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.

Voting is closed. Results have been communicated with the candidates and will be publicized soon.

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.

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 May 3 and close May 19. 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

I have been actively involved with AESS since 2013, and have served on the Professional Development Committee since 2018 (chair since 2021). From my first conference in Pittsburgh, I knew I had found my home – AESS is the most flexible, welcoming group for interdisciplinary environmental folks like myself. As chair of the PDC, I’ve coordinated the development of the AESS mentor program, the Fall Workshop Series, and external reviewer database, and as board president I would love to continue to support the creation of resources and programs that respond to the needs of the community. As one of the three perennial hosts of the “lone wolf” workshop at AESS, I have a lot of experience working across different programs, entities, and priorities, and I always look for win-win situations in which we can meet multiple goals with shared efforts.

Additionally, I have a lot of experience with diverse cultures and contexts, which I hope will improve my ability to serve AESS in this role. A few examples: all three of my degrees are from different types of institutions (private liberal arts, private international, public R1), and I currently teach at a public liberal arts college. I have lived and worked in red/blue/purple states, in different countries, and in big cities and small towns. As a social scientist, I study the different experiences of individuals, communities, and organizations. I would love to help facilitate the ongoing conversations about how to honor diverse voices and experiences in AESS and to improve organizational diversity on a variety of fronts – geographic, racial, ideological, disciplinary, experiential, etc. I would be honored to serve AESS in this way, and I thank you for this opportunity to run.

Board-at-Large Candidates

Nadia Ahmad

My name is Nadia Ahmad, and I am an associate law professor at Barry University and also a PhD student at the Yale School of the Environment. I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, to immigrants from Pakistan and India. I have served on various academic, professional, and community boards and associations in my time as a journalist, community organizer, lawyer, and professor and experience in strategy, resource allocation, asset protection, budget and finance, and program development. My research and scholarly expertise center on the intersections of energy siting, the environment, and sustainable development, drawing on international investment law and corporate social responsibility. I have spent my academic career focusing on frontline communities that are the most vulnerable to energy production. I am an official expert for multilateral development organization, International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) Taskforce on Bamboo for Renewable Energy (TFB4RE), which promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. In addition, I serve as a Kerry Fellow at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Council Member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and a member of the Academic Advisory Group for the International Bar Association’s Section of Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law. Earlier, I served as a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale Law School and the inaugural Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Law at Pace Haub School of Law.

Chris Bacon

I am running to serve as an AESS Board Member because I have benefited from the Association’s work since 2008, and now it’s time for me to give back. Past experiences conducting program review, writing external rank and tenure evaluations for faculty in environmental studies and science programs, and co-founding an interdisciplinary collaborative initiative for environmental justice and the common good help prepare me for this work. As an associate professor in environmental studies at a predominantly undergraduate institution, I frequently involve students in research and have seen how they can benefit from mentored experiences producing posters and presenting at academic conferences, like AESS and the Association of American Geographers. I would like to explore ways to further expand support for student participation in AESS programming, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, a father to a bicultural indigenous and Latinx daughter, and conducting participatory action research with community-based organizations in the Majority World, food justice organizations in the U.S., and to address student basic needs insecurities here on campus will inform my work to help advance justice, diversity, equity and inclusion of AESS members. I look forward to the possibility of serving.

Laureen Elgert

I joined WPI in 2011 as a scholar and teacher with training in public health, environmental policy, and international development studies. I am a past director of WPI’s program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, and currently am involved in the new MSc Program in Community Climate Adaptation. My research and teaching interests are focused on the environment-development nexus, where tensions between sustainability and livelihoods often lead to contentious policy debates. My work on soy production and land inequality, expert roundtables and certification, and sustainability rating systems for cities, advanced ideas around how global discourses about sustainable agriculture and sustainability indicators take shape, are mobilized, and have influence at the local level, impacting social, political, and environmental systems.  

My recent work has deepened my commitments to collaboration and interdisciplinarity. It addresses how broad policy frameworks and approaches, even those intended to redress inequality, can exacerbate disadvantage and systemic inequalities. How, for example, can technologies that are developed and deployed in the service of the ‘public interest’ ultimately serve to reinforce conscious and unconscious bias and embed bias in social institutions? How might ‘Rights of Nature’, an emergent environmental ideal advanced by international advocacy networks, re-create neo-colonial modes of disenfranchisement? How can scientists and policymakers understand and help people manage the risks associated with climate change and build support for equitable energy transitions and a just and greener economy? 

