AESS 2018 Elections are CLOSED. Results will be available soon.

AESS Annual Elections

While the slate is public, voting is only available to AESS Members. You must sign in to your account to vote. Voting will open March 28 and close April 29, 2018 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 with questions.

Per our bylaws, a quorum will be reached when at least 61 members vote.

  • President Elect (2018-2020; then President from 2020-2022)

    Valerie Banschbach

    Professor and Chair, Environmental Studies Program, Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia

    Describe your role(s) to date in AESS.  

    At my first AESS meeting (2010), I spoke on a panel about capstones in ESS that led to an invited article in a special issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. Since then, I’ve participated in and organized sessions on topics ranging from curriculum development in ESS to animals in environmental education. The AESS community has greatly facilitated my accomplishments in development and leadership of ESS programs at two liberal arts colleges.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:  

    As a faculty member at teaching-focused institutions for the past 23 years, I have engaged undergraduate students in environmentally-focused courses in Vermont and Virginia, scientific and interdisciplinary research, and study abroad in Costa Rica, India and Mexico.  As Chair of Biology and Environmental Studies Programs over the past 11 years at two institutions, I have emphasized interdisciplinarity, as it exemplifies the best of what can be accomplished within the liberal arts and sciences model of higher education. At Saint Michael’s College, I worked with faculty across the disciplines to found an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program. As a U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar at the Wildlife Institute of India, I worked to spread ideas for interdisciplinary pedagogy for graduate-level teaching and conducted research. In these endeavors, as well as my current position at Roanoke College, I have drawn upon the AESS community for: (1) external program review; (2) ideas for campus sustainability efforts; (3) collaborators in efforts to further advance areas ripe for interdisciplinary attention; (4) expertise regarding engaging students in environmental justice issues at home and abroad; and (5) resources for advancing undergraduates toward professional and graduate training.

    Vision for participation as President:  

    The research focus of AESS members is compelling, productive, and multifaceted.  Yet our times require more than a focus on research; they require strong engagement with and attention to the values that have drawn us to ESS.   Those values include advocating for evidence-based consideration of environmental challenges, supporting science as a way of knowing, and fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within AESS. One of my goals is to enhance racial, gender, ethnic and other kinds of diversity by fostering the recruitment and participation of AESS members representing a wide variety of stages and kinds of careers.  While I hope we will continue existing programs that serve and promote diversity of graduate students, faculty and professionals focused on research and creative work, I would also like to work with the Board to develop initiatives that would further serve faculty at teaching-focused institutions, who are developing vibrant ESS programs and mentoring undergraduate students. A teaching-focused award would be one such possibility. Embracing a broad spectrum of members’ work is key to bolstering our diversity, inclusion, and equity in ESS, as many women and people of color have found success as faculty or as students at teaching-focused institutions.   Undergraduates in ESS represent the future, so developing ways to serve them directly, such as an AESS-based Honor Society or awards, or programming that connects undergraduates with ESS graduate programs and faculty mentors, would help foster diversity of future membership.

  • Board Position 1-At Large (2018-2020):

    Dave Gosselin

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I have been a member of AESS since 2011 and have proudly served as board member since 2015. AESS is one of the most relevant professional groups in which I participate. I have actively contributed to the growth of this organization and presented at all conferences since 2011. In collaboration with the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, I have provided professional development in leadership and organizational management. I can say without a doubt that AESS meetings and activities always energize me to think about what I am doing for my program and its students in new ways.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:   

    I have served as the Director of Environmental Studies since 2008 and a Professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Most recently, I became the co-chair of the Chancellors Sustainability Commission at UNL.  My current research and academic scholarship focuses on Interdisciplinary Environmental and Sustainability Education, collaborative leadership along with career and workforce issues. I am committed to professional development opportunities that involve leadership development, collaboration, and student-centered undergraduate education.  I have authored or co-authored more than 140 publications including a book, refereed journal articles, non-refereed abstracts, and contract reports.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member:

