Dorothy Blair, has a joint appointment with the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State and the Science, Technology, and Society Program, where she teaches courses on food and cuisine, food systems, community food security and international food issues. Her current research focuses on school gardening, civic food systems, and energy reduction through food behaviors.
A former Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, Dr. Blair’s graduate degrees in nutrition are from Cornell University.
Dawn Blasko, grew up in North East Pennsylvania riding her horse through the mountains and participating in 4-H. After a stint training horses and logging on the Western slops of the Rockies, she went back to school and received her M.S. and Ph.D. at Binghamton University and then took a position at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College where she is now an associate professor of psychology.
Dr. Blasko has served as the chair of the University Faculty Senate and as advisor to several student organizations. As the coordinator of the all college Civic and Community Engagement minor for Behrend she co-teaches the core course with a theme of environmental sustainability. The course focuses on the politics and science of the Great Lakes Basin. One goal of the program is to help students become of aware of the their own attitudes about sustainability and the influence of culture, politics and the media in shaping those views. Students learn about the power that they have to make positive change in their own communities and to develop the skills that they need to be maximally effective.
Dr. Christian M.M. Brady, dean of the Schreyer Honors College, joined Penn State in August 2006. Prior to arriving at Penn State, he served as an associate professor of classical studies and Jewish studies at Tulane University and as director of Tulane’s Honors Program.
Dean Brady holds two advanced degrees from the University of Oxford, a graduate diploma in Jewish studies and a doctorate in Oriental studies with a concentration in ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature, the former obtained simultaneously while completing a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies from Wheaton College. His baccalaureate degree, in Near Eastern studies and history, is from Cornell University.
Since his arrival at Penn State, his vision to engage current Scholars and prospective students has led to the addition of a Dean’s blog on the Schreyer Honors College’s Web site, along with a student blog and a series of podcasts featuring events and interviews with campus figures. Dean Brady regularly teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and ancient Judaism through the College of the Liberal Arts.
Donald A. Brown is an associate professor of environmental ethics, science, and law in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Penn State University Park. He is director of the Collaborative Program on Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change in the Rock Ethics Institute.
Dr. Brown served as senior counsel for Sustainable Development for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. During the Clinton Administration, he was program manager for United Nations organizations at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Office of International Environmental Policy, where he served as the lead on sustainability. Currently, Dr. Brown is director of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, an organization of fifty-six Pennsylvania universities that advocates sustainability on campuses.
Lisa Brown is an associate director at the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. Previously she served as director of the NASA Space Grant Consortium at Penn State where she led state-wide education and workforce development initiatives.
Dr. Brown earned her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. from the Department of Geosciences at Penn State. Her thesis research utilized numerical climate and atmospheric chemistry models to understand the evolution of climate on Earth and Mars. This background has made her a passionate advocate for developing students’ abilities to work across disciplinary boundaries and to view the world from a systems perspective.
At Penn State, Dr. Brown has taught First Year Seminar courses in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and she helps coordinate and teach a course in Sustainability Leadership Projects. Through the Center for Sustainability she is working to coordinate efforts to embed sustainability education across the University.
Neil Brown is a research associate with the Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering, and Development in Africa (AESEDA), an institute within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences that strives to promote sustainable livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. His research interests include sustainable livelihoods in developing countries with particular interest in agricultural sustainability.
In addition to his research, Dr. Brown currently coordinates two international study abroad programs. One such program is located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, while the second is located on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Both programs focus on sustainable development and environmental conservation.
Peter Buckland is a Ph.D. candidate in Penn State's Educational Theory and Policy Program focusing on philosophy of education and education policies. His areas of interest include why and how American schools need to become more sustainable in the light of climate change and species extinction and also school and policy controversies regarding both climate change and evolution in the United States. He founded and serves as president of a student group, Environment - Ecology - Education in the College of Education (3E-COE). He also blogs extensively on these topics.
Robert E. Burkholder is associate professor of English at Penn State University Park. He is the author, with Joel Myerson, of Emerson and Annotated Secondary Bibliography and Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, 1980-1991. He and Myerson co-edited Critical Essays on Ralph Waldo Emerson, and he edited Critical Essays on Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” He is also an editor of English Traits, volume five in The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a member of the editorial board of the Emerson edition.
