Current Students

Meet our 2018-2019 scholar-professionals who are gaining deep intellectual foundations and applied training in sustainability. Their diverse foci span ecology, business, communications, environmental science, urban design, and more. They combine passion and skills to be tomorrow’s changemakers.

Barbara Chamberlain
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
For the past ten years, I have worked at UMass Amherst, in the IT department, managing the imaging software that helps departments on campus that want to go paperless, and also saves some trees in the process. I enjoy what I do and love being part of this community....Learn more about Barbara >
 
Brittany Florio
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Britt is a New England native who loves nature, teaching, and building community.  She currently works for UMass Dining as the Senior Sustainability Coordinator overseeing the Sustainability Department’s “green” initiatives.  Britt’s roots are in regenerative agriculture, educational programming, and permaculture...Learn more about Brittany >
 

Chaitrali Ketkale
M.S. Candidate
Urban Sustainability
The environment and sustainability have always piqued my interest. I explored its realm through my undergraduate degree in biotechnology and the various internships during my undergraduate studies. After graduation I joined KPMG India as an analyst in their Sustainability and Climate Change practice, where I acquainted myself with the different aspects of corporate sustainability. I’m fascinated by what we can achieve through responsible corporate policies to help alleviate our toughest problems. Apart from work, I am an avid fitness enthusiast who enjoys travel, dance and art. I’m extremely excited about the journey ahead at the MS3 program.

Charlie Misenti
M.S. Candidate
Renewable Energy and Efficient Design
I am from Massachusetts and recently graduated from the UMass Amherst with a BS in Environmental Science. I briefly attended the University of New England in Biddeford Maine and studied environmental studies before moving to Massachusetts. During my undergrad career I discovered a passion for renewable and clean energy, environmental policy and science communication along with the many environmental factors that impact society. I hope to expand my knowledge in these categories during my time in the MS3 program. When I am not in the classroom I like to spend time in the great outdoors, playing basketball and taking pictures.

Christian Nielsen
M.S. Candidate
Dual Degree – MS3/MRP – Urban Sustainability
Christian Nielsen has a BS in Sustainable Business from Green Mountain College in Poultney VT, with a minor in natural resource management (2016). During his time pursuing his undergraduate degree he held several internships in the field of planning at Council of Governments’ in Connecticut. It was here that he was introduced to the field and cultivated his passion on the subject matter. After graduation he was retained by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments as a GIS Planning Assistant. Following this opportunity, he was awarded a position at the consulting firm AECOM and was brought on full-time as a transportation planner where he maintains a relationship on a part-time basis. He is now a dual degree candidate in the Master of Regional Planning and Master of Science in Sustainability Science (MRP/MS3) program where he hopes to better align his interests in planning and sustainability.

Courtney Crossgrove
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
I grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I completed my undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of New Haven in 2017. While interning at Illinois State University Campus Dining, I was involved in discussions around sustainability initiatives, sparking an interest in the field. After completing my thesis on the impacts of a plant versus animal based diet on the environment, I decided I wanted to make a difference in the world through food and sustainability. For the past year, I have been working for UNH Campus Dining as a manager and wellness educator, as well as providing nutrition education to youth as a Registered Dietetic Technician. I am looking forward to further exploring the world of sustainability through the MS3 program.

Daniel Dillon
M.S. Candidate
Environmental Quality
I come from a background in engineering and have worked in the aerospace industry for nearly 5 years. My deep passion for the outdoors is a result of many hours spent skiing, hiking and surfing about the northeast....Learn more about Daniel >

Emily Chiara
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
I am a Western MA native and excited to return to the area after living, studying, and farming in Arkansas, North Carolina, India and Guatemala over the past 9 years. I received my bachelor's degree in Global Studies from Warren Wilson College in 2012 and have worked as an elementary school garden educator...Learn more about Emily >
 
Erin Witham
M.S. Candidate
Water Sustainability and Climate Change
My name is Erin Witham and I come to the MS3 program by way of Portland, Maine. I am a graduate of Earlham College in Indiana where I studied Sociology/Anthropology. Over the past 7 years, I have worked for and with community non-profits doing everything from bookkeeping to cartography and even worked on a project in my hometown to build a wildlife-friendly road crossing. Most recently, I worked  as a contractor providing GIS technical assistance to conservation organizations and agencies as part of a habitat protection program throughout the state of Maine. I am excited to have the opportunity through this program to develop tools and strategies to help communities proactively prepare for and adapt to climate change. I am interested to learn more about sustainable communities at UMass and expand my own definition of sustainability. In my free time, I enjoy birding, hiking, cooking, snorkeling, and photography.
 

