Educational Sustainability Doctoral Student Directory and Biographies

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Urbain Boudjou
Urbain Boudjou
Oak Creek, Wisconsin

M.S.: Environmental Engineering (Milwaukee School of Engineering)

Diploma of Advance Technician: Equipment/Civil Engineering (Institut National Polytechnique, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast)

Urbain Boudjou, an environmental engineer, is striving to create more links between education and sustainable development. One of his goals is to reform practices, bringing ideas about environmental sustainability into educational and business settings, and leading others to embrace those principles. He wants to help organizations accept and integrate sustainable practices into their business’ strategies. This will enable them to meet sustained development over time, be respectful of a system of social and environmental values, and merge with a logic of continuous progress. To achieve that goal, Urbain has enrolled in the Educational Sustainability doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP).

Urbain’s aspirations in Educational Sustainability was shaped through a successful career, which for a year involved a passion for teaching science to secondary school students in Milwaukee and Waukesha. His classes were oriented towards sustainability, with the desire to have the students contribute to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015 by the 193 member countries of the United Nations. These goals cover areas such as health, poverty, equal opportunities, academic success, diversity, and climate change. The teaching class experience was challenging but ultimately rewarding. Urbain’s passion for sustainability in the context of education became a reality, which propelled him, naturally, to enroll at UWSP.

Before teaching, Urbain served the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) for 17 years as a project manager, where he completed complex and innovative projects unique to the MMSD’s 100-year history. These projects, meant for the public involvement, identified environmental risks, sustainable solutions and long-term systematic changes. His projects have inspired two technical papers: Effect of Climate Change on Sewer Overflows, and Urban Runoff as a Public Health Concern. This professional work produced comprehensive solutions that benefit Milwaukee’s community and local industrial users. Urbain truly appreciates the independent work and the trust the MMSD gave him.

Additionally, Urbain worked right after college in Africa for France Volontaires. For this NGO, he assisted municipalities’ capacity to plan and implement micro-infrastructure projects to reduce inequality in low-income neighborhoods in Côte d’Ivoire. This rigorous program, funded by the World Bank, was soon replicated in other African countries.

Urbain is also the author and co-author of eight technical papers, and has presented his findings and research at The Water Environmental Federation (WEF) and The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) conferences and seminars.

When he is not working, Urbain enjoys walking his Border Collie, hiking through parks, visiting new cities and countries, and reading books from the local library with his teenage daughter.
Marie Decora
Marie Decora
Crescent City, California

M.S.: Transnational Human Service (UW-Oshkosh)

B.S.: Human Service Leadership (UW-Oshkosh)

Marie Decora's educational journey has led her into the human service field where she has become passionate about effecting change, hoping to create balance, hope, opportunity and sustainability for individuals and their communities. Marie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with her master's specializing in human service leadership in 2017. As a lifelong learner and an agent of change, Marie has served in the human service field for many years providing services and volunteering throughout many nonprofit sectors such as criminal justice, rehabilitation and social services. Marie has specialized in counseling, low income housing, community gardens, food pantries and the criminal justice system. Marie believes social and environmental issues have created large scale consequences for the human race as well as the environment. Marie has seen the need to act and do what she can to assist in transforming systems, creating sustainable communities and assisting vulnerable populations move forward toward sustainability.

Currently Marie is working in the restorative justice field, a field she believes is benefiting individuals, families and communities. Marie has a great love for transforming conventional punitive justice systems by implementing a restorative healing approach focusing on improving the emotional and physical wellness of individuals, victims and communities. In Marie’s current role as a community outreach counselor for the Yurok Tribal Wellness Court program, she assists participants in creating specific, measurable, attainable relevant and timely goals. Marie meets regularly with participants to empower and ensure they are meeting their treatment recovery goals. Oftentimes Marie collaborates with organizations and works interdependently to assist participants to complete tasks and achieve goals by providing resources, assisting participants to clarify and target behaviors or goals they want to work on to improve their emotional and physical wellness with the key component focusing on substance use recovery services.

As a global citizen Marie feels educational sustainability means effecting positive change in our communities, our environment and the world by acting proactively and sharing knowledge to bring all life forms as well as the earth to wellness and sustainability. Marie feels if we unite and all do our part to change failing outdated systems, protect our environment and educate the world about the importance of sustainability, it will bring hope to the world and possibly change the inequitable distribution of equal access to well-being, wealth, health, justice, privileges and opportunity to the world.
Chelsea Dresen
Chelsea Dresen
Baraboo, Wisconsin

M.S.: Organizational Leadership (Winona State University)

B.A.: Communication Studies - Leadership and Advocacy (Winona State University)

Chelsea believes that a global and connected world is a sustainable world. Stemming from her own passion for travel and transformative cross-cultural experiences, she is interested in conducting research in the student travel and volunteer tourism domain. Chelsea believes that travel is a powerful tool for international development, and she envisions a world where sustainable travel programs are an integral part of every student’s education and host communities around the world experience sustainable change through these cross-cultural partnerships.

Prior to her doctoral studies, Chelsea obtained her B.A. and M.S. at Winona State University. During that time, Chelsea studied abroad in Cape Coast, Ghana, and she also completed a leadership and team development course in New Zealand. More recently, she spent a summer working and volunteering in Tanzania with student travel and volunteer programs. All of these experiences fostered her passions for experiential education, sustainable community development work, and building cultural bridges. Professionally, Chelsea has worked and volunteered with a variety of organizations focused on transformative cross-cultural travel experiences, including African Impact, Rustic Pathways, and Legacy International’s Global Youth Village summer program. She currently serves as a volunteer team leader with Xperitas, and her most recent trip involved co-leading a group of college students on a community partnership program to the Quileute reservation in La Push, Washington.

Chelsea’s prior academic and professional experiences will inform her future sustainability work. She strongly believes in the power of intercultural experiences and the relationships that develop within the context of cross-cultural exchange and service programs, and she hopes to pave the way through research and evaluation for current and future programs to work sustainably and ethically for communities, for the environment, and for the global world.
Kimberly Hankins
Kimberly Hankins
Crystal Lake, Illinois

M.S.: Environmental Science (Johns Hopkins University)

B.A.: Environmental Policy (Hartwick College, Oneonta, N.Y.)

Nontraditional education has always been a thread throughout Kim Hankins’s career as an environmental professional. Each step in Kim’s journey has provided her with critical skills to understand the power of educating for change. She has always believed that her role is to open the door to something new or misunderstood. She equips others with the information they need to lead change and implement sustainable principles in the workplace and the classroom. 

Kim’s career began at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she learned to analyze regulation, interpret and develop presentations based on controversial new legislation, and create partnerships across the country with industry and the federal government. After a move to northeastern Pennsylvania, she was hired as the executive director of a watershed association. This job provided key nonprofit experience, which is something she uses continuously to this day. She then moved to Ontario, where she continued her nonprofit work in partnership with the city of Toronto. Creating environmental change in an international setting with a completely different governing structure was an invaluable experience.

Kim’s time in Illinois has been the most impactful on her career. She started at McHenry County College as an adjunct instructor where she helped students make the connections to their everyday choices through simple environmental science immersive experiences.  In 2012, the college wrote a sustainability strategic plan, one of the first of its kind for a community college. The plan identified three areas of action: green campus, green community and green curriculum. Kim was hired as the first sustainability director at McHenry County College in April 2013 and was tasked with implementing this plan. It was clear that this was not only her dream job, but the culmination of her career choices to date.

As a doctoral student in the Educational Sustainability program, Kim is interested in researching two-year approaches to sustainability education in community college settings. This body of research would provide students an opportunity to know more about the programs available so they are able to; and, allow two-year schools to share resources, success and misses. Through her work and research, she hopes to provide students with the knowledge they need to align their needs and interests with existing programs and make more informed choices and understand what impact their career will have on the world. Kim also wants to provide two-year school administrators with a space to share resources, successes and misses. This research will fill a critical gap in the educational sustainability literature and make a lasting impact on the future of community colleges.

