AESS 2022 Conference Committee

Valerie Rountree, Conference Chair

Dr. Valerie Rountree

Valerie is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands. This is the 5th year she has served as the Conference Program Chair and is also serving in her first year as the AESS Board Secretary. Her academic areas of interest include human-environmental relationships, renewable energy policy, climate change mitigation, and stakeholder engagement and decision-making. Outside of academia, she enjoys playing outdoors with her two young kids, doing yoga, and playing board games.

Carolyn Anthon, AESS Managing Director

Carolyn is in her seventh year of conference planning for AESS. She is the Association’s main contact and manager. She fully embodies the cross-disciplinary approach of AESS, having a background in English literature as well as environmental science and policy. She is passionate about sustainability, good food, good reads, bucket-lists, family, and getting outside.

Andre' Butler, Review Manager

Dr. André J. Butler has taught at Mercer University since 2000, and was elected chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering in 2013.  While at Mercer, Dr. Butler has not only taught a multitude of courses, but has also supervised many undergraduate and graduate research projects, published peer-reviewed research in both technical journals and conference proceedings, as well as participated in service-learning trips to Malawi, Africa and the Dominican Republic.

He has been happily married since 2000 to his wife Taifa, and has a 17-year old daughter named Jasmine, whom he counts as his greatest accomplishment.

Naciba Chassagnon, Review Manager

Naciba Haned-Chassagnon is a full Professor of Economics and management at ESSCA School of Management in Lyon, France. Her research and teaching interests are responsible innovation, environmental economics, leadership and corporate social responsibility.

Elly Engle, Field Trips

Elyzabeth (Elly) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at McDaniel College in central Maryland, where she teaches courses on environmental justice, food systems, and sustainability. She also coordinates McDaniel’s new agrifood programs, including student-led organic gardens and a food forest. Elyzabeth received her dual-title PhD in Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment from Penn State University in 2018.

Paul Jorgensen, Sponsorship

Paul D. Jorgensen is an associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Programs & Community Engagement at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas. His research is at the nexus of political money, public policy, and environmental politics. He has published widely in the International Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Policy Studies Journal, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, and other journals and edited volumes.

Nirav Patel, Field Trips

Dr. Patel is a trained natural and social scientist with a PhD from Cornell University and has expertise in dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH). His research encompasses teaching as research in its emphasis on experiential learning on Food-Energy-Water nexus in the Anthropocene as a universal point of introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of planetary and global health.

Richard Plate, Sponsorship

Richard Plate joined the University of Central Florida in August 2016 as lecturer in Environmental Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies. A central Florida native, Dr. Plate holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida and degrees in English and Chemical Engineering from Clemson University. He has taught courses in environmental science, environmental ethics and politics, marine resource management, and writing. He has authored numerous articles on the human dimensions of natural resource management and co-authored a textbook on sustainability. His research focuses on how people learn and make decisions about complex social-ecological systems.

Becky Rafter, Sponsorship

Becky Rafter is a PhD student in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, specializing in energy, equity, the environment, and nuclear harm reduction. As a researcher, she uses advanced mixed methodologies and follows the lead of communities directly affected by systemic policy discrimination. As a grad student instructor, she follows evidence-based practices of teaching and learning and decolonized approaches to help students develop analyses and move quickly to mastery. As a transdisciplinarist and generalist, Becky is affiliated with several labs and projects across the institute and throughout the U.S. South. She is a seasoned social justice nonprofit leader with demonstrated success in advancing equity, co-designing community-based research and programs, and mobilizing resources. Becky has an MPA in international policy and nonprofit management from NYU, a master’s in sustainable energy and environmental management (MSEEM) from GA Tech, and a bachelor’s in international relations and Spanish from Agnes Scott College.

AESS Program Committee

All proposals are reviewed by a program committee. The 2022 committee includes:

Valerie Rountree(Chair), AESS Secretary

Andre’ Butler, Mercer

Naciba Chassagnon, ESSCA School of Management, France

Elly Engle, McDaniel College

Paul Jorgensen, The University of Texas Rio Grand Valley

Nirav Patel, Cornell University


Richard Plate, University of Central Florida

Becky Rafter, Georgia Tech

AESS Board

Kat Owens – President

Mike Finewood – President-Elect

Valerie Rountree – Secretary

Richard Groover – Treasurer

Clara Fang – Student Board Member

Diamond Holloman – Student Board Member

Lissy Goralnik – Board Member

Dave Murphy – Board Member

Erin Pischke – Board Member

Karin Warren – Board Member

Teresa Lloro – JESS Editor-in-Chief*

*not an elected Board position