Election Results:

Treasurer: Richard Groover

Board at-large: Laureen Elgert, Lissy Goralnik and Abby Lindsay Ostovar

Nominations Committee: Nirajan Dhakal, Sharon Moran and William San Martin

AESS Annual Elections

While the slate is public, voting is only available to AESS Members. Voting closed May 2, 2019 at 11:59pm EDT.

Election Ballot

Submit your vote only after you’ve “added” each candidate to your ballot choices. Once you submit, you will be unable to access the ballot. Please email support@aessonline.org with questions.

NEW in 2019: Visual voting guide available.

Per our bylaws, a quorum will be reached when at least 53 members vote.

  • Treasurer (2019-2022)

    Dr. Richard S. Groover

    Reynold Community College & Virginia Academy of Science


    Describe your role(s) to date in AESS.  

    Currently the Interim Treasurer of AESS

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:  

    I have worked in the environmental science and studies area for about 50 years. I was the Virginia State Parks State Naturalist, the Maymont Park Park Director, Adjunct environmental science instructor at Randolph Macon College, full time environmental science professor at Reynolds Community College, created the Biology of the Environment course now taught at 15 Virginia Community Colleges, assistant dean of Math, Science & Engineering at Reynolds Community College, adjunct professor at George Mason University, Fellow of the Virginia Academy of Science, board member of the Virginia Academy of Science, former treasurer of the Virginia Academy of Science, on the Governor of Virginia’s Climate Commission 2014-2015, board member of the Virginia Association for Environmental Education, Board of Trustee of the Science Museum of Virginia, Finance Committee Chairman of the Science Museum of Virginia, PhD in Environmental Science & Public Policy, and author of The Environmental Almanac of Virginia, second edition.  

    Vision for participation as elected Treasurer:  

    If elected Treasurer I will work to improve AESS’ financial position and better control of its assets.

  • Board Position 1-At Large (2019-2021):

    Laureen Elgert, PhD

    Worchester Polytech Institute Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Director of Ecuador project center


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I have served on the AESS Board since 2015, and have primarily been involved with the Awards Committee, participating in the expansion of AESS’ awards program to recognize early career and student contributions to environmental science and studies.  The Awards committee has been particularly concerned with seeking ways to make AESS awards more reflective of the organization’s desire to become increasingly inclusive and interdisciplinary.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:   

    I am a scholar and teacher who researches environmental policy and international development, with a particular focus on sustainability and social justice. My work examines the complex relationship between knowledge, policy processes, and outcomes in the areas of environment and development. Key questions that guide my work include:

    1) how is environmental policy and decision-making shaped and influenced by discourse, expertise, global authority and power/interests?

    2) what are the environmental and political outcomes of policy making and decision-making processes, and what are the implications for equity?

    These topics have inspired 11 published papers in environmental studies and development studies journals such as the Journal of Peasant Studies, Geoforum, Environmental Science and Policy, Ecological Indicators, and Environmental Values.  Over the past 11 years I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from Population and Development, Environment and Society, to Sustainability Labeling, and have mentored dozens of students on academic projects and in voluntary club organizations, such as Engineers Without Borders.

    I have a PhD in Environment and Development from London School of Economics and I am currently an Associate Professor at WPI in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program.  At WPI I am also the Director of the Ecuador project center, where annually, students spend a term undertaking sustainability projects with community partners. I am active in the Critical Policy Studies community, where I serve on the editorial teams for both the Advances in Critical Policy Studies book series and the journal of Critical Policy Studies.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member:

    I will continue working with the AESS awards committee, using a growing awards program to build community and interdisciplinary dialogue and fellowship within AESS and environmental science and studies more generally. In collaboration with other board members, we have also discussed the possibility of establishing an AESS speaker series, to which members can connect remotely, to further develop interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral understanding and cooperation. 

