Santa Clara University

Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

News & Events


Environmental Studies and Sciences News & Events

  •  Claire Overholt blogs about summer journey

    Monday, Jul. 8, 2013
    SCU Environmental Studies major Claire Overholt is completing a fellowship through the Leavey School of Business Global Fellows program.
    For the next five weeks Claire will be interning with a non-profit based in Kolkata, India called the Association for Social and Environmental Development. Claire and her internship partner, Jessica VanderGiessen (a SCU bioengineering student), will be blogging about their experiences at
    Claire and Jessica's goal for their time in India is to promote ASED’s mission of nature conservation through education and to use social media and digital storytelling to help the organization grow. Their blog will be of interest to anyone who wants to see what environmental studies students can do, what working for a non-profit is like, and what environmental problems and solutions in an emerging economy country look like.
  •  Allison McNamara wins Johnson Leadership Stipend

    Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013

    Allison McNamara, a double major in Environmental Studies and Anthropology, has been awarded a Johnson Leadership Experience Stipend to study capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica.

    As part of her proposed work, Allison will spend summer 2013 at La Suerte Biological Research Station in northeastern Costa Rica. While there, she will collect behavioral data on both juvenile and adult white-faced capuchin monkeys and record information on activity budget and positional behavior in order to determine differences in tail use and limb use during different developmental stages of the monkeys and how this affects their activity budget.

    Senior Kristie Kurtz will be working with Allison to collect data in the field. Dr. Michelle Bezanson of the Dept of Anthropology helped Allison to develop the project and will be working with her on publications after data collection is completed.

    Congratulations, Allison, and have fun in Costa Rica!


  •  Stephanie Hughes named 2012-2013 Sustainability Champion

    Saturday, Jun. 8, 2013

    The Sustainability Champion Awards are selected by the Office of Sustainability to recognize individuals and groups at SCU who go out of their way to develop a culture of sustainability. The award celebrates their hard work and honors their achievements. More information.

    Stephanie Hughes was selected to receive a Sustainability Champion Award for 2012-3013 based on her commitment to using the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability. Her classes almost always include some component of campus-based sustainability work. Her Joy Of Garbage students have helped tremendously with longitudinal data collection about waste at SCU. They also created new waste diversion signage, which we implemented at Leavey Events Center based on their test and follow-up analysis of the effectiveness of the different signs. They also did Malley Center's full waste characterization which has contributed to Campus Recreation's Zero Waste goals. Her ENVS 23 students are analyzing campus recycled water to support Facilities continued use on campus landscaping. She is a joy to work with and eager to collaborate with Facilities, University Operations, and the Office of Sustainability to help the University meet its commitments to justice and sustainability.

    Stephanie's training in chemical and environmental engineering combined with her professional experience in the areas of water and air quality, pollution control, chemical fate and transport, and regulatory compliance,make Stephanie uniquely qualified to offer a wide and exciting range of courses here at SCU. Her courses include Solar Revolution, Joy of Garbage, Environmental Technology, and Energy and the Environment. In addition to teaching these rigorous and highly popular courses, Stephanie continues to work as an environmental consultant in the area of water quality. Her real-world experience continually informs her teaching and allows Stephanie to connect students to local environmental organizations and internships.

    Congratulations, Stephanie!

  •  Michelle Tang receives Lucky Hinkle Sustainability award

    Friday, May. 24, 2013

    Established to honor the memory of Lucky Hinkle, longtime University staff member who worked diligently to promote recycling on campus, this award is given to the graduating senior with a declared major in Environmental Science or Environmental Studies who, in the judgment of the ESS faculty, has made the most significant contribution to promoting a culture of sustainability at Santa Clara University and beyond.

    The 2013 winner of the Lucky Hinkle Sustainability award is Michelle Tang.

    Michelle has done so much to advance sustainability on our campus and in our community that it may be impossible to list all of her accomplishments. Michelle participated in the Sustainability Decathlon even before coming to SCU – this was as a high school student at Silver Creek. Once here at SCU, she volunteered as a mentor, then as a peer leader, for the decathlon. 

    Michelle was instrumental in convincing Dining Services to move away from landfill soda cups to compostable cups, paving the way for compostablility now being written into our vendor contracts.

    Michelle brought the eco fashion show to SCU, and led it all three years. 300 students attended this year! Michelle brought the Swap for Good to SCU, and led that all three years. She has been instrumental in developing Sustainability student leadership programs such as SCOOPS. In addition to all of this, Michelle has worked as the Program Coordinator and Environmental Educator for BUG, the Bronco Urban Gardens, and as a WildZones Play Day Coordinator. 

    Michelle completed at least four internships that fulfilled ESS standards. During her mega-internship last summer with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Michelle explored community health issues, exhibiting a strong commitment to environmental justice and human solidarity.  In like manner, she has had a significant impact on the people of the Alma community, here at home, for the past three years, and here at SCU, as a multi-year intern for the Office of Sustainability.