    My goal is to use my skills to expand collaboration among current and future members to strengthen AESS and its ongoing activities.   As I look toward the AESS of the future, I see it only growing stronger and more influential. On a national scale, higher education is being asked to be more accountable for all of its activities including the quality of education, and its ability to recruit, retain, and prepare students for the current and future environmental workforce.  AESS needs to expand its leadership role in the accountability arena. In addition, AESS has important roles to play in promoting collaboration in the context of sharing academic strengths, courses, and approaches in the areas of environmental justice, diversity and inclusion. Leadership in interdisciplinary environmental programs is a challenge. AESS needs to expand its influence in helping our colleagues become the most effective leaders they can.  Agriculture is critical to our survival and AESS needs to examine the issues and opportunities to enhance communication and collaboration with this important sector

    My leadership style emphasizes honest communication, collaboration and the building of coalitions among diverse groups of faculty, community partners, and stakeholders at local, state, and national levels. My primary goal will be to capitalize on the strengths of individual AESS members and their programs to develop new and innovative approaches to promoting collaboration among higher education colleagues including those in community colleges.  I am persistent and persevering in my approach to achieving goals. I look forward to my future with AESS.


    Karin Warren

    Professor & Chair of Environmental Studies, Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA

    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I have been an AESS member for several years. I have organized and/or presented in conference panels, workshops, discussion symposia, and roundtables. I have served on the Awards Committee since 2013. I am devoted consumer of and occasional contributor to the AESS listserv.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I am Professor and Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies & Science at Randolph College, a small liberal arts college near the Blue Ridge mountains in Central Virginia. I have a B.S. in Meteorology from Cornell University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley. My research areas broadly encompass climate change and community sustainability, urban water quality, and quantitative methods. At Randolph, I started the Environmental Studies & Science department in 2002, and have served as Chair ever since. I have been co-chair of Randolph College’s Sustainability Council for 15 years, Faculty Advisor for the student Environmental Club and our organic garden/orchard/apiary, and serve campus liaison for the President’s Climate Commitments and Bee Campus, and as Faculty Representative for the Udall Scholarship. I’ve led study trips to Baja California Sur and Costa Rica. I developed and oversee the annual Little Scientists event at the Central Virginia Science Festival at Randolph College, and teach in the Science Saturdays program ( I developed and supervise Randolph’s Blackwater Creek Water Quality Monitoring research initiative, and serve on Randolph’s Step-Up to Physical Science and Engineering at Randolph College (SUPER) program committee. In my local community, I have served on the Landscape Ordinance and the Storm Water Ordinance revision committees for the City of Lynchburg, served as Vice-Chair of the City of Lynchburg’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee, am a volunteer with the Community Market, and served on the Environmental Committee of Agudath Sholom Synagogue. I also co-organized the satellite March for Science in Lynchburg last year.

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

    If elected to the AESS Board, I would encourage productive participation in our organization, and strive to understand and cooperatively address any concerns members have that prevent them from doing so. I am passionate about STEAM literacy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and service to community, and I would foster collaborative efforts in these areas that can benefit our membership as well as our communities.

  • Board Position 2-At Large (2018-2020):

    Erin Pischke

    Michigan Technological University

    Role(s) to date in AESS:

    I am currently the student representative on the AESS board, which was my first position and role I’ve played with the organization.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    I am a post-doctoral researcher in the Environmental and Energy Policy program at Michigan Technological University, where I earned my Ph.D. in the same field, studying global environmental challenges. I have a Master’s in Social and Public Policy from Duquesne University. Currently, I conduct energy-related research in Mexico, comparative climate policy analyses of countries in the Americas and collaborate with others on large international Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research projects. My research, from studying the potential impacts of renewable energy production to understanding how international research teams function most effectively, is aimed at finding sustainable solutions to globalized natural resource use and climate change. My research interests include comparative politics in the Americas, climate change, sustainable management of socioecological systems, global environmental change and managing interdisciplinary teams. I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Guatemala, Environmental Education) and I have worked for several environmental advocacy organizations (PennFuture, Freshwater Future, among others) in various capacities.

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

    If re-elected to the board, I would like to continue to represent early career researchers’ interests, and focus on attracting and retaining more diverse members and students to the organization. I hope to collaborate with my AESS colleagues to make the organization a welcoming and supportive place for people with diverse backgrounds.