  • Board Position 2-At Large (2019-2021):

    Lissy Goralnik

    Michigan State University, Department of Community Sustainability


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I first attended the AESS conference in 2014 in New York City when I was a postdoc. In addition to presenting my dissertation research and having many good conversations, I also participated in a contemplative art workshop, which blended two new areas of research for me. Right away I felt at home. In San Diego in 2015, I  brought a friend, presented new research, and participated in the publishing workshop, which led to my first JESS publication. I have presented multiple papers at each of the last three conferences eager to share work from across my research program in the only academic venue I have found that welcomes the breadth of it; I also read submissions in 2017. In the last decade I have presented at all kinds of conferences – environmental, education, contemplative practice, ecology, geography, sustainability – and AESS is the only one I attend annually. I joined the nominations committee two years ago to contribute more fully to the community that contributes so much to my academic life. I am running for the board for the same reason.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I am through and through an interdisciplinary environmental studies scholar. I have an MFA in creative writing, years of field experience as an outdoor educator, a PhD in fisheries and wildlife, and a postdoc on arts, humanities, and environmental science collaborations. Currently I am an assistant professor of environmental studies and community engagement in a Community Sustainability department, where we collectively work to address social sustainability challenges from a systems perspective. Much of my qualitative work focuses on individual and community wellbeing, change agency, and place relationships; it sits at the intersection of environmental ethics, experiential and environmental learning, and community engagement. I am interested in the ways people engage with, care about, and commit to work on the address of environmental issues.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member or Nominations Committee member:

    One thing that originally attracted me to the AESS community was the inclusivity of that first conference I attended. It was the only conference I had attended where senior scholars sought out junior scholars to welcome them to the room, encourage their ideas, and support their leadership. I remember a panel conversation about career trajectories – in which we sat in a circle, which was telling, given the general conference experience – where deans, chairs, and full professors talked with us, not at us. That was a new academic experience for me, and one I want to foster for my graduate students and all realm of environmental scholars. The graduate students in my home department are highly international and diverse, and I hope to learn from their experiences how we might also create this kind of space at AESS. I also look forward to collaborating in this position with my peers as I evolve as a scholar, educator and practitioner. I hope to learn from their experiences, develop a deeper environmental studies network to enrich my own practice, and explore ways we can collectively impact the environmental studies community into the future.

    Jody Luna

    Conscious Designs


    Role(s) to date in AESS

    I am a new member of AESS looking to be a more active member of the organization. I am working on submitting a proposal for an individual presentation for the 2019 AESS Conference and looking forward to attending in June.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences

    I come from an architecture and design background and believe that all industries should have an environmental focus. I have studied sustainable/environmental design for the past 20 years. My Ed.D. focused on sustainability education methodology and this is where my current research interests lie. My research agenda is to further sustainability education in all industries and to help evolve sustainable thought into a common practice.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member or Nominations Committee member

    I am looking to expand my career into the environmental studies realm and believe that AESS would be the place to start. I am willing to participate in any role as needed. As a newcomer, I am willing to learn and work on whatever needs to get done. I would like to eventually become more of an integral role in planning the conference.

  • Board Position 3-At Large (2019-2021):

    Geoffrey Habron

    Furman University

    Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences


    Role(s) to date in AESS

    I have served on the national conference program committee in reviewing abstracts. I have also co-authored posters and workshops at the national conference and submitted papers published in the journal.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences

    I earned my Ph.D. at Oregon State University with an interdisciplinary Fisheries Science degree and minors in Earth Information Science Technology and Integrated Social Science. My dissertation co-advisors included a cultural anthropologist and a fish ecologist. My research focused on community-based adaptive watershed management.

    I spent 15 years at Michigan State University with a joint appointment in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Sociology. With Michigan State University Extension I worked with the Water Area of Expertise Team and then the Greening Michigan Institute on the Natural Resources and the Sustaining Community Prosperity teams. I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in both departments. I supervised masters and doctoral student research. My scholarship on teaching, learning and outreach included experiential sustainability learning work funded by the U.S. Department of Education. I co-founded an undergraduate sustainability minor that utilized electronic portfolios for students to demonstrate proficiency across eight sustainability competencies.

    I spent three years as Director of Electronic Portfolio, Director of First Year Seminar and faculty member in Environmental Studies at Warren Wilson College. Warren Wilson is one of the nine federally recognized Work Colleges where students engage in liberal arts education through applied learning of academics, community engagement, and campus work. I established a community-engaged first year seminar called Everybody’s Environment: Diverse Community Voices for Conservation.