Kim was born and raised near Philadelphia, but has lived it the Midwest for the last 20 years and calls it home. Kim enjoys being outdoors and kayaking, swimming, golfing and hiking with her husband and two sons.
Rochelle Biegel Hoffman
Rochelle Biegel Hoffman
Augusta, Wisconsin

M.Ed.: Professional Development (UW- Eau Claire)

B.A.: Education Secondary Social Studies (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

Turtles are one of the earliest memories as a child for Rochelle Biegel Hoffman. For as long as she can remember, she always had a bucket–or rather buckets–of turtles, frogs, tadpoles and any other crawling things she could find, sitting on the back step of our family farmhouse. Rochelle grew up on our family cranberry marsh, generation five. Despite not particularly liking the taste, cranberry juice may just run in her veins. She has always found peace in the smell of wetland swamp, and knew she wanted to be a part of this work. When Rochelle's parents expanded their operations in 2012 to develop new hybrid cranberry vines, she packed up her cul-de-sac house in Kansas City and moved into a one-bathroom farmhouse with her husband and two babies to grow those hybrid cranberries. 

Rochelle just finished a year teaching high school Social Studies in the KCMO school district. Despite coming from a long line of teachers, she quickly realized that year her interest in teaching was at the college level. By day, she and her husband renovated, planted and tended new cranberry plantings, and by night Rochelle worked on her master’s degree in education. Rochelle got a position at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, working with college access and college success programing. Blugold Beginnings gave her the opportunity to grow as an educator, and help her gain valuable experience.

First generation, low income, and students of color are outperformed by their white counterpart in every high impact practice at UWEC. We know these high impact practices–student research, campus employment, internships, study abroad, immersion experience–are valuable and transformative in a liberal arts education. Rochelle's work in Blugold Beginnings has focused on increasing the rates of high impact practices participated in by first generation, low income, and students of color–with an emphasis in undergraduate student research. Providing equitable educational opportunities and pathways for all students, in particularly important to the values of our program, and herself. 

As her role on the cranberry farm has changed over the years, Rochelle become more involved with developing new growing and management techniques for sustainability on the cranberry marsh. Rochelle has become more involved and developed relationships with partners in the horticulture department at UW to help with the development of low-input cranberry vines. As research opportunities have materialized for myself, she has found herself diving deeper into sustainability efforts. The same can be true for undergraduate students that are provided the opportunity to conduct research. Students who may not have otherwise considered careers of interests in sustainability are able to learn the research process and develop a passion for sustainability through their research. 
Rose Holland
Rose Holland
Tomah, Wisconsin

M.T.S.: Theological Studies (St. Norbert College)

B.B.A.: Finance (UW-Milwaukee)

Rose Holland has served the military community for over 30 years in a variety of roles as a volunteer and family program staff. Through this work, she has seen many inequities imposed upon military families. Her passion to assist military families is driven by her own experience as a military spouse of 35 years and has shaped the service she provides.

Rose became an activist for military families in the area of employment, providing corporate and local organizations insights into the military world and helping the community understand the hidden talent pool of military families. In her current professional role as a senior human resource specialist (Human Resource Development) of the Strategy Plans and Employee Development Division for the Civilian Human Resources Agency, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center Fort McCoy, Rose continues to work with the military community. She seeks inclusion of all staff members and provides opportunities to grow as a professional and connect. Rose provides a strategic approach to meet the needs of the organization, customers and employees, with the goal of providing an environment where all succeed. She works with the organization to develop meaningful programs to build both technical competence and interpersonal skills in employees while providing a focus on connecting and servicing customers.

Rose was drawn to the Educational Sustainability program because of the emphasis placed on transforming systems in order to make a sustainable change. One of the key focuses of sustainability is the ideal of an equitable society, which is one of her core beliefs and something missing for many military families. She believes communities want to include, understand and support all members. She trusts that complex problems can be solved with holistic solutions that involve all stakeholders. As Rose looks at the big picture and the problems facing our world, she has confidence that families, businesses and communities are capable of rising to the challenges and making a difference.
Jessica Kant
Jessica Kant
Brentwood, California

M.S.: Speech-Language Pathology (UW-Stevens Point)

B.S.: Communicative Disorders (UW-Stevens Point)

Jessica Kant was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with nature as her playground. She freely explored the land and participated in immersive activities like Girl Scouts and 4-H that instilled worldly knowledge, curiosity, self-determination, and independence. This inspired her to seek out a helping career to assist others overcome communicative and cognitive challenges and become capable, expressive individuals who can relate to each other and the world.

Jessica has worked as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) across medical and educational settings. She began her career as an elementary and high school SLP in northern Wisconsin where she focused on delivering naturalistic early childhood special-education services in community settings. After moving to California, Jessica worked for Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, one of only 21 remaining public health systems and safety-net facilities in the state. She provided rehabilitative communication, cognition, and swallowing services to underserved adults following medical events that often resulted from drug overdose, persistent homelessness, incarceration, or fear of accessing health care; and also completed multidisciplinary assessments of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She currently evaluates and treats children with communication impairments at the Brentwood Union School District special education preschool program.

Childhood communication and mental-health disorders that require special education services are on the rise and Jessica is interested in examining early familial interactions and educational practices to better understand this shift. This knowledge could identify barriers and inspire parents, educators, doctors, policy makers, and others to promote more simplistic and explorative early childhood experiences that better support communication and brain development and result in a reduced need for specialized instruction. Jessica believes a sustainable world is one that fosters an affinity for life with intentional and meaningful connectedness to other living beings and nature as the cornerstone of development; something that everyone is capable of giving and receiving despite ability or status.
Erin Lee
Erin Lee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

M.S.: Adult Education and Administrative Leadership (UW-Milwaukee)
B.A.: Biology and Spanish (Kalamazoo College)

Erin Lee is a community-based educator working mainly in non-formal educational contexts, teaching about asthma management. She is currently a clinical research coordinator at the Medical College of Wisconsin leading research in homes and in childcare centers on indoor air quality and its relation to asthma. Additionally, she is a board member of a local nonprofit, Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies, that engages the community in supporting patients and their caregivers with asthma education and environmental assessments.

Erin’s research interests lie in sustainable approaches to education and community building. She seeks to shift her perspective to the asthma challenge from outcomes-based medical research toward system’s-based problem solving. Education within healthcare contexts should be reimagined to facilitate transformative learning and a sustainable commitment to equity, social justice and community while fostering ecological literacy and the broad understanding of relationships to natural systems.

When she is not working on asthma education partnerships and programming, Erin walks in the park daily with her dog and builds community among neighbors and other dog walkers. She grows plants for food and flowers, indoors and out, and is always planning the next warm water SCUBA adventure.
Charles Loftland
Charles Loftland
Escondido, California

M.A.: Urban Sustainability (Antioch University-Los Angeles)

B.S.: Workforce Education and Development (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale)

Charles Loftland has been a community change agent leader for over 25 years. He has been involved in educational consulting, workforce development and community organizing. His passion for sustainability education has taken him through multiple and, sometimes, parallel careers in the military, nonprofit and private sectors.

Retired from the United States Air Force, Charles worked as a construction manager specializing in water systems and hydra-purification. This experience led to much of his interest in sustainable infrastructure and planning. While in the Air Force, he co-founded of the Uplift Institute, a non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability through education, economics, regenerative infrastructure and social equity. Charles has partnered the organization in clean neighborhood campaigns in Philadelphia, voter registration drives in St Louis, and clean water initiatives in Flint, Michigan. An additional venture he was active in was the launch of the Uplift, Inc. Personnel and Staffing Services. His company focused on workforce development and employment placement in economically impacted urban communities in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. After retiring from the Air Force, Charles entered the veteran’s transition assistance realm and worked for Hire America Heroes in Seattle, and then Wounded Warrior Project in San Diego as an employment coach and career developer. More recently, he was director of Military Partnerships at Alliant International University before returning to Uplift Institute as its current executive director.

