Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2013-14 TRI University Academic Partners

We received 17 outstanding applications in response to the 2013 Challenge, and we are excited to announce that we will be working with eight academic partners for the 2013-2014 school year.

Brief descriptions of each of the eight projects are below. As the projects continue throughout the school year, we will provide progress updates and deliverables on this page.

Drew University – Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Primary Researcher
Dr. Lisa Jordan, Director of the Drew University’s Spatial Data Center and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies & Sustainability

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Development of three Introductory GIS tutorials that geo-reference and display TRI data, map TRI data over time, and map industrial and demographic change over time
  • Distribute Introductory GIS tutorials to the public as Open CourseWare on DU’s website
  • Implementation of five team-based TRI-related projects for the Advanced GIS course

Drew University has developed a GIS Tutorials website designed to introduce the Toxics Release Inventory to students.

Huston-Tillotson University – Natural Sciences and Environmental Studies

Primary Researcher
Dr. Amanda Masino, Assistant Professor of Biology

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Development of TRI-data based case studies/problem-based learning modules for three courses: a science course for non-science majors (Environmental Biology), a science course for science majors (Ecology), and a non-science course (Environmental History)
  • Implementation and evaluation of the learning modules, including the collection of data on efficacy and student learning
  • Design and implementation of a series of TRI-based workshops for community stakeholders

Indiana University-Bloomington - School of Public Health

Primary Researchers
Dr. Michael Hendryx, Professor of Applied Health Science
Dr. Juhua Luo, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Merge TRI data with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Area Health Resource File (AHRF), and other relevant data and make it available to other researchers and community groups
  • Complete and submit at least one research paper to a peer-reviewed academic journal on the results of the researchers’ analyses

SUNY Plattsburgh - Center for Earth and Environmental Science

Primary Researcher
Dr. Curt Gervich, Assistant Professor of Biology, Center for Earth and Environmental Science

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Implement system dynamics model development & ongoing communication with EPA TRI partners
  • Provide system dynamics model training for students
  • Write a simulation manual, a facilitation guide, and stakeholder role descriptions
  • Pilot the simulation with student groups at SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Conduct outreach to Center for Earth and Environmental Science instructors and SUNY Plattsburgh campus community
  • Facilitate simulations for classes at SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Conduct outreach to regional community groups and launch “train-the-trainer” programs

University of California, Los Angeles - Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Primary Researcher
Dr. Magali Delmas, Director of the UCLA Center for Corporate Environmental Performance, Professor of Management

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Development of a robust methodology to evaluate environmental performance of TRI facilities in the Greater Los Angeles Area
  • Sharing environmental performance evaluations with the public
  • Leading a workshop with manufacturers to identify opportunities to reduce toxic chemical releases
  • Mapping TRI releases as part of the UCLA urban metabolism project developed by the California Center for Sustainable Communities
  • Inclusion of TRI releases by major Los Angeles sectors in the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability report card

University of Washington, Bothell - Digital Future Lab and School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Primary Researchers
Jason Pace, Executive Director, Digital Future Lab Dr. Gwen Ottinger, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Design and implementation of data visualization using TRI data
  • Conduct initial pilot project in graduate level environmental justice class
  • Design revisions based upon feedback collected during pilot
  • Disseminate and evaluate data visualization in other UW Bothell courses
  • Dissemination of data visualization to environmental faculty nationwide

University of Wisconsin, Green Bay – Natural and Applied Sciences

Primary Researcher
Dr. John Katers, Professor and Chair of Natural and Applied Sciences

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Develop a TRI-focused university-level curriculum manual based on an existing TRI research project, which could then be utilized by other universities across the country
  • Create a TRI-focused high school-level curriculum manual and training program that would be implemented and evaluated for high school students (grades 9-12)
  • Test the newly created materials at 3 to 6 high schools to evaluate the effectiveness of the TRI curriculum for high school students

Washington University in St. Louis - Brown School of Social Work and Public Health

Primary Researcher
Rebecca Gernes, dual-degree candidate in social work and public health at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

Expected Project Outcomes

  • Compile data at ZIP code level to analyze possible relationships between TRI air releases, asthma hospitalizations, and sociodemographic indicators
  • Map TRI facility chemical release locations and emission levels for the St. Louis Metro Region in ArcGIS
  • Map health and population data related to TRI air releases in St. Louis Metro Region in ArcGIS
  • Statistical modeling of TRI air releases, sociodemographic variables, and health effects
  • Incorporate faculty and MECAP feedback to produce readable maps for communicating TRI and health information to the public
  • Form research-based recommendations for policy and educational purposes