Erin Wnorowski
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
I am originally from NY but I've lived in Boston for over 10 years and now consider it home (which means I've made the painful transition from Yankees to Red Sox fan). I have a background in biology and public health, and for the past 13 years I've been working in healthcare - focused on everything from grassroots advocacy, to strategy consulting, to disruptive health technology start-ups.

While I've always considered myself an environmentalist, I am increasingly concerned about the health of our planet and, in turn, the health of populations. I believe it’s a true emergency and I’m pursuing an advanced degree in sustainability to get the tools and expertise to intervene. My concentration is sustainable agriculture and food systems because I have faith that changing how we grow and distribute food will have a major impact on planetary health.

On a personal note, any spare money I have goes to food, travel, and enjoying live music. I’m always ready for an impromptu dance party or karaoke (and I look forward to converting any karaoke non-believers). In September, I start as the new Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Paperbark - our literary magazine that serves as a platform for conversations around contemporary culture through the lens of sustainability. I’m thrilled to meet my new classmates, professors, and colleagues!

Gabi Fox
M.S. Candidate
Renewable Energy and Efficient Design
Having grown up in Massachusetts surrounded by woods and conservation land, I have a deep appreciation for the environment. I studied environmental science and marine biology for 2 and a half years before ultimately switching my major and graduating with a BA in Sociology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A recent exposure to political activism and like-minded individuals working in environmental conservation reignited my interest in environmental sustainability.
I am extremely excited to join the MS3 program, and learn about the interconnection between the environment, politics, and the economy, and how it relates to clean energy policy. My hobbies include surfing, gardening, and photography.

Heather Polson
M.S. Candidate
Urban Sustainability
I’m originally from Mercer Island, WA and grew up enjoying the lake and parks around me. After high school, I took three years off of work to: volunteer at music festivals and the 1990 Goodwill Games; and travel to Europe, the UK, and road-tripping around the U.S. Following all those adventures, I earned a degree in Outdoor Environmental Education at WWU, where I also worked for the A.S. Productions bringing in professional bands and musicians to perform on campus. It was a rich and varied college experience.

My family moved to the Pioneer Valley in 2001, where I’ve been working primarily in higher ed, first at Amherst College in Student Activities and now at UMass at Isenberg. In between those two jobs, I took three years off and earned my Master Gardener status, traveled more (but this time with a family in tow), and volunteered at a local thrift shop and at my sons’s middle school, including a trip chaperoning eighth graders to DC. When I’m not at work, I enjoy drawing, painting with watercolours, and have recently started Urban Sketching. I also try to spend as much time as I can outside: cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter; biking, swimming, and generally exploring in the warmer months.

Kaveri Sastry
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
My name is Kaveri Sastry and I am from Bangalore, India. I have just completed my Bachelors of Science in Chemistry, Zoology, and Environmental Science. I am very interested in food systems and how the entire chain can be made more sustainable, from production to consumption. My interest in the field began after attending a talk on natural farming. Currently, I am interning with an NGO that provides mid-day meals to children in government schools.

Mac Crispino
M.S. Candidate
Environmental Quality
I am a Connecticut native who recently completed my undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Fairfield University.  I played baseball for four years while at Fairfield, and hosted a sports talk radio show on campus as well.  I love sports but my first love has always been nature. The immense beauty that our earth has to offer should be protected and improved on as much as we can. I believe we as human beings have both the knowledge and the responsibility to do so! I currently do field stewardship work for two land conservation trusts in Lincoln and Sudbury Massachusetts and I look forward to heading back to school to further my studies on sustainability and environmental quality.

