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 are interested in serving, please contact the Nominations committee chair, Erin Burkett.

Voting is closed. Results have been published.


Secretary (2021-2024)


The Secretary maintains the records of AESS and manages the elections.  The Secretary serves for a three year term. Principal duties are:

  • review bylaws prior to each major activity;
  • maintain minutes for all Board, Society, and Committee Meetings; and
  • manage elections in coordination with Nominations committee and webmaster/secretariat, including (but not limited to) auditing candidates and current officers to make sure they are members in good standing.

Valerie Rountree

University of Redlands

I have served four years as the AESS Conference Program Chair (including 2021) and one year as a member of the Conference Program Review Committee. I also serve on the AESS Membership Committee. I would like to be the Secretary for AESS as a way to further my contributions to and knowledge about AESS, and I am committed to attending all Board meetings and staying engaged with AESS activities, including the annual conference.  

My teaching experiences have been most influential in shaping my commitment to diversity and inclusion in AESS and ESS more broadly. I have worked as an environmental and science educator in a number of capacities, including as an outdoor science field instructor in Oregon, substitute science teacher in Tucson, Arizona, undergraduate lab instructor at the University of Arizona, and now as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands. Throughout these experiences, I’ve been struck by how exclusive environmental science and the outdoors can be to inner-city and lower-income students and students of color. For many reasons I would like to see the AESS membership become increasingly diverse, in particular to develop our collective understanding and potential to engage a more diverse group of students in our classrooms and academic programs.

Board Members, Three Positions (2021-2023)

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.

Clara Fang

I’m running to be on the Board of AESS in order to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in AESS. Here is my bio.

Clara Fang is a PhD candidate in environmental studies at Antioch University New England who has made significant contributions to empowering young people and people of color in the climate movement. As Student Engagement Director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), Clara oversees programs that have helped thousands of young people learn advocacy skills, organize climate action in their communities, and lobby their elected officials for fair and effective climate policies. In 2020, Clara organized the Antioch Environmental Advocacy Webinar Series in partnership with AESS, which featured webinars on environmental justice, direct action, research and advocacy, and environmental advocacy as a career. She guest-edited the environmental advocacy symposium for the June 2021 issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. She is a regular presenter on environmental advocacy at conferences and in classrooms around the country. 

Since 2019, Clara has engaged in research and advocacy on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the climate movement. She is the founder of Climate Diversity, an organization transforming the climate movement through diversity and inclusion. Her year-long study will engage over 1000 climate activists in the U.S. and create a roadmap for improving diversity and equity in the climate movement. In 2020, Clara organized the Antioch Diversity and Environment webinar series in collaboration with AESS, and served on the diversity committee of AESS. She delivers workshops, seminars, and consulting on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Prior to CCL, Clara held various roles in sustainability planning and higher education. She has worked as the sustainability manager for Swarthmore College, Towson University, and the City of Albany, New York. As a co-leader of the CCL Detroit chapter, she helped representative Brenda Lawrence become a cosponsor of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a proposed policy that would reduce U.S. GHG emissions by 40% in 12 years. She has been an advisor to the United Nations Environment Program Youth Education Alliance, a board member of Our Climate, and served on the planning committees of AESS, AASHE, and Second Nature. 

The child of political refugees, Clara immigrated to the US from China when she was nine years old. She holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale University, an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Utah, and a BA in English from Smith College. Her articles have been published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Sustainability: The Journal of Record, and her letters-to–the-editor in the Detroit Free Press, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times. Her poems have been published in numerous journals including Painted Bride Quarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, Poet Lore, and She lives in Detroit, Michigan.

Hanna E. Morris

University of Pennsylvania

My name is Hanna E. Morris and I’m a PhD Candidate (ABD) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania where I’m finishing my dissertation on the historical roots, power dynamics, and discursive contours of climate change media. I had the great honor of winning the 2020 Best Student Paper Award from AESS and am now a member of the 2021 Awards Committee. I’m running for the position of Board Member because I would love to get more involved with AESS and help serve its diverse membership. Moreover, I am interested in building further collaborations between the fields of Environmental Studies / Sciences and Environmental Communication.

