Environmental Science

SMCVT Environmental Studies

The Environmental Science program at Saint Michael's College gives students the opportunity to improve their scientific understanding of the human impact on our natural world and to engage in environmental problem-solving. The curriculum is strongly rooted in chemistry and biology, and incorporates courses from our vibrant Environmental Studies program and from the humanities and social sciences. Students also have significant flexibility to tailor their degree to their individual interests.

Environmental Science students benefit from extensive interaction with dedicated faculty, both in and out of the classroom, and they receive hands-on experience with modern scientific instrumentation in the laboratory. Students can expect to make extensive use of our Vermont setting during the field-based portions of their laboratory experiences. Many experiential learning opportunities are available to complement their studies, including study abroad, community-engaged learning, student-faculty research, and many interesting internships. Students may also get involved in the environmental student groups and activities on our campus including Green Up and the Environmental Council.

The Environmental Science major at Saint Michael's combines Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics with courses in the social sciences and humanities to provide a deep understanding of the environment and environmental issues.  From your first Environmental Science class through your senior seminar, you will be engaged in both the laboratory and field work.  In more advanced coursework you will learn and master analytical methods in multiple scientific fields.  The program provides opportunities for internships as well as faculty-student research. 

Students study in several nearby field sites including our 300 acre ecological reserve which is undergoing a student-driven ecological restoration project.  We believe in making the Saint Michael's College campus a living laboratory.

As an environmental scientist at Saint Michael's College, you will develop robust and industry-relevant research skills driven by hands-on lab and field experiences.  You will have ample opportunities to examine your environmental interests and to design your career path.  You will be guided by engaged professors with advanced training in laboratory and field methodologies.  Our small classes and a strong emphasis on faculty-student research and mentoring prepare students for a variety of environmental career paths and post-graduate opportunities.

Environmental Science Major Requirements

Sample Four Year Plan for Environmental Studies Majors*

First Year
Fall Spring
ES 105 Nature and Culture** ES 106 Environment and Society** 
First Year Seminar  EC 101 Principles of Macroeconomics
Foreign Language I  Foreign Language II
Liberal Studies course Liberal Studies course
Fall Spring
ES 107 Environmental Science** ES 201 Environmental Research Methods
Liberal Studies courses Liberal Studies courses
Fall Spring
ES 301 Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies ES 320 Environmental Conflict Resolution 
ES 306 Environmental Justice PO 327 Environmental Policy
Electives Electives
Fall Spring
ES 410 Environmental Studies Senior Seminar ES 499 Environmental Studies Internship
Electives Electives

This is just one of many possible paths to a major in Environmental Studies, with a focus on Environmental Justice and Sustainability.  There are a number of courses in other departments which can count towards Environmental Studies requirements, such as Environmental Economics, Global Environmental Politics, and Human Behavior and the Environment.  Your faculty advisor will work with you to develop a curriculum plan that matches your interests and career goals.

* For students who enroll in the fall of 2018.

** ES 105, 106, and 107 can be taken in any order

Christina Chant, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry
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Cheray Hall 204
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Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2002 -  Chemistry (Biophysical Chemistry)
B.S., SUNY College at Plattsburgh, 1996 - Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry (dual major)

Postdoctoral associate, University of Vermont, 2002-2005 -  Structure and function of catalytically-active RNA molecules

TAAP program for alternative licensure in teaching, 2008 - Middle-level science endorsement

Areas of Expertise:

Protein structure and stability, biophysical chemistry, computational protein design, applications of molecular biology in a protein lab, ribozyme folding and function, environmental chemistry, chemistry education in middle grades, chemistry education for non-science majors

 Courses I Teach:

  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Chemistry I and II labs
  • Integrated Chemical Analysis (ICA)
  • Organic Chemistry I lab
  • Physical Chemistry I
  • Physical Chemistry I lab
  • Biochemistry I lab
  • Senior Seminar

Douglas Facey, PhD

Professor of Biology
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Saint Edmund's Hall 135
Box 283
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Ph.D. Zoology, University of Georgia
M.S. Zoology, University of Vermont
B.S. Biology, University of Maine, Orono

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution        
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Ichthyology
  • Senior Seminar – Aquatic Resource Conservation

Bret Findley, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry
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Cheray Hall 212
Box 131
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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
  • Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Chemistry

Richard Kujawa, PhD

Professor of Geography, Department of Environmental Studies and Science Chair

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Saint Edmund's Hall 359
Box 144
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa
B.Sc. Brunel University, London

Courses I Teach:

  • Place and Placelessness (First Year Seminar)
  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • The Geography of Water
  • Environmental Policy
  • Community and Environmental 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!

Nathaniel Lewis, PhD

Professor of English

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Saint Edmund's Hall 342
Box 282
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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.

Mark Lubkowitz, PhD

Biology Department Chair, Professor of Biology
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Cheray Hall 313D
Box 283
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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

Workshop Materials:

Declan McCabe, PhD

Professor of Biology

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Cheray Hall 301
Box 283
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Ph.D. Ecology; University of Vermont
M.S.,  Ecology and Evolution; University of Pittsburgh
B.S., Biology; St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia

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Areas of Expertise:

My primary area of expertise is in the ecology of freshwater communities. My research with student collaborators is on the interactions among aquatic species, factors that affect biodiversity, and different ways to measure diversity.  Currently I am working on the restoration of natural function in forests and wetlands on Saint Michael's College property.  My students are also using trail cameras to document coyote, bobcat, and other mammalian visitors to the Saint Michael's College natural areas.

Courses I Teach:

  • Community Ecology
  • Evolution
  • General Biology

Laura Stroup, PhD

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Science
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Saint Edmund's Hall 343
Box 123
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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 201 Environmental Research Methods
  • ES 310 Environmental Hazards
  • ES 410 Senior Seminar
  • GG102 Introduction to Physical Geography
  • GG211 The Geography of Water

Kristyn Achilich, M.S.