Dr. Burkholder teaches experience-based courses at Penn State, and has taken literature students to the Grand Canyon, the Appalachian Trail, and various wilderness areas to enhance their understanding of the texts they read. In 2000 he began the Penn State Wilderness Literature Field Institute, a course that combines backpacking, white water rafting, and rock climbing with the reading and interpretation of literature. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Penn State Center for American Literary Studies.
Dr. Burkholder holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of South Carolina.
Philip Burlingame is an associate vice president for student affairs and serves as an affiliate faculty member in the College of Education. Dr. Burlingame completed a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in education from Lock Haven University.
Dr. Burlingame chairs the University’s Student Newspaper Readership Committee and is a member of the University Coordinating Committee on Assessment, the ANGEL Administrative Committee and the Curriculum Committee for the master’s program in College Student Affairs. He is a volunteer adviser to Alpha Phi Omega, national coed service fraternity at Penn State. In March 2006, he was awarded Penn State’s Barash Award for Human Service for his volunteer activities in the Centre Region. He also was honored with the Alpha Phi Omega 2005 National Excellence Award in Advising, the Alpha Phi Omega Distinguished Service Key and the 2003 Best Student Organization Advisor Award from the Undergraduate Student Government at Penn State. He also serves as an advisor to the Council of Lionhearts, a group of leaders from student service organizations at Penn State.
Prior to coming to Penn State in 1999, Dr. Burlingame served for six years as Vice President for Student Affairs at the State University of New York at Utica and ten years as Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life and Housing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Rodney Erickson is the Executive Vice President and Provost of Penn State, a position he’s held since 1999. He’s been at Penn State for thirty-two years, moving through the faculty ranks to professor of geography and business administration. He’s previously been a department head, research institute director, dean, and vice president for research. Dr. Erickson also chairs the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the academic organization of Big Ten Conference universities. He earned two degrees at the University of Minnesota and a doctoral degree in geography from the University of Washington.
Dr. Erickson’s current responsibilities include leadership and administration for academic affairs and University operations for all undergraduate and graduate/professional education, research, and outreach educational programs; enrollment management; information technology services; educational equity; strategic planning, budgeting, and quality initiatives; facilities and space planning; and participation in University development, alumni relations, and legislative affairs. His responsibilities span all of Penn State’s campuses.
Dr. Erickson grew up in rural Wisconsin surrounded by lakes and rivers, and he spends some of his spare time fishing. He and his wife, Shari, raise corn and soybeans on their farm near State College.
Growing up in a rural area outside of Pittsburgh, Chris Falso and his brother spent all of their free time outdoors. As a result, both became avid outdoorsmen and developed a great interest in sustainability and the environment. This interest has taken Chris all over the country working in nature with various groups such as The Student Conservation Association at the University of California at Berkeley, Washington and Jefferson College, and independently on his own.
Chris is a third-year student in chemical engineering at Penn State and involved with many campus environmental groups. He is currently president of The Sustainability Coalition and is an active member in Engineers for a Sustainable World, and Eco-Action. Some of Chris’ hobbies include fishing, ceramics, snowboarding, biking, and music. In the future Chris hopes to use his education to create more sustainable ways to power the world.
Ryan Fitzgerald is a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is majoring in civil engineering and plans on taking a GREEN path. One of his biggest hobbies is building stuff. In Ryan’s senior year of high school, he built a mouse-trap powered car that went over 200 feet to set the school record. For the past three years, he has been working on building a go-cart from scratch using a 1972 350cc motorcycle engine. Later in life, Ryan aspires to run a marathon, climb many mountains and ride the wave of Sustainability and Green Energy.
Connie Flanagan is a professor of youth civic development in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and co-director of the inter-college minor in civic and community engagement at Penn State. Her research concerns young people’s theories of the ‘social contract’, i.e., their views of the rights and responsibilities that bind members of a society together, and of the various ways that youth develop a sense of themselves as members of the public.