    Since 2017, I serve as Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Furman University where I teach courses in Environmental Science, Sustainability Science, Sustainability and Social Justice, Resilience and Adaptation, Sustainability Practicum and supervise undergraduate thesis research. My current senior capstone course is developing community-based K-12 sustainability science curriculum for a new $9million science center.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member or Nominations Committee member

    My academic career has spanned a large land grant university, a private liberal arts college, to a small work-college. My departmental affiliations have included a range of environmental science, environmental studies, social science, and natural resources. Of particular note has been my ongoing collaboration with colleagues on the Employing Model-Based Reasoning in Socio-Environmental Synthesis project engaged in ways to foster inter- and trans- disciplinary collaborative learning. We have developed processes and strategies for engaging diverse viewpoints to generate shared vision and understanding to mobilize to address the complex environmental problems that confront us. I believe that provides me with a good background to address the challenges and opportunities of fostering generative dialogue and effective engagement within AESS efforts to “strengthen teaching, research and service in environmental studies and sciences, and to improve communication across boundaries that too often divide the traditional academic disciplines.”

    Abby Lindsay Ostovar, Ph.D.

    American University


    Roles to Date in AESS:

    I first became associated with AESS at the 2014 Annual Conference, and I have been an active member ever since – from 2014-2016 as the Student Board Member, in 2018 and 2019 on the Program Committee, and starting in 2018 on the Professional Development Committee.  I have also published, reviewed, and guest edited a symposium in JESS. In AESS, I have found mentorship and a community of driven environmental scholars, and through active participation in annual conferences AESS has helped me reach my professional goals. As such, I’m committed to strengthening the organization and its ability to support members.

    Background/experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I take an interdisciplinary, problem-centered approach to environmental issues throughout my teaching, research, and practice.  After starting in the natural sciences, I turned to environmental policy and planning for my Masters’ degrees, taking a global-to-local approach to climate governance.  Between my Masters’ and PhD, I worked at the US Department of State managing environmental cooperation programs with trade partner countries, which gave me the opportunity to work across a range of issue areas, developing new partnerships and leveraging change. My doctorate at American University’s School of International Service focused on global environmental politics, and enabled me to specialize to a greater extent in water governance and climate adaptation. I utilize a range of academic disciplines, from environmental governance to geography, from science and technology studies to anthropology.  As such, I greatly identify with AESS’ interdisciplinary approach. While I’ve been mainly in academia for the past 6 years, I still view myself as a ‘Pracademic’ – part practitioner/part academic, and constantly bridging the two and developing new collaborations. Whether it’s through teaching, leadership, or problem-solving, I focus on catalyzing positive social and environmental change.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member:

    AESS’ strength is also what it must continually strive to support and strengthen – its driven, dedicated membership.  As Board Member, I would work to be responsive to member needs. I am already on the Professional Development Committee, and hope to develop opportunities that increase collaboration between members, particularly early scholars. Yet, in a world where everyone already has too much on their plates, how can we effectively involve and support members while not detracting from other commitments? To provide the best support we can, we need to constantly strengthen AESS as an organization, and as a governance scholar, I’m naturally interested in the organizational and governance side of AESS.  Finally, along with supporting existing members, I also want to enhance the diversity within the organization. This goes beyond racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity to fostering inclusion of different approaches and ways of knowing.

  • Nominations Committee – Position 1 (2019-2021):

    Sharon Moran


    I teach in the Department of Environmental Studies at SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. I run a doctoral program called Environmental and Natural Resources Policy within our Division of Environmental Sciences.  I’ve been involved with AESS from the start: I helped host the Environmental Summit (2007 in Syracuse), where the ideas for the organization and the journal (AESS and JESS) were first hatched, and I’ve been helping it grow and change since then. My education to date: PhD in Geography (Clark University), MS in Public Policy (MIT), and bachelor’s in Chemistry (Boston University).


    I persuade people to get involved. My goal in serving on this committee is to keep the new blood flowing. I want to help identify those who might be interested in making a difference, and get them to pitch in.  Both newcomers and old guard help the AESS continue to be a vibrant organization. After all, it is really the only organization that occupies this niche. The organization means different things to different people, and that’s ok, too, in fact it was that way from the start: even the name “environmental studies and sciences” shows our commitment to collaboration across fields and disciplines. Many of us working in the environmental fields agree that diversity matters tremendously, in order to work toward a more just society. I plan to keep pushing for broader representations of people involved, acknowledging systemic oppressions and staying alert to identity, representations, and intersectionality. If re-elected, I will continue working to provide AESS with good leadership.

    Christina (Tina) M. Limpert, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, Gen Ed. Division

    Director, Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program

    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    In June of 2018, I attended my first AESS annual conference. From registration to closing day events I found AESS members welcoming, intellectually engaging, and dedicated to thinking through pressing environmental issues, including issues of identity and power. Moreover, speakers at the conference advanced their research with rigor and urgency. This combination of collegiality and rigor creates an atmosphere that encourages members to be self-reflective about their organization and take seriously their goal to grow membership and promote scholarship that accurately reflects the diversity of people and places where they work, live, and play. What’s more, this collegial ethos inherently scaffolds networking both at and beyond the conference.


