AESS 2022 Conference Committee

Becky Rafter, Conference Chair

Becky Rafter is a 3rd year PhD student at Georgia Tech, focusing on energy and environmental policy. In her research-teaching-service commitments, she centers directly affected communities; inclusive student learning; and advancing the field of public policy and equity. She’s a member of two labs on campus: the Social Equity and Environmental Engineering Lab with Dr. Joe F. Bozeman III and the Data Science and Policy Lab with Dr. Omar I Asensio. She is a seasoned grassroots social justice leader and movement builder. And her academic work includes an MPA in international policy and nonprofit management (NYU), an MSEEM (GA Tech), and a BA in international relations and Spanish (Agnes Scott College).

Carolyn Anthon, AESS Managing Director

Carolyn has been involved in event planning for AESS since 2015. 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.

Danielle Andrews-Brown

Dr. Andrews-Brown is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture at Virginia State University. For over 14 years, she has conducted lab and field scale research as it pertains to water and soil quality. Presently, specific research has focused on carbon, nitrogen and emerging contaminants (mainly estrogens and antibiotics). More recently, research interests are centered on [informal & formal] science education. For 15 years, she has taught (or co-taught) a variety of middle school, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in residential and online science-based courses.

Valerie Banschbach

Valerie S. Banschbach, Ph. D., is a Past-President of AESS and member since 2010. She is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Portland, in Oregon, USA. Valerie has published scientific research articles on social insect behavior and conservation ecology. She has travelled with students for teaching and research in Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, and Uganda, as well as Vermont and Virginia.  Valerie has developed innovative pedagogy and curriculum in ESS and published that work in peer-reviewed articles and co-edited books on Pipeline Pedagogy: Teaching about Energy and Environmental Justice Contestations (in 2021, AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series, Springer Nature) and Animals in Environmental Education: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Curriculum and Pedagogy (in 2019, Palgrave MacMillan).

learn more about Valerie’s work

André Butler, Review Manager

André J. Butler joined the Civil and Urban Engineering Department at NYU as Industry Professor in August 2022.  Previously, he served as associate professor and chair of the Environmental and Civil Engineering Department at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he won two School of Engineering Teacher of the Year Awards (2003, 2017), as well as the Minority Mentor Trailblazer of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019).

Dr. Butler’s teaching interests and research activities focus primarily on air quality and respiratory health. Over the years, his small research group has worked to understand spatio-temporal distributions of ozone and particulate matter (PM) in Georgia, to improve access to clean drinking water in Malawi, Africa, and to design/implement low-cost measurement techniques for indoor PM in 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.

Pr. Naciba Chassagnon

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.

Naciba uses multidisciplinary tools to study societal impacts of ecological complexity. Her ongoing research and teaching projects are about finding inclusive methodologies to teach these challenges in the classroom.

Elly Engle, Diversity Committee

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.

Nancy Gift

Nancy is the Compton Chair of Sustainability at Berea College and chair of the Sustainability and Environmental Science Department.  She co-authored the text Environment (Wiley), and has written two books on suburban weeds (A Weed By Any Other Name, Beacon 2008; Good Weed, Bad Weed, St. Lynn’s 2012).

Samantha Hamlin

Barea College

Paul Jorgensen

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.

Chelsea Peters

Chelsea Peters is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Roanoke College. As a hydrologist, Dr. Peters’ interests broadly revolve around water resources, human adaptation, and climate change. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Richard Plate

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.

Mercedes Quesada-Embid

Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Advocacy at Catawba College. She is a transdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching interests spanning the social and natural sciences, always with a clear concern for ecological integrity, equitable political-economies, and the building of truly democratic societies through strong community capacity. 

She has served on the AESS programs committee since fall 2012, only taking a brief break during the intensity of the pandemic. She values working closely with colleagues from across the country and engaging with fellow collaborators within the discipline in research-strong, meaningful ways. LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. QUESADA-EMBID

Valerie Rountree

Valerie is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands.  In previous years, Valerie served as the Conference Program Chair and now serves as a general Conference Committee Member and 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.

AESS Program Committee

All proposals are reviewed by a program committee. The 2023 committee includes:

Becky Rafter (Chair), Georgia Tech

Valerie Banschbach, University of Portland

André Butler, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Naciba Chassagnon, ESSCA School of Management, France

Elly Engle, McDaniel College

Nancy Gift, Barea College

Samantha Hamilin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Paul Jorgensen, UT Rio Grande Valley, AESS Membership Committee

Nirav Patel, Cornell

Chelsea Peters, Roanoke College

Richard Plate, University of Central Florida

Mercedes Quesada-Embid, Catawba College

Val Roundtree, University of Redlands, Immediate Past Conference Chair

AESS Board

Kat Owens – President

Karin Warren – President-Elect

Valerie Rountree – Secretary

David Hassenzahl – Treasurer

Clara Fang – Student Board Member

Lissy Goralnik – Board Member

Katherine Hasnain – Student Board Member

Dave Murphy – Board Member

Theresa Selfa – Board Member

Zipangani Vokhiwa – Board Member

Teresa Lloro – JESS Editor-in-Chief