Environmental Studies

environmental studies streams summer project

As an environmental studies major at Saint Michael's, you will investigate important domestic and global environmental problems and learn how to help create a more sustainable world. You will get outside the classroom for engaged learning that reflects the social justice mission of the college through internships, study abroad, community projects, and collaborative research with faculty. You can also participate in sustainability and environmental justice projects on campus such as recycling and energy efficiency, working in the organic garden, and activism through environmentally-conscious clubs such as Green Up, Food for Thought, the Fair Trade Committee and the Divestment Campaign.

As an environmental studies major you will enroll in an interdisciplinary core of courses team-taught by faculty from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.  Building on this core, you can then choose from three tracks for the major:

Environmental Imagination

Environmental Imagination is for students interested in exploring how different intellectual and creative traditions have imagined nature in the past and how they continue to inspire new perspectives on the relationship between human beings and the natural world in the present and for the future. 

Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Environmental Justice and Sustainability is focused upon the social science of decision-making around some of the most important global challenges of our time: climate change, the potential of fair trade, and of domestic and international initiatives to protect the environment.

Environmental Science and Policy

Environmental Science and Policy gives students a deeper understanding of the ways in which scientific knowledge and discovery is used to form environmental policy. 

Other Courses

The sophomore-level Environmental Research Methods course will take you into the field in Vermont urban and rural communities, as well as natural environments, to focus on specific skills in the social and natural sciences that relate to environmental problems.   In Environmental Studies Practicum you will apply those skills in the world outside the classroom.  In Senior Seminar you will complete a capstone research project. 

You can also choose from other courses such as:

  • Eco and Environmental Art
  • Religion, Ecology and Ethics
  • Philosophy of Science, Technology and Environment
  • Film and the Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Coral Reef Ecology
  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Nature and Outdoor Writing
  • Politics of Food
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • New England Environmental History
  • Community and Environmental Planning
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Geography of Water
  • Global Environmental Politics

 

Jeffrey Ayres, PhD

Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College
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B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • Globalization and Resistance
  • Global Governance
  • Global Problems
  • International Relations
  • Politics of the World Economy
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Anjanette DeCarlo, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
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Ph.D. University of Vermont
M.S. Hunter College
B.A. State University of New York

Areas of Expertise:

Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development, International Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Civil Society Organizations, Women and Youth Empowerment, Environmental Conflict Resolution

Courses I Teach:  

  • Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Environmental Problem Solving
  • Grant Writing for Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Women, Youth and Sustainable Development
  • Internships for Environmental Studies

Farrah Fatemi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
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Ph.D. University of Maine
M.S. SUNY-ESF
B.S. DePaul University

Areas of Expertise:

Ecosystem biogeochemistry, Forest soils, Soil ecology and microbial processes

Courses taught:

  • Introduction to Environmental Science (ES 107)
  • Environmental Research Methods (ES 201)

Bret Findley, PhD

Chemistry and Physics Department Chair, Associate Professor of Chemistry
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Ph.D. Dartmouth College
B.A. Willamette University

Areas of Expertise:

Experimental Physical Chemistry; Photo-Induced Electron Transfer Reactions; Molecular Spectroscopy; Physical Chemistry Pedagogy

Courses I Teach:

  • Chemistry Senior Seminar
  • Concepts in Chemistry
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Physical Chemistry I, II, and III

William Grover, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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Ph.D. University of Massachusetts
B.A. Moravian College

Areas of Expertise:

American politics, Political Institutions, Political Economy, Environmental Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • The American Presidency
  • Congress and the Policy Process
  • Introduction to American National Politics
  • Introduction to Politics
  • Political Economy and Democracy
  • Political Economy and the Environment
  • The Politics of Labor
  • A River Runs Through It: The Literature and Craft of Fly Fishing (First Year Seminar)

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Courses I Teach:

  • Digital Film
  • Global Communication
  • Multi-media Design
  • Photography

Additionally, I direct graduate research projects in media education and media literacy.

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Richard Kujawa, PhD

Economics Department Chair, Human Geography Minor Coordinator, Professor of Geography
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa
B.Sc. Brunel University, London

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • The Geography of Water
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Urban and Regional Planning

My Saint Michael's:

In my classes, advising and in the human geography program, one-on-one contact is encouraged. I encourage students to present their findings to external audiences and professional conferences. I help students with graduate school applications (especially those in Urban and Regional Planning). In the past few years, I have helped Saint Michael's graduates successfully apply to Cornell, Rutgers, SUNY-Albany, Kansas State University, the University of Iowa and several others. I also have some connections for internships in the local area.

Hands down, my favorite thing about this college is the class sizes. At Saint Mike's I am able to shorten the distance between my role as faculty member and expert, and my role as motivator and mentor. I see part of my job as a salesperson for the power of intellectual growth and lifelong learning. I work hard each and every day to make the sale!

Robert Letovsky, PhD

Business Administration and Accounting Department Chair, Professor of Business Administration and Accounting
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Ph.D. Concordia University
M.B.A. University of Toronto
B.Comm. McGill University

Areas of Expertise:

Case development focusing on business/government relations and sustainability

Courses I Teach:

  • Business Policy & Strategic Management
  • International Business
  • International Marketing
  • Marketing

My favorite class to teach is International Business because it focuses on the nexus between business and public policy. The course gives students an opportunity to see the connections between the right kinds of public policy and economic development, and the wrong kinds of public policy and economic hardship. The course also focuses on the global trading system and is the gateway for students to understand the role that free trade and open markets has played in reducing poverty and promoting economic progress.