    Going forward, I aim to contribute to this ethos by participating more deeply in the organization as a candidate for an elected position on the Nominations Committee. Overall, I am especially interested in AESS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion both in word and deed. I recall Dorceta Taylor telling us that AESS has work to do on outreach to better reflect in our membership the diversity of folks who are working or studying in our fields.  Since my areas of study of the human dimensions of the environment include identity, power, and systems of oppression and domination, my commitment to this call is demanded by the work I do.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    Generally, I explore sites of informal education and am interested in the role of culture in shaping human thought and action, especially where environmental behaviors, attitudes, and practices are concerned. I teach and write about EcoCinema and popular culture, gender, identity, and youth, social structures and social forces, critical pedagogy, and qualitative research. My research favors working across disciplines in the sciences.

    Currently, I am one semester into a tenure track appointment embarking a research agenda that focuses on New York State’s Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetlands system with regard to investigating gaps in public understandings about environmental threats like HABs and overall ecosystem health.  In another project, I seek to examine policies, practices, and education related to small scale hemp production in the U.S. Lastly, I presently serve as a researcher, with Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and PI Maren King, on a study funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service entitled Raising the Next Generation of Community Leaders: A Participatory Research Process with Teenagers of the Near Westside Neighborhood. This project engages youth from a high poverty and chronically stressed neighborhood as members of a trans disciplinary team researching their own neighborhood.

  • Nominations Committee – Position 2 (2019-2021):

    Nirajan Dhakal

    Spelman College, Atlanta, GA


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    Although I have joined AESS recently, I have been participating in the AESS meetings and conferences regularly.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I am an Assistant Professor of the Environmental and Health Sciences Program at Spelman College. Spelman is a historically black college for women of predominantly African origin. I am a hydrologist with over 11 years of research experience in hydrological analysis and modeling, hydro-climatology and sustainable water resources management. I have published as well as served as reviewers for the leading conferences and journals in these fields. I completed my PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (specializing in Water Resources) from Auburn University, Alabama. Before joining Spelman, I worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Sustainability Solutions Initiative at University of Maine and as a Research Fellow for the Northeast Climate Science Center at University of Massachusetts. For the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, I performed research on climate adaptation in Maine’s coastal communities and developed tools to help Maine communities better understand and prepare for the potential local impacts of climate change on stormwater infrastructures. At the Northeast Climate Science Center, I performed research on the impacts of climate change on water resources in the Northeast including impacts on natural and manmade systems. For the past 3 and half years, I have been actively working for the growth of the environmental studies and sciences program at Spelman College where I mentor students in several research projects including: i) Impacts of extreme precipitation events and shifting land use in an urban watershed, ii) Climate extremes and food-energy-water nexus, iii) Solving storm water management using green infrastructure. I also teach the following classes: Introduction to Environmental Science, Water Resources Management, Research in Environmental Science, and Environmental Science Seminar. Additionally, I regularly attend and present at national and international meetings, seminars and conferences promoting the environmental issues.


    As a Nominations Committee member, I will work diligently to recruit and nominate the best candidates for the vacant offices of the Association. For this, I will network with other members to identify prospective board members and officers. In identifying candidates for positions, I will seek to assure the representation of the Association’s diversity of membership, in terms of age, gender, racial and ethnic background, substantive interest, field of work, type of employing institutions, and other considerations. I also commit to work with other members to develop strategies to grow the membership of the Association. Similarly, I will develop policies for board members’ giving and fundraising expectations. Additionally, I will help new board directors get acclimated to their board duties and get acquainted with the other board members.

    Jessica Miller

    Montclair State University, Department of Earth and Environmental Studies


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I am a new member of AESS, and would like to become more involved in the organization. I have not held any leadership roles at AESS.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    My research falls at the intersection of human-environment interaction. I am an Assistant Professor in the Earth and Environmental Studies department at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, and also have worked at Temple University’s Geography and Urban Studies department, and Hunter College’s department of Geography. I received my PhD from The Graduate Center at The City University of New York from the Earth and Environmental Science, with a specialization in Geography, and my master’s degree from San Francisco State University’s Geography department, with a focus on Environmental Planning. I worked in several community-focused planning and non-profit positions before attending the Graduate Center, and continue to do community focused work through my research.

