2019 Board of Director Nominees

The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2019 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 5 available positions: Secretary Treasurer (2 nominees), 2 At-Large Member Positions (5 nominees), Graduate Student Member (1 nominee), and Undergraduate Student Member (2 nominees). Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections will open Sunday June 1st and run through Sunday June 9th. Please note, your ISEE/USSEE membership must be up-to-date to vote!

To vote, use the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdeJT8zbQ9xN7sE6oEneb2QjafV2n2km9S0YKDZCmLLG1Z-g/viewform?usp=sf_link

Secretary Treasurer:

John Polimeni

Dr. John Polimeni is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his M.S. in Economics and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Regulatory Economics from S.U.N.Y. at Albany, and his Ph.D. in Ecological Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research focuses on the interaction of economic development with the environment. He conducts research on sustainable agriculture, the impact on the environment, public health, and how economic development can result. He also performs research on energy and smart cities technology. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers, including three in Ecological Economics, and four books. Additionally, he has taught an Ecological Economics course and given numerous conference presentations, including ISEE and USSEE conferences. John also serves on the Schenectady (N.Y.) City Council and has passed several laws to improve the environment.

Candidacy Statement: I am excited by the possibility of serving the US Society of Ecological Economics as secretary-treasurer. I have experience as treasurer for several non-profit organizations I have served on and would use this experience to perform the duties for USSEE. Our current conditions in the United States and globally requires that the ecological economics community take a leadership role in not only academia but in our public policy. I value the role Ecological Economics has played in fostering sustainability discourse and look forward to using my skills to assist the USSEE and the opportunity to give back to the ecological economics community.

John Sorrentino

John A. Sorrentino is Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. After writing a dissertation on the theory of externalities, he participated in a 1975 multi-disciplinary NASA/Federal Energy Administration summer fellowship program on Energy Conservation. He further cultivated his interest in inter-disciplinary teaching & research as a faculty member in the Temple University Freshman Inter-disciplinary Studies Program in the later 1970s. This program was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation to re-vitalize the undergraduate curriculum. Twenty years later, he co-founded Temple’s Environmental studies program with other natural & social scientists.

John was honored by the University with a 1999 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Most of his publications and consulting work have involved the micro-economics of energy and the environment, and have appeared in journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Environmental Economics & Management, Environmental Management, and Landscape & Urban Planning. His works-in-progress include such topics as sustainable housing placement, environmental information systems, sustainable business practices, urban agriculture, and using environmental and health amenities to offset wealth inequality. John received his B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, all in economics.

Candidacy Statement: I was a charter member of USSEE, have been on the Scientific Committee of several USSEE conferences, and have served the Society as Secretary-Treasurer for two terms. In those two terms, I have gotten to know the Society fairly well. When the Society could not afford an Executive Director, I did that job as well as that of Secretary-Treasurer. My University has allowed me to use its WebEx platform for USSEE Board meetings and webinars, saving the Society hundreds of dollars per year. With regard to the future of USSEE, I regret that certain groups have splintered away. As a member of the Board’s Membership Committee, however, I still cling to the hope that we can expand our membership as people in mainstream economics & other disciplines realize the potential of ecological economics. I am very happy that President Jim Kahn has engineered a joint conference this year with the Ecological Society of America, and that he has suggested that we reach out to undergraduate students. In a third term, I hope to fine-tune my previous activities and add new ones that promote a bright future for USSEE. Trans-disciplinary is IN! 

Board Member at Large

Mahadev Bhat

Mahadev Bhat

Dr. Mahadev G. Bhat is Professor of Natural Resource Economics in the Departments of Earth and Environment and Economics.  Dr. Bhat’s research focuses economic and policy issues relating to natural resources management, including sustainable development, agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources, and ecosystem services valuation.  He has more than 250 research articles, book chapters, publications and presentations.  He has received research funding from the US Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, National Parks Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private foundations.  Dr. Bhat has advised more than 30 graduate students and 150 undergraduate students on their research and independent study projects.  He co-founded the FIU Agroecology Program with the aid of over 20 different USDA grant programs (over TEN million in total), which helped train over 400 under-represented students in agricultural and natural resources sciences and prepare them for career and higher education.  His USDA-funded grants helped establish a multi-university consortium for training over 150 Hispanic students in South Florida and Puerto Rico.  Dr. Bhat co-established the FIU Organic Garden, which serves as a teaching tool in urban and sustainable agriculture.  The Garden was designated as a People’s Garden by USDA for having promoted sustainable agriculture education and benefited the FIU student community.  He also co-established the nationally acclaimed FIU Veterans and Small Farmers Outreach Program to assist prospective and beginning farmers with establishing viable farming and agri-business operations.  He is the recipient of multiple awards: FIU Faculty Senate Awards for Excellence in Service (2010), Teaching (2014) and Engagement (2016); FIU Presidential Award for Excellence (2016); FIU Top Scholar Award (2015); Professor of the Year Award (by the 2015 Class of Professional Science Master in Environmental Policy and Management); Best Course Award (by the 2016 Class of Professional Science Master in Environmental Policy and Management).  Dr. Bhat received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and M.S. from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, India.

