programs.

Continuing his commitment to environmental leadership, in 2011 he co-founded R20, a global non-profit of sub-national governments and regional leaders working together to address climate change and build a green economy. In 2012 he partnered with USC to launch the USC Schwarzenegger Institute to continue his work on the many policy initiatives he championed during his two terms as Governor.

Conyers Davis, Global Director

Conyers Davis, Global Director

conyers@schwarzeneggerinstitute.com (213) 821-1748

Conyers Davis is an experienced communications advisor, project manager and campaign strategist. He manages communications, special projects and external relations for the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.

Conyers' previous work in the public and private sectors has focused on launching and managing large-scale political campaigns, communications strategies and high-visibility events. He has worked in the United States, Europe and Asia on projects that helped drive sales, policy and political platforms. Conyers has worked for British Prime Minister David Cameron, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Simon & Schuster, Lionsgate Films and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, he managed projects for the 2004 G8 Summit and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina recovery effort.

Conyers has a degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is the founder of Kenyafornia, a successful non-profit that helps Kenyan athletes’ get to the starting line of California marathons.

Christian Grose, Academic Director

Christian Grose, Academic Director

cgrose@dornsife.usc.edu

Christian Grose is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Christian is the author of the award-winning Congress in Black and White: Race and Representation in Washington and at Home (Cambridge University Press, 2011). In addition, he has published articles in scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Annual Review of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. Christian's research interests include political institutions and political representation. Current and recent research is on U.S. legislatures, the presidency, race and ethnicity, the financial interests and stock market investments of legislators, and field experiments. He has also studied electoral reform, redistricting, and primaries in California and in the U.S. He received a B.A. from Duke University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.

Mebus Behrle, Director of Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives

Mebus Behrle, Director of Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives

(949) 633-6738

Mebus Behrle is Chief Deputy at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute where she oversees the organization's financial reporting, strategic partnerships, website maintenance, brand promotion, community outreach and event production. She is an experienced project manager and external affairs liaison.

Mebus Behrle started working at the Institute in early 2013 and has been integral in the development and growth of the organization. She has provided general strategic planning and support on a number of high profile media events organized by the Institute and regularly manages special projects requested by the Institute's Chairman and Global Director. Prior to joining the Schwarzenegger Institute Mebus specialized in communications and business development support. Mebus graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010 with a degree in Journalism from the Annenberg School of Communications and a degree in Entrepreneurship from the Marshal School of Business. Mebus also studied in the University of Virginia's Semester At Sea program in 2009.

Allison Kay, Special Projects and Office Coordinator

Allison Kay, Special Projects and Office Coordinator

kayallis@price.usc.edu (213) 821- 5536

Allison Kay is the Deputy at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute where she helps with the organization's financial reporting, communications, website maintenance, and event production.

Allison started working at USC in 2015 as a project specialist in the Price School Dean’s Office. Throughout her two and a half years in the dean’s office, Allison worked with various centers, institutes and departments to provide administrative support. She has helped with everything from intimate book talks to Price commencement and the California Gubernatorial Debate. In addition to working at the Price School, Allison is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree at the Price School.

Prior to starting at USC, Allison majored in Chemistry and Education at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. While at Grand Valley, Allison worked as a writing consultant, research assistant, and teaching assistant.

Fran Pavley, Legislative Outreach Coordinator for the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook

Fran Pavley, Legislative Outreach Coordinator for the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook

franpavley@schwarzeneggerinstitute.com

Former Senator Fran Pavley currently serves as the Legislative Outreach Coordinator for the Institute’s Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook, which was launched in 2017 and can be found at www.envirolaws.org. She is leading the promotion and expansion of the Handbook, which consists of a curated list of environmental laws, passed into law by state legislatures that both protect the environment and support economic growth. Each of the laws included in the handbook has its own Bill File page, which has all the essential materials and documents needed by a state legislator to pass the law in their state. The handbook was created as an online resource that will help state legislators throughout America learn from their colleagues in other states.

