Weslynne Ashton is an Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability at the Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business. Dr. Ashton’s research focuses on industrial ecology and the circular economy, or how to optimize energy, water, and material resource flows as well as human benefits in socio-ecological systems. Her work also examines developing entrepreneurial solutions to social and environmental challenges and the adoption of socially and environmentally responsible strategies in business, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). She teaches courses in Industrial Ecology, Business Sustainability, and Social Entrepreneurship across business, public administration, and environmental management programs.
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.
Industrial ecology and cleaner production
Circular economy and green business strategies
Sustainable urban and regional development
Environmental management in small and medium enterprises