Program Leaders and Mentors

As an interdisciplinary program, students interact with faculty from a variety of departments and colleges within the University of Massachusetts Amherst. And our dedicated staff help students navigate the program to achieve their goals. Here’s just a few of our key people.



Alison Bates

Graduate Program Director, MS Sustainability Science
Department of Environmental Conservation
Dr. Bates is primarily interested in social and environmental factors that promote or inhibit renewable energy development. Specifically, she uses qualitative and quantitative tools to address limits of offshore wind energy, such a GIS to understand ocean use patterns within a marine spatial planning framework, and survey research to understand social acceptance of ocean energy developments. Ongoing projects include spatial conflict with commercial fisheries and offshore wind, and analysis of how coastal communities are affected by nearby energy developments. Before pursuing her Ph.D. in Marine Studies, Dr. Bates worked for several years with the Southern California Mountains Foundation, promoting conservation and stewardship on public lands. Read more >

Darci Maresca

Assistant Director of the School of Earth & Sustainability

Darci's primary role at UMass Amherst is working within the School of Earth & Sustainability to bring together the diverse academic programs and research related to earth, sustainability and environmental sciences. This work often intersects with the MS3 Program. Darci interacts with students to provide guidance with regards to graduate program planning and career development.


Britt Crow-Miller

Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Geosciences

Dr. Britt Crow-Miller is a Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Geosciences at UMass Amherst. Her academic research is focused on environmental politics, sustainability, global development, and water resource management in China and cities of the Western U.S. In 2018, Britt founded CityWild, a nonprofit organization with the mission of inspiring curiosity about nature through fun, exploration, and hands-on learning for kids and families, including those in underserved communities. The foundation of CityWild was laid in Portland, Oregon, and the organization relocated with Britt to New England in 2020. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA and holds an M.A. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Bard College.

Toni Cunningham

MS Sustainability Science Program Administrator
Toni moved from Ireland to Portland, Oregon in 2005 where she worked in IT as a System Administrator. In 2012 she moved to Amherst to be closer to family.  Her work for the MS3 program includes handling prospective applicant queries, admissions logistics, website content management, documentation, events and communications.



Mark Hamin

Graduate Program Director, Master of Regional Planning
Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
Special research interests include: influence of the life sciences on development of the planning field; urban infrastructural and ecological history; social/cultural perspectives on environmental risk, security, and 'quality of life' in cities;long-term trends in technologically transformed metropolitan-regional food systems; and mentoring in relation to pedagogy. Read more >

Eric Thomas

Lecturer, Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Geosciences

Dr. Eric Thomas is a Lecturer in the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Geosciences.  Dr. Thomas is an environmental anthropologist whose research applies a critical development perspective to contemporary state and capitalist projects along remote resource frontiers.  For the past five years, he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork on the coast of Chilean Patagonia, where a series of harmful algal blooms have resulted in the closure of fisheries and mass mortality events at local salmon farms.  Conducted in the wake of these disasters, his work examines the relationship between industrial aquaculture and artisanal fishing in remote coastal communities as well as the long-term sustainability of these and other sectors of the coastal economy.  His research methods include participant observation, career history surveys, participatory mapping, and semi-structured interviews.  He is originally from mid-coast Maine and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Curt Griffin

Head of Department of Environmental Conservation

Curt's teaching and research interests are in biodiversity conservation, wetland wildlife ecology and management, and integrated natural resources management issues. Although his research program addresses both applied and basic ecological questions, it focuses primarily on the conservation of biological diversity and providing a strong science base for management decisions. Thus, his overall research program is very applied and is largely driven by the resource conservation needs of local, state and federal agencies, NGOs, and international organizations. He also has a strong commitment to and involvement in development of local, state, national, and international policies relating to wetlands protection, endangered species management, and conservation of biological diversity.

You can view the list of faculty in the Graduate School Bulletin here and in the UMass School of Earth & Sustainability (SES) here.


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