I’m an experienced organizer and really enjoy coordinating events, symposia, and conferences. As an Appointed Member of the Board of Directors for the International Environmental Communication Association (2017-2021), I organized an emerging scholars pre-conference for the 2019 Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) and am currently organizing another pre-conference for the 2021 virtual COCE that will bring together students, professors, media-makers, and activists to workshop ongoing research projects. As an elected 2020-2022 Student & Early Career Representative for the International Communication Association (ICA), I’m also currently co-organizing a pre-conference entitled, “Visions of Change: Communication for Social and Environmental Justice,” that will assemble emerging and senior environmental communication, visual communication, and social justice scholars together with activists and organizers to discuss research ethics and avenues for collaboration at the virtual 2021 ICA convening.

Additionally, I have experience with and enjoy working across disciplinary and professional divides. I’m an active member of several interdisciplinary research groups including the Social Challenges of Climate Change Doctoral Working Group at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge. I’m also a member of the Climate Social Science Network (CSSN) headquartered at Brown University and co-chair of the Critical Studies of Climate Media, Discourse, and Power Working Group.

If elected as an AESS Board Member, I will continue to bridge disciplinary and professional divides. I will also organize workshops, events, and other resources dedicated to the professional development and wellbeing of early career scholars.

Allison (Lissy Goralnik)

AESS is my academic home and the organization I am most excited to steward into the future. Since I attended my first conference as a postdoc in 2014, I have felt welcome and supported at the conferences and beyond, and I am eager to play that role for other junior scholars in a leadership position. I have enjoyed my two-year term on the board, and I also feel like I am just learning how I can best contribute. I am running for a second term so I can continue to be a part of the good work we are doing, which includes a focus on diversity and equity across all facets of the organization. The work of creating space for all voices to participate is close to my heart. My research, teaching, and service are focused on community engagement, art-science interactions, and sustainable food systems, with an emphasis on justice and equity. Disciplinarily I work at the fringes, or at the intersections, of a number of fields, which means I am not an expert in anything; instead I weave threads from across disciplines and knowledge traditions and greet all perspectives as worthwhile. This is a facilitative strength I bring to the board. Nearly all of my work is collaborative, and I believe strongly that we are smarter, more effective, more empowered as a collective than I can ever be as an individual. Inclusive norms, creating spaces of trust and listening, and deep reflexivity are necessary for this kind of collaborative social-environmental work and practice. This is the kind of environment I expect of the AESS board and the organization as a whole, and the kind of environment I hope to contribute to in my role on the board.

William San Martín

I am an interdisciplinary historian and a Science & Technology Studies scholar in the Department of Humanities & Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, USA. My work focuses on global environmental governance with particular attention to sustainable development, justice, and colonialism in the Global South. I am a native from Chile with experience working with government and non-government organizations and developing collaborative student-local community projects in Latin America. In my research and work with organizations, I address questions about power disparities and the place of experts and institutions in the governance of global environmental inequalities.

My trajectories as an immigrant, a first-generation college student, and a member of the LGBTQ community have informed my professional commitment to diversity and inclusion. I have served in various professional organizations, including the AESS Nominations Committee, the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion & Equity of the American Society for Environmental History, and the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations. Throughout my scholarship and service, I have argued that the lack of diversity and representation in environmental knowledge production creates epistemological gaps that compromise our understanding of complex socio-ecological issues. As both the impacts of environmental disparities and collective awareness about them increase, addressing these epistemological challenges is essential to expand the role of various environmental experts in academic and public discussions.

As an AESS Board Member, I look forward to supporting the representation of the environmental humanities & arts, the integration of researchers and institutions from the Global South, and collaboration channels for undergraduate students, early career scholars, and researchers from underrepresented communities. Since its origins, AESS has been committed to its members’ international origin and disciplinary diversity, and the global implications of their

scholarship. I welcome the opportunity to provide my expertise and experience to advance in these endeavors.

