The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2021 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 4 available positions: Secretary-Treasurer (1 nominee), two At-Large Member Positions (5 nominees), and Undergraduate Student Member (1 nominee). Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections are open Tuesday May 25 through Monday May 31.
Please note, your ISEE/USSEE membership must be up-to-date to vote! If you are an active member, you will receive voting instructions via email to the address in your ISEE/USSEE profile. If you believe you are an active member but have not received a ballot, please Contact Us.
John A. Sorrentino
John was a charter member of ISEE/USSEE. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. He was a co-founder of Temple University’s Environmental Studies Program, and 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, Landscape & Urban Planning, & Sustainability. He also has an essay entitled “Containing Carbon through Cap and Trade or a Per Unit Tax” forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Economics edited by James Kahn. 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.
I am running again for Secretary-Treasurer because I firmly believe in the transdisciplinary mission & goals of ISEE/USSEE, & I believe that I can continue to promote them in another term. With respect to conferences, I have served on the scientific committees reviewing proposals, and presented my own research at many of them. In 2017, I managed the financial interactions with invited speakers, sponsors, registrants & the host institution. I convinced the latter to accept $2K less than agreed upon, given that there were fewer registrants than expected. My university allowed USSEE to use its WebEx software for meetings & webinars, & this saved USSEE hundreds of dollars per year for a few years. I have chaired or co-chaired the Board’s Membership Committee, seeking to maintain or expand membership as sub-groups of our previous constituency broke away. I hope that you will give me the chance to continue to work with the Executive Committee & the Board of Directors to get more of our general members involved in USSEE activities, & to spread the word about ecological economics.
Member At-Large (2 positions)
Dr. Mairi-Jane Fox is an assistant professor in Economics and Finance at Regis University Anderson School of Business and Computing where she directs the Sustainable Economic Enterprise Development (SEED) Institute. She holds a doctoral degree in Natural Resources from University of Vermont where she worked with her advisor, Dr. Jon Erikson, on research related to Genuine Progress Indicator. She also has a Master of Science in Ecological Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. Among her many professional roles prior to her current academic role in higher education, Mairi-Jane taught 3rd grade, wrote the environmental justice, public participation, and economics sectors of EIS and EIA for pipelines and mines, consulted on sustainability strategy for publicly traded companies, and research ESG factors for asset managers. Mairi-Jane served on the USSEE board from 2012-2015 as graduate student representative and as one of the team of conference organizers when the conference was held at UBC in 2015.
I joined USSEE while I was working at an environmental consulting company before I started my PhD studies because I believed in the transformation and innovation available for humanity and earth through the ecological economics paradigm. If I were to be elected to the position with my background as K-12 educator as well as time working in the private sector, I’d intent to bring an expansive view about whom USSEE can serve and the avenues through which it can have impact. Also, since I work in a business school in the mountain West, I believe I can bring a form of academic and regional diversity to the board. For example, I was the lead author on the only business-focused chapter in the recent book published about the ecological economic research agenda; but I also co-authored the chapter about metrics. I am eager to join the USSEE as a board member at large to build on the devotion and passion of the previous board members to integrate ecological economics into teaching, policy, research, and 21st century business practices. Professional and academic societies must always be dynamic to meet the ever-evolving nature of academic work; but this ability to innovate and adapt in order to have an impact and support change-makers is critically important as higher ed (and the business sector) move through this pandemic-accelerated creative-destruction period.
I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Prescott Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I received my PhD in Environmental & Energy Policy from Michigan Technological University, MS in Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in Economics from University of Ghana. I specialize in ecological economics, environmental economics and complex systems science. I also have public sector experience, having served as an Assistant Economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning for five years. My past research projects involved studying the impacts of invasive species on fisheries sustainability and coastal communities, and the environmental cost of petroleum subsidies in West Africa. My current project seeks to develop agent-based computational models and econometric models to identify food waste reduction strategies in the National School Lunch Program, a USDA-sponsored program that supports over 30 million school children across the US.
My interest in serving on the USSEE Board is driven by my academic and professional background, as well as my vision to promote ecological economics as a substantive field in the social sciences. I have had the opportunity to work on environmental and energy policy issues over the years, and have paid particular attention to how complex human behaviors makes balancing environmental protection and economic growth difficult. I have also come to appreciate the potential of ecological economics as the best field capable of integrating both neoclassical and heterodox economics, and accommodating the interdisciplinary perspectives and diversity of scholarship needed to unpack the complexities of environmental problems. Hence, I want to serve on the Board to support the promotion of ecological economics as a major field of scholarship in the social sciences. In order to allow ecological economics to flourish as a substantive field, we need to promote the discipline to the point where it will no longer be othered or considered a “heterodox” field. The Board can achieve this by increasing both the demand and supply of research output in ecological economics. On the demand side, the Board can market the potential of ecological economics to key environmental organizations such as public agencies and interest groups that fund environmental research to increase funding for ecological economics research. Regarding the supply, the Board can organize promotional campaigns to introduce high school and university students to the discipline, facilitate the creation of ecological economics graduate programs, and connect students to opportunities for ecological economics research at universities across the US. I look forward to serving you.
