Our alumni are working in New York City and around the world to educate the public about the environment, conservation, and sustainability. They are dedicated, energetic, resourceful, and successful advocates, leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators. Most of our graduates get jobs either before graduation or shortly after graduation!
Jeff Geist '21
My passion for the environment, specifically ecology and conservation, and sharing that passion with others led me to the Environmental Conservation Education program at NYU. I completed my BSc in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University in New Jersey. During my time at Rutgers, I finished my undergraduate research requirement in an entomology lab, which eventually led to working at the NJ Department of Agriculture after graduation where my focus was on invasive insect pests and interacting with the public to raise awareness. I later found myself working at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ as an environmental educator designing and implementing programs for all various ages and decided to return to school for a graduate degree to gain some formal educational training, interact with people in a new urban setting, and learn from the experts both at NYU, and also at New York cultural institutions like AMNH, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and more. My thesis focused on how a more equitable environmental internship program can help increase retention and diversity in the environmental field. After graduation, I continued working at Duke Farms, where I was able to take my thesis experience to create a new internship program.
Jeff is currently the Continuing Education Manager at Duke Farms.
Christina Edsall '20
I have had a passion for working in environmental, E-STEM, and stewardship education since high school. I received my B.S. at University of California, Berkeley in environmental science and began my career teaching with environmental organizations in the Pacific Northwest. After spending 2 years with the Peace Corps in Panamá, I stayed in Latin America and collaborated with communities in trash management, forestation, public health, and eco-tourism. Since moving to New York, I have a newfound passion for youth connection to nature and environmental injustice issues. While studying at NYU, I worked for the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, partnering with schools and organizations to implement stewardship programs in selected parks in Staten Island. Since finishing my master's in the ECE program, I have worked in teacher professional development with the New York Botanical Garden, in partnership with the Urban Advantage Science Initiative.
Christina is currently the Director of Education at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak.
Hanyu Lu '19
Hanyu Lu is a graduate of the NYU Environmental Conservation Education program. At NYU, Lulu worked as an assistant research scientist on the community science project Bees Alive! in Lentol Garden and Tidal Connection program with NYC teachers and students. She facilitated Citizen Science data collecting with students including water, soil, and air (PM2.5) monitoring, in order to help endangered species in urban settings and foster youth environmental stewardship in the community. She is currently a forest school teacher at the Brooklyn Forest in Prospect Park, and pursuing a doctoral degree in Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Hanyu is a lesson developer for place-based STEAM environmental education, in collaboration with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She also practices ceramic and hopes to bring art therapy and environmental science education to students by motivating and inspiring them to connect to nature.
Hanyu is Lead Teacher at Brooklyn Forest and currently a PhD candidate in Science Education at Teachers College.
Bethany Kogut '19
Bethany Kogut (she/her)has moved to Seattle, but was most recently been the Education Manager for the Horticultural Society in NYC where she worked with people ages 2-92 to connect them with plants. Through schools, public programs, and teacher education Bethany brings passion to plants and helps individuals feel empowered to improve the planet through horticulture, nutrition, and ecosystems. She also has had the opportunity to work for the NYU Wallerstein Collaborative as a Garden Educator under an EPA Funded Grant called Bees Alive! to bring native plants and pollinators to the Greenpoint community through stewardship programs. Additionally, Bethany has worked as a Curriculum Writer and Educator with Newtown Creek Alliance developing a passion for NYC’s Waterways. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Michigan State University where she founded a student run tea and honey company called Land Grant Goods, and a Masters from NYU in Environmental Education Conservation.
Bethany is currently Program Coordinator for EarthGen in Seattle, WA.
Harshad Ramanathan Sambamurthy '17
Harshad is an environmental writer focussed on promoting a wider appreciation for the interdependence between humans and wildlife, using creative educational tools like storytelling and folklore. He writes about issues pertaining to wildlife conservation, human-wildlife interaction and environmental education. Harshad has worked with a range of organisations including IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE, the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, and Greenpeace UK. He received his Bachelors degree in Sustainable Development from the University of St. Andrews, and his Master’s in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University. At NYU, his final project “Cultural Consciousness” explored the intrinsic connection between culture and nature; how the conservation of one is inextricably linked with the conservation and preservation of the other. His paper advocated for the employment and infusion of creative pedagogical tools like mythology, theatre and folklore into predominantly science-based environmental education curricula to help create a more holistic framework for learning. Harshad is currently completing a program in Environmental Communications from Duke University. He blogs at Mulaprakriti and has recently published an article on the art of storytelling and conservation.
Jonathan Ho '16
Growing up in Hong Kong, it was easy to notice the countless environmental problems around me. It motivated me to want to make a difference for the environment. This passion led me to take part in environmental clubs and activities in high school, then pursue a BS in Environmental Science minoring in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.
During my undergraduate studies, through various exposures and inspirations, I realized the tremendous potential of education to drive change for the environment. This led me to join New York University's Environmental Conservation Education program. While in New York City, I interned at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the American Museum of Natural History.
I have moved back to Hong Kong since graduating – working to make a difference there. I worked at Earthwatch Institute where I led research, education and citizen science programs in the Asia Pacific region, focusing on water quality and management issues. I have since moved on to work on environmental policy research and advocacy at Business Environment Council, where my duties are twofold: educating and influencing the private sector to take on business best practices, and working with the government to put in place policies that support the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy.
