AESS Annual Elections

Voting is open to AESS members only. Nominations are collected during the fall/winter and elections open in the spring. If you have questions about serving, please contact the AESS Secretary Valerie Rountree

Candidates were asked to supply a statement: In 300 words or fewer, Why are you running for an elected AESS position? Please describe: 1) Any experience you have serving in AESS or other professional associations relevant to the position(s) you are interested in running for, and 2) how your experiences, professional work, and/or identities inform your commitment to the diversity, equity, and inclusion of AESS members.

If you would like to serve in another capacity, please noted that we have open committee positions and accept volunteers year-round. Please complete our form, and a committee chair will reach out to you.

Nominations for candidates are closed. Voting will open April 29th.

Roles and Responsibilities for leadership positions


The President-elect shall serve as President-Elect, President, and Past-President totaling a three year term.

In the absence of the President or in the event of his or her inability to act, the President-Elect shall perform all the duties of the President, and when so acting shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all the restrictions on, the President.  The President-Elect shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be specified in these Bylaws or assigned by the Board.


 The President shall act as the chief executive officer of the Corporation and chairperson of the Board, shall generally supervise the affairs and activities of the Corporation, and shall keep the Board fully informed of such affairs and activities.  Working in conjunction with the President-Elect and Secretary, the President shall be responsible for maintaining and keeping current (1) the Articles of Incorporation, which shall serve as the guiding document and statement of purpose for the Corporation; (2) the Bylaws, which identify the procedures by which the Corporation performs its business; and (3) the Corporation’s Policies, as enacted by the Board, which shall be compiled and organized by substantive and functional categories, rather than chronologically.  The President shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be specified in these Bylaws or assigned by the Board.

Immediate Past-President:

The Immediate Past President shall shall act as support to the Board, retain voting rights, and manage the Circle of Fellows program. The Past President shall have other such powers and perform other such duties as may be specified in the Bylaws or assigned by the Board.

The Secretary shall:

(a) keep or cause to be kept the minutes of all meetings of the Board as well as a record of all actions taken by the Board without a meeting; 

(b) maintain or cause to be maintained a record of the members of the Corporation, in a form that permits preparation of a list of the names and addresses of all members, in alphabetical order and see that record dates are duly set and all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law; 

(c) keep or cause to be kept minutes of all membership meetings;

(c) keep or cause to be kept minutes of all membership meetings; and 

(d) have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be specified in these Bylaws or assigned by the Board.

Board Members:

Board Members serve for two-year terms.  Board members are primarily responsible for representing the interests of the AESS community during board meetings and to the public, and for managing the activities and affairs of AESS.  In practice, this means making decisions about key policy matters (like approving the budget for the conference, all other financial matters, etc) and providing support for day-to-day AESS operations.

Candidates were asked:

In 300 words or fewer, Why are you running for an elected AESS position? Please describe: 1) Any experience you have serving in AESS or other professional associations relevant to the position(s) you are interested in running for, and 2) how your experiences, professional work, and/or identities inform your commitment to the diversity, equity, and inclusion of AESS members.

Nominations committee:

This committee is responsible for recruiting and nominating candidates for the elected offices of AESS.  In identifying candidates for positions, the Nominations Committee seeks 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.  In practice, this means actively identifying and working with potential candidates and building an elections slate every spring.

Download a copy of the position descriptions doc.

Election Ballot

Voting will open April 29 and close May 20. Members in good standing will receive an email notification with link to a ballot. You must be logged into your account to view the ballot and vote.

To vote, complete the embedded google form below. Click the radio button to signify your votes Once you have selected a candidate for each position you wish to vote for, submit your response. You will not be able to go back and add additional votes once you hit submit.

Per our bylaws, a quorum will be reached when at least 10% of members vote. Results will be communicated to candidates first and then announced to the community at-large in May.

President Elect Candidate

Since joining the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) in 2016, my journey has been one of meaningful engagement and growth. From presenting at pivotal conferences to contributing to the Outreach and Membership Committee, and serving on the Board for three years, I’ve embraced opportunities to further AESS’s mission.