The re-imagining of the Uplift Institute into a sustainability education organization is founded in Charles’ vision to bring a balance of justice through equity, economics and environment stewardship. Charles’ goal is to facilitate sustainability education for global populations while providing them a platform to define and self-determine their communities through practically applied projects. As an educator, he seeks to impact community development through establishing a low-carbon footprint learning institution that builds sustainable spaces and fights for all justices, globally.
Rachael Rost
Rachael Rost
Lawrence, Kansas

M.A.: Biology (Miami University of Ohio)

B.A.: Psychology (University of Kansas)

Rachael Rost is the education specialist at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center in Kansas, where she has worked for seven years. In this time, Rachael has taught over 2,000 environmental education classes to more than 100,000 people. Her mission is to increase environmental literacy within her community, which she achieves through hands-on citizen science, live animal interactions, and inquiry-based learning. Rachael was selected as a 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. She continues her work with National Geographic by serving on their Kansas Advisory Council and is a facilitator for their Educator Certification Program. In 2018, Rachael was named a top 30 Under 30 environmental educator with the North American Association for Environmental Education and was also chosen as an “AZA Hero” with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She is a member of the 2019-2020 class of Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders and is currently part of a team working on a large-scale ranger recognition campaign entitled “Rangers Deserve More.”

Rachael’s personal philosophy is to appreciate the beauty of and value in everything around you—from the smallest insect to the tallest tree. Once you connect to an idea, species, or place, do everything you can to preserve and protect it. Through this doctoral program, Rachael hopes to create an environmental professional development and mentorship program for others in her community, particularly teenagers and educators, so that they can become the informed, ecologically-literate citizenry our world so desperately needs. In her spare time, she can be found reading, traveling, and enjoying the company of her husband, two cats and two dogs.
Jennifer Santry
Jennifer Santry
Sequim, Washington

M.A.: Nonprofit Management (Regis University)

B.S.: Zoology (University of Oklahoma)

Jennifer Santry has felt a deep connection to nature since childhood. She has a strong sense of place and thrives with the ocean at her door and mountains in her backyard. She attributes this nature connection to her Oglala Lakota and Choctaw ancestry, and to her outdoor and service-learning experiences during college. Nature connectedness has had a profound impact on her life including pursuing a B.S. in zoology and travelling to Panama, Thailand and Equatorial Guinea to study primates as a college student. These incredible experiences fueled her love of nature leading her to teach environmental and outdoor science programs to youth. After completing a master’s degree in nonprofit management, she spent over 10 years working in the nonprofit sector managing waste reduction and sustainable food programs including student-run farms, community gardens, and composting and recycling programs in local schools. In 2012, she found her calling in higher education as an academic advisor and sustainability instructor. She currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and teaches Sustainable Agriculture and Permaculture Design courses for Peninsula College and UMASS Amherst.

Much of Jen’s work has served a common purpose: connecting people to nature. Jen’s desire to support and contribute to meaningful nature experiences is what sparked her interest and excitement to pursue an Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability. She believes the path forward requires a team effort on both local and global scales. Engaging in work that empowers individuals, especially college students, to create positive change is the work that makes Jen come alive. Nearly all the teaching, community development projects, and service learning work she has pursued are grounded in this passion.

Jen is interested in researching best practices for fostering nature-based connections in college students. She plans to research pedagogies that engage students in nature connectedness and stewardship, such as deep ecology, environmental identity, sense of place, biophilia, and hope-based learning. She believes these are significant tools that inspire empathy and personal responsibility, critical for building future sustainability leaders.
Heather Stricker-Orlovsky
Heather Stricker-Orlovsky
Rhinelander, Wisconsin

M.S.: Conservation Biology (Central Michigan University)

B.S.: Animal Ecology (Iowa State University)

Heather Stricker-Orlovsky has spent the last 15 years working as a wildlife and conservation biologist, with specialties in forest ecology, large carnivores, geographic information systems, and biodiversity. Heather has worked for various universities, state agencies and tribal governments, and is currently in a joint research position between the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

Noticing a lack of impact and disconnect between scientific research and society, Heather began to search for stronger meaning in her work to find ways to foster relationships between people and the natural world. Prompted by her personal transition into motherhood, she became driven to improve access to nature for children and communities in order to foster this important relationship. Heather found grounding and a place for her ideas in the Educational Sustainability program at UWSP. Heather intends to effectively combine her expertise in ecology and conservation with her experiences in indigenous cultures, incorporating aspects of place-based learning, traditional ecological knowledge and other cultural ties that relate people to their environment. Heather intends to research various educational pedagogies to identify the most effective and engaging techniques to synthesize them into a comprehensive educational paradigm that benefits humans and the planet by creating inspired learners with full capacity to tackle complex environmental issues. While she has a strong interest in childhood relationships to nature, Heather envisions outcomes of her work extending to adult and in-service educational and scientific communities, creating strong leadership in environmental sustainability. 

Heather resides in northern Wisconsin with her husband, two young sons, two dogs, and a fish. While the family loves spending time in the woods and waters of the Northwoods, Heather and her family also spend lots of time exploring the fields and farms of Iowa where Heather grew up.
Deborah Chabi
Deborah Chabi
East Dundee, Illinois

M.A.: Secondary Science Education (Roosevelt University)

B.S.: Biological Science (Northern Illinois University)

Being an educator is something that chose Deborah Chabi. She began her teaching profession as a preschool teacher as she did not want to be away from her young daughter. That job changed her life. Learning how to make lesson plans and create activities to keep her classes engaged often included being outside working on science experiments. Lessons learned from preschool children are used today with Deborah’s high school students at Dundee Crown High School where she taught biology, physical and environmental science. Additionally, teaching environmental science as given Deborah a love for the Fox River.

The reason the Ed.D. program is attractive to her is that the breadth of study will allow her to take her natural interests and abilities to connect with broad set areas of her life. This will include teaching classes and her continued work with Friends of the Fox River and the McNamee Foundation. Another reason for her deep love of northern Wisconsin is due to her grandparents who live in Stevens Point and are the reason that Deb has come to love Northern Wisconsin. Her grandfather, Bob Williams was a professor at UW-Stevens Point and an influence in her becoming a teacher and her desire for creating a sustainable world.

While reading Orr’s book, Earth in Mind, Deborah really connected with the quote “all education is environmental education” (Orr, 12). As an environmental educator Deb looks at life through the lens of deep ecology. All living things have value. How will the Earth look in 20 or 30 years? Deb’s thoughts revolve around animal sentience, the Earth and soil, local politics, and the notion of patriotism not being tied to the love of the land currently, as well as new climate and sustainability change makers.
Tiphani Davis
Tiphani Davis
Morgantown, West Virginia

M.F.A.: Writing-Creative Non-Fiction (Chatham University)

B.S.: Philosophy (University of Louisville)

Tiphani Davis has worked in education for over a decade, both as an educator and a writer, having begun her teaching career in Prince George County, Maryland, with The New Teacher Project. She has written for Students First and Education Post applying a critical lens to the state of education in rural communities and is currently teaching 12th grade English, Journalism, and Photojournalism at Morgantown High School in Morgantown, West Virginia. Tiphani was recently awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Arts in Teaching award and will be travelling to the Netherlands in January 2020 to research sustainability education policy.

