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Program Directors:

Mailing Address:

Siebel Scholars Foundation
1300 Seaport Blvd., Suite 400
Redwood City, CA 94063


(650) 299-5260

2001 - Sara Metcalf

From transportation to land use to community health, Sara Metcalf seeks to understand how we shape and are shaped by our environment, using systems modeling to anticipate potential paths toward sustainable cities.  She takes an integrative approach to modeling human and environmental systems, blending her background in chemical engineering, biochemistry, and geography with her manufacturing industry experience.

After working as a process engineer at Intel, Sara was admitted to the Leaders for Manufacturing Fellowship program (now Leaders of Global Operations) at MIT Sloan School of Business, which made it possible for her to pursue a joint Master’s degree in Business and Chemical Engineering.  Upon graduation, Sara returned to industry, working in engineering and business roles for General Motors and United Technologies Corporation’s Fuel Cell division. 
A deep interest in computer modeling of social systems, sharpened by MIT’s system dynamics program, prompted Sara to pursue a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the tutelage of an experienced modeler.  Now an Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), Sara combines modeling tools and techniques to study the complex, dynamic systems that comprise our world.  Computer models can simulate consequences from individual and institutional choices that ripple through our surrounding environmental systems in a mutual feedback loop that continually changes.

Sara’s latest efforts use participatory systems modeling to explore how sustainable urban agriculture could help the city of Buffalo alleviate poverty and reduce stress on ecosystems.  The project is also one of the first selected for the UB’s Civic Engagement Fellowship Program, which supports faculty collaboration with community partners to address pressing social issues.  Sara is partnering with the Massachusetts Avenue Project, whose nationally recognized and widely benchmarked Growing Green Gardens urban youth farm has helped provide food security for families on Buffalo’s west side.