Dr. Flanagan is a former William T. Grant Scholar, a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Transitions to Adulthood, and a fellow in the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Division 9 of the American Psychological Association. Currently Dr. Flanagan serves on the advisory boards of CIRCLE and of the multi-national study on Processes Influencing Democratic Ownership and Participation of the European Commission. During 2008-2009, Dr. Flanagan was a resident fellow at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago and a Fulbright scholar at the Escuela de Psicologia, Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities in Social Sciences from Örebro University in Sweden. Dr. Flanagan writes and speaks widely on the themes of public scholarship and youth political engagement.
Erik Foley became the director of Penn State’s Campus Sustainability Office in May 2009. This new office, which is part of the Physical Plant, supports cost-effective sustainability initiatives University wide. Prior to joining Penn State, Erik founded and directed the award-winning Renewable Energy Center at Saint Francis University that continues to feature several state wide projects in community-based renewable energy development. His fourteen years of experience in the environmental field has taken him from the Alaskan bush, to Paraguay, to inner city Seattle, and rural Pennsylvania.
After growing up in Montana, Erik studied environmental studies and sociology at Whitman College, graduating with a B.A. in 1996. Afterward, he focused on environmental strategy and green marketing at St. Francis University, earning his M.B.A. in 2004. He has served on several state and national boards and committees, such as the American Council on Renewable Energy's Communications Committee. He and his wife have moved to State College with their two children, ages 9 and 5.
Dorothy Gerring is an associate professor at the Pennsylvania College of Technology where she has taught architecture and sustainable design for nineteen years. Professor Gerring is a registered architect and LEED-AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Accredited Professional). She is a member of the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania and Society of Building Science Educators. She holds a bachelor of architecture from Arizona and a M.S. in architecture from Penn State.
As an advocate for sustainability, Professor Gerring has presented at a wide variety of events including Bucknell University’s first Summer Institute on Sustainability, the Williamsport Preservation Society, and the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society. Recently, she has worked with colleagues to develop two majors at Penn College focused on sustainable issues. The bachelor in Building Science and Sustainable Design started this fall and the associate in Renewable Energy Technology is slated to begin fall 2010.
Laura Guertin is an associate professor of earth science at Penn State Brandywine. She received her B.A. in geology from Bucknell University and her Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her primary research focus is the effective integration of innovative technologies and pedagogies to improve student learning in introductory-level Earth science and geoscience courses.
Dr. Guertin has been awarded Penn State’s Commonwealth College teaching award and the university-wide George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2003, she was selected as one of Project Kaleidoscope’s Faculty for the 21st century network for emerging leaders in STEM education. For 2009, she has been named the recipient of the Biggs Earth Science Teaching Award from the Geological Society of America. Dr. Guertin has presented and published her pedagogical innovations at local-to-international geoscience education conferences. She is currently a councilor with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and chair of the Geoscience Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research. She also serves as the program coordinator for her campus’ Jane E. Cooper and Schreyer Honors Programs and co-coordinator for the intercollege minor in civic and community engagement.
James Hamilton is an assistant professor of arts and humanities at Penn State Mont Alto. He has taught or co-taught twenty-eight different courses in six different disciplines over his academic career, including Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), Science, Technology, and Society (STS), Recreation, Park and Tourism Management (RPTM), English , and Forest Recreation.
Dr. Hamilton has long had an interest in multi-disciplinary approaches to pedagogy and particularly the pedagogy of sustainability. In 1976, he, along with Corky Potter, did the first reptile and amphibian shows for what would become the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. In 1978, he created the Penn State Conservation Leadership School and directed it for twenty-four years. He believes strongly that ecological sustainability will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century.
Dr. Hamilton and his wife, Lorraine, a teacher-herbalist and environmental educator, live in Decorum, Pennsylvania (population 6), where he grows much of their own food, builds stringed musical instruments, and tries to live gently in his place. He lives in a former general store and post office, built circa 1873, with a spring in the basement, where he is a slave to the six cats who actually run the household.
Currently, Sarah is working on implementing the center‘s Green Careers Initiative that will connect sustainably-minded students at Penn State to green business employers. She hopes to continue to conduct public relations for the greening sector upon her graduation in December.