    Ajay Singh

    Department of Environmental Studies, California State University, Sacramento

    Role(s) to date in AESS

    I have attended AESS since 2012, first as a doctoral student and then post-doctoral researcher. I have presented research as well as organized two panels (2014 and 2017).

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences

    As a high school student my first job was working irrigation for a research project looking at how wastewater from food processing plants could be treated through constructed wetlands and application to cropland. Since then I have continued to work in the environmental field as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working with the Honduran Park Service, coordinating stream and river restoration projects for local governments and NGOs, and as a director of an environmental consulting firm. I returned to academia from industry to learn more about science communication and environmental policy. My research is transdisciplinary and focuses on adoption of pro-environmental behavior in both rural and urban contexts. Now as a faculty member, I am working with the local and state governments, as well as with the university, to look at the adoption of drought mitigation and climate mitigation measures.

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

    As a Board Member, my hope is to continue AESS efforts to train new environmental scientists in way to communicate and engage with decision-makers and increase member diversity.

    As a scientist, I have been trained to conduct research and disseminate findings through reports, presentations, and publications. Soon after graduating with a Master’s degree, I learned that at no point did anyone teach how to engage with those who need research to inform planning, management, or policy decisions. My hope is to change how we teach environmental studies and sciences to produce students with research skills, but also with an understanding of how to make that research useful and useable to planners, managers, and policy-makers. As a board member I would like to begin an effort focusing on innovative pedagogical methods that combine teaching, research, and service.

    As a Board Member, I would also like to focus on student, faculty, and member diversity. The field of environmental studies and sciences has made progress in attracting women and students/faculty from non-white races and ethnicities. But, in relation to the U.S. population, our field is less diverse. After reading Claude Steele’s book “Whistling Vivaldi”, I learned reasons why students from non-dominate races and genders do not continue in STEM fields. As a member, either of the AESS Board or not, I would like to start a conversation about how we can, as faculty and students, help to not only promote diversity, but make concrete steps to encouraging and retaining students from different gender identities, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.


  • Student Board Member (2018-2020):

    Erin Burkett

    PhD student at Michigan Technological University

    Role(s) to date in AESS

    I joined AESS in 2017 before attending the annual conference in Tucson. I immediately felt at home in the organization and the conference because of the welcoming environment and professional goals my fellow AESS members seem to have. This is a community that cares not only about environmental studies and science research, but also about education and inclusion. I was also impressed by the variety of the talks given at the conference and felt at home given my own interdisciplinary background.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences

    I am pursuing a PhD in Environmental Policy and I also hold a BS in Zoology and an MS in Natural Resources and the Environment. My work experience includes wildlife ecology field and lab research in Michigan and Alaska, environmental education and outdoor leadership in Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin, and science curriculum development and evaluation (with a focus on climate change and place-based learning). I consider myself an environmental social scientist specializing in human dimensions of fisheries management issues. My dissertation focuses on understanding the gender-based aspects of Great Lakes recreational fishing. This includes quantifying fishing participation trends in the Great Lakes region, engaging stakeholders in participatory research, and working closely with state natural resource agencies to better understand their management challenges and address knowledge gaps. My professional interests include pedagogical best practices for K-12 and college-level teaching, connecting research to practice, and using interdisciplinary methods and knowledge to address natural resource problems.

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

    As an elected Student Board Member, I would provide a current student’s perspective on ways to recruit new and diverse student members to AESS and also ways to support their professional development as interdisciplinary scholars. This would include providing input for future conferences as well as interim resources for AESS student members.


    Liz Beattie

    Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    Roles to Date in AESS:

    I was introduced to AESS in 2016, and co-facilitated a discussion at the 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.  I became a member of AESS in 2017, and hosted a half-day workshop at the 2017 conference in Tucson, AZ.

    Background/experience with environmental studies and sciences:

    Teaching and learning with, about, and in the environment has been my passion since my final years of high school, when I developed a love for the earth and its inhabitants in my geography and biology courses.  I also spent my summers working as a camp counsellor at a sleep-away camp in northern Ontario, teaching wilderness skills and leading canoe out-trips.

    I have a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology.  I used my scientific background to inform my work as the Outdoor Environmental Education Co-ordinator for the Town of Richmond Hill.

