Member Spotlight

Mystery Mondays on AESS Social Media

What is Mystery Monday? You might have seen #MM or #MysteryMonday on social media sites, and we’re getting in on the fun.

We would like to share your stories, research, projects, teaching and interactions with ESS. Not published? That’s fine! Tell us how you came to major in ESS or be an AESS member. Retired? That’s fine, too. Tell us about a memorable ESS moment. See form for more details.

In the past we’ve shared shout-outs for members as they submit news, and this is a maturation of that idea where we collect information to feature a member each week. This works toward our goals to increase engagement and foster community in a digital space.

Our 2020 fall social media interns have developed this project, and we hope to give them the opportunity to feature 8-10 members during their fall internship with AESS. This is open to ALL AESS members. We hope to engage students, post-grads, faculty, etc. – all are welcome and encouraged to share. We will be posting these on AESS Instagram and Facebook pages with links to twitter and LinkedIn.

This is where we need your input!


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Kat Owens Intro

Welcome President-Elect, Kat Owens!

Kat Owens was elected to the President-Elect (2020-22) and will transition to AESS President for a two-year term beginning 2022.

Kat Owens is an associate professor in the department of Politics, Economics, and International Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut where she is also director of the University Interdisciplinary Studies program. 

Owens’ work crosses the social and natural sciences, seeking to link environmental science with policy. In 2015, working under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, she created a open source college course on marine debris. In this experiential course, students used scientific methods to collect and catalog debris from Connecticut’s shoreline, and then shared the results with state-level policy makers. In 2016, Owens was one of fifteen inaugural faculty to join ENACT (The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation), created by Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. In ENACT courses, students conduct research, create policy briefs, meet with lawmakers, and write opinion editorials advocating for or against bills in the state legislature. Through funding from the National Geographic Society while on a Fulbright Nehru grant, she worked in 2019 to train stakeholders in Thiruvananthapuram, India in data collection and policy-advocacy methods. A second project, also sponsored by National Geographic (currently postponed by COVID19), will entail similar work in Tororo, Uganda. 

She started attending AESS meetings in 2016 after years of trying to find an association or society that appreciated and supported interdisciplinary work. She was thrilled to find a welcoming community of vibrant and talented researchers, teachers, artists, and advocates in AESS. Kat lives with her husband, three children, dog, and six chickens in central Connecticut. 

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Monty Hempel – In Memoriam

photo used with permission

Lamont (Monty) Hempel (1950-2019)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Monty Hempel, AESS’ first interim President and a founder of our organization, on December 4th. As Monty was a founding leader of AESS, we believe it is important for us to look back and recognize his work in environmental studies and our organization. 

Monty was the Hedco Chair in Environmental Studies and the Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands as well as a committed filmmaker.  His academic and film work, through his non-profit organization Blue Planet United, focused on sustainability and often marine issues in particular. Monty emphasized emotional connection to the world, as in his short film Eye to Eye with WhalesAnyone who knew Monty could tell you that he also fostered hope and connection between people. A single conversation with him could tell you how kind and optimistic he was, despite working and documenting environmental problems that pose existential threats to plants and animals, including humans, in a changing world.

Monty was among a group of people who decided that there needed to be a community of scholars and students dedicated to advancing interdisciplinary environmental research and teaching. They decided to create AESS to enable this community. Monty and this innovative group took the bold steps to make the organization we are a part of today. We are grateful for the moxy and adventurous spirit that this required, emblematic of our first leader.  In memory of Monty, AESS has decided to create a standing award in environmental communications in his name. We wish the family heartfelt peace.

It is perhaps fitting to end with Monty’s own words which open Eye to Eye with Whales as it tells us what he thought our lives were really about:

The best thing about being human is the moral sense of awe that connects us to the web of life.

His family requests that donations be made to The Coral Reef Alliance, 1330 Broadway, Suite 600, Oakland, CA.