Nathaniel Lewis, PhD

Professor of English and Environmental Studies Coordinator
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Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. University of North Carolina
B.A. Yale University

I teach courses on literary theory, environmental writing, and multiethnic literatures. I have written on western American literature, literary aesthetics, and nature writing.

Crystal L'Hôte, PhD

Associate Professor of Philosophy
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Ph.D., M.A. Johns Hopkins University
B.A. Colgate University

Areas of Expertise:

Philosophy of mind (and cognates), metaphysics and epistemology, and feminist philosophy, all in the analytic tradition. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Logic: Laws of Thought
  • Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment

My courses highlight the ongoing relevance of philosophy. Philosophy of Mind engages contemporary neuroscience; Logic: Laws of Thought prepares students for the Law School Admissions Test; Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment examines responsibilities to nature and environment; and Philosophy of Human Nature pairs timeless philosophic topics with timely topics in bioethics. I also make efforts to see that learning extends beyond the classroom: I launched the Plato Lecture and am the regular host of the Philosophers’ Table.

Mark Lubkowitz, PhD

Professor of Biology
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Post-Doctoral fellow in plant developmental genetics, The University of California: Berkeley
Ph.D., Microbiology, The University of Tennessee
B.S., Biology, Washington and Lee University

Area of Expertise:

I study how molecules are transported across membranes in plants and how these processes affect seed germination and overall distribution of sugars in plants.

Courses I Teach:

  • BI153: Introductory Cell Biology and Genetics
  • BI205: Biological Communications
  • BI247: Plant Biology
  • BI325: Molecular Biology

Christina Root, PhD

Professor of English; Coordinator, Humanities Program
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M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. Columbia University
A.B. Bryn Mawr College

Courses I Teach:

In the English Department:

  • British Romanticism
  • 19th and 20th Century British and European Literature

In the Humanities Program:

  • Enlightenment and Revolution
  • Modern Civilization

Laura Stroup, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Department of Economics and Geography
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Ph.D., Geography , University of South Carolina, Columbia
M.S., Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia
B.A., Franklin & Marshall College

Areas of Expertise:

Water Resources, Physical/Environmental Geography, Environmental Policy

Courses I Teach:

  • ES 101 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ES 201 Environmental Problems
  • ES 401 Senior Seminar, Topic: Emerging Contaminants

black bear skull bite marks on tree

Internships and Community Partnerships

At Saint Michael's environmental studies students are involved in partnerships with local and international non-governmental organizations, businesses and government agencies so you'll have many opportunities to make a positive contribution to environmental change while acquiring skills needed for work or graduate study.  Students do environmental internships at such places as:

  • Sopher Investments (rating environmental practices of businesses for development of green portfolios for environmentally conscious investors)
  • Native Energy (carbon-offset business)
  • Shelburne Farms (environmental education)
  • Ben and Jerry's (wastewater monitoring)
  • The Intervale (organic garden and compost facility)
  • The ECHO Center (environmental education and animal care)
  • Essex Junction Wastewater Treatment Facility (economics of utility management)
  • Keeping Track, Inc. (non-profit wildlife monitoring and citizen science organization)

Environmental Law and Policy

Saint Michael's has an agreement with Vermont Law School that guarantees Saint Michael's graduates admission into law school providing they meet the entrance requirements. The Vermont Law School is ranked number one in the US for environmental law.  The environmental studies program at Saint Michael's provides an ideal foundation for law school through courses that shape critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and oral and written communication skills.

Study Abroad

Saint Michael's sponsors environmental study trips to places such as India, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, and the United Kingdom.  Recent topics have included Coral Reef Ecology, Sustainable Food Systems, and the Environmental and Aesthetic Study of Sustainable Places. In addition to these two or three week trips, Saint Michael's is affiliated with the School for Field Studies with longer term environmental programs in the Turks and Caicos, Bhutan, Australia, and Tanzania.

On-Campus Sustainability and Leadership Opportunities

Students at Saint Michael’s College have many opportunities to engage in projects that promote campus sustainability, raise awareness on campus and locally of pressing environmental issues, and hone leadership skills through challenging outdoor wilderness activities.  The campus organic garden offers paid summer positions and academic year volunteer opportunities, while four active environmentally-themed clubs develop environmental citizenship skills through fair trade, divestment and local food campaigns.

The number and kinds of careers in the environmental field are growing rapidly. The U.S. Dept of Labor projects a 25 percent increase in demand for environmental specialists (including policy, management, conservation, and science) by the year 2016.[1] Many organizations, including for-profit corporations and non-profit institutions, now have a sustainability office with at least one staff member taking the lead on environmental efforts. The fully interdisciplinary nature of our program prepares graduates well to work with a variety of constituencies within organizations on environmental initiatives since the skills required for that work go beyond scientific understanding of environmental problems.

Graduates of our Environmental Studies program are well prepared to pursue careers in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental management, environmental education, and "green" business. The program also prepare students for post-graduate study in environmental law, "green" M.B.A., environmental sustainability, environmental studies, ethics, conservation, management and policy programs. 

Saint Michael's has an articulation agreement with the Vermont Law School that guarantees admission to the J.D. program or the Masters of Environmental Law and Policy program for qualified Saint Michael's College graduates. 

[1] Lohr, Steve. 2009. Crème de la Career. New York Times, April 12, Week in Review Section

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