    And, she has done all this while directing the MCC this year, and being in student leadership positions across campus: she is former president of the Vietnamese student association, and a former officer for GREEN club, just to name a few. Whenever there was a service or tabling opportunity - be it Earth Day or Water Week - Michelle has been part of it. 

    Michelle has sustained her service commitments while maintaining the highest academic standards as she moved through the ESS curriculum.  As Michelle leaves ESS to pursue a career as a teacher, having committed two years to post-secondary education in a low-income public school through the Teach For America Corps, she takes our hearts and our warmest congratulations with her. 


  •  Jack Bird named a Global Social Benefit Fellow

    Friday, May. 3, 2013

    Junior Environmental Science major, Jack Bird, has been awarded a Global Social Benefit (GSB) Fellowship through SCU's Center for Science Technology and Society.

    The GSB Fellowship program integrates leadership development with action research into solutions to poverty and environmental problems. It trains student leaders to conduct research in the developing world into how social entrepreneurs address the fundamental human needs of poor communities.

    Jack will be working on Lifeline Energy action research in Zambia. Specifically, Jack will develop conservation, agroforestry, food security and solar energy curriculum to be incorporated into the national radio curriculum. He will also shadow a local agroforestry technician and translate his oral program into a series of age-appropriate learning activities suitable for radio education.

    To learn more about the GSB Fellowship program, click here.


  •  Colleen Fisher wins Clare Boothe Luce Scholar award

    Friday, May. 3, 2013

    Junior Environmental Science major, Colleen Fisher, was awarded a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar award, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. This grant will to support her project, Fine Root Productivity in Differing Ages of Riparian Forest, under the direction of Dr. Virginia Matzek.

    Congratulations, Colleen!

  •  Aven Satre-Meloy wins Fulbright grant

    Friday, May. 3, 2013

    Graduating senior Environmental Studies major, Aven Satre-Meloy, has been awarded a grant through the U.S. Fulbright Student Program. This grant will support travel to Turkey for a year starting in the fall.

    While in Turkey, Aven will teach English and American culture to university students in Turkey, and conduct research on Turkish peoples' experiences as Muslims living in secular, democratic state where a religiously conservative party is currently in power.

    Aven worked with three ESS faculty - Leslie Gray, John Farnsworth, and Chris Bacon - in preparing his application.

    Congratulations, Aven!

  •  Carlos Carrillo wins NASA DEVELOP internship

    Thursday, May. 2, 2013

    Congratulations to Environmental Science major, Carlos Carrillo, on winning a prestigious internship with NASA for the summer of 2013.

    Carlos will be working on a research project using GIS and other tools such as satellite remote sensing under the guidance of a senior staff member at the NASA Ames Research Center in nearby Mountain View, CA.  DEVELOP projects seek to apply Earth observations to application areas, such as agriculture, climate, disasters, ecological forecasting, and energy. These projects highlight the utililty of NASA's Earth observation capabilities in the search for solutions to Earth's pressing environmental concerns.

    In short, DEVELOP's mission is to unite NASA Earth observations with society to foster future innovation and cultivate the professionals of tomorrow by addressing diverse environmental issues today.

    Learn more about the NASA DEVELOP program at


  •  Congratulations John Farnsworth!

    Thursday, May. 2, 2013

    ESS is pleased to announce that John Farnsworth has been promoted to Senior Lecturer.

    Well known for his habit of beginning every class with a poem, John inspires, engages, and motivates students to reflect upon their place in the world, while also working closely with students to improve the quality of their writing.

    John’s recent scholarship includes an ecocritical analysis of Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire published in the journal Interdisciplinary Literary Studies. John also co-authored in the Journal of Natural History Education and Experience a 2013 paper about the pedagogies he employes in the Natural History of Baja program. In addition, he currently has a book in progress, entitled Writing Baja.

    John brings exuberant energy to our campus community through his annual kayak expedition off the coast of Baja, his leadership of the CyPhi Residential Learning Community, and his work to promote sustainability across the University curriculum.

    Congratulations, John, on this well-deserved promotion!

  •  New GIS lab opens

    Monday, Apr. 15, 2013

    The ESS Department is pleased to announce the opening of a new campus facility for Geographic Information Systems teaching and research. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS software allows users to create maps, generate and overlay different kinds of spatial data, and analyze spatial patterns. GIS is used in fields ranging from anthropology to public health, sociology, marketing, and environmental studies and sciences.

    Our new 16-seat GIS computer lab featuring ArcGIS 10 software is located on the second floor of Varsi Hall and is available to SCU faculty, staff, and students wanting to use GIS in their research and teaching. Please contact the for scheduling and access.