Lital Fischer '14
My interests in biology and environmental science and experience working with children led me to the Environmental Conservation Education program at NYU. After completing my BSc in biology at McGill University, I knew that I wanted to share my passion for science and the environment with others through the field of education. As a part of my graduate studies at NYU, I worked as an environmental educator at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and at Wave Hill. I loved teaching students using engaging, hands-on learning activities in a non-formal education setting. My growing interests in teaching led me to the New York City Science Teaching Fellows program, where I taught eighth grade science at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation while completing a second master’s in Adolescent Science Education at Pace University. My graduate studies and experience working in both formal and non-formal education settings have allowed me to develop an understanding of how these two areas can work together to provide powerful learning opportunities for students both inside and outside of a traditional classroom setting. I completed my final project for NYU while working at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, CA, where I developed an environmental education curriculum that integrates art and science.
Emily Litvak '14
As a child, I was very lucky to have my dad bring me to see Dr. Jane Goodall speak about her experiences working with chimpanzees and her Roots and Shoots program. This experience inspired me and fostered a desire to help conserve endangered species and work towards creating a more sustainable planet.
In college, I studied environmental science and conservation biology at McGill University, where I assisted on various research projects focused on invasive species, marine mammal conservation, and sustainable aquaculture in Canada and Barbados.
Following graduation, I lived in Israel for a year interning as a research assistant at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While there, I helped to organize a workshop on science-based conservation, where I heard a presentation that completely changed my career path. This speaker emphasized that the most important area to help solve the current environmental crisis is education. These words had sealed the deal – I knew that environmental education was what I wanted to do.
In Montreal, I also worked at a grassroots non-profit organization devoted to environmental awareness and education in the Montreal Jewish community. I organized and lead eco-service projects for teenagers, including a wetland restoration project following the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, and gardening projects with the Mohawk and Atikamekw First Nation communities in Quebec.
I came to the ECE program at NYU with a desire to learn more about creating engaging environmental education programs for youth, in a supportive, creative environment with an interdisciplinary focus. My time at NYU has been everything I was looking for and more. I am so impressed by the continual support and encouragement of the professors as well as my classmates. The interdisciplinary nature of the program gives students a sense of ownership of the program – we are not only here to learn but also shape what we learn. While at NYU I served as Teaching Fellow at the Central Park Zoo.
Marissa Nicole Leiner '14
Prior to attending NYU, I received my BS from SUNY Cortland in Childhood Education; I hold a New York State teaching certification for grades 1-6. From my student teaching experiences alone, I knew that being a conventional, formal school teacher contained by four walls was not my path. The first year out of undergraduate school I focused on what kind of teacher I would like to be, and after some intense inner reflection, I found myself outside – in nature. Being an environmental educator had never crossed my mind, but now I cannot seem to shake the inevitable.
The opportunity to study at NYU in the ECE program provides me with great satisfaction that I can pursue my passion for both teaching and the environment. I learn from and collaborate with world-class professors, as well as my peers, who inspire me with their passion, experiences, and hopes for the future. The ECE program allows me to customize my learning experience with classes that pertain to my specific interests; no two ECE-er’s take the same path within the program.
I completed my internship requirement with the Wildlife Conservation Society, working in the Professional Development department. There, I gained first-hand experience developing educational curricula for visitors – both school groups, and family. Looking toward the future, I see myself as an environmental educator in the non-formal setting creating innovative, inspiring science curricula for teachers and students.
Hana Takebe '14
Before coming to New York City, I worked as a middle school teacher in Japan where I taught Integrated Studies and English. One of the things I enjoyed most about my job was planning and leading a three-day field trip to Mt. Fuji with my students. I always devoted myself to creating opportunities for my students to learn about their local community and their responsibility as global citizens.
In 2011, Japan suffered a major earthquake and tsunami which brought terrible destruction. It was a life-changing experience for me. I volunteered as a teacher at an environmental education center, which was doubling as an evacuation center for children of refugees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. My time working there reaffirmed for me the necessity of building a healthy and sustainable environment for future generations.
My interest in environmental education began in my childhood. My father was a nature guide volunteer and he often brought me along on tours, which instilled in me a lifelong appreciation of nature. As an undergraduate I majored in Anthropology at the International Christian University in Tokyo, where I studied the relationship between culture and the environment. A field training class in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, gave me the opportunity to research Jogjakarta’s environmental problems through observation and interviews.
At NYU I learned about environmental education resources and programs in urban areas and how to bring this knowledge and ideas back to Japan. I am especially interested in how schools can utilize non-formal education resources effectively. NYU has provided me with numerous opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills in this field. While I was a student, I worked with the Wallerstein Collaborative on a citizen science project helping teachers and students monitor the Hudson River. I also interned with the Earth Child Institute. I am currently working as a Project Associate at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability coordinating UN international conferences and seminars in Tokyo.
Katie Gloede '13
As a Jersey girl, I've grown up loving nature from the Jersey Shore to New York City skyscrapers. I saw some of the pollution issues plaguing the city and its surroundings, and knew that I wanted to work toward making the New York metro area a cleaner, greener place to live.
After finishing my BS in Geography and Environmental Inquiry at Penn State (WE ARE!), I interned at an aquaponics and marine ecology learning center on the coast of Maine. At Herring Gut Learning Center, I witnessed the importance of public education in raising environmental awareness and ecological literacy.
While studying at NYU, I worked for the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, partnering with schools and organizations to implement environmental education programs for students and teachers citywide. Since finishing my master's in the ECE program, I worked for the NYC-based not-for-profit Community Environmental Center, which weatherizes and retrofits buildings around the city to make them more energy efficient. At Community Environmental Center, I had the unique opportunity to apply my interests in public education and sustainable cities; leading outreach programs at the EcoHouse, the organization's mobile energy efficiency and green home exhibit.
Katie is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture, focusing on Constructed Environments.