Dave Murphy

Associate Professor and Chair, Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University

As a Ph.D. candidate in 2009, my advisor asked me to identify my academic home. His home was ecology. I was earning a Ph.D. in Environmental Science focusing on energy return on investment and systems modeling of society-environment interaction, and it was not yet clear to me what qualified as my home. After years of researching and publishing, I came across AESS and found scholars like me – interdisciplinary academics who research and teach about environmental problems—who were not easily situated in traditional academic homes.

Since my discovery of AESS in 2016, I presented at the 2018 conference and, for the past year, have served on the Outreach and Membership Committee. As Chair of the Environmental Studies Department at St. Lawrence University, I encourage our faculty to join AESS and present at its conference. 

I am running for the Board of Directors of AESS because I want to promote and further establish AESS as the foremost professional organization for faculty who promote interdisciplinary problem solving of environmental issues. This includes broadening the membership of AESS, increasing the quality of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (JESS), and promoting the annual conference as an essential event.

Along with generally increasing AESS membership, we must focus on increasing diversity of members, authors of accepted submissions to JESS, and conference presenters alike. The field of Environmental Studies and Sciences is widely characterized as an area of inquiry dominated by whiteness, and I will prioritize the ongoing efforts of AESS to diversify its membership and areas of inquiry if elected to the Board.

As a board member, I will focus AESS efforts in two additional areas: pedagogy and scholarship. Though AESS has done good work in these areas in the past (e.g. the syllabus databank), there is tremendous opportunity to share best teaching practices and to create innovative research programs if AESS members have more opportunities to interact and strategize with one another.

In summary, I am running for the Board of Directors because I believe that AESS provides a home to environmental thinkers who do not fit neatly within traditional disciplines; our roles are increasingly important given the complexity and multi-disciplinarity of current environmental problems, and the leadership of AESS is in a prime position to identify and connect innovative scholars.

Dr. Jennifer Bernstein

Dr. Jennifer Bernstein is a full-time lecturer at the Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. She holds a Masters in Geography from UC Santa Barbara, a Masters in Science Education from Montana State Bozeman, and a PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She previously taught at UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, and Hawaii Pacific University. Dr. Bernstein studies the diversity of contemporary environmentalism with a focus on inclusiveness and collaboration across ideological differences. She has been published in academic journals, as well as popular publications such as the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Conversation. Her most well-read article focuses on whether environmentalism takes feminist issues seriously. She is currently the Communications Committee co-chair for UCGIS, a 2020-2021 UCGIS TRELIS Fellow, and a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute. Her first book, a spatial analysis of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption) will be published by Emerald Press in Summer 2021.

Dr. Bernstein attended the first AESS conference at UC Santa Barbara. She has researched and published on environmental studies and sciences at the higher education level, in JESS and other academic publications. Were she to serve on the board, Dr. Bernstein would be an engaged and active collaborator and colleague. Her lifetime of experience with environmental studies and sciences, from the perspectives of both the physical sciences and the humanities, give her a broad and unique understanding of the field. She is also deeply committed to helping the people around her succeed. She is dedicated to the organization and would actively engage in the further professionalization of environmental studies and sciences, with a commitment to include a wide range of voices.

Nominations Committee, Three Positions (2021-2023)

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.


Sharon Locke

Affiliation: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Position: Professor of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for STEM Research, Education, and Outreach

PhD Institution: University of Minnesota

I am honored to be nominated to serve as a member of the AESS Nominations Committee. This committee performs the important work of ensuring that AESS leadership fully reflects the diversity of disciplines, scholarship, institutions, and representative demographics of our community. With this goal in mind, I would draw on my service in related networks to promote AESS, identify promising candidates for future leadership, and broadly advance the AESS mission. Organizations where I hold current leadership and service positions include the National Network of STEM Education Centers, Illinois State Academy of Science, International Geoscience Education Organisation, and Environmental Education Association of Illinois. I also maintain an active national network in my role as principal/co-principal investigator on eight federal grants.