Candidacy Statement: As a founding member of USSEE since 1999, I have made ecological economics and sustainable resource management a unifying theme of my teaching, research, and community engagement portfolio.  My research focuses on understanding how users manage and value natural resources in an economically rational fashion under different ecological and institutional constraints.  My two papers in Ecological Economics investigated how well-intended intellectual property rights bestowed on private industries might lead to unavoidable extinction of scarce biological resources and work against communities that are key to conserving such resources.  In a more recent work on the ecosystem services valuation along with my graduate student, I demonstrate the potential of ecological economics research for contributing to national debate on climate change mitigation. 

Some of the works I did in Africa, Asia and South Florida have made significant impacts on real-life decision making, resource management and awareness creation.  My work on ecosystem services valuation (particularly, carbon storage in the Florida Everglades) was featured in more than 30 local, national and international news and popular media, contributing to intense policy debate.  As part of a USAID-funded research project, I had the opportunity to develop a major implementation guide on Payment for Environmental Services for practitioners, which development and environmental agencies like USAID and the World Wildlife Fund used for agency personnel training in Africa.  This work particularly focused on building grass-root level community and market institutions to provide sustainable, self-funded solutions to major ecological problem facing the Mara River basin (water and wildlife conservation).  In the past, I engaged several master’s students for field research in India concerning biofuel, watershed development and mangroves restoration.  Along with a graduate student who participated in this latter study on mangroves, I not only co-published the work in a journal, but also helped develop a grant proposal that lead to reforesting of mangroves in the west coast of India with 40,000 seedlings and the help of a local NGO.

For the last one year, serving on the Board of USSEE, I have learned quite a bit about opportunities and challenges that our organization is faced with.  I keep asking myself why our membership has shrunk over the years although ecological economics as a discipline has a wide appeal to many other cognate disciplines including ecology, environmental economics, developmental economics, sustainability sciences, etc.  My goal is to take an active role in contributing to increase our membership base by reaching out to sister organizations and inter-disciplinary researchers and professionals.  The work USSEE is doing this year in reaching out to Ecological Society of America and holding the joint conference is a great beginning.  I hope to continue to be part of that inter-disciplinary and inter-organizational dialogue. 

James Casey

James F. Casey is Associate Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University.  His teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of environment and development with a particular focus on understanding tourists’ preferences for environmental quality in coastal and marine ecosystems.  He has 20 years of experience as a liberal arts educator and has been conducting research in Latin America and the Caribbean for more than 22 years.  He has published widely in the fields of environmental and ecological economics in such prestigious journals as Ecological Economics, Marine Policy, Ocean and Coastal Management, and the Journal of Environmental Management.  Professor Casey considers himself to be an environmental social scientist and is always willing to incorporate alternative perspectives to improve his understanding of the natural world and how humans value nature.

Candidacy Statement: As a candidate for the USSEE Board my primary objective would be to increase undergraduate student involvement.  According to the USSEE website there are only a handful of undergraduate programs currently involved in USSEE and I think this should and can be expanded significantly.  Undergraduate participation through student chapters is something I am currently working on as a member of NEA and it is something I am passionate about bringing to the board at USSEE.  Of course, continuing the great work of promoting and expanding the reach of ecological economics that is currently taking place at the USSEE will be important to me, but expanding undergraduate programs will be my emphasis.

David Martin

After earning his B.A. in Economics at DePauw University, Dave earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before starting at Davidson College’s Department of Economics.  He teaches a broad range of courses, including Introductory Economics, Statistics, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, and the Economics of Conservation Biology.  Dave is a co-founder and a core faculty member of the College’s Environmental Studies Department for which he teaches Environmental Social Science and its senior research capstone.  Much of his recent professional activity has been devoted to facilitating the research efforts of his junior colleagues and his students; one paper on worker protection standards for pesticide exposure was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one on the impacts of the Davidson College Farm is under submission, and one on the socioeconomic distribution of an urban tree canopy is being prepared for a conference this winter.  He is continuing his research interest in valuing the impacts of the Panchana Dam upstream of the Keoladeo National Park and its satellite wetlands in India, and he is working on developing a textbook on the economics of conservation biology.  Over the past year, Dave has enjoyed being challenged by Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and The Water Knife and by N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy.