Michelle Luebke '13
One of my favorite undergraduate professors at the University of Wisconsin gave me two pieces of advice that have helped shape my life and career goals. He told me that he changed research focus every five years or so to keep himself current, and that I should travel the world as much as I could while I was young and had few responsibilities tying me to any one particular place. After leaving Wisconsin with a BS in Zoology and Environmental Studies, I went to the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and fell in love with environmental education. From there I went to the University of Georgia for an MS in Geography and Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, and then on to California, where I worked for a number of years running a citizen science program encouraging field-based education in local creeks. It was then I decided I needed to know more about education and the role of citizen science in ecological monitoring. I went back to school to learn how to become a more effective educator and how to use my background and experiences to help implement a citizen science program for NYC schools to study the Hudson River. The reason I chose the ECE program at NYU was not only the caliber of professors, but also the focus on the importance of non-formal education, and the diversity of backgrounds represented in the ECE grad students. My thesis focused on how to design a watershed monitoring program using Citizen Science to address Environmental Justice issues. After graduation, I worked as an Education Ranger at Gateway National Recreation Area before becoming the Ecology Director for the Bronx River Alliance.
Jennifer Ugolino '13
Growing up the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, I remember from a young age looking to share my enthusiasm for plants with family and friends. This interest led me to complete a BA in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross, where I focused in botany and ecology. I gravitated toward education projects, which involved tutoring young students, assisting in undergraduate laboratory classes, and teaching ESL courses in the community. I then decided to combine these two interests, and explore more environmental education-related activities. After graduation, I spent a year in an AmeriCorps program in Knoxville, TN, where I organized and led environmental outreach programs; waste reduction efforts at community events; and greening projects in community gardens, parks, and the local nature center. This work helped me realize that I most enjoyed working side by side with young adult populations in urban green spaces, but that I needed more training and experience in order to make a career out of it.
I was thrilled to attend NYU's ECE program, where I was constantly impressed by my fellow classmates' insight and experiences, and the wealth of opportunities provided to me by my professors. The program paired very well with my recent employment at Brooklyn Community Services, a social service agency where I worked as a horticultural specialist. My responsibilities included providing horticultural therapy programming at a women's shelter for mentally ill clients. I also worked for the Wallerstein Collaborative as coordinator and educator of the Jane Wallerstein Children and Nature Project. My time at NYU gave me the confidence and resources to continue exploring informal education, community activism, and environmental justice issues in an effort to bring people and plants together to improve the quality of life in underserved communities via sustainable projects. After graduation I worked at New York City Trail Blazers as program director for a new youth initiative called Under One Sky.
Paloma Krakower '13
As a graduate student in Environmental Conservation Education (ECE), I worked with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia on cheetah conservation issues. From a very young age, I had a silent respect for other species, which developed during my frequent exposure to nature and informal science institutions such as the Bronx Zoo. I graduated from the University of Richmond with an MA in sociology, but it wasn’t until my senior year that I found a way to combine my interests in animals and culture.
Upon graduating, I acquired an animal care internship at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. in Kendalia, Texas, where I learned animal husbandry and wildlife rehabilitation – and gained my first exposure to informal education. I was part of the education team that went to local K-12 schools to give presentations to youth on how to safely cohabitate with native wildlife. My next adventure brought me to Christchurch, New Zealand, I was a teacher aide and adjunct to the Teaching and Learning department in a public girls’ high school. The exposure to the natural wonders of New Zealand’s landscapes and my experience with formal education brought me back to New York and NYU’s ECE program.
Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in wildlife conservation, the ECE program seemed like a perfect fit because it encompassed both science and social science, allowing me to learn new skills and build upon old ones. While in this program I have interned with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the Professional Development branch of the Education department. My time at NYU and WCS has taught me so much and has been pivotal in my work with CCF. My work in Africa was inspired by a desire to ensure the continued existence of my favorite species! I currently work with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo as an Urban Advantage teacher trainer.
Danielle Azoulay '13
Danielle Azoulay graduated from the ECE program in May 2013. She is now the supervisor of product stewardship at PVH, the second largest apparel company in the world. She is currently working with brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Speedo to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains. While at NYU, Danielle focused her studies on the impacts that climate change will have on consumer products companies. Danielle focused her research further on consumer products that are made from raw materials from agriculture and forestry. Past research includes cotton scarcity due to climate change and its impacts on the apparel industry, and tonal wood scarcity and its impacts on guitar manufacturers. She organized and moderated a panel at SXSW Eco Conference on the latter topic in 2012.
She also has extensive knowledge on sustainable development, environmental economics, and US environmental policy analysis. Danielle is also involved in her community, working with NYC Hell’s Kitchen community development organizations and local businesses to convert abandoned green space into functioning parks and community gardens. In 2010, Danielle did her internship with Florida Audubon and worked to coordinate wildlife rehabilitation efforts after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, relocating turtles from the west coast to the east coast of Florida. She also organized and executed a multi-city fundraiser for Audubon to support their oil spill clean-up efforts. Danielle began the ECE program with the hopes of infusing an environmental awareness into her existing business knowledge, and she focused her coursework and research with that goal in mind. It was her final project on the topic of educating executives on natural resource scarcity issues that opened the door to a career in the apparel industry.
Sam Adels '12
I was raised in Philadelphia, PA and my family took me on many camping trips to national parks as a child, which from an early age inculcated in me a deep passion for nature and a love for the outdoors. I studied history and environmental studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. A pivotal semester in Australia studying sustainability by hiking through the rainforest, kayaking with dolphins, and visiting with aboriginal groups introduced me to the value of experiential environmental education. I returned to the US and completed my thesis with the National Park Service on the ecological restoration of the Mississippi River using a historical perspective. Upon graduation I worked as an educator at the local zoo and conservatory where I grew interested in environmental education. My passion for the environment mingled with my desire to conserve nature through education. I sought a career with the National Park Service to educate future environmental stewards.