Peter J. Jacques, President

David Hassenzahl, Founding Secretary, Past President

John A. “Skip” Laitner, Past President

Wil Burns, Past President

Phil Camill, Past President

Kimberly Smith, First Elected Past President

Tony Rosenbaum, Founding Board Member, Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Greg Mohr, Founding Treasurer

Stephanie Pfirman, Founding Board Member

Stephanie Kaza, Founding Board Member

David Blockstein, Founding Board Member

Bob Wilkinson, Co-founder of the first meeting at UC Santa Barbara with Bill Freudenburg

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AESS Member Presented with Prestigious Award

DePaul researcher recognized with Early Career Scientist Award from ISA

Dr. Jess Vogt pursues research on urban forest sustainability

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Dr. Jess Vogt of Chicago, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2018 International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) Early Career Scientist Award. This Award of Distinction is given to professionals showing exceptional promise in arboriculture research.

Click here for a video on Jess Vogt.

Vogt is an assistant professor of environmental science and studies at DePaul University. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science with an interest in urban social-ecological systems and sustainability science with an emphasis on urban forestry.

“Dr. Vogt has accomplished a great deal early in her career, impacting not only the research and practice of arboriculture, but increasing our understanding of how arboriculture and urban forestry interfaces with other professions,” says Paul Ries, ISA Board President. “Her enthusiasm for her students, for education, and for the fields she studies is evident and admirable.”

Vogt’s research lab at DePaul, the Lab for Urban Forestry in the Anthropocene (LUFA), enables her students to study how urban forests, the people who care for them, and communities are managing challenges like climate change. ”The Anthropocene is the new era that scientists say we’ve entered because of the massive impacts human activity has on the planet,” explains Vogt. ”LUFA studies how urban forests can contribute to the sustainability of communities in the Anthropocene. We have a website that we use to house publications and information about projects, so I have a place to point those who are asking for more information about my research and teaching.”

Colleagues say Vogt has an impressive compilation of industry research for her less than 10 years of study. When asked what she attributes to this achievement, Vogt responds, “The short answer is hard work, a bit of luck, and great collaborators and students.” She reflects over all the influences from her work as research assistant, her many mentors, and now most recently her Assistant Professorship at DePaul where she believes her personal mission and career goals align with that of the university. “DePaul provides great support through research grants and funding for student research assistants, which provide collaboration and allows me to accomplish much more than I would on my own,” she adds.

In regards to being chosen for this year’s Early-Career Scientist Award, Vogt says, “I am surprised, happy, humbled, honored, and grateful to have been selected for this award.”  She credits the support, encouragement, and collaboration of others for her being able to be as productive as she has been.  “I’ve been so fortunate during my early career to have been surrounded by an extensive network of mentors, colleagues, coauthors, and students.”

Vogt was recognized during the opening ceremony of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show on Sunday, August 5 in Columbus, Ohio.  “By recognizing individuals who have a positive impact on arboriculture, ISA helps provide role models and learning opportunities for all of us,” added Robert Bartlett Jr., chairman and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts. “We applaud Dr. Jess Vogt and all of the honorees for their contributions in research, education and mentoring.”

ISA serves more than 30,000 members and credential holders worldwide, and has been honoring members and industry professionals with the Awards of Distinction since 1963. The winners are selected by the ISA Awards Committee, a diverse group of experts in arboriculture, and are approved by ISA’s Board of Directors.


***Above press release provided to AESS by  International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).***

ABOUT ISA           

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages

the consumer education web site,, which fulfills the association’s mission to help educate the public about the importance and value of proper tree care. Also, as part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visit



The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company was founded in 1907 by Francis A. Bartlett and is the world’s leading scientific tree and shrub care company.  The organization’s current chairman, Robert A. Bartlett Jr., represents the third generation of Bartlett family management.  Bartlett has locations in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain. Services include pruning, insect and disease management, fertilization and soil care, cabling and bracing, tree lightning protection systems, and tree and stump removal. Its corporate offices are located in Stamford, Connecticut.  To find out more, visit the company’s web site at or call 1-877-BARTLETT (227-8538).

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Member Spotlight: Abby Lindsay

Informal housing on the outskirts of Lima

Informal housing on the outskirts of Lima

Abby Lindsay, AESS Board Member (June 2014-2016), is a Global Environmental Politics doctoral student at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. This summer she completed nine weeks of fieldwork in Peru. She traveled to seven cities and successfully completed 70 interviews with key stakeholders, which will contribute to her dissertation research about urban water governance.

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