    I focus on research that explores human-environment interaction through environmental perception and policy, identity, and planning. My work in the past has focused on the impacts of environmental policy and the production of urban space through greening policies, environmental perception, environmental justice, and sustainability planning. I am interested in environmental inequity and restoration, and how this process is shifting as a result of changing landscapes, such as brownfield and superfund clean up and dam removal.


    My participation in the Nominations Committee would offer an interdisciplinary perspective to the fields of environmental sciences and studies. I would offer a broad perspective that attempts to integrate participation in the AESS from all of the many sub-disciplines of environmental sciences and studies. Because we belong to a huge array of disciplines, we lack sufficient communications at times to integrate us. I would attempt to ensure that the diversity of AESS is not only acknowledged through the nominations process, but engage in broadening the scope of possible participants in this organization.

  • Nominations Committee – Position 3 (2019-2021):

    Ursula Lang

    Visiting Assistant Professor in Political Ecology and Design Studies

    Rhode Island School of Design

    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I currently serve on the Nominations Committee for AESS.

    Background/experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    My research and teaching is located at the intersection of human geography, urban studies, and environmental planning. I study relations of power and social inequalities embedded within built environments. My work brings social science perspectives on environments into closer conversation with environmental humanities through diverse methods. My current research is focused on adaptations to shared residential architectures and landscapes through green infrastructure and the politics of housing. The AESS listserv has been an important way I have kept up with environmental studies, and I plan to attend the AESS conference this June 2019. 


    Through serving on the Nominations Committee, I hope to contribute to AESS’s ongoing focus on developing an organization shaped by diverse and deep perspectives on environmental studies and science. It has been an enriching experience to serve on this committee thus far, and I hope to continue to serve this organization which has been so helpful in broadening and deepening my own work. 

    William San Martín

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute


    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I presented at the AESS Annual Conference 2016 in Washington D.C. and I am a current member.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I am a global historian of science and technology, environmental change, and public policy with expertise in Latin America and inter-American relations. My work examines the history of the science-policy interface to inform contemporary debates on environmental governance and sustainability. My scholarship has mostly focused on agricultural and environmental sciences during the 20th and 21st century. In particular, I’ve studied the expansion of nitrogen science and policy in the United States and Chile since the 1950s. This work explores the political and scientific debates on the environmental effects of nitrogen fertilizers, the role of scientific expertise in decision-making, and the contributions of developing countries—such as Chile—to the global nitrogen problem.

    More recently, I have started a project bridging animal and environmental studies. Working closely with government agencies and officials in Chile, it explores how integrating the social and ecological dimensions of free-ranging dogs can provide novel insights into policy.

    I teach a broad spectrum of courses and research seminars, including topics such as global environmental history, environmental justice and policy, animal studies, environmental metrics and risk, and innovation. I co-founded, and run an international NGO focused on the science-policy interface in environmental and animal welfare issues in Chile.


    As an international scholar who studies the politics of knowledge production, I am sensitive of the role that institutions and organizations play in shaping exchanges between expert communities across national borders. Since its origins, AESS has been committed to the international origin and disciplinary diversity of its members, as well as the global implications of their scholarship. As a Nominations Committee Member, I look forward to network and identify prospective board members and officers that would reinforce the international scope of the Association.

    As a first-generation college student and a Latino junior faculty, I am committed to continuing the Association’s efforts on diversity and inclusion. We cannot forget that expert communities are determined by the social and political forces that restrict or foster their production of knowledge. By including the experiences of scholars from minorities and underrepresented groups in the US and beyond, the Association can genuinely address the unique challenges of producing environmental knowledge and education in an unequal yet interconnected world. This ensures an organization that better understands the dissimilar human dimensions of global environmental change, and its challenges for policy and management locally and globally. To address these issues, as a Nominations Committee Member I am eager to ensure the representation of the Association’s membership diversity across socio-racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender, and employing institutions.

    Furthermore, I believe that the socio-ecological challenges we face today require a holistic approach. Building institutional infrastructures for cross-disciplinary collaboration between the humanities, social sciences, and environmental sciences is, and will continue to be, essential. As a Nominations Committee Member, I will work to recruit and nominate candidates that increase the multidisciplinary nature of the Association and who are committed to collaboration across disciplinary borders.

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