Striving to become a park ranger with a focus on environmental education, NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education program seemed like a good fit. During my studies at NYU, I interned with the Prospect Park Audubon Center leading environmental education programs for schools groups. I also worked as a park ranger with the National Park Service on Governors Island, where I designed hands-on, place-based interpretive and educational materials. After graduating I continued my work as a park ranger at various NYC sites including Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, where I led programs about environmental history, and Gateway National Recreation Area, and co-coordinated volunteer recovery efforts with local youth in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I returned to NYU to work as the environmental educator for the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education. I have been honored to work with amazing students and teachers in the “Children & Nature Project” and “Into the Woods;” two programs that gave me the wonderful opportunity to lead environmental education programs that teach local youth ecological concepts and introduce them to the wilder side of NYC in local parks.
After a life spent exploring nature in cities, I moved to the woods of coastal Maine, and more recently in the Hudson Valley, along with my wife, to farm and continue my career as an environmental educator.
Leah Giffin '12
Growing up in central New York, Leah's love for the outdoors blossomed early and developed into a drive to protect and educate people about the environment. Leah received her BA in Environmental Policy and Legal Studies from the University of Connecticut, and worked as the Director of Sustainability at The Hill School, where she grew to love working in education.
Leah joined the Environmental Conservation Education (ECE) program at NYU because of her interest and passion for environmental stewardship. As an ECE student, Lea held an internship at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations. During her work with Fiji, she was intimately involved with the NGO Islands First. Leah contributed to international climate policy that protected the interest of small-island developing nations.
Leah applied the practical skills learned through ECE to her professional career, working at NYU as a Senior Associate in the Department of Global Public Health, Science, and Technology. Leah was an Adjunct Professor at Pace University and taught courses in Environmental Studies, Environmental Policy, and Animal Ethics.
Currently Leah works at Vermont Law School, the premier Environmental Law School in the country. She supports all of the environmental centers on campus, including: Water and Justice, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Energy and the Environment, US China Partnership, and the Legal Clinic.
Yvonne Maingey '12
I have been an environmental activist since I was 11, when I launched a project and a club to clean up part of the Nairobi River that ran past my school. Then, as a teenager, I hosted the children’s television program Club Kikibo, where I not only taught young viewers how to make arts and crafts from waste materials, but also interviewed various Heads of State and environmental leaders from around the world.
Originally from Kenya, I have served as a junior board member and a Youth Adviser for the UNEP Tunza Program, whose goal is to engage young people in environmental activities. I have written and edited several UNEP publications, and continue to use my experiences to develop my skills to be a better environmental leader in Kenya.
As I said in an interview for Climate Change TV at COP18, I believe that young people hold the solutions to address climate change; they simply need the support of older generations as well as the education that encourages them to be stewards of the environment early on. It is important to prepare our youth for the low-carbon future that is coming, and I felt that enrolling in the Environmental Conservation Education program at New York University would help me to be at the forefront of the educational change.
I graduated from the London School of Economics, and graduated from the Environmental Conservation Education program at New York University in May 2012.
I was a full-time PhD candidate in Climate Change and Adaptation at Nairobi University, and a Columba University Fellow at the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative.
Grady Walker '12
I grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal, where my parents were working in education and development. I had lived in Kathmandu for 16 years when I decided to attend film school in the United States in 1998.
After graduating from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I returned to South Asia to make documentaries, including Eviction, an advocacy film about Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. In an interview with the UN Refugee Agency, I reported that I was struck by “the ability of so many people to share their stories with strangers in front of a camera,” and I found these stories to be a powerful way to personalize international crises.
Due to a growing interest in environmental issues, and the ways in which they impact people worldwide, I attended the Environmental Conservation Education Program at New York University. It was key in helping me to further explore environmental and climate issues. In fact, a paper that I wrote for ECE Program Director Mary Leou about climate and media was recently published as an article in Consilience, the Journal of Sustainable Development.
As part of my NYU ECE internship, I served as a Young Scholar for Humanitarian Work with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre. This allowed me to work on films for the Red Cross in Africa, funded in part by the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education. My last documentary project, ITESO!, focused on the Uganda Red Cross Society’s efforts to assist local communities in Teso, Uganda, to adapt to climate change. One of my goals for ITESO!, as well as for my other documentaries, is to help to promote global sustainability.
I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Communication and Social Change, and hope to continue to raise awareness of and support for critical global environmental issues through participatory media.
Uta Meyer '12
I grew up in the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas and was immersed in the natural landscape of the area through play and curiosity. A high school science teacher encouraged me to pursue the field. I attended the University of Central Arkansas and graduated with a BS in Environmental Science. My focus on environmental education led me to an internship at an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission conservation education center. I worked with K-12 students in outdoor settings and began to fully appreciate the impact of non-formal education.
In applying for graduate school, I wanted to develop my skills as a non-formal educator and to learn how to best teach diverse groups of students and the public about their surrounding environment and role as stewards. I chose the Environmental Conservation Education program at NYU for its emphasis on the application of theoretical coursework through internships and work experience.
During my time at NYU, I learned more about the needs of K-12 classroom teachers and their students, as well as the diverse audiences and unique goals of non-formal settings, through coursework and internships. For my ECE internship, I managed the Greenpoint YMCA ExxonMobil SYSTEM Program, a summer program for local high school students focusing on place-based STEM education and service learning. I also interned with the Horticultural Society of New York’s Green House Program on Riker’s Island, working with inmates and detainees in garden settings, in addition to interning with the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots Program to support K-12 students and teachers with service-learning projects in NYC.