Fran Pavley served three terms in the California State Assembly and she became known as one of the most effective legislators in Sacramento. Serving with integrity and vision, the former Mayor of Agoura Hills and longtime public school teacher, had over 70 of her bills and resolutions become law. During her tenure in the Assembly, Fran focused on education, the environment, consumer protection, public safety and creating a clean, secure energy future for California and the U.S. Her landmark legislation on global warming has become a model for other states and countries to follow. For example, 11 other states and Canada have modeled their laws after Fran's Clean Car Regulations, AB 1493, (also known as the Pavley Bill). As the author of the "Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" (AB 32), there will now be a cap on greenhouse gas emissions emitted from California. This will help spur an increased investment in alternative fuels, renewable energy and clean technologies. Her leadership on the most important environmental issue facing our world in the 21st Century has been recognized by many entities, including being selected as one of Scientific American's Top Technology Leaders in Transportation, and receiving the 2006 California League of Conservation Voters "Global Warming Leadership Award" along with former Vice President Al Gore.

Francisca Martinez, Legislative Outreach Assistant for the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook

Francisca Martinez, Legislative Outreach Assistant for the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook

francisca@schwarzeneggerinstitute.com (213) 821-1744

Francisca assists former CA State Senator Fran Pavley in promoting and expanding the Institute’s Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook. Under the guidance of environmental pioneer and former Senator Fran Pavley, Francisca facilitates communication and support to parties, including legislators, non-profit organizations, academics, and businesses, interested in using or contributing to the Handbook in order to advance environmental policies. Francisca also manages marketing materials and bill additions to the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook website.

Francisca began working at the Schwarzenegger Institute soon after receiving her B.S degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Systems and Society from UCLA in 2017. During her time at UCLA, Francisca conducted research on the adverse health effects caused by oil drilling near disadvantaged communities. She also worked with UCLA Admissions, UCLA Student Affairs, and UCLA Government and Community Relations where she developed her outreach skills. Francisca plans to continue her education in environmental law.

Kevin de León, Distinguished Senior Fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice and Health

Kevin de León, Distinguished Senior Fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice and Health

Kevin de León is President pro Tempore Emeritus of the California State Senate, the first Latino elected to this position in more than a century. In his years leading the state senate, his agenda focused on maintaining California’s global leadership role in fighting climate change and building a clean-energy economy; rebuilding the state’s infrastructure; improving public education; ensuring workplace and healthcare equity for women, immigrants, and low-wage workers; and enhancing public safety. He has an extensive record on women’s rights, gun-violence prevention, and workers’ rights. Senator de León attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated from Pitzer College with honors. He currently serves as the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice and Health at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

Antonio Bento, Faculty Fellow

Antonio Bento, Faculty Fellow

Antonio M. Bento is a Professor, Chair, Department of Public Policy and Real Estate at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics of the University of Southern California. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Professor Bento received a BA in Economics from the Nova School of Business and Economics (Portugal) in 1996, and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics (jointly with Economics) from the University of Maryland in 2000. He has previously taught at UCSB('00-'04), University of Maryland ('04-'07), Cornell University ('07-'15), and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, and a regular consultant to the World Bank.
Professor Bento is an applied micro-economist with a research program in the areas of environmental, energy, urban, and public economics. For the past few years, he has written on topics related to the design of climate change mitigation policies and the interactions of (new) environmental policies with the broader tax system; the effectiveness of policies that promote the expansion of biofuels, renewable energy, and the diffusion of cleaner technologies; causes and remedies of urban sprawl and urban environmental challenges in developed and developing countries; the benefits of major environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act and its Amendments; individual responses to real-time pricing; and the distributional impacts of various environmental policies, including federal gasoline taxes. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Journal of Urban Economics, the Energy Journal and other scholarly journals and books. Professor Bento contributed to the New York State Climate Change Action Plan, the New York State Biofuels Roadmap, the U.N. Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Assessment Report on Biofuels, served as a contributing author to the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, and was recently appointed as a lead author to the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP).

