Texas Tech University

Society & Sustainability

Patricia Solís

Patricia is the director of Center for Geospatial Technology at Texas Tech University. Her research focuses on the issues of climate change, geographic technologies, sustainable development, water resources, Latin America, and geography as a discipline in higher education. She specifically focuses on using geographic technologies to teach students how to use OpenStreetMap to address and assist developmental needs worldwide. Patricia is the Project Director of Youth Mappers and Youth Mappers is a global community of university students, faculty, and scholars who create and use open geospatial data to assist challenges worldwide. USAID uses the data given by the Youth Mappers to help prevent disease and plan disaster management. She believes that using these technologies and education can truly make a difference.

John Zak


John is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Arts and Sciences. He explores how climate variability and human disturbances regulate soil microbial diversity and activity. John studies this process by collecting data from his field sites. He has collected research from West Texas, Chihuahuan Desert at Big Bend National Park, Piney Woods Ft. Benning, Georgia, Texas Hill Country at Junction, TX. John uses his research to convey that understanding soil microbial dynamics are essential in order to ensure these systems are sustainable for future generations. He uses what he has learned to created sustainable agriculture solutions. He shares his research to the United States Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Research Services Cropping system in the Lubbock to help them keep healthy soil no matter the climate variability.

Michael Farmer

Michael is a natural resource economist. He examines the issues on long run land use change. Michael conducts research on how long run land use is managed and how it changes, specifically looking at surface and groundwater management and planning. In Lubbock, Michael is looking at isolation and zoning practices that will accommodate future changes in urban and suburban commercial and residential landscape. Michael is working on a project that will improve land use in Malaysia to diverse the crop system and could help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Natasja van Gestel


Natasja is a global change ecologist and has worked in deserts, grasslands, forests and Antarctica. She is interested in how climate change will affect nutrient cycles, soil carbon storage, microbial ecology and plant physiology. At Big Bend National Park she has examined the effect of daily temperature range on desert ecosystem function. She is also interested in biogeographical patterns of soil microbes: what predictors are important to determine the distribution of microbial populations. Her research has also shown the degree to which soil microbes can adapt to their temperature environment. Microbes play key roles in ecosystems, from decomposition of organic material and thereby releasing nutrients, to capturing C and N from the atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to understand their responses to climate change.

Nathaniel Wright

Nathaniel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. His research looks at nonprofit management and the role that social advocacy nonprofits play in creating sustainable neighborhoods. He specifically is addressing how internal management practices and environmental conditions influence nonprofit performance and organizational capacity. He examines environmental justice and sustainable equity. He believes nonprofits play an integral role in creating sustainable communities because they can implement strategies in communities.

Manuel Wörsdörfer

Manuel is an Instructor in the Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism and National Institute for Engineering Ethics. His research explores business, human rights, environmental ethics, and sustainable finance ethics. His research focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation, specifically focusing on the role of financial intuitions from climate bonds to social bonds, fossil fuel divestment, and reinvestment. His research examines the equator principle in order to create a risk management framework for determining, assessing, and managing environmental social risks in projects finance transactions.