The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Honors Awardees

by Valerie Banschbach | May 19, 2020

Contact: Carolyn Anthon 

Office: (202) 503-4638 

May 19, 2020

For immediate release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) has selected the three recipients of the 2020 AESS Awards to be recognized at a virtual ceremony during the AESS Annual Conference, July 15-17, 2020. Since 2010, these awards have recognized faculty, scholars and students in Environmental Studies and Sciences at all career stages who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service to the AESS community.

The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences is a scholarly and professional organization that promotes interdisciplinary research, teaching and service for faculty and students in the more than 1,000 Environmental academic programs nationwide and beyond.  

2020 Award Recipients

Dr. Kim Smith has been awarded the William R. Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award.  Named for an AESS founder, Dr. William R. Freudenburg, this Award seeks to recognize and advance the spirit of AESS co-founder, the late Professor William R. Freudenburg, who spawned a new generation of environmental professionals and academics who have pursued interdisciplinary research to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. Through this award, AESS honors members of the profession who have also devoted their lives to strengthening our field by mentoring the next generation of environmental scientists and activists.  Dr. Smith meets and exceeds those criteria.  She is a founding member and Past-President of AESS. She serves as Professor of Environmental Studies and Political Science at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota, a highly selective, private liberal arts college.  Professor Smith is a long-time and unfailing supporter of AESS.  She has attracted and supported new membership and new scholars in AESS by leading workshops on “How to Get Published” in Environmental Studies and Sciences, chairing the Nominations Committee and working tirelessly to improve AESS.  She is a top scholar in Environmental Studies and Political Science, and through her work has advanced our understanding of, and capacity to effectively address, political science and ethical issues in environmental studies and sciences.  Her six books and dozens of articles are widely recognized and award winning. We at AESS owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Smith.

Dr. Susan Caplow has been awarded the AESS Early Career Award. This Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and promising future potential for teaching, research, policy, or activism in any field of environmental science and studies.  Through this award, AESS honors individuals who are early in their careers, but have made significant contributions to knowledge, community and diversity in environmental studies and science, and have a career plan and trajectory that promise to continue and bolster such contributions.  Dr. Caplow combines a profound emphasis on each of the areas of teaching, research, and community engagement.  She founded one of only a handful of ESS programs in higher education in Alabama, and also developed an environmental education program that serves K-12 as part of her work as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montevallo, in Montevallo, Alabama.  She has made tremendous efforts to engage the community in sustainability events/projects, and also to institutionalize sustainability in the municipal government of Montevallo, Alabama. Meanwhile, Dr. Caplow has established an impressive publication record, with articles in environmental education, how engagement influences environmental values, and conservation evaluation. For several consecutive years, Dr. Caplow has shared her ESS Program development skills with other faculty at a “Lone Wolves” workshop at the annual AESS Conference, co-organized with colleagues.  Professor Caplow exemplifies the spirit of AESS in terms of her pedagogical, scholarly, and participatory approaches to ESS and has already proven herself a leader in the AESS community.

Our Best Student Paper Award winner is Ms. Hanna Morris.  The AESS Student Paper Award recognizes the potential in graduate student research to create new insights and impact in environmental science and studies, and to engage with environmental policy, practice, and education. Ms. Morris’s timely work on the Green New Deal, analyzes discursive strategies across the news media of discrediting the proposal through ‘othering’ millenials and thereby suppressing democratic deliberation.  Ms. Morris is a PhD Candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania and a current AESS member. She has garnered awards for her work from the International Environmental Communication Association and serves on the Board of Directors of that organization.  Ms. Morris has presented her work in numerous scholarly venues and her work has been highlighted by media ranging from VAN EYCK News to Impact Radio.  We look forward to her continued impact on the world of ESS and Environmental Communications, as well as participation in the AESS Community.

Dr. Susan Caplow

used with permission from S. Caplow

Ms. Hanna Morris

used with permission from H. Morris

Dr. Kim Smith

used with permission from K. Smith