Tiphani earned her B.S. from the University of Louisville in Philosophy and her M.F.A from Chatham University in Creative Writing. She is currently residing in Deschutes National Forest in Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs, researching sustainability education in the national forests. Tiphani seeks to identify key environmental education policies and sustainability education programs in schools, both nationally and internationally, specifically in vocational schools and examine how educator professional developments are designed to include sustainability education.
Amanda Goetsch
Amanda Goetsch
Johnson Creek, Wisconsin

M.S.: Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, Business and Social Responsibility (UW-Madison)

B.S.: Biological Aspects of Conservation, Environmental Science (UW-Madison)

As a born and raised Wisconsinite, Amanda Goetsch was nourished by the “Wisconsin Idea,” the premise that a university education should stretch beyond the walls on campus to benefit our communities for the common good.

In 2008 she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation and Environmental Studies. She went on to graduate in 2012 with her master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development with a certificate in Business, Environment and Social Responsibility. During her time as a graduate student she worked with the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and their Green Master’s Program, a points-based recognition and sustainability benchmarking tool for businesses.

After graduate school she worked as a sustainability director in the private sector before returning to the University of Wisconsin System to oversee the UW Extended Campus undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in sustainability.

Amanda cares deeply for her family and community and enjoys time spent outdoors, on the tennis court, in and on the water, live music, time with her husband, dogs and more! Her hope is to utilize what she learns in the Ed. D. in Educational Sustainability program along with hers experience in sustainable system transformations to inspire students to be the changemakers needed to create a more sustainable and just future for everyone.
Sara Goldberg
Sara Goldberg
Mosinee, Wisconsin

M.S.: Curriculum & Instruction-Global Studies Focus (UW-Madison)

B.A.: Spanish (UW-Stevens Point)

Sara Goldberg is a bilingual teacher in the Wausau School District. She just finished her 11th year as an educator in the Wisconsin public schools. She previously has taught for the Milwaukee Public Schools and the Wautoma Area School District. Whether in a rural or urban setting, her work has focused on supporting marginalized student populations, reaching and connect with at-risk students, and ensuring the inclusion of diverse student bodies and their families. She realizes the importance of culturally- and linguistically responsive, student-driven, goal-oriented, authentic learning experiences that place value on students’ funds of knowledge.

This doctoral program directly aligns with her previous work professionally, as well as her personal interests and perspective. Her graduate work through UW-Madison in the area of Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Global Studies was dedicated to designing alternative methods for teaching and learning. Emphasis was on transnational projects that transcended the four walls of the classroom to connect students with global peers through cross-curricular projects centered around language and literacy, art, poetry, social studies, culture and the environment through the mode of technology.

She currently is a facilitator for the transnational program Global Story Bridges in conjunction with UW-Madison and other sites around the world. Through this doctoral program, she looks forward to homing in on her interests related to educational equity, linguistic and cultural preservation, access for underserved, marginalized populations, a humanistic approach toward people and environment, and the development of global citizenship with a respect toward local spaces.
Gloria L. Hess
Gloria L. Hess
Chicago, Illinois

M.S.: Communication (Northwestern University)

B.S.: Speech: Radio-Television-Film & Sociology (Northwestern University)

Across a career spanning corporate, academic, and nonprofit sectors, Gloria has enjoyed roles in higher education administration, alumni and career services, employer relationship development, community services management, business communications, and marketing.

Her most recent leadership role was as vice president of career services for an online school with multiple ground campuses serving nontraditional students. In that post, she designed and led a university-wide transformation of its career services, resulting in improved outcomes and higher user-satisfaction ratings. Prior to that, she launched an employer relations unit for a new career services office serving alumni, part-time and executive MBA students; then, for another master’s program for working professionals, she established career development services where none had existed before for its students and alumni.

Today, Gloria currently serves as a board-certified career coach with a private practice based in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout the past two decades as a career services professional and career development expert, Gloria has worked with several post-graduate experienced-hire professionals, nontraditional adult learners, and clients who have encountered barriers to gainful employment. Reflecting upon their stories, she notes that their circumstances varied greatly, but common interconnected themes of discrimination and displacement emerged. It was the running memory of those stories that ultimately inspired her to make a difference on a broader scale beyond providing personalized assistance one client at a time or for the constituency of a particular institution. But having the “field experience” wasn’t enough to effectively make that transition from services provider to industry thought leader and change agent. She needed a doctoral degree.

After years of contemplating which doctorate to pursue and which doctoral program to attend, it was ultimately the intersection of her three primary interests—employment, education, and the environment that brought Gloria to the Ed.D. Program in Educational Sustainability at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. It is through the Brundtland Commission’s far-reaching definition of sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” that Gloria applies her understanding of educational sustainability—using education as a tool to facilitate the meeting of those needs. With this doctorate, she specifically intends to transform continuing education within the career development field to better facilitate the employment sustainability of vulnerable populations.

While Gloria is most passionate about helping older workers and job seekers overcome ageism in the workplace, she is also considering that her doctoral studies could extend to helping other vulnerable workers and job seekers, as well, including those from the disability community, those who are (or soon will be) practically displaced due to advancements in technology, and those who are (or soon will be) geographically displaced due to consequences of climate change.

Born a “Cheesehead,” and having been raised on a dairy farm outside of Wonewoc, Gloria is thrilled to return to her proud Wisconsin roots. With a teenage son who is very clearly on a path toward biology and environmental science, she imagines that it is not outside the realm of possibility that they could very well become the first multigenerational graduates of this new program at UW-Stevens Point!
Katherine Huang
Katherine Huang
Dublin, California

M.A.: Teaching, Secondary Science Education (University of California-Irvine)

B.S.: Biology, Field Biology (UCLA)

Katherine Huang’s appreciation for the natural world, teaching and the natural sciences stems from her parents. As a child, she was fortunate to have positive experiences that solidified her connection to southwestern culture and the environment. She appreciates her Taiwanese American heritage and makes frequent trips back to the island of Taiwan.

Katherine believes that educational sustainability involves active participation in various educational environments to understand how people can better live in a sustainable environment and strives to make a difference. She is motivated by the Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations as educational sustainability includes all aspects of society.

As a high school science teacher, Katherine has a passion for engaging her students in research and teaching science by doing science. Her students exit her courses with tools and skills necessary to actively pursue fields in science in order to solve the many challenges the world faces. Katherine strives is to provide the necessary skills and strategies required so that their students understand the science behind climate change and sustainability.

Currently, Katherine is investigating how current technological and educational tools, such as phone apps, virtual reality and augmented experiences can engage individuals on daily sustainability practices. Many individuals use technology, such as the Apple Watch and the Fitbit, monitor daily individual health. Adding another layer of sustainability would enhance sustainability engagement. Technology has the immense power to collect data, and individuals should develop ways to engage in that data. Virtual and augmented reality have mostly been associated as an entertainment and gaming platform and many young people are in that space. Katherine would like to explore how VR and technology can be used as a learning tool in educational settings.
Rebecca John
Rebecca John
St. Paul, Minnesota

M.B.A.: Marketing (Augsburg University)

M.A.: Organizational Management (University of Phoenix)

B.A.: Communication and Journalism (University of St. Thomas)

Rebecca John serves as chief operations officer for Augsburg University in Minneapolis. In this role, she oversees the facilities management, finance, and marketing functions of the university in support of the university’s mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers and responsible leaders. Rebecca also leads the university’s campus design and space use planning committees and chaired the institution’s 2016 campus master plan taskforce.

Prior to joining Augsburg in 2010, Rebecca served in leadership roles in financial, high-tech, and communications consulting organizations. Her professional experience includes work with Fortune 500 corporations, PR and web consulting agencies, and high-growth start-up organizations. She also has more than 20 years of experience in teaching, having served as an adjunct instructor at Augsburg, the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and the Art Institutes International in Minneapolis. Earlier in her career, Rebecca served as a high school math teacher in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa.

In pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability, Rebecca seeks to help develop programs in higher education that connect students to their locations and to the natural world in ways that advance equity, social justice, and sustainable practices. These are topics that require action at the local level, and Rebecca believes that higher education can have a significant positive impact on this work.

