Weslynne Ashton

  • Associate Professor

Weslynne Ashton is an Associate Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology with joint appointments at the Stuart School of Business and the Institute of Design. Dr. Ashton is a sustainable systems scientist, whose research, teaching and practice are oriented around transitioning our socio-ecological systems towards sustainability and equity. She studies the adoption of socially and environmentally responsible strategies in business, and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in addressing social and environmental challenges. Her research is grounded in industrial ecology and the circular economy. Her current work focuses on increasing sustainability and equity in urban food systems, and developing regenerative economies in post-industrial regions, newly industrializing countries and small island states.

Between 2012 and 2015, she led the U.S. State Department funded Pathways to Cleaner Production in the Americas project. The project was an eight-country, interdisciplinary industry-academia partnership focused on education for cleaner production (CP) and its implementation in small and medium enterprises in Latin America. In 2018, she was awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship through the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and spent the 2018-19 academic year at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She worked with USAID’s Bureau for Europe and Eurasia to analyze, evaluate, and lead strategic planning for increasing energy security, supply diversity, efficiency, and modernization in the region’s transition economies. She returned to Illinois Tech in fall 2019 and is continuing research on the sustainability of urban food systems and industrial networks around Chicago.

Prior to Illinois Tech, Dr. Ashton led Yale University’s Industrial Ecology in Developing Countries program, where she trained researchers and graduate students in South and Southeast Asia in industrial ecology concepts and methods, holding visiting faculty appointments at TERI University in India and the National University of Singapore. She has previously worked as a business/technical consultant, environmental engineer, and technology entrepreneur. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Environmental Science from Yale University.

Education

Ph.D., Yale University, Environmental Science
M.S., Yale University, Environmental Science
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Environmental Engineering

Research Interests

Industrial Ecology
Circular Economy
Cleaner production and green business strategies
Social entrepreneurship
Sustainability in small and medium enterprises
Sustainable urban and regional development

Affiliations

Undergraduate Programs

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

M.S. in Environmental Management and Sustainability