Marcie Gallo O'Connell
M.S. Candidate
Urban Sustainability
Marcie comes to the MS3 program with a background in Anthropology. Building on her undergraduate level certificate, Marcie is now also pursuing a Graduate level Certificate in Native American Indian Studies.  She brings over 20 years of food industry experience with her, including nearly 14 years of small business ownership. Marcie is also a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is interested in the cross-disciplinary foundations of the MS3 program and the ability of those foundations to address global sustainability challenges, while also preserving cultural heritage. Her passion is focused on the crossroad space between sustainability science, urban sustainability studies, and traditional ecological knowledge. Active in her community, Marcie has coached several youth sports teams, and played an integral part in establishing a Certified Wildlife Habitat at a local elementary school. She has been a member of a local CSA for 8 years, and actively supports local businesses.  A New England native, Marcie loves the White Mountains, alpine flowers, hiking, snowboarding, laughing, craft beer, music, and her family.

Michael Campbell
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
A native from North Attleboro, Massachusetts, I attended Bridgewater State University for my undergraduate degree in Geography. After graduating in 2015, I accepted the position of assistant Grocery manger at Roche Bros supermarket, where I had spent all my undergraduate career working. In 2016 I accepted the position of Environmental specialist for a Hazardous waste management company in Somerville Massachusetts. After working in the city of Boston for little more than a year, I saw the opportunity to apply the skills I had learned there into our food system industry. I know with the education I will be receiving from Umass and the MS3 program that I can accomplish this goal. I am very excited to become a part of the Umass culture and look forward to living beautiful western Massachusetts.

Morgan Carney
M.S. Candidate
Renewable Energy and Efficient Design
Morgan is a Massachusetts native who comes to the MS3 program from the Boston tech scene after having obtained a MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh, as well as a BA in English from Franklin & Marshall College. Prior to somehow working at a cybersecurity startup, he spent time in the world of educational publishing as the product manager for several earth and environmental science textbooks. It was through the combination of these experiences that he became interested in renewable energy policy and implementation strategies for sustainable business practices – areas which he is eager to further explore at UMass.

Naomi Valentine
M.S. Candidate
Water Sustainability and Climate Change
My name is Naomi Valentine and I have been working in the field of Ecological Restoration for the past four years. My focus in the MS3 program is Water Sustainability and Climate Change, which I hope will aid in my ability to better advise my clients of forward-thinking restoration practices. Often my work as a Project Manager and Ecological Restoration Specialist at SWCA Environmental Consultants, located in Amherst, focuses on restoring habitats to a pre-existing/pre-disturbance state. However, I am trying to move this focus towards improving the resiliency of our natural resources and arming wetland systems from the current and future devastations of climate change. I love living in the Pioneer Valley and am excited to study sustainable practices at UMass Amherst. I’ll be working full time while pursuing this career, so I might not have much free time over the next two years, but when I do I enjoy hiking and kayaking down the Connecticut River.

Rachel Berggren
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Born and raised in NY, I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in Anthropology. Understanding human behavior and culture is what shapes my perspective and led me to pursue work in community development.  Over the years, I have worked at several non-profit organizations, learning about the interconnected nature of societal issues and how to best approach making change possible and sustainable. Through these experiences, understanding our food system continued to call to me. Through travel, work and research, I have had many opportunities to explore the intersection of food insecurity and a cultures approach to building community.  I moved to Western Mass to learn more about that and now here I am undertaking a structured approach to understanding our food system and how we can improve it. I can't wait to see how this degree program will carry me forward into the next part of my journey.

Ramcharan Khalsa
M.S. Candidate
Renewable Energy and Efficient Design
I was raised in a conscientious community which taught me to conserve and protect the natural world. After spending time in federal service as a microbiologist and food safety inspector, I observed incredible waste in both food production and laboratories. I saw an opportunity to educate industry to cut costs and lower carbon emissions. As the new administration fails to provide leadership and guidance; individuals, businesses, and communities are looking to step up. Time is of the essence and I intend to use what I learn at UMass to serve the global community. Climate change and emissions is a large and multifaceted challenge, I look forward to working with my fellow students to take action and make an impact. I'm interested in energy systems, sustainable technology, marketing, design, food systems, economics, and business. Can't wait!

Shannon Mulkern
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
I graduated from UMass in 2015 with my Bachelor’s in Psychology, and am unbelievably excited to be returning for my Master’s in Sustainability Science. I’ve spent the past two years out of school dabbling in a little bit of everything – working in special education, traveling, volunteering at a nonprofit farm, and waitressing. UMass is where my interest in sustainability began, from the dining halls to the green buildings, and it feels perfect to me to be returning to my roots. I plan to focus on agriculture practices, nutrition, landscape maintenance, and waste management, and how sustainable methods can be implemented in various sectors for healthier future generations. I hope to also pick up a few tips and tricks for sustainable marketing so that I can go on to share what I’ve learned with others. In my free time, you can usually find me in the kitchen, out in my garden, at a brewery, or traveling somewhere new!

