Award Recipients


Dr. Chelsie Romulo and Dr. Cassandra Brooks have been awarded the 2021 Early Career Award. This Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and promising future potential for teaching, research, policy, or activism in any field of environmental science and studies.  Through this award, AESS honors individuals who are early in their careers, but have made significant contributions to knowledge, community and diversity in environmental studies and science, and have a career plan and trajectory that promise to continue and bolster such contributions.

Dr. Romulo has produced outstanding applied scholarship with massive potential for impact. Her research at the University of Northern Colorado, where she is an assistant professor in Geography, GIS, and Sustainability focuses on conservation and natural resource management using a combination of remote sensing and economic analyses to understand impacts and options for natural resource use.

Dr. Cassandra Brooks is driven to understand and contribute to environmental governance. She embraces interdisciplinary studies drawing on marine science, environmental policy, and science communication. Dr. Brooks is an assistant professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Professors Romulo and Brooks exemplify the spirit of AESS in terms of scholarly and participatory approaches to ESS.


used with permission from C. Brooks



Twitter: @cassandrafish


Instagram: cassandrabrooks222

Facebook: cassandrabrooks222


used with permission from C. Romulo






used with permission from S. Caplow



Dr. Caplow combines a profound emphasis on each of the areas of teaching, research, and community engagement.  She founded one of only a handful of ESS programs in higher education in Alabama, and also developed an environmental education program that serves K-12 as part of her work as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montevallo, in Montevallo, Alabama.  She has made tremendous efforts to engage the community in sustainability events/projects, and also to institutionalize sustainability in the municipal government of Montevallo, Alabama. Meanwhile, Dr. Caplow has established an impressive publication record, with articles in environmental education, how engagement influences environmental values, and conservation evaluation. For several consecutive years, Dr. Caplow has shared her ESS Program development skills with other faculty at a “Lone Wolves” workshop at the annual AESS Conference, co-organized with colleagues.  Professor Caplow exemplifies the spirit of AESS in terms of her pedagogical, scholarly, and participatory approaches to ESS and has already proven herself a leader in the AESS community.



Dr. Gunderson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Justice Studies in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology and Affiliate of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at Miami University. His research interests include environmental sociology, the sociology of technology, social theory, political economy, and animal studies. Current research projects concern the potential effectiveness and political-economic dimensions of proposed solutions to environmental problems, especially responses to climate change; the social and environmental impacts of technology; and the renewal of classical and mid-twentieth century sociological theory.  Click here for a free article that is representative of his research program.

Dr. Gunderson has published around 40 articles featured in Journal of Cleaner ProductionOrganization & Environment, and other journals.

Click here to view a list of Dr. Gunderson’s publications. 



Dr. Teresa Lloro-Bidart earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Redlands (Summa cum laude), followed by her Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2009 and her PhD in Education, Society, and Culture from the University of California, Riverside in 2014. Her research is focused on the intersections of critical animal studies, critical food studies, and environmental education. In all of her projects, she uses a variety of qualitative research methods to understand how educational spaces and processes are inherently political and produce human-animal and human-nature relations within these political frameworks. She enjoys teaching Liberal Studies courses because they are interdisciplinary in scope and provide students with opportunities to understand the interconnectedness of social, ecological, and environmental issues, particularly as they relate to questions about equity and justice. The Animals & Society Institute and the Council on Anthropology and Education of the American Anthropological Association both recently selected her as an Early Career Fellow. Her forthcoming sole-authored book, Animal Edutainment in a Neoliberal Era, examines the politics of teaching and learning in aquariums and zoos. Her forthcoming co-edited book, Animals in Environmental Education: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Curriculum and Pedagogy, explores new curricular and pedagogical approaches in animal-focused education. Click here to view a list of Dr. Lloro-Bidart’s selected publications.

AESS Early Career Award

The Award

    • Artwork with the award name inscription
    • Lifetime honorable AESS membership
    • AESS Conference travel grant (awarded at the conference)
  • Induction into the AESS Circle of Fellows


The AESS Early Career Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and promising future potential for research, policy, or activism in any field of environmental science and studies.  Through this award, AESS honors individuals who are early in their careers, but have made significant contributions to knowledge, community and diversity in environmental studies and science, and have a career plan and trajectory that promise to continue and bolster such contributions, as indicated by the CV and the reference letter.  

Eligibility Criteria

Nominee must:

    • be “early career,” which is defined as an individual who has been in his/her current field for less than seven years and pre-tenure or job equivalent (typically within 7 years of receiving Ph.D.). Post-doctoral fellows and practitioners are eligible for this award.
  • be an active AESS member.

Nominee might have:

    • made significant contributions to ESS theories, methods, pedagogical approaches, public awareness, policy change, and/or environmental education.
    • demonstrated dedication to service through service in environmental associations, the community, mentoring arrangements, and/or political boards/councils/task forces;
    • demonstrated the potential to address environmental challenges through trans-disciplinary approaches or collaborations, or by endeavoring to make his or her work accessible to scholars and practitioners from other disciplinary traditions;
  • demonstrated the potential to inspire and actively guide/mentor a generation of environmental scholars, practitioners, and/or policymakers to enact change.

Nomination and Selection Process

The AESS membership receives an email inviting them to submit nomination(s) via the online form. Nominators for the Freudenburg and Early Career awards are asked to submit, by early February, 2020:

    • 500 words that describe the nominee, with particular emphasis on the award criteria.
  • Nominee’s Curriculum Vitae

The AESS Awards Committee screens the nominations and provides the AESS Board of Directors with its top three to five recommendations. The AESS Board then selects the recipient.