R. Neill Johnson has worked full-time as an instructional consultant at Penn State since 1996. He has held positions of program coordinator, associate director, and research associate at two teaching centers. He is currently the director of Instructional Development and Research at the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Johnson is co-author of The Penn State Teacher II and has published on multicultural teaching and tutor preparation. From 2004 to 2006, he represented Penn State on a three-year American Association of Higher Education/Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching team investigating the scholarship of multicultural teaching and learning. His other current research interests include the effectiveness of various kinds of instructor interventions and writing across the curriculum.
Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in English from Penn State and B.A and M.A. degrees in English from the University of South Carolina. His research involves the socio-political analysis of 20th-century and contemporary comic novels. Dr. Johnson’s undergraduate teaching includes first-year composition, technical writing, and writing intensive literature courses. He has also taught College Teaching, a higher education course for graduate students of all disciplines, the non-credit Penn State Course in College Teaching offered by the Institute, and numerous other short courses and workshops for faculty and future faculty.
Lisa R. Lattuca is associate professor of higher education and senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State. Her research and teaching interests focus on the intersections of curriculum, teaching, learning, and faculty work in higher education. These overarching concerns have led to studies of interdisciplinary research and teaching, undergraduate engineering education, the impact of outcomes-based accreditation on academic programs and student learning, and examinations of the influence of academic fields on college curricula.
In addition to journal articles and books chapters on these topics, Dr. Lattuca is the author of Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research among College and University Faculty (2001), and co-author of Shaping the College Curriculum: Academic Plans in Context (2009). Dr. Lattuca is also co-editor of Advancing Faculty Learning through Interdisciplinary Collaboration (2005), and College and University Curriculum: Developing and Cultivating Program of Study that Enhance Student Learning (2001).
Andrew (Andy) S. Lau is an associate professor of engineering, Coordinator of First-Year Seminars for the Penn State College of Engineering, and associate director of the Center for Sustainability at Penn State University Park.
Professor Lau is a 1977 graduate of Penn State with a B.S.M.E., and was a Research Fellow and 1983 graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison with an M.S.M.E. He has worked since 1977 as an engineer in the areas of solar energy applications in buildings, simulation of building energy use, and general consulting in the energy field. Most recently, his work has involved green buildings, engineering ethics, and sustainable design. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) -Accredited Professional, and has contributed over forty publications to professional magazines and journals.
Professor Lau is a founding member of the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania. At Penn State, he is leading initiatives to integrate sustainability education into the curriculum.
Tom Litzinger is director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education and a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State, where he has been on the faculty since 1985.
Dr. Litzinger’s work in engineering education involves curricular reform, teaching and learning innovations, faculty development, and assessment. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of combustion and thermal sciences with a focus on reducing emissions.
Dr. Litzinger was selected as a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education in 2008..
Steve Maruszewski has been at Penn State since February 1995. In December 2004, he was promoted to deputy associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant. Penn State’s physical plant consists of over twenty-three million gross square feet made up of over 900 buildings located on twenty-three campuses around Pennsylvania. The Office of Physical Plant is responsible for planning, and the design and construction of facilities, real estate services, utility procurement, and environmental and safety programs at all campuses. At University Park, physical plant is responsible for facilities maintenance and operations, grounds maintenance, utility systems operations and maintenance, and physical plant administration and financial services.
Mr. Maruszewski’s responsibilities include leading the finance and business strategy for Environmental Stewardship Strategy. The objective of the strategy is to encourage the University to conduct its business in a manner that demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship, and moves the University toward sustainable practices.
Mr. Maruszewski attended Penn State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering.
Duarte Morais is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, and an affiliate professor in the School of Hospitality Management. Morais’ teaching responsibilities have recently focused on RPTM 415, a course that requires students to develop a business plan for a Triple Bottom Line small business – the business must have a strong profit potential and must be beneficial for people and the planet. Morais also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on tourism, where he helps students deconstruct common tourism impacts and learn to leverage its potential to help communities and their environment.