Hilda J. Blanco, Faculty Fellow

Hilda J. Blanco, Faculty Fellow

Dr. Blanco’s research focuses on urban land management, cities and climate change, and urban water policy. In the area of urban land management, Dr. Blanco developed the first versions of New Jersey’s urban growth management plan; collaborated with researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to evaluate China’s 1980s urban land reforms; and most recently chaired international advisory group for the major EU research project on European sprawl (PLUREL 2008-2011). In climate change, Dr. Blanco’s research has centered on cities and urban land policies in both mitigation and adaptation. She was a lead author for the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment with a focus on urbanization, infrastructure and the role of spatial planning; and was also lead author for the US National Climate Assessment (2014) focused on US Southwest region. Current research centers on water supply management in Southern California under climate change. She is the North American editor of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Karin Huebner, Faculty Fellow

Karin Huebner, Faculty Fellow

Karin Huebner received her Ph.D. in history from USC in 2009. Her research interests include Native American history, History of the American West, and Gender and Sexuality. Dr. Huebner’s current book project traces the history of her Euro-American-Indian family from 1735 to 1925, which speaks to an unexpected story of cooperation and community formation between Native peoples and Euro Americans. She received the W. Turrentine Jackson Prize from the Pacific Historical Review for her article, “An Unexpected Alliance: Stella Atwood, the California Clubwomen, John Collier, and the Indians of the Southwest, 1917-1934,” which appeared in the PHR August 2009 issue. In 2012, Dr. Huebner received the USC Remarkable Woman Award, a campus-wide recognition for achievements in scholarship, contributions to USC, commitment to students and women’s issues, community involvement, and professional excellence. Dr. Huebner currently serves as the Academic Director of Programs for the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study and also holds title of adjunct assistant professor of history. Prior to her career as a historian, Dr. Huebner competed for 10 years on the Women’s World Tennis Tour, including appearances at Wimbledon, the US Open, and French Open.

Lawrence Palinkas, Faculty Fellow

Lawrence Palinkas, Faculty Fellow

Lawrence Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health; Chair of the Department of Child, Youth and Families; and Director of the Behavior, Health and Society Research Cluster in the USC School of Social Work. Dr. Palinkas received his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1974 and an MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego in 1975 and 1981, respectively. A medical anthropologist, his primary areas of expertise are mental health services research and behavioral health and prevention science. Dr. Palinkas is particularly interested in the sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-related behavior with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion, child welfare and child mental health, translational and implementation science, immigrant and refugee communities, global health and health disparities, and health behavior in extreme environments and disasters

Dan Mazmanian, Faculty Fellow

Dan Mazmanian, Faculty Fellow

Daniel A. Mazmanian is a Professor of Public Policy in the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Faculty Fellow of the Schwarzenegger Institute. Author of eight books, numerous articles, and the recipient of National Science Foundation and other research grants, his areas of interest are public policy analysis with special emphasis on environmental and climate change policy. He served as Dean of the Price School from 2000-2005 and Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan from 1996-2000. In 2005-07 he served as a member of the Task Force on Environmental Governance for the Chinese Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Beijing. In 2009-2010 he served as director of the Task Force on California’s Adaptation to Climate change. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation since 1994. He holds a doctorate degree in political science from Washington University, St. Louis, with master and bachelor degrees from San Francisco State University.

Adam Rose, Faculty Fellow

Adam Rose, Faculty Fellow

Adam Rose is Research Professor at USC’s Price School of Public Policy, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). Before coming to USC, he served as Professor and Head of the Department of Energy and Environmental Economics at The Pennsylvania State University for fourteen years. He received his PhD in Economics from Cornell University.

Professor Rose’s main area of research is the economics of energy and climate change policy. As a consultant to the UN, he played a major role in the development of the first proposal for a system of globally tradable emission allowances. He has advised government agencies in several U.S. states and regions on the development of cap & trade programs, and agencies in the U.S., Mexico and China on the employment impacts of climate action plans. He has also done pioneering research on resilience to disasters.

Detlof Von Winterfeldt, Faculty Fellow

Detlof Von Winterfeldt, Faculty Fellow

Detlof von Winterfeldt is a Professor at the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of the Viterbi School of Engineering and a Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Price School of Public Policy at USC. From 2009 to 2012 he was on leave from USC as the Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria. His research interests are in the foundation and practice of decision and risk analysis applied to technology development, environmental risks, natural disasters and terrorism. He is an elected fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) and of the Society of Risk Analysis (SRA). He received several research awards including the Ramsey Medal for lifetime contributions to decision analysis by INFORMS and the distinguished achievement award by SRA.