I served as a Board Member of AESS between 2016 and 2021. I left the board to focus on new challenges, including becoming a lead Editor of Critical Policy Studies and Department Head of Integrative and Global Studies at WPI. I am particularly interested in continuing the valuable work that AESS has done over the past years on professional development and mentoring opportunities for early career scholars and undergraduate Environmental Studies students and programs.

Laura Henry-Stone

AESS has been a cornerstone of my professional journey. I am running for the board to pay forward what AESS has done for me. I have been a member since 2011–when I was a postdoctoral teaching fellow early in my career–through my current position as associate professor at the University of Lynchburg (UL). I have attended and presented at AESS conferences every other year on average, and I served on the membership committee from 2019-2021. In addition to my experience teaching and advising students in environmental sciences and sustainability, I also served as interim director of UL’s 500-acre nature center for the 2021-22 academic year. I have also served on local boards, such as the Central Virginia Land Conservancy. The time is right for me to leverage these experiences and skills to the service of a professional organization that I admire and to which I am indebted. I have also been inspired by AESS’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, for instance in regards to the keynote speakers that have been invited to educate our rather homogenous conference attendees. In my professional work, I have pursued a commitment to DEI by prioritizing the role of justice in sustainability education and research. For instance, I have collaborated with other faculty regionally to conduct a heat-mapping study and explore the racial inequities inherent in urban heat islands, a case study that I incorporated into a new course on environmental and climate justice. I was also a member of the working group that led to the adoption of an indigenous land acknowledgment statement at UL. I would welcome the opportunity to elevate a similar commitment as an AESS board member, especially in the recruitment of members who may not have traditional academic careers and yet would enhance the work of our organization.

David Murphy

Since my discovery of AESS in 2016, I have presented at the 2018 and 2022 conferences, have served on the Outreach and Membership Committee, and I am now completing my second year on the Board of AESS. My experiences on committees and the Board have reinforced to me how important AESS is to so many academics. Two years ago, when applying for the Board position the first time, I wrote that I wanted 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.” I began this process in my own department, recruiting two of my colleagues into AESS and then also on the board we have constantly kept those targets in mind. We are currently negotiating new contracts for the journal, establishing a joint conference with other academic organizations, and thinking long-term about how AESS can better serve its members. Fresh ideas are important for organizations, but I have only been on the board for two years. Given the pace of academia, I think two more years on the board will provide continuity for our ongoing efforts and provide enough time to execute even further on these goals. Lastly, I want to run for the Board again because I really like the AESS community. It is a positive, welcoming community that I truly enjoy serving.

Nirav Patel

I have been dedicated to environmental research & teaching that is embedded in DEI and have been recognized for advocacy of 1st Gen BIPOC students. I have a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University where I was awarded teaching excellence awards & as the first elected chair for CIRTL alumni, I emphasize teaching as a research process for environmental students/faculty at Binghamton University (current position). I am motivated to serve on the AESS Board to support organization’s mission of advancing ESS scholarship & to deepen student engagement. I first engaged with AESS in 2015, when I chaired and presented workshop related to energy education. Since then, I have provided support to AESS by serving on Professional Development Committee (since 2018) and Conference Program Committee (since 2017). This year, I co-developed & facilitated the first virtual Student Research Symposium, where we had over 50 student presentations & 100 attendees. The goal of the symposium was to provide an accessible forum for students to present their research and increase engagement with AESS; in doing so, we were also able to support a new generation of environmental professionals and academics pursuing interdisciplinary research. Looking ahead, if elected to the AESS Board I would apply what I’ve learned to co-create new and innovative strategies to enable diversity within the AESS organization and foster meaningful connections among our members and with ESS scholarship.

Nominations Committee Candidates

Nurcan Atalan

I have been an active member of AESS since 2014, I attended annual conferences, organized panels, benefited from writing workshops, helped coordinate online meeting sessions during Covid-19, and published in the AESS journal. I currently serve in the Nominations Committee. I am an immigrant faculty, and I have mentored faculty of color and international faculty. I am a first-generation student, and I also worked closely with a few graduate students as their mentor outside their institutions. I have enjoyed being part of several conversations at the AESS. AESS is taking important steps to become a more inclusive and diverse organization, and it is exciting to be part of this process.