AESS is uniquely positioned among environment-related professional societies because of its role in advancing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship and teaching. My passion for integrating disciplines to solve scientific and educational problems extends back to when I was a graduate student in an interdisciplinary research center and has continued to this day. In my current work I am using community-based participatory research to increase environmental health literacy in historically marginalized communities, a project that integrates science, humanities, and health. Because of my longstanding dedication to the value of diverse perspectives and ideas, AESS feels like home. 

It is my sincere belief that AESS’s diversity and interdisciplinarity is its greatest asset.

AESS’s mission is more urgent than ever in the context of a global pandemic and persistent educational, environmental, and social inequities. The crucial work of the Nominations Committee is to bring forward a diverse slate of candidates representative of the needs of the AESS community for your votes. If elected, I commit to performing this office thoughtfully and tirelessly on behalf of AESS members.

Nurcan Atalan-Helicke

Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences Program at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. She is an interdisciplinary social scientist and works on food systems and sustainability. She has been working with small farmers on conservation of agricultural biodiversity in Turkey and northeast USA. Her research with women consumers focus on debates about religiously proper food choices, particularly the intersection of halal food and genetically modified food. She teaches a civic engagement course, and works with community organizations in Saratoga Springs, NY and Capital District region of NY. Her research has been published in interdisciplinary journals, including Agriculture and Human Values, Gastronomica, Global Environmental Politics, and Sociology of Islam.

She has been an AESS member, participated and presented at AESS conferences, and published in Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. As a foreign-born scholar, she has mentored and worked closely with junior international faculty and faculty of color at Skidmore College. She has also participated in the Association of American Geographers meetings and worked as a mentor for women graduate students. She wants to serve in AESS Nomination Committee because she wants to see more diversity in AESS and in leadership positions, and hopes this will open up more conversations within the committee to incorporate the work of more diverse scholars and activists.


Dr. Sailaja Nandigama

I teach Environment, Development and Climate Change, Public Policy and Development Theories courses at BITS Pilani, Pilani campus, India with an aim to raise awareness about environmental issues. I completed my PhD in Development Studies from the Netherlands with the government fellowship (NFP fellowship), and I had worked in the UK and the Netherlands for my Post-Doc projects before joining BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus. I have been an active part of international network of researchers working on coupled human and environment systems, climate change and natural resource management across the world for over 15 years. I make it a point to travel regularly to my networks based in the UK, USA and Europe to continue the team-based research work and to meet other researchers in my field and share our knowledge and methodologies. I also work with my students at BITS on projects related to human and environmental systems, climate change and social policy issues. This is a cyclical activity, where I expose every new batch of BITSians to the state-of-art research findings, which allows us to proactively engage in quality learning. Research is integral to the learning process at this level of education, and it requires an innate passion especially when it comes to conducting the human and environment systems research. Accordingly,  I expose my students to my research work and towards engaging in socially relevant research that could enable sustainable social engineering.  The youth are the agents of the positive change that we would want to see in India and the world. Every year I work with different students on environmental issues and concerns, hoping that our efforts will come to fruition, when we have made a significant contribution to helping our society and in protecting our environment and our world as it should be- human and biodiversity friendly. Serving on the editorial board of JESS as an Associate Editor and being a member of the AESS gives me satisfaction of constructively contributing to the academic research world in a proactive manner. Currently I am engaged in several international academic research collaborations and would like to bring that experience to the Nomination Committee of AESS as well. Given a chance, I would like to represent the women academics from the Global South in the AESS, and bring their voices to the table.


Election Ballot

Voting is now closed. Voting was open from April 18-May 7, 2021.

 Visual voting guide available.

Per our bylaws, a quorum will be reached when at least 48 members vote.