    My Master’s of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication increased my interest in the academic research being done in the field of environmental studies.  I am currently pursuing a doctorate in Science and Environmental Education, with a focus on young children’s outdoor environmental learning.

    I have participated in and presented at several international academic conferences in the field of environmental studies, and have written and reviewed articles for peer-reviewed journals in the field as well.

    I have worked as a Graduate Research Assistant on several projects related to environmental education and environmental studies, conducting literature reviews as well as designing, implementing and analysing surveys.

    I am often invited to give guest lectures about environmental education and the importance of including environmental studies in the curriculum to domestic and international students in the Faculty of Education where I am studying.

    Vision for participation as an elected Board Member:

    As a graduate student, I intend to represent students and people just starting their careers, as this is a group with its own particular set of ideas and challenges.  I am interested in investigating the possibilities of formalizing mentorships through AESS, as well as finding out what sort of other support young members would most like AESS to offer them.

    I am also interested in ways AESS might grow as an organization, to be more inclusive in various ways.  As a Canadian, I am interested in increasing partnerships between American and Canadian institutions, particularly in geographic locations where the border runs through an integrated bioregion such as Cascadia.  In Canada, our understanding of colonization and relationships with First Nations is changing rapidly, with dramatic impacts on environmental studies and sciences; I believe AESS would benefit from embracing this attitude as well.  Finally, I would like to see presentations and discussions about education relating to the environment at all levels, not just in higher education, be represented at AESS, as the body of research by scholars and practitioners in these areas increases.

  • Nominations Committee – Position 2 (2018-2020):

    Mary Collins

    Mary Collins, Assistant Professor

    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Department of Environmental Studies


    As a student of William Freudenburg at UCSB I learned about the AESS organization in 2009 and served on the program committee for several years and then, more recently, on the nominations committee.  While on the program committee I looked forward to reading the wide variety of member submissions and helped bring a keynote speaker, Paul Mohai, to our meeting in Pittsburgh. I have been to almost every AESS meeting since 2009 and have enjoyed the friendly and interdisciplinary community.


    I am an environmental social scientist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York (SUNY-ESF). My research efforts are focused on the socially structured factors that perpetuate environmental inequality.  My most recent project uses hierarchical Bayesian models to assess inequalities in pollution generation between US-based industrial facilities and potential human health impacts. More generally, my research group has been looking at the temporal dimensions of hazardous waste generation as it relates to links between specific chemical exposures and rare cancers in New York State.


    My vision as a member of the nominations committee is to help identify motivated, kind, and thoughtful scholars who would be excellent leaders within our organization. Although I claim the social sciences has my home, I am specifically interested in continuing to foster interdisciplinarity within our community, at large, and our leadership, specifically.


    Jill Sohm

    Assistant Professor, teaching and Director of Undergraduate Studies

    Environmental Studies Program, University of Southern California


    I joined AESS about three years ago when I started a new position in the Environmental Studies Program at USC.  I had come from the world of microbial biogeochemistry and oceanography and was looking for a professional organization that could help me achieve my new goals of educating in the Environmental Studies.  AESS seemed to fit the bill and I have learned in the intervening years just how true that is! My role in AESS to date has been only as a member, but after my recent experience at the AESS meeting, I am eager to get more involved in the organization.  It was so refreshing to meet others with an enthusiasm for interdisciplinary environmental education and dealing with the same challenges that it presents, and to learn about the approaches being used, some of which inspired me to try new things in my own classes.  In addition to teaching, I also serve as the Director of Undergraduate Studies and head of the Curriculum Committee for our program, and this is another place where I find membership in AESS very useful. In running for the Nominations Committee, I’d like to opportunity to contribute to an organization that I find that I get so much from.  As a member of the Nominations Committee, I would work to make the elected positions as representative of the membership as possible, specifically by reaching out to members who might not be likely to self-nominate. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.   

  • Nominations Committee Student Member (2018-2020)

    Devin Judge-Lord

    Ph.D. student in Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    I first attended AESS in 2012 to present my undergraduate thesis research and have served on the Program Committees for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 conferences and on the Nominations Committee since 2016.