Dr. Morais is also the co-director of Penn State’s Tourism Research Lab. He has been actively engaged in advancing relationship marketing scholarship for a decade. His research helps tourism destinations and providers be profitable without resorting to continuous growth in the volume of tourists, a common fault in the long term sustainability of destinations. In addition, Dr. Morais has pursued ample research regarding the impacts of the interaction between tourists and host communities. He has examined the socio-cultural, environmental and economic impacts of tourism in vulnerable indigenous populations worldwide and is currently engaged in projects in Africa attempting to devise models for equitable community engagement in tourism business cooperatives. He’s working with a team of colleagues across campus to define and operationalize the concept of global citizenship and he is examining the effect of Penn State embedded education abroad courses on students Global Citizenship profiles. Morais also recently co-developed a Faculty Toolkit to assist educators make the most of the experiences they lead abroad and he is, himself, using several tools from that toolkit next summer while teaching RPTM’s International Tourism Field Studies courses in Australia and New Zealand.
Morais earned his licenciatura degree from Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa in Portugal, a M.Ed. degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and a Ph.D. degree from Clemson University in South Carolina.
Judy Ozment is the chief academic officer of the Schreyer Honors College. She joined the Schreyer Honors College administration in June of 2003, but has been a part of Penn State since 1986. Before starting as associate dean of the SHC, she was a member of the faculty at Penn State Abington where she earned the rank of associate professor of chemistry.
Dr. Ozment earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California at Davis and her doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Utah, after which she held a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Washington in Seattle.
The California native is delighted to be surrounded by the interesting collection of high energy people at the SHC. She describes her job as highly service-oriented. Her inspiration comes from students who strive for excellence despite all odds, and she wants them to know that she's here to help them in making progress toward meeting their academic goals.
Dr. Ozment has a wide range of hobbies and leisure activities, from crocheting, reading fiction, and writing chemistry textbooks to riding roller coasters and attending PSU football games.
Tom Richard is the director of Penn State’s Institutes for Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) and an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at University Park. Dr. Richard’s teaching and research applies microbial bioconversion technologies to agricultural crops and byproducts, industrial biomass, and manures for energy production and value-added manufacturing. His primary research thrust is the development of sustainable strategies for biomass feedstock supply.
Dr. Richard is the author or co-author of over 100 research and technical publications and serves on the editorial boards of three scientific journals. He is active in several professional societies and a fellow and past president of the Institute of Biological Engineering.
Dr. Richard has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.
David Riley is the director of the Center for Sustainability at Penn State and an associate professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering. His teaching and research expertise are in the fields of green building design and construction, high performance project delivery methods, and sustainability education models. His current research efforts are focused on the development of construction techniques and workforce development strategies that will accelerate the deployment energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies and technologies in buildings.
Professor Riley is the also the director of the American Indian Housing Initiative, an education and research program which explores sustainable solutions to housing challenges facing American Indian tribes. He also directs the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence at Penn State, an industry partnership focused on the advancement of the construction industry and the development of leaders who will shape its future.
Professor Riley’s passion for teaching includes the creation and leadership of transformative experiential learning activities for students. He has offered specialty courses that have engaged students in the construction of homes and community facilities on American Indian reservations, rebuilding the gulf coast, community garden construction, the deployment of solar energy in developing communities, and the participation in national green design competitions. Riley also lead the interdisciplinary team of faculty and students in the 2007 Solar Decathlon Competition. His current sustainability education efforts are focused on the development of assessment metrics and pedagogical models that support the embedment of sustainability concepts across curricula.
Eric has been involved with several cross-cultural sustainability projects working in Montana with the American Indian Housing Initiative (AIHI) and in Jamaica with the Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering, and Development in Africa (AESEDA). He is pictured in Wadi Rum, Jordan while studying with the Soils and Civilizations course based in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Richard (Rick) Schuhmann joined the civil engineering faculty at Penn State in 1998 and is currently director of the Engineering Leadership Development Program in the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP). He received a B.S. in geology from the University of New Hampshire, an M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Penn State.
Dr. Schuhmann worked first as an underwater archaeologist excavating shipwrecks off the coast of New England and then in the Gulf of Mexico on oil and gas exploration and deep water drilling operations. In the 1990s he began forensic consulting on environmental projects.