As a teacher and leader in education, Rebecca knows the importance of validating students’ potential, helping them recognize and steward their gifts, and fostering their agency to create the change they want to see in the world – change that can create opportunities for others to flourish as well. It is through the pursuit of these educational outcomes – for students of all backgrounds – that she seeks to build a more sustainable world.
Rose Kilmurray
Rose Kilmurray
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

M.S. Ed.: Professional Development-Literacy Emphasis (UW-Stout)

B.S.: Special Education, Learning Disabilities and Intellectual Disabilities (UW-Eau Claire)

Having lived in many places, Rose Kilmurray has developed an understanding of the rich variety of life, which allows her to build connections to new experiences. She believes that children will maintain their innate curiosity and develop a life-long love of learning if guided to do the following: get to know the ecology of any particular place and understand how it compares to other places, understand where humans fit into natural systems and make many cognitive connections between prior experiences and novel ones.

Through the educational sustainability doctoral program, Rose wants to focus her studies on enhancing transformative learning experiences in K-12 education. She wants to develop systems that recognize and utilize the interconnected nature of existence and that bring that recognition to bear in the education of America’s youth. Through her work, Rose hopes to influence a reversal of the trend toward compartmentalization and specialization that has developed in education and society so that resource stewardship along with social and economic power can be redistributed more equitably and sustainably.
Emily Norman
Emily Norman
Kenosha, Wisconsin

M.S.: Education, Higher Education Administration (UW-Milwaukee)

B.A.: Spanish and International Studies (UW-Stevens Point)

Caring for the Earth and for people was a truth that was taught to Emily Norman as a child. Her family demonstrates a deep respect for the Earth and all it provides. Part of this caring is to develop a deeper understanding of those around us that may be different than ourselves and learning from each other.

Emily believes firmly that we all can teach each other and we all can continue to learn and grow in knowledge and compassion. Her work in education has made it apparent to her that not all humans have access to information or the resources to contribute effectively towards sustainable efforts. Without access or resources, people are limited in what they can do to ensure the health of our planet and humanity. Through her research, Emily’s goal is to investigate the specific struggles of rural communities as a matter of inequality and provide solutions for ways to begin to remedy it.

Emily was featured on the Campus Connections podcast on March 17, 2021:
Desiree Reynolds
Desiree Reynolds
Bloomington, Indiana

M.P.H. Public Health (Indiana University)

B.S.: Occupational Safety (Indiana University)

Desiree Reynolds strives to be a change agent. As a child she distinctly remembers discussing with her grandmother how she wanted to obtain her doctorate degree and teach college students, especially those who students would implement change the quickest and most productive manner.

As an undergraduate student Desiree studied in the field of Occupational Safety and Environmental Affairs. Worker health continues to be important to Desiree. Her family has predominately worked in factories and she has experienced firsthand how hard this work environment can be on overall health. Health issues associated by standing for long hours, repetitive motion, chemical exposure, and behavioral norms such as tobacco use.

Desiree believers there are five elements to workplace wellness sustainability:
1. Holistic wellness is valued.
2. Modeling sustainable – self behavior is normative.
3. Culture and diversity is infused throughout.
4. Open expression and job crafting is expected.
5. Technology is utilized to promote holistic health.

The wellness system should receive input from individuals within the group and adapt to their needs anywhere they are, beyond the work location. Wellness at home, work, and community are integrated and reflect each other. Organizational system change involved creating a shared awareness that holistic wellness is necessary, and we are all compassionately valued and needed for sustainable change to occur. When our work environment is not supportive of holistic wellness, we can have consequences that include conflict, ineffective communication, dissatisfaction, and poor quality of life.

For organizational wellness to create sustainable change it must be infused in the workplace group environment. Organizational wellness needs to be holistic including mental, physical, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, and environment health aspects. We need an inclusive view, which recognized that human and natural systems are in some way co-dependent and co-determining (Sterling, 2001). All levels of employees must embrace the collective wellness. Organizational wellness has the potential to move our system from distress to thriving. In order to thrive, we need a system change in organizational wellness programs.
Matthew Schroeder
Matthew Schroeder
Arena, Wisconsin

M.S.: Education (UW-Stout)

B.S.: Broad Field Social Studies, Studies of Education (Edgewood College)

State of Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Certificate of Apprenticeship, Career Development Technician

Matthew Schroeder has pursued a variety of fields over the course of his career, holding a wide range of positions and titles in professions including transportation, security, agriculture, athletics, non-profit organizations, banking, education, and public service.

Currently, Matthew serves as the director of Military and Veterans Services at Edgewood College in Madison where he oversees the daily operations of the college’s Military
and Veterans Services Resource Center, review legislative changes, and advise current and former service members and/or their families on benefits and opportunities from admission through employment.

Although Matthew has previously studied in more traditional education fields, he chose the program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point because he wanted to challenge himself in a cutting-edge program focused of the field of educational sustainability. This program will provide him with a continued, but important foundation in the field of education, while allowing him to broaden his understanding of
systems and the sustainability of the world we live. Matthew is excited to be a part of Cohort 3 and the vision that this program will allow him to share the knowledge and skills necessary for continued sustainable systems.
Adam Sturdevant
Adam Sturdevant
Bonduel, Wisconsin

Psy. D: Psychology (California Southern University)

M.A.: Psychology (Northcentral University)

B.S.: Liberal Studies (Excelsior College)

Educational sustainability is a new term to Adam Sturdevant. He honestly had never heard of it before applying to the UW-Stevens Point master's in education program a year or so ago (2018). At first, he glossed over it, assuming it was somewhat synonymous with environmental sustainability. Adam now views educational sustainability as a dynamic educational area that is evolving in an attempt to meet the needs of a changing world.

Adam has been working on a neurocognitive theory of consciousness when the logical question of “what consciousness actually is” arose (apart from human consciousness). His work took a rather drastic turn, but it was necessary to continue that direction in order to adequately answer his research question. Adam’s work went from the neurocognitive to the metaphysical; but also, from an area of strength and comfort to an area of personal academic weakness and of vast learning. After a conversation with the director of the educational sustainability program, Adam learned that consciousness itself had a place in the huge idea of educational sustainability. Adam was very intrigued by this and decided to apply to the program. He could not see immediately why or how consciousness (as he studied it) played a role in sustainability, but he knew from experience that he was an “outsider looking in.” What this meant was that, of course, he could not tell that the forest was comprised of various trees because he did not know enough about that area/field. If the director of such a program told him that such a tree existed in that particular forest, then he ought to believe them rather than rely on his own knowledge.

Adam’s thinking was that his (neurocognitive) theory of consciousness tended to illuminate the neurodevelopmental alternative development found in less severe kinds of autism; such illumination Adam thought might very easily lead to more accurate diagnosis and suggest possible methods of teaching to maximize on the capabilities of such students with autism. Such teaching was within the realm of education and since I do not believe it currently exists, it would be new and therefore part of an evolving view of education. There is some thought that autism might be a relatively newer phenomenon; therefore, it would be a part of expanding the sustainability of education to incorporate a relatively new disorder into evolving teaching methodologies. This could mean collective awareness in this context; and Adam does see how awareness changes education from transmissive to transformative.
Jim Wagner
Jim Wagner
De Pere, Wisconsin

M.S.: Sustainable Management (UW-Green Bay)

B.A.: Computer Science (Lakeland College)

Jim Wagner currently works as an environmental health and safety specialist at a printing manufacturer in De Pere, Wisconsin, striving to make his workplace a more environmentally friendly atmosphere and a good corporate citizen. He recently retired from the military after eight years in the Air Force and 19 years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, where he served on six deployments over a 27-year span.

In addition to his work, Jim is a board member at the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, a nonprofit environmental and advocacy group dedicated to educating Wisconsin residents on the links between water and air pollution and public health. The group hosts public health forums, speaks at city council meetings and joins in lawsuits filed to protect the state’s waters and air.