Will Lillard '12
My passion for environmental education stems from my love of backpacking, fly fishing, and pretty much anything outdoors. After graduating from Kean University with a degree in political science, I followed my love of the outdoors west, where I found the perfect summer job leading experiential education trips in Hawaii, California, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana for a company called Wilderness Ventures. After this experience, I wanted to integrate outdoor education into a career. I moved back east to intern at an environmental education-focused high school called the Outdoor Academy in Western North Carolina. Motivated and inspired by young conservationists at the Academy, I decided to return to school for a masters in Environmental Conservation Education. Being in New York City and attending NYU provided me the opportunity to gain knowledge while broadening my experience in the field.
At NYU, I was able to integrate my love of fly fishing and passion for environmental education. I interned with the non-profit Trout Unlimited, where I visited classrooms all over NYC to help teachers raise trout from eggs in the fall, to fry in the spring, then release them into the NYC watershed. I also developed lesson plans and helped teach about the importance of protecting the NYC watershed. Utilizing what I learned in classes and field experiences, I spent the last two semesters at NYU developing a final project that combined adventure education, environmental education, service learning, and of course, fly fishing. With feedback from my professors and peers, I turned that project into a reality. In the summer of 2012, Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditionsled its first set of trips, teaching high school students to fly fish, while also teaching the importance of environmental conservation.
Elizabeth Woodworth '12
The small northern New Jersey suburb where I grew up, between well-preserved nature and New York City, shaped my interest in both natural and urban environments. After a summer marine biology course at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine, I realized I had a passion to understand and protect the environment, leading to my choice to pursue my undergraduate degree at George Washington University in DC. As an Environmental Studies major with a minor in Biology concentrating on natural resource policy, I interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Office of Public Affairs. I have since worked in science journal publishing and have spent several years on the global communications team of a financial advisory firm where a significant portion of my time has focused on the power, energy, and infrastructure financial advisory groups.
I am excited to expand on my academic and professional background with the ECE program, where I focused on urban energy and natural resource policy advocacy. I was drawn to the program's flexibility and the interdisciplinary structure, allowing me to strengthen my understanding of the scientific, political, economic, and social issues related to environmental policy. I currently work as an Agricultural Resource Specialist with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture working on policy development, marketing, and communications for aquaculture.
Lisa Wojcik ‘11
During elementary school, I enjoyed all of my school’s nature-based field trips, but found that in middle school and high school – even when my science class studied evolution, earth science, and biology – science learning only took place indoors. As a biology and environmental studies undergraduate student at SUNY Buffalo, I vowed to change the way grades 6-8 and 9-12 students approach content standards. My work as an educator with the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, the Marine Mammal Center, and NOAA only strengthened my commitment to providing children with high-quality outdoor environmental education experiences.
While enrolled in NYU’s ECE program, I was able to review the foundations of environmental education, and review arguments and models for how and why learning from a place-based model is developmentally and pedagogically appropriate across grades Pre K-12. I now work to implement these very models, having found my dream job after graduating from the ECE program. Employed with the San Francisco Unified School District Math and Science Department, I work as a program director to provide teacher and classroom support, assist Pre K-12 student engagement in learning about their connectedness with nature, and cultivate environmentally responsible practices. Learn more about the San Francisco Unified School District’s ecoliteracy efforts.
Lee Frankel-Goldwater '11
The ECE degree at NYU allowed me to create my own educational experience. I have just recently completed a semester at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel, living with Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and other Americans studying peace, the environment, and regional issues. Currently, I am on a nearby kibbutz (cooperative) participating in a "Green Apprenticeship", learning about permaculture and community living. This balance between academic and practical skills is exactly what I was looking for.
The experience and studies are a transitional one for me. After attaining a BS in computer science from the University of Rochester, where I also studied music at the Eastman School and traveled to China through a Take Five scholarship, I found that my true love was connected to my first job – summer camp counselor. The human relationship to the environment is central to addressing all of the great problems and dreams we face, including hunger, energy, population, public health, and happiness. It is in this last realm that I hope to have the greatest impact, and that it might trickle into the other areas of need.
I'm working in Social Good Technology and Environmental Education, looking for ways to connect people together and create community that fosters health and global awareness.
My future goals are to write, experience, offer what I know, touch the minds of youth, and help heal the bodies of the sick – through raising the awareness that the state of our own well-being is directly connected to that of the world around us. Please follow me, and share your thoughts, at S Blog.
Jessica Brunacini '11
Jessica graduated from the Environmental Conservation Education program in May 2011. During her time at NYU, she focused much of her attention on issues relating to sustainable development and climate change, including linkages with poverty, energy, and ecology. While in the ECE program, Jessica had the opportunity to intern with the Population and Development Branch of the United Nations Population Fund, where she analyzed data, contributed to key publications, and undertook an update to the messaging, content, and design of the organization’s climate change website. Her final thesis research concentrated on the role of community-based climate change adaptation in the world’s least-developed countries.
Jessica’s career as an environmental educator began in 2008 with a position at the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, where she taught grades pre-K-3 about various elements of the natural and built environments of New York City. Since then, she has worked as an educator with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy (BBPC), the City Parks Foundation’s Green Girls Summer Institute, and NYU’s Go Green Summer Camp.
Jessica worked with Population Action International, helping to design and develop training materials for decision makers on the links between population dynamics and climate change. She is also the program development coordinator for Lit!, a project started by a local high school student that provides solar lanterns to young school children living without electricity access in developing countries.
Rich Tesler '11
Prior to NYU I worked as a technology equity analyst primarily in the hedge fund industry. Through my investment research, I became interested in green technology, specifically, renewable energy and energy efficiency, which led to the decision to go back to school and immerse myself in the environment.
I chose NYU's Environmental Conservation Education program for three reasons. First, because it is interdisciplinary, which I thought would allow me to gain a broad knowledge in the field. Second, its flexibility, which I thought would give me the opportunity to follow personal interests. And third, I liked the education component, which differentiates NYU's program from other environmental study programs and I thought would allow me to learn and prepare me to teach others about the environmental field in either the classroom or the boardroom.