Candidacy Statement: I welcome this opportunity to pay back some of what USSEE has offered to me over the years.  As someone trained in the neoclassical tradition, I have found that the people involved with USSEE have consistently and valuably offered to me and to others the insights and the opportunities to develop into ecological economists.  This support is not simply about c.v. building activities; it is about the conversations that people have.  This support has allowed me to develop so that I can effectively teach Environmental Social Science (not just economics) in an environmental studies program that is interdisciplinary across the humanities, natural sciences, and social science.  Beyond continuing these supportive opportunities, as a Board member I would relish the opportunity to help develop the new generation of ecological economists by creating opportunities for undergraduates to present their ecological economics research.  This might involve sessions at future USSEE meetings or perhaps at USSEE sponsored sessions at conferences of other organizations, such as the Society for Conservation Biology and/or the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (I am a member of both groups).

Regina Ostergaard-Klem

Regina Ostergaard-Klem is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science in the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) in Honolulu, Hawaii. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University, and both an MS in Environmental Engineering and a PhD in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision Making from The Johns Hopkins University.  From 1994-1995, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Lodz, Poland. After completing graduate school, Ostergaard-Klem was a Science and Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC.  Prior to coming to HPU, she worked as an environmental policy advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). There she managed urban environmental and energy projects throughout different regions of the world.
Candidacy Statement: At HPU, Dr. Ostergaard-Klem teaches in both the undergraduate level Environmental Science/Studies program and the master’s program in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development.  Her teaching is concentrated in the fields of ecological economics, sustainable human systems, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. She is a co-developer of “GPI Island Style,” the application of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) at the state level in Hawaii. As an extension of that work, Ostergaard-Klem collaborates with partners across the state on several initiatives, including efforts to develop a state sustainability dashboard and incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the local level in Hawaii.  

Are we preparing sufficient numbers of well-equipped sustainability professionals to meet the challenges that lie ahead? As an educator and former director of a graduate sustainability program, I am constantly asking myself that question. Teaching ecological economics for the last ten years, the nexus between ecological economics and sustainability education is obvious to me. Yet translating ecological economics theory into practical applications to best cultivate the sustainability competencies of my students is challenging. The potential to strengthen the inherent connection between the two fields is tremendous.

I have been a member of USSEE/ISEE since 2013 and I regularly attend and participate in USEE and ISEE conferences.  During the 2016 ISEE meeting in Washington, DC, I coordinated a session on teaching ecological economics from principles to practice.  I was elected to the USSEE Board in June 2017 and serve as a co-chair of the Board’s Curriculum Committee. In this role, I have continued to advocate for ecological economics education by recruiting webinar speakers, coordinating with other organizations such as the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and co-developing a workshop entitled “Building Bridges in a Full World: How to Teach Ecological Economics Across the Disciplines” that we will deliver at the upcoming ESA-USSEE joint conference in August 2019.

I feel that my strengths and experiences can help USSEE create a stronger role for ecological economics in the training and education of the next generation of sustainability professionals. However, education is just one of many important, relevant roles for USSEE.  If I am re-elected and along with other members of the board, I hope to similarly build or strengthen other connections, like that between researcher and practitioner communities or between USSEE and other stakeholders, according to the priorities set by USSEE members. Thank you for your consideration.

Susan Santone

Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with 25 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. An instructor at the University of Michigan School of Education (and formerly, Eastern Michigan University), she’s designed and taught graduate- and undergraduate courses on education reform, multicultural education, and social justice, the social/political foundations of education, and teaching ecological economics, and curriculum design.

She is the author of Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability, as well as articles and book chapters on educating for sustainability, teaching ecological economics, and countering neoliberal influences in education. Through Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit she founded, she led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations.

Candidacy Statement: I have been a member of USSEE and ISEE for ten years. During that time, I have presented at three US conferences, the International conference (Puebla, 2018), and the Canadian conference (May 2019). I’ve also provided a webinar and written a blog for USSEE. With a background in curriculum design, teacher education, and educational reform, I’ve focused on how to bring ecological economics to audiences outside of the field: K-12 teachers, university instructors in other fields, policymakers, and the general public.

My work in the eco-economics space emphasizes ways to teach and communicate about its root concepts while contrasting them with neoclassical ideas, e.g., homo economics vs. self-in-community, individualism vs. interdependence, and qualitative vs. quantitative concepts of success. My book, Reframing the Curriculum, frames these ideas in terms of overarching narratives and how the underlying assumptions play out not only in society, but also in educational policy and practice. Having used the metaphor of narrative in my courses and workshops, I’ve been able to make complex ideas understandable to a range of audiences.

Perhaps more importantly, the framing helps people uncover widely-shared goals and values of sustainability (such as healthy communities and democracy), creating a message that is embraced by people across the political spectrum. This is why, if elected, I would like to focus on communication and education beyond the academy. The urgency of environmental and social problems means we must not only bring eco-economics to policymakers, citizens, and other stakeholders, but do so in ways that cut through loaded jargon and speak to common values. If elected, I believe I can best advance these aims through the policy committee.