John 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, a M.A. in Economics and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Regulatory Economics from S.U.N.Y. at Albany, and a Ph.D. in Ecological Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship to Romania, where he is a Honorary Member of the Institute of Economic Forecasting in the National Institute of Economic Research in the Scientific Council of the Romanian Academy. His area of research is on the intersection of the environment and economic development, typically focused on energy economics, sustainable agriculture, and technology. He has received several research grants on his work in the area of economic development and the environment. John has published 60 peer-reviewed research articles, published four books, and eleven chapters in edited books. He has presented his research 81 times at international conferences with an additional eleven conference abstracts or posters. In addition, he serves or has served on 14 editorial boards of academic journals. John is a reviewer for the Romanian Fulbright Commission and serves as a reviewer for numerous academic journals. Lastly, John has been elected to two terms of the Schenectady (N.Y.) City Council and is on the Board of Trustees for miSci – the Museum of Innovation and Science.
Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with twenty-five years of experience in curriculum, policy, and teacher preparation with a focus on sustainability and social justice. At the University of Michigan (and formerly, Eastern Michigan University), she teaches graduate- and undergraduate courses on educational policy, multicultural education, sustainability and ecological economics. Her academic publications include numerous articles, book chapters, and a book, Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability (Routledge, 2019). [She serves on the board of the US Society for Ecological Economics.]
For twenty years, Susan was Executive Director of Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit consulting firm she founded in 1999 to support schools and universities to redesign curriculum and courses using the approaches brought together in her book. Through Creative Change, she’s reached thousands of teachers and created innovative content with partners ranging from universities to the United Nations.
I have had the pleasure and honor of serving as a USSEE Board Member at Large for the past two years and now am running for reelection.
My service on the board has focused on communications, promotions, and outreach. Together with other board members, I’ve expanded our reach on social media (including Twitter and Linked In), and used these platforms to plan and promote USSEE webinars, publications, and members’ achievements. By engaging with other organizations and individuals, these efforts have grown our presence in the global EE community.
In addition, I’ve been working with the Executive Director (outgoing and incoming) on updating the website with new graphics and more streamlined organization. Goals for this ongoing effort include expanding the resource offerings, creating member-only benefits, and launching a set of K-12 lessons. (The latter were vetted in 2019, then put on the back burner once the pandemic hit.)
Clear, “on-mission” messaging is the foundation of communications. To support this, I researched lobbying constraints for nonprofits and compiled examples of allowable/prohibited messaging. I’ve also been curating content, creating a spreadsheet of links to our webinars, resources, and more. This one-stop curation enables easy access to shareable content.
Beyond the above, I also served on the subcommittee to select the winner of the Eric Zencey Prize and helped moderate for the recent Virtual Poster Conference.
Bigger picture, I’ve been a member of USSEE/ISEE for over ten years, presenting 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.
USSEE is a visionary organization that offers solutions for a troubled world. I am proud to be on the board, and will continue to advance our work if re-elected.
Thank you for your consideration.
Laura is an ecological economist by choice, though trained in the mainstream views of environmental economics. She holds a PhD from North Carolina State University in environmental and development economics, a master’s degree in applied economics from Montana State University, and bachelor degrees in economics and political science, also from Montana State University. By the time this application is reviewed, Laura will be starting a new position at Earth Economics as a Sr. researcher. She’ll also be serving as an associate in the Human-Environment Systems program at Boise State University, where she’ll be teaching a graduate seminar on topics of social-ecological economics. Laura is also part of the Women in Environmental Economics and Development (WinEED) group hosted by the Environment for Development initiative. Her previous position was with the World Resources Institute, where she worked as an economics researcher studying the role of macroeconomic policies and growth pathways in addressing the joint effects of climate change and rampant inequalities in the developing world, and the role of natural infrastructure in improving the provision and management of water-related services.
My name is Laura Villegas, I am Colombian and American. I grew up with German shepherds in a little town in the Andes. Now, I live in Nampa, Idaho. I love mountains.
Perhaps because of the context I grew up in, a Latin American country with very complex problems rooted in the unequal distribution of wealth, I have always been attracted to the study of poverty, political and social struggle, ecological integrity and its connection with cultural values, and natural resources management—all topics very much related to the concepts of justice and ecological economics.