    As an undergraduate at Reed College, I helped with a successful push to create an Environmental Studies curriculum and hire faculty. While completing a Master’s in Environmental Science at Yale University, I co-led Yale’s Environmental Law student interest group and its annual interdisciplinary New Directions in Environmental Law conference. At Wisconsin, I have helped recruit speakers for a lecture series at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and supervise undergraduates studying environmental politics through the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. In addition to service to AESS, I serve as the Social Media Editor for the Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics section of the American Political Science Association.

    I aim to recruit candidates for AESS leadership who will advance our explicitly interdisciplinary tradition and make AESS more accessible to underrepresented scholars and undergraduates. Through mentorship programs, I have recruited undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to present at AESS and hope such efforts will help grow a cohort of future leaders who have been involved with AESS from the beginning of their academic careers. I promote AESS everywhere I go and hope that my longstanding commitment to the organization allows me to offer good judgment in nominations decisions.


    John Shideler

    PhD Candidate in Economic

    Claremont Graduate University

    I am new to the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, and have never served in any service role related to AESS.  My academic background is in Economics, with a focus on Natural Resource and Environmental Economics and Policy. I am particularly interested in consumer and producer behavior related to natural resource use, and the resulting effects that natural resource use, and abuse, has on the environment and society.  My current research is related to better understanding household decisions related to participation in water and energy utility programs that incentivize pro-environmental behavior. I think that natural scientists and social scientists need to work more collaboratively to design, implement, and evaluate policy that is intended to address issues of resource scarcity, climate change, and environmental degradation.   I am interested in serving on the Nominations Committee because I want to learn more about the AESS, the research that members are doing, and how I can help academia and industry reach across those disciplinary bounds to work on these challenging issues. As I move towards completion of my PhD and an eventual job market run, I think that I will be best placed in a position where interdisciplinary communication is promoted and valued.  I think serving in this role on the AESS will provide an excellent opportunity to network with people who have this same impression, and are passionate about interdisciplinary research related to Environmental Sciences. My vision of my role on the Nominations Committee would include networking with current members, learning about their research, helping promote the goals/mission of the AESS to members, and helping place members in roles where they can positively impact the AESS.  Of course, I am hoping this will also include having some fun, hearing some good jokes, hopefully maybe even making a couple, learning a bunch, finding some mentors, finding new collaborations, learning more about the “innerworkings” of academic associations and conferences in general, and helping out where I can.

  • Secretary (2018-2021)

    Michael Finewood, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies and Science

    Pace University

    Role(s) to date in AESS

    I am pleased to stand for election for the Secretary Board position of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS). I am an active member of AESS and am invested in a healthy future for our organization. I have served as Secretary of the AESS Board since 2012 and have participated in every conference since 2011. I have worked with board members and the broader AESS community on membership recruitment, meeting coordination, visioning, funding, yearly elections, and other initiatives.

    Background / experience with environmental studies and sciences

    My background, research, and teaching fit within the broad program of environmental studies and sciences. I am a human geographer and political ecologist who studies environmental governance, water, and urban sustainability, with explicit attention to critical geographies and justice. I earned a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of South Carolina, where I trained as a social scientist who works on challenges in socio-ecological governance. My research questions focus on environmental perception, expertise, and decision-making. I have conducted research on the social and ecological impacts of coastal development, resource extraction, urban farming, and urban stormwater governance. Currently I am helping to lead a project that engages watershed nonprofits to explore the challenges of water governance across the politically and ecologically fragmented landscapes of the Hudson Valley, NY.

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

    I am eager to continue working with AESS members to advance our mission within the broader field of environmental studies and sciences, as well as maintaining my duties and initiatives as the current Secretary. If re-elected, my goals over the next three years are to focus on increasing membership and meeting participation, strengthening our committees, and increasing diversity. Although we have a strong network of members, I believe that AESS—like many other environmental and/or academic organizations—needs to develop concerted efforts to attract a new and more diverse membership. I will maintain internal and external outreach efforts and develop new resources, networking, and collaboration opportunities that can both support current members and attract new members, particularly students and underserved and minority communities. I would also like to tap the collective strengths or our current membership. Increasing participation in our committees will provide more opportunities for members to take on leadership roles and shape AESS into the organization that will support them in the future. Finally, I will continue efforts to bring resources to and increase participation in the annual meeting, which showcases a key value of AESS.

Cast Ballot