My goal as a leader is to use my strengths in empathetic listening and team building to amplify our collective impact. Central to my vision upon joining the Board was to position AESS as the leading organization for interdisciplinary environmental education. This included enhancing the quality of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (JESS), elevating our annual conference, and a personal commitment to expanding our membership. I’ve actively recruited colleagues to AESS, and I will be particularly focused as a president in continuing our efforts to grow our membership further. Moreover, I recognize the critical need for building diversity within AESS, acknowledging that environmental studies and sciences have traditionally been a less diverse field. I am committed to fostering an inclusive community that welcomes and values diverse perspectives, understanding that our efforts to address environmental challenges are enriched by a multitude of voices.

My motivation for seeking election as President-Elect is rooted in a deep appreciation for the AESS community’s positivity and inclusivity, which has been a source of professional joy. With a focus on expanding membership and enhancing diversity, I believe my blend of skills and dedication can contribute significantly to our community’s growth and success.

Secretary Candidate

For the past two years I have served on the AESS Nominations Committee. As an early-career scholar at a small liberal arts college, being a part of AESS has been a valuable way for me to connect with colleagues in environmental studies and sciences outside of my institution. I’m interested in running for another elected position because I see how important AESS is for me, and for scholars like me, and I am eager to get involved in new ways. I came to college as a first-gen student, and teach at an institution where many of my students are, themselves, first-generation college students. I’m eager to continue to shape AESS as an academic space that provides a welcoming introduction to the world of academia, and that values and supports folks from all different backgrounds.

Board-at-Large Candidates

Lydia Horne (she/her/hers)

(1) In my current position overseeing program design, I make daily decisions to align program development with institutional policies. I have experience teaching, doing research, and co-developing curriculum with diverse teams of professionals. I am committed to listening and engaging in the iterative process of building collective understanding and consensus/compromise to ensure the AESS community is represented during board meetings. I am also organized and detail-oriented, qualities that would ensure timely and thoughtful decision-making related to AESS activities. In addition to my current position advising peers, I have previously served in an advisory role while mentoring undergraduate and graduate student research projects, a role that required critical thinking, thoughtful consideration of different perspectives and goals, and matching institutional guidelines with student professional development goals.

Paul Jorgensen (he/him)

I have served on the AESS Membership Committee for 2+ years and on the AESS conference planning committee for 2+ years. I appreciate the opportunities that AESS has opened for me and want to continue promoting its interdisciplinary mission. I would like to continue working on the conference and/or membership committees and can represent the work of those committees to the board. I work at one of the largest Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the U.S., located in a region experiencing environmental injustice. We work to provide an education in the environmental humanities for our students (some of whom work in our region’s thriving ecotourism industry), and I would like to work at continuing the justice-oriented mission of AESS so that the organization is inclusive and inviting for all who are actively working to promote sustainable living.

Katherine Owens (she/her)

AESS is my primary professional group and I truly appreciate the interdisciplinary approach and the welcoming atmosphere. 1. I have served over the last four years as AESS President elect (1 year), President (2 years), Past President (1 year) and have enjoyed my time on the board and working with the AESS leadership. I have not worked on the nominations committee before but have of course communicated with them over the years. 2. I feel that diversity, equity, and inclusion is always important in AESS and always worth putting more effort into. As president I worked hard to find diverse speakers for our conference and to amplify the voices/work of diverse members. But I also think that we could have more diversity in AESS. I think one way we can support that goal is to make diverse members feel welcome, feel heard, and feel included in decision-making.

Jacob Park (he/him)

My name is Jacob Park and I am interested in continuing my service to AESS as a member of its Board. I am currently an Associate Professor at Vermont State University (USA) and a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) with more than 20+ years of teaching and research experience in climate change, energy transition, and community-based innovation issues with a special focus on emerging/developing economies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Caribbean islands regions. For the past year, I have been serving as the Co-Chair of the AESS Professional Development Committee (PDC) and recently organized a workshop on speculative fiction in the environmental studies classroom. I hope to continue my work/leadership on that committee while contributing to the work of the AESS Board. As a first generation Korean American scholar, I believe I have the necessary expertise and experience to strengthen DEI issues within AESS in the context of the U.S. and in the context of the Global South (which I am interested in strengthening as a Board member).