Jeff Jenkins, Faculty Fellow

Jeff Jenkins, Faculty Fellow

Jeffery A. Jenkins is Provost Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law, Judith & John Bedrosian Chair of Governance and the Public Enterprise, Director of the Bedrosian Center, and Director of the Political Institutions and Political Economy (PIPE) Collaborative. He previously held tenure-stream positions at the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, and Michigan State University.

His research interests include American Political Institutions and Development (with a special emphasis on Congress and political parties), lawmaking, separation-of-powers, and political economy. Much of his work takes a positive political theory (or rational choice) approach, and examines how political actors pursue their interests while being constrained by formal and informal institutional arrangements. His current work involves papers on the ideological content of federal lawmaking in the post-war era and book projects on how civil rights policy has been dealt with in Congress over time and how the Republican Party evolved in the South after the Civil War.

Pamela McCann, Faculty Fellow

Pamela McCann, Faculty Fellow

Pamela McCann, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Dr. McCann previously served as an assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Washington.

Her research interests include U.S. political institutions, bureaucratic delegation, federalism, intergovernmental politics, legislative behavior, public policy, health policy, policy diffusion, state and local politics. She examines the influence of the states and state-level political institutions on national political maneuvering and policy choices. In particular, Dr. McCann focuses on the influence of policy actors’ intergovernmental context on legislative choices. Her recent work addresses the impact of the interaction of state and national political institutions on political choices and policy outcomes.

Dan Wei, Faculty Fellow

Dan Wei, Faculty Fellow

Dan Wei is a Research Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on economic consequence analysis of natural or man-made hazards, modeling of economic impacts of climate mitigation policies, and analysis of market-based GHG mitigation policy instruments. Her research has been published in journals such as Journal of Public Policy, Ecological Economics, The Energy Journal, Environment and Planning A, International Regional Science Review, Climate Policy, Energy Policy, Regional Science Policy and Practice, Contemporary Economic Policy, Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy, Economic Systems Research, Earthquake Spectra, Risk Analysis, Natural Hazards Review, and Transport Policy. Dr. Wei’s current projects include development and application of an economic framework to evaluate resilience in recovering from major port disruptions for California Department of Transportation, analysis of economic impacts of the HayWired earthquake scenario for U.S. Geological Survey, and evaluation of alternative modeling approaches for the NY Prize Microgrid projects.

Jonathan Eyer, Faculty Fellow

Jonathan Eyer, Faculty Fellow

Jonathan Eyer is a Research Assistant Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. His research interests include energy and environmental economics, natural disasters, and climate change. His research focuses on how individual and firm responses to environmental shocks can ameliorate or exacerbate future exposure. He has also studied how political efforts to preserve manufacturing jobs will affect climate change and the environment. His work has appeared in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. He received his PhD in economics from North Carolina State University and a BS in economics and mathematics from Arizona State University.

Sara Sadhwani, Predoctoral Fellow

Sara Sadhwani, Predoctoral Fellow

Sara Sadhwani is a visiting instructor at Pomona College and in fall 2019 she will begin as an assistant professor at Cal Lutheran University. She earned her doctorate in political science from the University of Southern California.

She specializes in American politics and race and ethnic politics. In her dissertation, she identifies variations in voting behavior between Asian Americans and Latinos. Her research and teaching interests include voting behavior, elections, public opinion, public policy, and interest groups, with an emphasis on the representation of racial, ethnic and immigrant communities.

Laura Resnick Samotin, Predoctoral Fellow

Laura Resnick Samotin, Predoctoral Fellow

Laura Resnick Samotin is a PhD Candidate in the political science department at Columbia University. Her dissertation examines how military popularity and the rise of militarism contributes to reduced military effectiveness in democracies. In addition, she conducts research on political psychology, specifically on bias in decision-making processes; military technological innovation; and on various aspects of terrorism.

Ms. Resnick Samotin is a Cordier Fellow in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, where she instructs masters-level courses in international relations theory. Before starting her PhD, she was a researcher at The Good Judgement Project at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and M.Phil from Columbia University. She has been a pre-doctoral fellow at the Schwarzenegger Institute since Fall 2018.