This past summer, I was awarded a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund. The fellowship matches environmentally minded students with corporations to help them "go green" by identifying potential energy efficiency projects. As part of my fellowship, I was asked to blog about my summer accomplishments (Big Shoesand Sustainable Strategy). This fellowship was the culmination of my master's studies and I credit the professors, curriculum, and encouragement of the ECE program for preparing me for a career in the environmental field.
I have an undergraduate business degree, an MBA, and a CFA.
Laura Fisher '10
I graduated from the Environmental Conservation Education program in December 2010. Starting out at NYU, my focus was on sustainable food production and community health. During my coursework at ECE, I interned with the nonprofit Green Guerillas, leading their youth urban agriculture internship program in Central Brooklyn. My work at Green Guerillas showed me the power of community gardens as tools for urban renewal and teaching environmental stewardship, on which I then focused the continuation of my studies. I really appreciated the interdisciplinary curriculum of the ECE program, as it allowed me to adjust the course of my studies as my professional experiences continued to shape my academic interests.
Since graduating in 2010, my professional life has taken many directions. I worked as an apprentice on a wonderful 93-acre farm in Connecticut, learning the practical skills of small-scale, sustainable agriculture. The experience was a perfect complement to the theoretical education I had gained at NYU, as well as an eye-opening experience about how hard it is to be a farmer in the United States.
Upon return to New York City, after a year working as the Marketing Director for Savory, a startup restaurant group, I’ve returned to work for Green Guerillas. As the program director, I support community gardening groups in New York City through a mix of education, community organizing, and advocacy. I hope to always use my ECE degree and the skills I’ve continued to acquire since then to educate communities on the intersection of human and planetary health.
Mike Duggan '10
A Native New Yorker, Mike became interested in environmental studies because of his childhood growing up along the shores of Jamaica Bay in Breezy Point. His childhood interest led him to pursue a biology degree from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio. At BGSU, he began working in the school’s marine science and research lab. This led him into the marine research field as an aquaculture “farmer” and aquarist/researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the New York Aquarium. During his time at the NY Aquarium and a small research facility in the US Virgin Islands, he began teaching school groups about marine creatures. In 2005, Mike moved back to New York and received a master’s degree in education from Pace University. Mike was able to combine his education and marine science backgrounds working for the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment as a New York City public high school teacher. In 2008, Mike started at New York University to further his love for science and education as a graduate student in the Environmental Conservation Education Program. Due to his work at NYU he has been able to create exciting hands-on curricula in urban ecology, marine history and science, field studies, and biology for his students. During the spring and summer of 2009, he worked as an intern with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, developing their estuary education program called Rove the Cove. He assisted the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy with curriculum writing, which included the National Estuary Day course as well as running his own marine education program in Breezy Point. He hopes to continue weaving environmental education through more standard curricula and opening doors in science for New York City students. Mike teaches at MS-67/Louis Pasteur in Douglaston, Queens.
Lindsay Downing '10
Interdisciplinary environmental studies and education have always embodied my professional and personal pursuits in life. As an undergraduate, I received a BA in cultural anthropology with an environmental focus in 2008 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The environmental focus consisted of two separate semesters spent in Patagonia, Chile and the Indian Himalayas doing environmental research and alternative energy education for sustainable mountain villages. After graduation, I worked at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and at the Channel Islands National Park Foundation. Yet I still craved a better education within environmental education, politics, and justice, through the framework of non-governmental organizations and non-profits.
As an MA graduate in the Environmental Conservation Education Program, I interned within the United Nations Development Program: Climate Change Adaptation Team, Environment, and Energy Group, where I prepared communication materials for international briefings and finalized a paper on UNDP's adaptation portfolio. I also worked as a teacher assistant for a seventh-grade science class at Tompkins Square Middle School, where I gained a deeper perspective on environmental science and the role it plays in fostering environmental literacy in urban youth. During the summer, I interned at the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman's Association in Chatham, Massachusetts as a policy analyst, working on finding sustainable fishing solutions for local commercial fisheries that keep the local economy and federal regulations at bay. The ECE program was a perfect fit for me due to its interdisciplinary choices, as well as its strong emphasis on building critical professional experiences through independent studies and internships.
Since graduating last December 2010, I moved to Lake Tahoe, CA, and got a job as an environmental consultant at Integrated Environmental Restoration Services, Inc., where I help mitigate sediment loading into the world's second largest alpine lake through erosion control methods and restoration techniques. I'm head technical editor/writer and a monitoring technician for the company. I also coach a competitive alpine race team at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort part time. The mountains are a much better fit for me than the city.
Issac Amad '10
I joined the ECE program in Fall 2008 and graduated in Spring 2010. One of the greatest aspects of the program for me was its interdisciplinary curriculum, allowing each student to form his or her own path relevant to their interests. Additionally, the guidance of the program advisers and faculty as well as the support of the small class size were a highlight for me. Some of my most memorable courses included Ecology at Black Rock Forest, Foundations of Environmental Thought, and Contemporary Environmental Debates. As with many of the other ECE courses, the latter two consisted primarily of in-class discussions that fostered an environment for philosophical growth and an exchange of views, which I found to be highly inspirational, especially towards completing assignments and projects. A necessary component of the program requires students to complete an approved internship of their choice. I had the fantastic opportunity to work with the New York City Audubon Society along with two of my colleagues to develop and implement an environmental education program that reached out to local schools.