Academic Program Coordinator for the Farm at St. Michael’s College; Instructor of Environmental Studies & Sciences

Contact Professor Achilich

Saint Edmund's Hall 129
Box 247
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M.S. University of Vermont
M.Ed. St. Michael’s College (candidate)
B.S. St. Michael’s College ‘05

Areas of Expertise:

Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, Experiential Education, Environmental Education

Courses I Teach:

  • Food Systems & Sustainable Agriculture
  • Environmental Education
  • On-Farm Internship Supervisor

The courses I teach highlight the need for liberal arts trained citizens to contend for some of the largest social issues of our time – equitable food and engaged education.  For instance, Food Systems & Sustainable Ag grounds systemic issues in the food system in the agriculture that supports our livelihoods.  It covers knowledge and theory of sustainable practices in the classroom and technical skills in agroecology on the farm. Environmental Education: prepares the students to see cross-disciplinary, thorough and rigorous learning opportunities in an outdoor setting and create curriculum that supports the learning opportunity whilst keeping and often building intrinsic student engagement.


Peter Hope, MS

Instructor of Biology

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Cheray Hall 316
Box 283
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B.A. Middlebury College
M.S. University of Vermont

Areas of Expertise:

Forest composition, dynamics and succession, fern and angiosperm systematics

Courses I Teach:

Communications in the Biological Sciences
Ecosystem Ecology
Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
Effects of Climate Change
Tropical Ecology


Scott Lewins, MS

Instructor of Biology
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Cheray Hall 313F
Box 283
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B.S. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
M.S. University of Maryland

Areas of Expertise:

Sustainable Agriculture, Entomology, Biological Control, Insect Agroecology

Courses I Teach:

  • Insects and Society
  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • Biological Communication
  • Animal Behavior
  • Field Tropical Ecology

My Saint Michael's:

I have been conducting applied agricultural research on farms throughout Vermont since I moved here in 2006. Shortly thereafter, I brought my love for field-based research and passion for teaching into the classroom to benefit the students of Saint Michael's College. My current research focuses on sustainable pest management, in particular the development of appropriate Integrated Pest Management tactics for northeastern organic vegetable growers.

Outside Saint Michael's:

I enjoy snowshoeing and hiking with my family, as well as cooking and eating great food.

Trevien Stanger

Instructor of Environmental Studies
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B.A. Saint Michael’s College
M.S. University of Montana 

Areas of Expertise:

Environmental Writing, Ecological Restoration, Wilderness Ethics, Environmental Justice

Courses I Teach:

  • Environment and Society
  • Nature and Culture
  • Environmental Research Methods
  • American Wilderness
  • Environmental Justice

My Saint Michael's

Environmental Studies can be hard work at times –– there’s no shortage of bad news in the fields of wildlife conservation, agriculture, climate change, environmental injustice, water quality, etc., and it can seem like humans cause intractable problems wherever we go. But, as an ecological restorationist and environmental educator for many years, I’ve also seen first-hand that people can discover productive, positive roles in their towns, cities, and watersheds. I believe that with the right mix of scholarship, creativity, and passion, this generation of students I’m working with now can be one of the first to not only halt environmental and social problems, but also generate new and exciting ways to tackle these issues with grit, humor, community, and an authentic commitment to service.   

Our graduates are ready to enter the workforce or graduate programs in areas of Environmental Science such as:

  • Green Chemistry
  • Water Treatment
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Conservation
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Management


The Environmental Science Major specifically requires an internship experience to complement the in-class academic strengths of the program.  This feature of the major serves to distinguish our graduates and provide opportunities for our students to apply their environmental science knowledge to real-world situations.  These internship experiences can include credit bearing and/or paid experiences that occur during academic semesters or summer.  Internship experiences can relate to water or wastewater treatment (Essex Sewage Plant), bioassessment (Aquatec Biological Sciences), pollution monitoring (Vermont EPSCoR), or an array of research opportunities with faculty members in the Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Studies programs at Saint Michael's College.

Environmental Research Opportunities

Saint Michael’s College professors in the Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Studies programs mentor students in active research programs in areas including biological assessment of land use impacts, studies of invasive fish and invertebrate species in Lake Champlain, and the impacts of pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems, and soil chemistry dynamic interactions between vegetation and soil chemistry. These research efforts are funded by external and internal sources including Vermont EPSCoR, Vermont Genetics Network, the John C. Hartnett Endowment, the Gianni Fund, and the Trustees fund for summer research. Saint Michael's College students studying environmental issues have presented their research locally, nationally, and internationally at meetings including:
  • New England Association of Environmental Biologists
  • Vermont EPSCoR Student Symposium
  • Lake Champlain Research Consortium Student Symposium
  • Benthic Ecology meeting in Corpus Christi
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography meeting in San Juan
  • American Fisheries Society in Quebec City
  • International Society of Limnology in Montreal

Below is a video of Saint Michael's College students presenting research findings at the EPSCoR Symposium, just one example of the research you can do at St. Mike's. 

Study Abroad

A substantial proportion of Saint Michael's College students participate in study abroad programs. Academic advisors help Environmental Science Majors with the specifics of programs that expand upon the depth and scope of our programs.

Our students often participate in programs that offer courses such as Marine Biology and Geology that are not currently offered on Saint Michael’s College campus. 

Saint Michael's College is also an affiliate member of the School for Field Studies, which provides semester-long and summer programs in natural resource ecology and management at its field stations in Costa Rica, Mexico, the Turks & Caicos Islands (in the eastern Caribbean), Australia, and Kenya.

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