Dr. Schuhmann currently teaches classes in leadership and entrepreneurship with a focus on global collaboration, sustainability, and appropriate design for the developing world. He is active in both local and international water resource engineering projects, working in the Middle East and North Africa with UNESCO on leadership and gender within the water management sector.
Dr. Schuhmann can often be found in the Northern Sahara in Morocco or above Bald Eagle Creek in Lock Haven perched on a cliff looking for fossils.
Jude Simpson is the program coordinator of the American Indian Housing Initiative (AIHI) at the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. AIHI is the Center’s flagship multi-disciplinary education and research initiative between Penn State and Chief Dull Knife College, on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. The program provides unique cross cultural experiences for university students and volunteers in their pursuit to implement sustainable building solutions that address the acute need for affordable housing on American Indian reservations.
Jude is a Penn State graduate who also studied fisheries science and biology at the University of Alaska in Juneau. She has spent 30+ years working as a volunteer for numerous local, state and national organizations to help cultivate values that are respectful of the environment, human rights, health and well being. She moved to State College in 2000 and is an avid cyclist whose vision includes a safe, convenient connected system of trails and bike paths to promote physical activity, reduce dependence on motorized transportation and improve the health and quality of life for all people.
Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims began at Penn State on August 1, 2008 after serving in various administrative and teaching roles at Indiana University since 1982. Damon received his B.A. in political science and history, did graduate work in journalism, and completed his doctorate in jurisprudence at Indiana University’s flagship campus in Bloomington. He is a native of New Albany, Indiana.
Damon is an affiliate associate professor in the College of Education and the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State. He is a licensed attorney who has served as an advocate on behalf of children and victims of abuse, consults with other colleges and universities about legal issues affecting students, and has served on various state and regional boards and commissions aimed at encouraging civic awareness and engagement among young people.
Damon is married to Suzette Sims, an attorney with the firm of McQuaide Blasko. The two enjoy the company of their sons, Ethan and Nathaniel. Their first child, Matthew, died in infancy. The family sponsors the annual Matthew Vandivier Sims Memorial Lectures in conjunction with the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions at Indiana University. These lectures have featured the world’s foremost scholars on legal and biomedical ethics, with particular attention to questions arising from end-of-life care.
Damon enjoys reading, writing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, biking, cooking, woodworking, golf, tennis, racquetball, theater, music, and travel. He does not, however, enjoy enough time to do all those things as often as he would like. He chooses instead to spend the free time he has with his wife and sons, all of whom he enjoys very much.
Kim Steiner is a professor of forest biology in the School of Forest Resources and Dean of the Arboretum at Penn State. As a life-long advocate of responsible stewardship of wild lands, Dr. Steiner has served for many years on the Ecosystem Management Advisory Committee to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the board of directors of The American Chestnut Foundation, the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Foresters, and in various leadership roles within the Society of American Foresters. His research focuses on the regeneration of native forests. The Arboretum at Penn State, which Dr. Steiner directs, promotes natural resource stewardship, sustainable and compatible land use, and the restoration of degraded landscapes.
Janet Swim is a professor of psychology at Penn State. In the last three years she has become actively involved in efforts to increase psychologists’ involvement in understanding the psychological dimensions of climate change. She has done this most directly through her work with the American Psychological Association as the chair of a recently completed task force report on the interface between psychology and global climate change.
Dr. Swim’s research has addressed the ways that individuals perceive current social issues and injustices and how they respond to these issues. Much of her work has focused on perceptions of the extent to which sexism is a problem and how people cope with being a target of prejudice, including when and how they decide to confront everyday encounters with sexism. Currently, Dr. Swim is examining differences between German and American students’ attitudes and beliefs about nature and their environmental values and how these attitudes, beliefs, and values influence the likelihood they report engaging in environmentally responsible behavior.
Dr. Swim is also currently assisting the Office of Physical Plant in their efforts to decrease students energy use in the resident halls via behavioral change techniques.
Ron Swope is the director of Finance and Business for Penn State Mont Alto, a position he has held for the last eight years. Ron plays an active role in providing guidance on budget administration, planning and control; personnel administration; physical plant operations, maintenance and janitorial; facilities master planning; purchasing; fleet operations, police services; auxiliary services; environmental, health and safety compliance and reporting.