As an undergraduate, I received a BA in economics in 2007 from George Mason University while also working as a patent paralegal in an intellectual properties law firm, and an independent contractor at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's herpetology department in Washington, DC. Ironically, I disagreed with many of the views on environmentalism that economic theories can hold. After doing some research, I became interested in environmental initiatives, which led me to apply to NYU. Currently, I work at NYU's History Department and enjoy being a part of the NYU community as more than just a student. My hope is to remain in higher education, especially as related to environmental initiatives.
Andrea Monge '10
Andrea graduated from the Environmental Conservation Education Program in January 2010. Before moving to New York City, she obtained a BSc with a major in marine biology from James Cook University in Australia. Her work focused on sea turtle and cetacean research and conservation in Mexico, Spain, Australia, and Costa Rica. She chose NYU's ECE master's program because it gives students a strong foundation through its core subjects, but at the same time it lets each person choose their own path by offering a vast amount of electives in different fields. This allowed Andrea to pursue her passion for Marine Biology through an internship with the Palau Mission for the United Nations, where she researched the state of tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific. She was also able to complete a global fellowship at the Duke University Marine Lab, and was trained in sea turtle genetics at the genomics lab of the American Museum of Natural History. In addition, she held a second internship with Rainforest Alliance where she could focus her work on Latin America, where she is originally from. Finally, she worked with Dr. Mary Leou to develop a sister-school environmental education program at a sea turtle nesting beach in the Mexican Pacific. Andrea presented the results from her study at the 30th International Sea Turtle Symposium in Goa, India in April 2010. She has written education material for the Conservation Biology Program of the American Museum of Natural History. She is currently the New Business Director at ispDigital in Barcelona area, Spain. studying consumer perceptions of sustainability and how brands can improve their customer engagement.
Mitchell Porcelan '10
Environmental education has been a focus in my life and thought for the past twenty years. I am a New York State-certified 7th grade special education teacher at Middle School 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. For the past 10 years, my work at MS 51 has focused on the urban environmental system and the development of community-centered ecological projects. One of my projects included a partnership between my middle school classes and Liveable Streets Education to study air pollution. The MA Environmental Conservation Education program at NYU helped me build a strong foundation for the development of my educational philosophy, which promotes the cognitive, affective, and evaluative development that students need to learn on a daily basis. As part of my graduate work, I interned with Livable Streets Education, a group that promotes healthy cities and sustainable communities. One of the projects included a video called "Stop the Pollution, Pick a Solution," created by middle school students in partnership with Livable Streets.
I received a BA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, which led me to develop an interest in understanding the human-nature relationship. I went on to complete a Master Naturalist certification program in collaboration with Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins. In addition, I received a Certificate in Conservation Biology from the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University, and studied in their summer fellowship program that focused on the biodiversity of the Hudson River.
My work experiences include time as an environmental educator for the US Forest Service in the Rio Grande National Park in Southwestern Colorado. Other experiences include teaching for the Central Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, New York Public Interest Research Group, Greenpeace, the Front Range Natural Science School in Boulder, Colorado, and at the Discovery Science Museum in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Natalia Sanz de Santamaria '10
Natalia graduated from the ECE program in January 2010. Before coming into ECE, Natalia completed her undergraduate studies at Arcadia University in Biology with a concentration in Conservation Biology. Then, she worked for three years as an outdoor and environmental education instructor in an environmental organization in her home country, Colombia. She enrolled in the ECE program at NYU because she wanted to gain more experience in education and have a better background in environmental studies to continue her work in Colombia. The ECE program was a great alternative because it allowed her to explore different areas within the environmental and education fields. During her time at NYU, Natalia completed an internship in the education department at the Rainforest Alliance, and completed her final project on the effects of a 27-day outdoor education program in Ontario, Canada, and the environmental attitudes of fourth graders from Colombia.
Natalia has returned to Colombia, and will continue her work in outdoor and environmental education with a focus on urban environmental education. The project she is involved with includes education components within current conservation and research programs in the country.
Marley Bauce '09
Marley Bauce graduated from the ECE program in May 2009 after spending two years concentrating in environmental philosophy and history, with his thesis on childhood perceptions of food ethics and animal cognition. During his tenure with ECE, he held a three semester-long internship and ethnographic research position at PS3 in the West Village, served as a teaching assistant for Foundations of Environmental Thought, and was a research assistant for Dr. Jhumki Basu's project on democratic science education. Before coming to NYU, Marley did a triple major in education, philosophy, and environmental studies at Hampshire College.
Upon graduating from the ECE program, Marley worked for four years as the awards manager for the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists at the New York Academy of Sciences, specializing in external communications, fundraising, event planning, and digital publishing. He is currently the manager at the Office of Research Initiatives at Columbia University, helping Columbia's faculty obtain internal and external funding for their interdisciplinary research ventures. Since 2009, Marley has also served as an adjunct associate professor in Pace University's Departments of Philosophy, Environmental Studies, History, and Peace and Justice Studies, teaching courses in animal ethics, food ethics, environmental history, and ecological economics, as well as advising students and supervising senior theses in the Pforzheimer Honors College. He has also obtained a second master's degree in business communications from Pace University.
Stephanie Bradley ‘08
Stephanie Bradley graduated from the NYU ECE program in 2008. Stephanie is originally from Texas where she attended undergrad and first interned for Cameron Park Zoo’s education department and became addicted to non-formal wildlife education. Upon graduation Stephanie moved to NYC and enrolled into the NYU ECE program to pursue a Master’s in the field of environmental education with a focus on wildlife. During the NYU ECE program Stephanie interned and worked part-time for the New York Aquarium’s education department. There she helped run the aquarium’s Urban Advantage Program, as well as taught programs to people of all ages. While at NYU, Stephanie completed a study abroad in South Africa with the University of Pretoria’s Wildlife Management course.