Jim is the father to three wonderful children and grandfather to two, which prompted his interest in sustainable management and educational sustainability. We must significantly improve the planet we leave to our children before it is too late, and while change at the global and national level will play its part, Jim believes action at the local level is necessary to develop sustainability in a way that has lasting effect. In order to do this, communities and the businesses that reside within, need to act in concert to develop sustainable programs that improve the environmental, economic and people welfare to support future generations.
Shari Wilson
Shari Wilson
Kansas City, Kansas

M.A.: Biology and Ecology (University of Kansas)

B.A.: History and Philosophy (Washburn University)

Shari is a first-year student in the Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. For the past seven years she has been an educational consultant, working with schools, universities and communities to integrate Earth-centered education throughout their programs and systems through dialogue and exchange programs and teacher learning workshops. Her work has taken her beyond the Midwest, around the world to places including Vietnam, China, Ukraine, Belarus, Sweden, Germany and Qatar. Her academic research interests include making schoolyards islands of biodiversity, the benefits of nature for mental health and civic ecology. Shari also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the International School Grounds Alliance.

Shari’s ideas about educational sustainability come from working as an ecologist and environmental educator in the private sector, for government, with an NGO, and now doing her own consulting and collaborating with others. Her experience as an ecologist puts the elements of being a truly sustainable school front and center. 

In Shari’s view, educational sustainability has four elements: curriculum, physical facilities and school grounds, school and district leadership philosophy and policy, and connection to community. This view echoes the requirements for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) noted in UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Learning Goals: Learning Objectives (p. 47), although Shari separates out philosophy and policy. Having observed many examples of school leaders being overridden by district-level administrators citing policy as the reason why the school cannot implement ESD (and being unwilling to change the policy), to Shari philosophy and policy are separate. The philosophy must be present to enact the policy, but without the policy, the philosophy is subject to change with those in leadership positions.

In recent years, Shari has been observing how civic ecology can increase the impact of environmental education in schools and communities, and she is trying to build more of it into her work. She is especially interested in how civic ecology practices can help people and communities recover from trauma, whether it be war, natural disasters, or poverty. Shari is developing the Schoolyard Biodiversity Exchange, a program that will provide schools a digital tool to inventory biodiversity on their schoolyards, search and manipulate the data to create projects, and exchange the information with other schools.

Shari is hoping that through this Ed.D. program, she can delve into the research and experiences of others regarding how her work can have more of a long-lasting change in people’s outlook and behavior towards the environment. She believes that a new approach is needed to take us to the kind of long-term change we need: larger scale, deeper commitment, faster pace, more encompassing—true sustainable education.

Shari lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with her husband, Chris Steineger, and their very talkative cat Bailey, who has her own Facebook following. She loves gardening, reading, travel and is an avid Kansas City Royals fan. Shari also volunteers for numerous arts and environmental organizations, and considers one of her most meaningful accomplishments leading the restoration of a dumping ground at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, which was the location of an 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition campsite. Kaw Point Park is now a public park with a trail and boat ramp that connects to Kansas City’s Riverfront Heritage Trail.

References: UNESCO. (2017). Education for sustainable learning goals: Learning objectives (p. 47). Paris: UNESCO.
Deb Young
Deb Young
Tomah, Wisconsin

M.S.: Training and Development (UW-Stout)

B.S.: Business Administration (Lakeland College)

Debbie Young is an educator and leader who holds a passion for transforming systems of teaching and learning, educational sustainability means taking an approach that seeks to make change for our society. As a teacher, or learner, or leader, Debbie strives to facilitate change. She believes through this educational approach, learners, teachers, organizations, communities, and government should better understand the complexity of the world around them and should encourage people and organizations to think in terms of relationships, connectedness, and context and motivate them to do something about sustainability – in their personal lives and within their community.

Many of Debbie’s life experiences showcase examples of her interest in building socially, ecologically and economically sustainable communities and in transforming systems of teaching, learning and leadership. She was motivated to join the Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability due to the program’s learning goals and a strong desire to grow in the knowledge and skills that this program has to offer.

One of the proudest accomplishments of Debbie’s life was earning her college degree. During the 1970s, her parents discussed college plans after high school graduation with her younger brothers, but it was not discussed as an option for her or her sister. The experience of being treated differently because of gender caused both her sister and her to be even more determined to go on to college. Debbie joined the Army when she was 19. She wanted to see the world, experience different roles as a woman, and attend college. It would take 14 years to complete a bachelor’s degree, pursuing her educational goals part-time when her military duties allowed. It was during one of her first assignments in the Army, she became an instructor and discovered a passion for teaching. While working as an Army Instructor, Debbie worked closely with curriculum developers and acquired an interest in instructional design systems. Another door opened right at the end of her undergraduate program when a graduate program in training and development was offered on the Army base.
In 2014, Debbie started in a new position as the Tomah VA Medical Center's Education Coordinator. In this role, she analyzes, develops and implements the Medical Center's master educational plan, considering health care priorities and medical center goals and objectives; develop policies and procedures which provide guidance to services and units in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of education programs. She manages the local Leader Development Program and consider this one of her proudest accomplishments. This opportunity develops staff leadership skills and create a work environment in the facility that supports, encourages, and grows servant leaders. The program strengthens a commitment to sustain an organizational climate that is focused on quality of service through leadership actions, builds a sense of community, and builds strategic skills for effective decision making, strategy development, and implementation.
Additional examples of service within Debbie’s community include her as an active member of the local American Association of University Women (AAUW), the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veteran Tomah Chapters. AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research, believing that together we can transform society for the better. The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization aimed at advocating patriotism across the U.S. through diverse programs. The Disabled American Veterans organization is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. In the past, I have also been a Girl Scout leader and trainer and taught religious education in my community.
Over the last 40 years, Debbie has worked to establish herself as an educator, a systems thinker, and a leader in her professional and personal life. She believes firmly that the field of educational sustainability resonates with her mind and spirit and will support her life and career goals. As an educator and leader who holds a passion for transforming systems of teaching and learning, Debbie can see how her past experiences align with sustainability. She believes that education will help not only herself but also help other people understand the complexity of the world around them. She is a self-directed, independent learner, who also enjoys learning and working collaboratively with a group. Debbie loves the idea of transforming teaching and learning and as a life-long learner, she is encouraged and open to learn how she can learn better as a student. As Debbie reviewed the six core principles, she was drawn towards two areas specifically, transformative learning and systems thinking. She has studied and worked in these areas for years and am interested in learning not only more about these two areas but strives to learn more about the other four core principles.
Yvonne Eaton
Yvonne Eaton
Plover, Wisconsin

M.A.: Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

M.A.: Dartmouth College

B.A.: San Francisco State University

Yvonne is a first year Educational Sustainability doctoral student who is currently working as an institutional planner in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Prior to this, Yvonne lived and worked in Qatar where she taught political science, international relations, and modern Gulf history to Qatari college students. Throughout her teaching and research career, Yvonne has been interested in bringing sustainability into her international studies pedagogy. She teaches her students to see the world beyond their borders and be aware and care about transnational issues such as human rights, pollution, climate change, poverty, and food security. Her past research papers and conference presentations covered varied topics such as the feminine construction of traditions, institutionalization of rituals for sustaining cultures, securitized language of human viral epidemics, and the feminization of international relations.

Within the sustainability education doctoral program, Yvonne is in search of new, transformative, and pragmatic ways to bring an earth-minded ethos through educational, economic, and social development. Yvonne has always believed with access to education, everyone can reach their full potential and contribute to the betterment of humanity in balance with nature.

For Yvonne, sustainability encompasses universal concepts, ideas, and practices that connect with other disciplines in humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and other sciences. Moreover, Yvonne believes the key is to bring out these universal concepts through disciplinary interconnections and intertextualities to discover practical real-world sustainable and regenerative solutions. For example, in her political science course, she engaged her students in seeking interdisciplinary solutions that balanced their globalization concerns with cultural and environmental sustainability.