Elly Engle

I have been an active AESS member since 2016. I am a founding member of the Diversity Committee and was co-chair from 2018-2021, which included organizing workshops and special sessions at three annual meetings; supporting an organization-wide diversity, inclusion, and equity culture survey; reviewing strategic documents and plans from the AESS Board and other committees; and leading goal-setting and community-building processes for this new committee. Additionally, I have served on the Conference Program Committee annually since 2017 and on the Conference Planning Committee since 2021. I am interested in serving on the Nominations Committee so that I can continue to support the continued growth of AESS as professional organization as well as learn more about our membership. Additionally, I hope to use my learnings and goals as a member of the Diversity Committee to support the AESS’s DEIJ efforts by continuing to infuse related values and practices into our Nominations processes. I have served on the Nominations Committee for my other primary professional organization (Rural Sociological Society) and I have seen the ways this kind of committee can support diversity in leadership and organizational growth. I look forward to sharing these experiences and values with the AESS Nominations Committee.

David Lansing

I am running for the Nominations Committee for AESS because I would like to bring my experience at recruiting faculty and graduate students at the department level to AESS. While I do not have experience serving in AESS I have a number of years service as the graduate program director for a PhD granting department that spans both social and natural science work around the environment (Geography and Environmental Systems Department at University of Maryland Baltimore County). I have also served as both chair and member of a number of hiring committees and tenure and promotion committees. Through these experiences I have embraced an ecumenical approach toward the value of researcher’s theoretical, methodological, and normative commitments toward environmental issues. I also recognize the importance of striving to achieve racial diversity in what is historically a white field of study. I have been involved in a number of efforts to attract more diverse applicant pools for both graduate students and faculty hires. This has included recruiting at professional events targeting scholars of color and helping to implement applicant evaluation rubrics that aim to avoid unintended bias in hiring decisions. I believe intellectual and racial/ethnic diversity go hand-in-hand and a commitment to both are important for a thriving multi-disciplinary field such as environmental studies and sciences. If elected, I would bring this perspective and commitment as a member of the Nominations Committee.

Joy Liu

My relevant experience includes serving as the lead organizer for a panel at the Society for Applied Anthropology. I invited a faculty member to serve as commentator and recruited and coordinated 3 participants from an interdisciplinary program focused on the integration of natural and social sciences and 2 from the school of anthropology to work together. My research requires me to put emphasis on scoping social needs, understanding institutional demands, and perceptions of policy outcome from different angles. For applied work, I strive to reduce the gap between social and technical issues brought forward by population affected by environmental projects such as community members and government engineers involved in transportation, economic development, and reforestation. In addition, I currently serve as member of the selection committee of the nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity. These experiences have sharpened my skill to quickly identify the leaders, audiences, and patterns of social dynamics within and outside an organization and household. As an international student and now a scholar working in the US, this position is aligned with my goal in addressing environmental justice. I treasure the opportunity to promote meaningful involvement of low-income or minority in decision-making processes affecting their welfare and well-being.

Chelsea Peters

I joined AESS a couple years ago and I’ve really enjoyed the professional development and networking provided by the association. To give back, I currently serve on the AESS 2022 Conference Committee and am working on conference site logistics and volunteer organizing. I believe the Nomination Committee will give me opportunities to meet wonderful AESS members. I am committed to increasing AESS diversity, equity, and inclusion and strongly believe this is vital to the success of the association.

Julia Yang

I am an academic materials engineer working on energy storage solutions for climate and sustainability. In a field as interdisciplinary as materials science, which already sits at the intersection of chemistry, applied physics, and engineering, it is unfortunately not yet intuitive to additionally include environmental science as another identity. This is why I am very interested in being involved in the AESS Nominations committee: so that I can help recognize and additionally involve environmental scholars and leaders within the science and engineering community, increasing the inter-network dialogue and capacity for new collaborations across a rich range of fields in engineering, social sciences, law, policy, and management. As an Environmental Fellow at Harvard University in a program that encourages all discussions related to the environment, I have been quickly exposed to new facets of sustainability and climate-related issues, which have informed and broadened my research directions. I have also frequently communicated my work with academics outside engineering, incentivizing all sides to engage in new flow of discussions typically not natural within our fields. For this reason, I believe involvement as an AESS Nominations committee member will continue to be enriching and help advance the AESS mission to broaden environmental knowledge using highly interdisciplinary approaches.

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