If you would like to learn more about my work, I invite you to visit my webite, where you’ll find my background, blog, and more. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for the opportunity to be considered for the board.

Graduate Student Board Member

Andrew Gerard

Andrew Gerard is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, where he is also pursuing a PhD major in Environmental Science and Policy. His research focuses on institutional and economic issues related to agriculture and food systems. Current research activities include studying (1) policies related to coffee production and marketing in Rwanda and Burundi, (2) voluntary coffee sourcing standards, and (3) food system governance in shrinking, post-industrial cities such as Flint, Michigan. While pursuing his PhD, Andrew served as director of MSU’s Academy for Global Engagement, a program that provides early and mid-career MSU faculty members with opportunities to collaborate and conduct research internationally. In 2018 Andrew won the Malcolm and Ann Kerr Award for Excellence in Scholarship. This award allowed him to serve as instructor of record for the MSU undergraduate course International Development and Sustainability, which featured concepts from ecological economics.

Prior to coming to MSU, Andrew was a Senior Program Officer at the Global Knowledge Initiative, a non-profit international development organization based in Washington, DC. There he built collaborative research networks and supported science and technology policy programs in East and Southern Africa. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences from Andrews University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Candidacy Statement: I am interested in serving as a USSEE Graduate Student Board Member because of my academic engagement in ecological economics and desire to become more involved in and support the mission of USSEE. 

I believe that my perspective as a graduate student, and my experiences and skills can benefit USSEE. If elected, I specifically hope to leverage my experience in project management and fundraising (from before and during my PhD) in support of USSEE’s mission.  In addition, I will support USSEE in conducting outreach to graduate students who may be interested in joining the organization or attending the USSEE Conference. During my PhD experience, I have met many students who are interested in concepts related to ecological economics, but who may not know about USSEE or understand the benefits of joining. Finally, I will advocate for the interests and needs of graduate students within USSEE. As a parent of a young child, I understand some of the constraints and challenges that face graduate students. I will look for opportunities to use my experience and the experience of my peers to enhance USSEE’s outreach activities and services provided to grad students.

Undergraduate Student Board Member

Kristen Boligitz

Kristen Boligitz is an undergraduate majoring in economics at Temple University. Since serving as the Sustainability Representative for her residence hall during her first year of school, Kristen has had an interest in the environment, especially in regards to programming and urban settings. She has also participated in two week-long service immersion trips to eastern Kentucky. There, she learned about the environmental impact of the coal industry and became interested in how to balance human interests with environmental regulations. Last summer, Kristen served as an intern on Capitol Hill for Congressman Brendan Boyle where she helped with researching and drafting legislation regarding topics such as PFAS and water pollution. Her research interests lie in the intersections of economics, policy, the environment, human behavior, and social justice. Outside of her interests in sustainability, Kristen has been involved in the Temple Economics Society, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, and Temple Refugee Outreach. She is interested in being a part of USSEE because of its emphasis on exchanging information and advancing practical solutions regarding sustainability. Kristen hopes to use her perspective as a student to help expand the influence of ecological economics and act as a bridge between students and the professional community.

Emma Rice

Emma Rice is an undergraduate student at Michigan State University working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Management with minors in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and in Science, Technology, and Environment Public Policy. Rice is heavily involved with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Economics (AFRE) at MSU. She is the Vice President and co-founder of the Sustainable Business Association, an undergraduate student organization within AFRE, works as a class grader for two professors in the course: Decision Making in the Agri-Food System, and is conducting undergraduate research on the implications of vote-buy gaps in recent animal welfare and GMO ballot initiatives advised by Dr. Melissa McKendree. Rice will present this research at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting this summer of 2019. Rice also works as in the lab of Dr. C. Robin Buell in MSU’s Department of Plant Biology as an administrative and laboratory assistant and has conducted experiments with DNR, running Polymerase Chain Reactions and Gel Electrophoresis. Rice spent last summer in the field working for the MSU Department of Horticulture as a research assistant on a sustainable vegetable agriculture cover crop project. Rice is interested in the intersection between agriculture and environmental sustainability. Rice plans to attend graduate school in order to obtain a Master’s degree in applied economics, then hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy. This summer, Rice will be in Washington DC for an environmental policy internship with the Federal Government.

Candidacy Statement: I am interested in joining the United States Society for Ecological Economics because I would like to increase my exposure to the academic environment of ecological economics to prepare myself for graduate school. The interest areas covered by USSEE members align perfectly with the type of research I hope to get involved with in the future. I believe that undergraduate engagement in such organizations is extremely beneficial to inform students on research opportunities and graduate school opportunities many may not know are available. Furthermore, participation enables undergraduates to enhance their education and facilitates networking and other unique opportunities. I am excited by the chance to serve as the Undergraduate Student Member on the USSEE Board and am thankful for your consideration.