As a restless immigrant undergraduate student, I studied political science and economics at Montana State University. I continued my studies in economics at Montana State directing my research to issues of development, agriculture, and environmental topics. A turning point in my professional trajectory was the day I learnt about “ecological economics.” Interestingly, I only learned about this after graduating with a PhD in environmental and development economics from North Carolina State University. I was mostly disappointed at the academic institution for not exposing me as a student to this fundamentally different school of thought: a school of thought that, to be completely honest, made a lot more sense with observations I had gathered from studying and experiencing poverty and environmental injustice.
My PhD was mostly funded by the Southeast Climate Science and Adaptation Research Center and the Applied Ecology department at NCSU. With their support and that of outstanding environmental economists (!), I was able to explore the role of alternative land use policies in mitigating flood damages in a less than conventional manner (something that suits me well, given my personality and interests). Reality is very complex. During my research, I was able to learn a few disturbing truths about who gets what and why in 3 coastal counties of South Carolina. I wish during my studies I could have elaborated on the role of history, slavery, and power imbalances in driving property values and property sales in South Carolina, but these ideas were left as a footnote because they were deemed a subject matter of sociology and anthropology, not mainstream economics.
My dissertation was published as a discussion paper by the Environment for Development group, and I presented it in a conference that took place at the midst of the first round of historical riots in my near-home-town Bogota in November of 2019. Of course, I participated in the peaceful demonstration—which was just a few weeks after the war against civilians launched by the Chilean government, and not far in time from protests in Ecuador and Peru. The people of Latin America were loudly manifesting that the economic model of Neoliberalism was not working for them–at the very least, it was not addressing the driving causes of social struggles. Sadly, since then not much has changed in my country (at least not for good), but at least in Chile, through the use of democratic processes, the demonstrations led to a new constitution. You can find the publication here.
As I hope you can tell from this letter, I am passionate about ecology and ethics. Recently, together with some kind and woke scholars we published a commentary where we continue discussing the climate emergency and the technical inadequacies of (Nobel Prize winning!) climate-economic models. Our commentary extends beyond the technical problems and calls for the imperative need to revisit morality and values upon which the international social and economic structure is built upon. We have published a few more commentaries following that original piece. I must continue in this line of work.
I think discussions of economics are always political and I think the civic dialogues we see in the world could be enriched by bringing in the plurality of voices across economic philosophies. There are important concepts and lessons from EE that will be crucial for my and future generations if we are to navigate the Anthropocene. These topics would include planetary boundaries and limits to growth, flaws in current accounting methods, degrowth, climate-economic models and international policy, economics of sustainability, feminist economics, and so on. As part of the USSEE, I would love to continue this mission of bringing the EE voice to the academic and policy spheres.
I have more to say about how much finding ecological economics as an effort to shift the economics paradigm has meant in the development of my personal and professional mission. Alas, there’s only so much ink paper can take. I truly immensely appreciate your time and attention through this very long candidacy statement. I thank you for considering my application and I look forward to hearing from you.
Brian Gallagher is a rising senior at Temple University dual majoring in Mathematical Economics and Film & Media Arts. During his junior year, he won the second-place prize for best essay by an economics student for his research on elephants, economics, and the environment. Through the Temple Economics Society, Brian was able to attend and become a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in February 2020. In May of 2020, he remotely worked with a Temple economics faculty member to help research and write his Economics For Life textbook. Outside of economics, Brian also has an interest in volunteer work and political change. Since December 2020, he has worked as a writer and interviewer with “First Up,” an organization dedicated to promoting Early Childcare Education. Additionally, Brian has attended many protests in the last year, including one related to homelessness in Philadelphia.
Having seen the numerous directions one can travel with an econ degree, ecological economics is the path which speaks loudest to me. I have believed since I was a young child that it is the responsibility of every person to fight climate change, and with my current major, USSEE is a great society of which to be a part. Among similar organizations, USSEE distinguishes itself by its transdisciplinary foundation, incorporating multiple academic fields into its approach. As a dual major in Mathematical Economics and Film & Media Arts, two very distinct subjects, I personally understand how engaging with multiple schools of thought can be tactful in analyzing problems and drafting greater, unique solutions. Additionally, my experience in filmmaking has given me the skills to work with a coordinated team and create promotional media – two assets which would be valuable going forward.
With the skills I have gained, I hope to assist the growth and policy-drafting functions of USSEE; pushing the world closer to long term goals of renewable energy, sustainable environments, and species preservation. I am humbled to be nominated for the position and thank you for your time and consideration.