Congratulations Selma Elouardighi!

23 04 2016

This afternoon, Selma Elouardighi successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The Transfer of Environmental Best Practices from Developed to Developing Countries through Multinational Corporations.”

I have provided a brief excerpt from her dissertation below that captures the essence of her research.

This research was prompted by a desire to understand why Moroccan cement companies have adopted advanced environmental responsibility practices far beyond those used by companies in the other sectors of the national economy. While corporate environmental stewardship in Morocco is generally lacking, cement producers have adopted best practices. This observation prompted two questions: why did the cement sector adopt, of its own volition, advanced environmental performance in the absence of the impetus of the state (i.e., stringent and enforced regulation), and how was the industry able to change course, develop, and adopt these best practices? Answering these questions meant identifying the power structures capable of inducing behavioral change within Moroccan companies, as well as the mechanics through which new knowledge is generated within the same context.

Using process tracing as a research methodology, … this research analyzed the external business environment of cement subsidiaries in Morocco, and uncovered the processes through which the adoption of EBP by Moroccan cement subsidiaries was enabled.

Using the knowledge she obtained through her research, Selma set-up an NGO in Morocco in 2014 to help create an Industrial Cluster for Environmental Services (known as CISE-Marco). The NGO and its partners subsequently applied for and received a green entrepreneurship grant from the U.S. Department of State to promote cleaner production processes and green jobs in Morocco. Her research and subsequent work provide an excellent example of how students from SPIA’s PGG program are focusing on significant and real-world problems.

I served as the co-chair of Selma’s doctoral committee, alongside Edward Weisband (co-chair), Karen Hult, and Deborah Gallagher.

Ralph Hall, Selma Elouardighi, Karen Hult, and Edward Weisband

Ralph Hall, Selma Elouardighi, Karen Hult, and Edward Weisband

Organizing the First Wave of Books

13 04 2016

The Mzuni Library Initiative

I’d like to thank all of the students and faculty who volunteered their time this evening to sort through and pack the first wave of books that we hope to ship to Mzuzu University in the near future. The pictures below capture some of our activities.

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Congratulations Nneoma Nwankwo!

10 04 2016

Congratulations Nneoma for being named Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Student of the Year! The pictures below were taken this evening during Virginia Tech’s Student Recognition Banquet at the VT Inn. Nneoma began the day by giving a presentation at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference in Syracuse, NY. Fortunately, the snow stopped this afternoon and she was able to return to Virginia in time for the ceremony. She had quite the day!

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Nneoma Nwankwo – a “VT-Shaped” Student

7 04 2016

Congratulations Nneoma Nwankwo for being named Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Student of the Year! This is a significant accomplishment and is very well deserved.

Having worked closely with Nneoma over the past several years, I believe she provides a great example of what we will soon be referring to as the “VT-Shaped” student – i.e., a student with disciplinary depth, interdisciplinary and broader (universal) capacities, and a strong service/engagement ethic. Her work on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in Africa is one example of how she is able to use her knowledge, skills, and compassion to serve the undeserved and bring attention to an important global issue.   


Data Anonymization Presentation

28 03 2016

Tomorrow, Eric Vance and I will give the presentation below as part of Virginia Tech’s 2016 Open Data Week. During our presentation, we will discuss the data anonymization lessons we learned through a multi-year impact evaluation we undertook in Mozambique for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). We hope to see you there!

When: Tuesday, March 29, from 2:00-3:15 p.m

Where: Newman Library, Level 2, room 207A

Dr. Yehyun An Receives Outstanding Dissertation Award

25 03 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Yehyun (Hannah) An for winning the Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Social Science, Business, Education, and Humanities category at Virginia Tech’s Graduate Awards Banquet last night.

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Open Data Week at VT

22 03 2016

Next Tuesday, Eric Vance and I will kick off VT’s Open Data Week with a presentation/discussion entilted “Data Anonymization: Lessons from a Millennium Challenge Corporation Impact Evaluation.”

When: Tuesday, March 29, 2:00-3:15 p.m

Where: Newman 207A



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