During the moments when Yvonne is not working or studying, she enjoys meditation, watching Scandinavian detective series, and traveling around this planet.
Jane Li
Jane Li
Beijing, China

MCom: Management of Information System (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

B.A.: International Business (Tianjin Foreign Study University, China)

Jane is a first-year Educational Sustainability doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She has been working as an associate professor at Capital University of Economics and Business (CUEB) in Beijing for 10 years. Her academic research interests are Information Systems Design, Online Learning, Software Quality Assurance and Network Security. Besides her teaching and research work, Jane is leading the IT department curriculum committee, which develops curriculum and evaluates courses offered in the department.

In addition to her university role, Jane is working as curriculum director for the “100-100 Plan” project, which is a revolutionary project initiated by China's Ministry of Education on improving the quality of higher education. Her work focuses on reconstructing the curriculum framework for universities and developing liberal education courses in humanities, social responsibility, global citizenship and environmental awareness. Jane and her team are devoted to injecting sustainability knowledge into higher education by developing courses, delivering trainings to faculty and students and launching green campaigns. She believes that only through sustainable education can students achieve an actionable awareness of the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development. Aiming at promoting sustainability education in higher education, her current research interests are curriculum design, faculty professional development and student success assessment, all with a focus on sustainability.

Jane believes sustainable education is a long-term undertaking for current and future generations, and it is the only path to a more peaceful and sustainable world. She has committed to it as a life-long effort that she hopes many will share with her. Within the educational sustainability doctoral program, Jane hopes to deepen her knowledge of sustainability, broaden her horizons related to climate change and other environmental issues, and learn from and work with people who share the same passion and goals.

Jane has a little boy, Charlie. Besides her teaching job and doctoral program, being Charlie’s good mama is always Jane’s first priority. She believes that it is vital to raise her child to be socially responsible and to have awareness of sustainability at an early age.
Jennifer Ortega
Jennifer Ortega
McKinleyville, California

M.A. in Curriculum & Pedagogy (Science Education), University of Colorado, Denver, CO

B.S. in Marine Fisheries, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

California Single Subject Teaching Credential in General Sciences and California Teacher of English Learners Credential

Jennifer’s philosophy of education is to teach in a way that inspires curiosity. She believes by fostering awareness of the interconnectedness of natural systems and human systems through active hands-on learning and place-based education, students gain knowledge and develop attitudes promoting stewardship. Without an environmentally literate society, Jennifer feels that individuals will not be prepared to take the necessary actions to build and maintain a sustainable future.

Since 2012, Jennifer has been a faculty member at Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA teaching Environmental Education and Fundamentals of Environmental Education & Interpretation. She is a Master Certified Environmental Educator recognized by the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) and a trainer of the Guidelines for Excellence developed by NAAEE. Jennifer is a trained instructor for the statewide University of California Naturalist Program at a local nonprofit Friends of the Dunes housed at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. Upon completion of the program participants will earn a California Naturalist Certificate. Recently, Jennifer became a steering committee member for the California Environmental Education Certification Program.

Jennifer wears many professional development hats such as being a facilitator for Project Learning Tree, Project WET and Project WILD, all environmental education curriculum for K-12 educators. She also is an instructor for Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT), a professional development program that brings together natural resource specialists and K-12 educators providing them with knowledge, skills and tools to effectively teach their students about forest ecology and forest resource management practices. The Forestry Institute for Teachers integrates environmental education curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards.

After working as a middle school science teacher, an education ranger for Redwood National & State Parks, a coordinator of education programs at Humboldt State University’s Natural History Museum, and finally teaching for numerous years in higher education. Jennifer recognized education systems provide the greatest leverage to educate a critical mass of people to address the current and future environmental challenges along with potential solutions. She is excited to begin her doctoral studies exploring when education systems make environmental literacy a core part of formative education. She is interested in studying the advancement of environmental literacy using environmental education.

Jennifer’s favorite place is in the outdoors with friends and family. Some activities she enjoys are agate hunting, trail running, rafting rivers, surfing waves and camping under the stars.
Eleva Potter
Eleva Potter
Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin

• M.E.Ed.: Environmental Education (University of Minnesota-Duluth)
• B.A. International Studies and Political Science (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Eleva teaches a course called Stewardship in Action at Conserve School, an environmentally-focused school in far northern Wisconsin that serves sophomores and juniors in high school. She guides her students, who stay at the Conserve School for a semester-long residency, to think about sustainability by focusing on environmental ethics, sense of place and ways to take action to make change in the world. She utilizes place-based education and project-based learning in a responsive classroom that is democratically.

An example of how Eleva puts all of these concepts into practice in the classroom is through the Taking Action Project, a semester-long project where students learn about their own environmental ethics, needs of their sending community and the form of environmental advocacy that best fits their skills and interests. Students use this knowledge to plan an environmentally focused project that they will implement when they return home from Conserve School.

She also incorporates indigenous knowledge into the curricula by inviting local tribal members to share their cultural stories and current perspectives on environmental issues in the Northwoods. She recently co-presented with an Ojibwe forester at the National Environmental Justice Conference on “People and Place-based Education” in which she presented some ways student learning is enhanced by listening to the perspectives of local tribal members. She also co-wrote the article “Stories of Place: Ojibwe Knowledge and Environmental Stewardship in the Northwoods” for the Journal of Sustainability Education on these classroom initiatives.

Eleva has explored many environmental fields from conducting home energy audits to wildland fire fighting to living in an eco-village. She recently worked as a naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota, while completing her master’s degree in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Eleva’s breadth of experience in the environmental field and recent opportunities to dig deeper into environmental education led her to this program. She is interested in studying the efficacy of place-based and project-based education on high school-aged students’ environmental attitudes and behaviors and the impacts of a semester-long environmental focused program on students’ environmental literacy.

Eleva is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to hike, bike, ski and snowshoe. Another favorite past time is sharing locally harvested food, especially fried Walleye and venison burgers, with friends and family.
Bethany Redbird
Bethany Redbird
Black River Falls, Wisconsin

M.A.: Museum Studies (University of Oklahoma)

B.A.: History (Bemidji State University)

Bethany Redbird is currently the director of the School Community Relations Division within the Ho-Chunk Nation Education Department. She works with Ho-Chunk and other Native American students to encourage academic success within grades Prek-12. In this role, she also acts as a liaison between families and the 32 school districts that the Ho-Chunk Nation Education Department serves.

Prior to this role, Bethany served as the Archivist and Assistant Records Manager for the Ho-Chunk Nation Records Management Department. She preserved and cataloged historical documents and artifacts, as well as current governmental documents. She consulted with other tribal archivists and records management professionals on developing a records management program within their own tribal nation. 
Bethany has a primary research interest in incorporating traditional Ho-Chunk tribal arts and science practices within teaching curricula to encourage sustainability. Bethany has served as a co-facilitator of the Ho-Chunk Nation and UW-Madison-Earth Partnership Indigenous Arts and Sciences Teacher Institute for the past 2 years. While serving in this position, Bethany became passionate about educating teachers and other educational professionals on how they can incorporate traditional Ho-Chunk knowledge of medicines, plant uses, organic farming and food sovereignty into education curricula to portray the importance of sustaining our environment, both locally and globally. She firmly believes that integrating traditional knowledge, like that of the Ho-Chunk, with other curriculum areas will help to produce culturally knowledgeable students who have learned to respect and revere the sky, land and water that surrounds and sustains them.
Bethany has already begun sharing her work professionally by presenting at the annual Association for Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums (ATALM) conference in 2008, 2010, and 2012-2016 on topics related to records management and archival of tribal documents, artifacts and governmental records. She also presented at the American Indian Studies Teacher Institute in 2018 about collaborating with local school districts to encourage culturally responsive teaching practices within these districts and explain how the Ho-Chunk Nation has been working with numerous school districts to achieve this goal.
Bethany enjoys exercising, spending time with her husband, children and dogs. She is an avid Green Bay Packers fan! Go Pack Go!
Lyn Schaefer
Lyn Schaefer
Gaithersburg, Maryland