Ron came to Penn State from York International Corporation. During his tenure with York International, Ron had global responsibility for twelve manufacturing plants and eighty-seven field offices, providing innovative direction and leadership for operations. As an additional responsibility, he served as the Strategic Energy Director under the EPA Star Energy Program for the corporation.
Ron is holds a B.S. in environmental engineering from Penn State and is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.
Nancy Tuana is the founding director of Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute and DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy, Science, Technology, and Society, and Women’s Studies. Dr. Tuana is a philosopher of science and feminist science studies theorist who has been a long time advocate of interdisciplinary research and education.
Dr.Tuana is part of a collaborative research team at Penn State whose focus has included: developing a more robust model of research ethics that more adequately reflects the impacts of ethical issues in scientific practice; examining the impact of including ethical uncertainty in global climate change integrated assessment modeling (IAM) with the goal of using this new IAM to address how uncertainty about potential climate threshold responses and future ethical value judgments affects the choice of efficient climate risk management strategies; and a research project that includes ethical analysis in modeling concerning sea-level rise due to global climate change.
The Rock Ethics Institute has as its mission to promote ethical awareness and inquiry across the University by integrating the study of ethics throughout the curriculum and ensuring that integrity is a part of the culture of our community. It has been Dr. Tuana’s goal as director to ensure that one of the legacies of a Penn State education is ethical integrity and ethical leadership. The Rock Ethics Institute, under her direction, had also taken the lead nationally and internationally in developing innovative interdisciplinary ethical research. Current research foci include climate change ethics, bioethics, and K-12 moral literacy.
As an ecologist, Chris Uhl looks at the world and sees a finite planet being overwhelmed by humans. Our activities have already degraded many of Earth’s life support systems: Soils are thinner, ground water increasingly polluted and scarce, the atmosphere tainted, climate destabilized, and many plant and animal species endangered. This is not alarmism; it is a matter-of-fact summary of what ecological research has been revealing over the past fifty years.
Early in his career, Dr. Uhl had an interest in both medicine and ecology, and as his life’s work has unfolded, he has been able to join these interests under the rubric of “ecological healing.” During the 1980s, Dr. Uhl studied the ways in which Amazon ecosystems heal after human assaults. Then, in the 1990s he focused on the role that universities might play in healing - e.g., by assuming roles of leadership in the so-called, Sustainability Revolution.
A commitment to ecological healing has also permeated Dr. Uhl’s experiments and practices in the realm of teaching. For example, his book, Developing Ecological Consciousness: Path to a Sustainable World (Roman and Littlefield, 2004) aims to cultivate a sense of respect and reverence for the natural world, while at the same time offering tools and practices for discerning one’s ecological identity. His second book, Teaching as if Life Matters (in draft form) grows out of his personal struggles as a teacher and my deep yearning to create learning environments that expand awareness and engender compassion.
George Vahoviak is program director at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center at Penn State University Park and affiliate assistant professor in recreation, park and tourism management (RPTM). He is responsible for pre-service and in-service teacher education, undergraduate and graduate teaching, interdisciplinary research, graduate student committees, and assists with festival coordination. He instructs Cultural Interpretation (RPTM 327), Independent Studies (RPTM 496/596), National Curricula Workshops (RPTM 497F), Natural History for Teachers (RPTM 498E), Environmental Education Methods and Materials (RPTM 430), and Worldview, Sustainability, and Environmental Education (RPTM 597D).
Dr. Vahoviak is currently working with a Pennsylvania Department of Education Environmental Education (PA DEP EE) grant designed to address youth, schools, and the environment in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. He is former project director of a DEP Growing Greener Grant, Watershed Education project, and is assisting with other external funding grant writing with faculty from the College of Education.
Dr. Vahoviak received a bachelor’s degree in forest science in 1978 and agricultural education in 1980, a master’s degree in agricultural education in 1987, and a doctoral degree in agricultural education/science technology and society in 1993, all from Penn State. He also serves as an emergency medical technician (EMT), EMT instructor, firefighter, and ambulance lieutenant, and enjoys kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, and woodworking.