Upon graduation Stephanie started as a full-time educator for the Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey. At Turtle Back Zoo, Stephanie ran educational programs and presentations as well as, cared for the education animal collection. Stephanie started the zoo’s very popular summer camp program along with revitalizing the zoo's early childhood programming. After visiting and volunteering for the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Stephanie moved to Namibia to work for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) as their education manager. At CCF Stephanie manages all of the organizations educational programs which includes, on-site programs at their field research and education center, outreach education all over Namibia and international educational collaboration. Stephanie is thrilled to be in a career that combinations her love of wildlife and environmental education on a daily basis.
Christine Coughlin '08
Christine graduated from the Environmental Conservation Education Program in May 2008. While in the program, she had the opportunity to travel to Peru to study. She completed an internship with the New York State Department of Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program designing curricula. Her culminating thesis project dealt with developing environmental professional development initiatives for classroom teachers.
Prior to attending NYU, Christine taught middle school for several years in Central Massachusetts, where she was able to see firsthand the possibilities that exist in exceptional schools. She holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and philosophy from Penn State.
Christine completed her PhD in Science Education at NYU. Her primary dissertation focused on the Environmental Education as transformative Social Process. She reeived the Environmental Education Scholarship for Academic Study at the NAAEE Annual Conference in Buffalo in 2014.
Christine worked as Director of Education at the Earth Day Network, where she managed school facility sustainability projects and education-related governmental outreach, and developed environmental curricula used in schools throughout the world.
Christine Coughlin Robertson was awarded her PhD from New York University, Department of Teaching & Learning in 2016.
Courtney Jackson '08
Courtney graduated from the ECE program in 2008 after having completed two internships in NYC. The first was with GreenNYC where she helped organize weekly lessons on the environment and energy and delivered them to local classrooms. The second internship was with the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination, where she worked on the PlaNYC 2030 publication released in April 2007. After graduation, she went to work for Golder Associates Inc., an international environmental engineering and consulting firm. She worked on site investigations and compliance issues.
After 2 years in the private sector, she went back to her roots and became a science teacher. From 2010-2014, she was an 8th-grade science teacher in Westwood, NJ. It became a career for life, rather than a job where she could teach students about environmental issues.
Currently, Courtney is living Switzerland with her husband and dog. She is working for the International School of Solothurn-Olten as a Junior school teacher. She is also a contributing jounalist on education for Swiss Style Magazine. Her last article on a sustainable school spoke directly to her experience at NYU and the ECE program.
Daniel Carmeli '07
A strong desire to travel and volunteer abroad prompted Dan Carmeli to embark on a journey of self discovery, a decision that led him to India. His plan was simple: he would work for the Foundation for Ecological Security in Udaipur, and enjoy the rich food and culture that he had appreciated from afar. What came to pass was truly unexpected and offered so much more.
A native of Queens, NY, Dan pursued his undergraduate studies at Cornell in Earth and atmospheric sciences. Upon graduation, he continued his education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU, where he enrolled in the Environmental Conservation Education program. Describing the appeal of conservation education, Dan explained that he was "instantly attracted to the program because of its open and intensive interdisciplinary offerings." He remarked, "Steinhardt's urban campus takes you beyond Washington Square – it takes you to the UN and around the world."
Jessica Jones '07
Jessica Jones graduated from the ECE program in January 2007. During her master's program, she held an internship at the High School for Environmental Studies, and worked as the research assistant for the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education. Jessica was also employed as the data manager for the Hudson River Foundation before moving to DC to work in the environmental education field.
Since November 2007, Jessica has been at the National Wildlife Federation. She started as a volunteer Coordinator overseeing FrogWatch USA and the Coastal Louisiana Habitat Restoration Initiative. In 2008, she was promoted to senior coordinator of Citizen Science Programs, where she manages the Wildlife Watch program.
Christopher Kennedy '07
Christopher Lee Kennedy is a project-based and installation artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work explores notions of exchange and relational situations through situated learning. Mr. Kennedy holds a degree in Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MA in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University. He has served as the Director of Education for Solar One, NYC's Green Arts and Education Center, and a former Research Fellow of the Environmental Health Clinic at NYU. His most recent projects have included Urban Epiphyte, a participatory project exploring issues of psychogeography and ecology, and The Institute for Applied Aesthetics, a research-based think tank for art and learning. Christopher completed his PhD at the University of North Carolina, Greenboro in Educational Studies, with a concentration in cultural studies.
Dr. Kennedy is currently an Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute in New York City.
Joshua Russell '06
Joshua Russell graduated from the ECE program in 2006. While at NYU, Joshua worked as an educator with the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, undertook two internships with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, and was an exhibit design researcher for the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Prior to attending NYU, he completed a degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Animal Behavior, at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Joshua completed a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto in 2013. His dissertation research focused upon children's lived experiences of animal death, funded in part by a fellowship with the Animals and Society Institute in 2011. Joshua was recently hired as an assistant professor at Canisius College where he teaches courses in Conservation Education, Conservation Psychology, and Child-Animal Studies at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His ongoing research will continue to explore children's relationships with animals in diverse contexts, particularly focusing on themes of loss, death, and crisis.
Dr. Russell is curently an Assistant Professor in the Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation Program at Canisius College.
Amanda Eyrich Daly '05
Amanda Eyrich Daly graduated from the ECE program in January of 2006. Presently she is the director of green education and training programs at City University of New York, providing oversight and support for th program. Prior to her position at CUNY, Amanda was a consultant to the United Nations, and developed a module of UN-Habitat's Environmental Education Resource Packet focused on climate change as it impacts urban environments. Previously, she was the director of education at the Center for the Urban Environment, and directed the delivery of over 4000 urban environmental programs annually. Additionally, as an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College, Ms. Daly teaches environmental studies, life science, and general natural sciences courses to future teachers. She holds a BS in environmental studies from Richard Stockton College.