M.S.: Business Administration (University of Maryland)

M.A.: Early Childhood Education (College of William and Mary)

B.S.: Early Childhood Education (UW-Stevens Point)

Lyn Schaefer is the owner of Annapurna Educational Services, an educational consulting firm that provides technical support and research consultation to school districts, state departments of education, and private/public organizations. She is currently assisting the Maryland State Department of Education in monitoring out-of-school time programs (i.e., 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Public School Opportunities Enhancement Grant, Learning in Extended Academic Programs) throughout the state and has worked more recently with the Oregon State Department of Education, CTB/McGraw-Hill Education, and the U.S. Green Building Council. Lyn began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin, teaching first in the Stanley-Boyd Area School District and then in the Sevastopol School District, and then moved to the Educational Research Center for Child Development, a lab school on the campus of Florida State University. Since settling in Maryland, she has been active in her community serving as policy committee co-chair for the Montgomery County Commission on Child Care and on the Montgomery County Child Care Resource and Referral Center Advisory Board.

Lyn’s goal in pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability is to continue her work strategizing on sustainability plans with programs or educational initiatives that serve at-risk students. Oftentimes, these programs struggle to sustain, not due to the quality of the program or initiative, but due to the inability to demonstrate a program impact. Her specific emphasis is on programs serving pre-kindergarten students, the most vulnerable population. Her research of the importance of play and experiential learning has been published in Early Childhood Development and Care, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and Developmental Psychology.

Lyn is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Nationals. In her spare time, she enjoys taking in historical sites, like the Smithsonian Museums and Mount Vernon, the proximity to which she considers a perk of living in the D.C. Metro area.
Cindy Solinsky
Cindy Solinsky
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

M.A.: Education Leadership-Principal, Curriculum & Instruction, Pupil Services (Marian University)

M.A.: Education Reading (UW-Stevens Point)

B.S.: Biology, Broadfield Science (UW-Stevens Point)

B.S.: Wildlife Management Research (UW-Stevens Point)

Cindy Solinsky has been in formal education since 1999, teaching science in grades 7th-10th. Cindy entered the formal education field after working in non-formal education once she graduated with her Wildlife Management degree in 1985. While in non-formal education and research management, she had the opportunity to work with several unique species of wildlife in their natural settings such as gray wolf, black bear, whitetail deer, bobwhite quail, bobcat, great-blue heron and many other species of wildlife. For several years, she worked as a limited term employee at Mead Wildlife Area, a state wildlife area covering over 33,000 acres in central Wisconsin and a field technician with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She also founded a non-profit education organization, Teachers on the Wing, Inc. in which she traveled the state of Wisconsin offering education programs featuring non-releasable birds of prey.

Sustainability has been a way of life and lifelong endeavor for Cindy. Her parents owned and operated a 500-acre dairy farm in central Wisconsin and grew and processed vegetables from a quarter acre plot. Cindy’s parents taught her to love and care for the land. In her early twenties at UW-Stevens Point pursuing her first BS degree, Cindy made the connection between the soil, plants and animals. Later, in 1990, she founded the Central Wisconsin Wildlife Center, Inc. with the goal of educating others about the loss of habitat and the impact on wildlife. While attending numerous Midwest Renewable Energy Fairs at the Amherst Fair grounds, she made the decision that the new facility for the Wildlife Center could be a model for renewable energy. Architectural Services volunteered to work with her in designing the new facility. The Wildlife Center was quite successful in its endeavors, annually; one-thousand wildlife patients, hundreds of education programs and operated by sixty volunteers, yet unfortunately, as with many non-profit organizations; the financial aspect became a weak link. The Wildlife Center has since dissolved, and since 1997 the renewable energy facility has housed the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and is the central headquarters for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.

Since 1999, Cindy has been involved in formal education. She wrote the seventh grade curriculum to help teach an environmental solutions study to her students. She has free-lanced her talents in writing curriculum with other environmental organizations through the years. A recycle program that was a student-led project in 2009, has allowed Ben Franklin Junior High, to run twice yearly an e-cycle and appliance drive highly anticipated by the surrounding community. She currently is working with a team of teachers in rewriting the curriculum using the Next Generation Science Standards. She states that her goal in whatever she pursues or teaches ultimately points to sustainability in lifestyle for her family, students, others, and herself.

With the help of her daughters, she owns a small sustainable hobby farm. Their gardens, enriched with compost from their flock of chickens, ducks and turkeys, are filled with nutrient rich vegetables that are harvested, preserved, and consumed with joy year round. Her family values nutrient dense foods that they grow in their backyard. Her family enjoys getting their hands dirty and inhaling the aroma of the earth while viewing their wildlife neighbors that benefit from the natural surroundings that encircle their home.

Cindy’s research doctoral field of study centers around Climate Change, with a focus on drawing down the level of atmospheric carbon through carbon sequestering, regenerative agriculture and food waste. Essentially put the carbon back in the ground where it belongs. Since in her twenties she learned about the process in which healthy, rich, living soil is formed. Her interest in soil has grown into what it is today. Her desire is to seek a solution in which farmers and environmentalist can work together to help drawdown the current carbon levels and to incorporate sustainability practices into her classroom curriculum that emphasizes transformative learning. This doctorate program brings her full circle to her childhood roots of raising food and taking care of the land that sustains a quality life for all its inhabitants.
Scott West
Scott West
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

• M.A.: Education Leadership (Concordia University-Portland)
• B.A.: Communication and Political Science (UW-Stevens Point)

Scott West’s professional involvement includes 34 years in administrative leadership, resource utilization, organizational development and communication in dynamic settings. His higher educational, organizational development background includes creating and building sustainable programs, initiatives, and administrative units. Currently, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, West is a leader for diversity admissions where he is a recognized administrator in the area of diversity recruitment, enrollment and student success. He believes that the best student recruitment happens when you connect with prospective students, strive to understand what motivates them, recognize their potential, and build a dialogue and trust with them over the recruiting journey. West has pioneered a recruiting method that is less transactional and impersonal to one that is student-focused. Under his leadership, the diversity enrollment has grown from 6% to over 16% in the last decade.

In addition to his university role, West is a popular national speaker, trainer, organizational and executive coach. West has been a motivational consultant successfully engaged in human and organizational performance for more than 27 years. He has presented keynote speeches, workshops and seminars throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe on emotional intelligence and personal effectiveness.

He presented and collaborated in the development of the “Four Ways System,” an intentional communication-training program designed and administered by Personality Resources International (PRI). PRI has developed and perfected communication programs that improve the workplace environment, performance and organizational culture using their “Identity Mapping” methodology of psychological typing.

West is also a presenter of and collaborator in the development of the "Sell Truth Series," a sales training seminar created by Stone Arch Communication, a sales consultancy based in Chicago.  As a Sell Truth consultant, he has worked with Fortune 500 companies to design, develop and implement comprehensive annual training plans that support the sales objectives of companies using the “Sell Truth” methodology.

West ran for House of Representatives in Wisconsin’s Seventh Congressional District. He organized, managed and developed a nationally recognized Congressional Campaign, coordinating media, message and all marketing efforts across a 19-county region. With the help of more than 1,500 volunteers, West took an unprecedented 48% of the vote on election night.

These experiences have brought West to inquire about how and what ways we can build a culture of socio-ecological sustainability into our organizations. West believes that we can start to operationalize the idea of sustainability, involving ecological and societal development to meet the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. He is especially interested in studying how emotional intelligence (EQ) affects the sustainability of human and social-ecological systems and how improving EQ for individuals and organizations impacts and is connected to universal sustainability across ecosystems.