Fateh Bindra (he/him)

Propagating leadership skills are common so here is what I would enact as Board of Director of AESS. Innovation x AESS Workshop Series: I see potential for AESS with a large member group that could be a base for production of workshops as well as participation. A chance for AESS members across committees to interact and have discussions after a presentation in a workshop is professional development at its best, in my opinion. Similar is being done in the 2024 virtual conference, however, having monthly webinars would prove great input in this way. I’m aware that fostering a sense the AESS spirit is of great value and I just don’t think a forum is enough. Enhancing AESS’ social media presence by posting reels that tend to gain more traction would gain awareness of AESS events. As a student of a school that has “Sustainable Development” in it’s mission statement, I put my work ahead of my personal details because I what is being done is bigger than me. I’ve been an active member of AESS since I joined last year by enhancing the fundraising for this year’s 2024 virtual conference as member of the Development Committee. As an Indian, born in Poland, and studying in an international school in Singapore, developing is something that I have always had to do on a personal level. With the rigorous demand of the IB, I gain deep knowledge into the environment by hitting a flying elbow drop on Higher Level Biology and Standard Level ESS. As chair of an in-school service, I pilot sustainability on campus by making it common practise at events. Additionally, I’ve also taken my own initiative by launching my own blog where I write on niche topics surrounding business sustainability.

Nominations Committee Candidates

Patricia DeMarco (she/her)

I am a William Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (2017) and have a long-term interest in the success of AESS as a professional organization.  My interest in serving on the Nominations Committee focuses on offering leadership development opportunities for young professionals in the Environmental Studies and Sciences field.  It is especially important to nurture emerging leaders for success by giving them visibility in serving on the Board for a national professional organization like AESS. I am interested in enhancing the representation of diverse geographic areas and diverse voices in the leadership of AESS, especially in programming and information sharing.

Ben Ndayambaje (he/him)

As a dedicated and enthusiastic global health leader, I am excited to apply for the position of nomination committee to serve AESS. With over 3 years of experience working with global health Corps fellowship as alumni vice chair and participated in the selection fellows for 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 classes. In 2020-21, I was involved in professors search committee, and candidates interview for Rwanda Integrated Conservation Agriculture (RICA) a high learning Institution. In addition, in 2022 participated in Soulsby fellowship and in the selection (application reading and grading) process for the class of 2024. With the positions mentioned above I have a deep understanding of nomination process. As part of the team, my philosophy is centered around collaboration and innovation. I strongly believe in creating team trust, resilience, transparency, and an environment where each member feels valued and supported. As a leader, I am always result oriented, promote a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Before joining my doctorate program, I taught an undergraduate program as an assistant lecturer while pursuing MSc program. All this experience allowed me to interact with diverse groups of students, faculty, and staff. During my doctoral studies, I have worked with the office of global engagement Nebraska office on different projects including research and outreach. Throughout my professional career have been working with diverse groups of people which puts me in the best position as nomination committee candidate for AESS.

Emily Azevedo-Casey

My name is Emily and I’m a PhD student at UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. If I were elected to AESS’ Nominations Committee for 2024-26, it would be my priority to build an election slate that reflects the diversity of both the AESS community and the environmental studies and science fields at large each spring. For instance, I would like to support candidates across career stages, research interests, institutions, and geographic locations. Based on my service with Water @ UW as a student representative on the executive board since 2021 (interdisciplinary research and outreach collaborative), and my prior experience participating in nonprofit board decision-making as a program manager for the Gallatin River Task Force (2017-19), and work experience as a graduate assistant at UW’ Madison’s Graduate School Office of Professional Development, I’ve succeeded in a range of tasks like speaker panel recruitment, designing events based on audiences, member stewardship, and strategic planning. I’m also a proud member of the queer community and am a nontraditional student. Thank you to Joy Liu, current nominations committee member for connecting with me about this opportunity.

Keely Fisher (she/her)

I have been on committees for AESS, the Rural Sociological Society, and the International Association for Society and Natural Resources. Many of those experiences, however, were more informal as I worked to learn about the organization and provide any input I felt could be helpful. I am running for the student position on the Nominations Committee to give myself a more formal experience with this organization and to learn more about AESS members. The Nominations Committee is a perfect place to learn about interesting people in and around this field, which is incredibly valuable as a graduate student who is just beginning to enter into the professional world. My background as a member of the queer community from a rural area places me in a unique position to think about the ways that different identities intersect, and it informs the way I think about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion not just within AESS but in all the work I do.

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