Sophia Mitrokostas
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
I’m originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts but my love for travel around the country brought be to Flagstaff, Arizona where I completed my undergraduate studies in Environmental Science and Global Sustainability.  In the past I have worked in horticulture and insect studying with a primary focus on pollinators. Currently, I am studying Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems here at Umass Amherst.  My pastimes include hiking, gardening, and enjoying live music.

Sylvain Lorng
M.S. Candidate
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Born and raised in Ivory Coast, I grew up in the capital city, Abidjan, and attended a Catholic high school. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting, I worked at a bank for 10 years managing the international operations division and the relationship with large corporations. In addition, I built a small farm of 10 ha (24 acres) of rubber trees, 3 ha (7 acres) of palm’s oil and 2 ha (5acres) of cocoa trees. At that point, I realized that I could better help my community by getting a degree in sustainable agriculture. I then decided to move to the United States, where I obtained two different certificates in sustainability management and solar energy at Bunker Hills Community College and Roxbury Community College respectively. I am currently enrolled in the MS3 program at UMASS Amherst to further expand my portfolio of knowledge in sustainable agriculture. In my free time, I enjoy being a volunteer at different orphanage and group homes; I also enjoy supporting the Celtics all over the states. My biggest passion remains playing soccer as I was a soccer coach for kids in Ivory Coast. I also like tennis.

Tony Rose
M.S. Candidate
Water Sustainability and Climate Change
I served in the U.S. Coast Guard and retired a few years ago after a career as a CT Environmental Police Officer. I love being outdoor in nature, and enjoying outdoor activities, especially hiking, biking, skiing and running. I did a winter outdoor Semester with NOLS in the Southwest and saw how beautiful but fragile our public lands are, especially without proper stewardship. My Buddhist practice teaches me that all beings and phenomena exist or occur because of their relationship with other beings and phenomena. I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to learn about water resources and climate change, and hopefully help improve our planet’s ecological system for future generations.

Vaishnavi Nandi
M.S. Candidate
Urban Sustainability
A resident of Mumbai, India, Vaishnavi received her Baccalaureate in Architecture from the University of Mumbai, where she developed a keen inclination towards Sustainable Design. After an academic design project for the Slums of Dharavi in Mumbai, which involved redevelopment, and building a clean and green ‘Live- Work’ community, she acquired a passion for sustaining communities, environment and economy. This culminated in her Thesis – Redevelopment of Municipal Markets, focusing on a zero waste and energy design. Her passion lies in studying the node between design, building information modeling, public policy, marketing, renewable energy and was thus admitted to the MS3 program at UMass Amherst with a concentration in Urban Sustainability and Renewable Energy and Efficient Design.
In her free time, she loves to talk, sketch, paint, dance, sing and play instruments like Casio and guitar. Jack of all trades master of none. Also, makes jokes that only she is proud of.

Varsha Suresh
M.S. Candidate
Urban Sustainability/Renewable energy
Hailing from India I developed an interest in green and clean energy while completing my undergraduate education in engineering. Having interned in a social enterprise as well as a public policy forum in India, I realized that I wanted to study further to understand the underlying economic, ecological and social principles that govern sustainability. My academic interests include urban sustainability, social entrepreneurship, public policy and renewable energy. I am also trying to inculcate a green and minimalistic lifestyle personally. I enjoy reading, traveling and conversations over warm cups of coffee.
 

Zachary Rosemere
M.S. Candidate
Renewable Energy and Efficient Design
I discovered my love for sustainability and related concepts in high school and have since been testing and narrowing my desires since. I graduated from UMass with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and wished to immediately return for the area, the academic environment, and to further specify my education after realizing renewable energy piques my interest most of all. I have involved myself in chemical and social research and wish to shift to a more engineering/physical perspective moving forward while maintaining a cross-disciplinary mindset. My goal is to understand renewable energy generation’s intricacies and to hopefully add to the field in design upgrades.

 

 

 

Next...
Our program doesn't just have amazing students, faculty, and staff; we also have some pretty incredible partners. Learn more >