Contact Valerie Esposito, Program Director
In addition to top-notch faculty, the Environmental Studies & Policy program also engages with an Advisory Board. The board, comprised of top practitioners in all fields in the environmental sector in Vermont, works with the program on big-picture thinking, strategic planning, curriculum development, and student experiences. Through this relationship, students can pursue internship and career opportunities as well as cultivate professional relationships with practitioners in the field.
Jake Brown is an Energy Services Planner at the Vermont Electric Co-op (VEC), Vermont's second-largest electric utility. In his communications work at VEC, Jake helps co-op members reduce their energy costs while taking advantage of an electric grid that continues to deliver cleaner, lower carbon energy all the time.
He also has served as Communications Associate for the US Team at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). RAP is a global non-profit team of experts focused on the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the electricity sector and provides assistance to government officials.
Before joining RAP, Jake was the director of communications and public affairs at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), a statewide non-profit organization. At VNRC, he managed external communications with members, partners, citizen groups and other stakeholders, and coordinated media relations. He has also been a reporter, covering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, as well as the Vermont state government.
He holds a Master of Environmental Law degree from Vermont Law School and an undergraduate degree in history and Spanish from Middlebury College. He is a member of the Newport (VT) Rotary Club and is chair of the Montpelier Cemetery Commission. He is fluent in Spanish.
Jake lives in Montpelier with his wife Milly Archer.
Bryan is passionate about sustainable transportation options and works on those projects as Senior Transportation Planner at the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. He focuses on regional Transportation Demand Management programs, specializes in bicycle and pedestrian projects, educates people on complete streets principles, and stays in touch with local communities and engaged in their issues. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Bryan moved to Colorado to pursue mountain biking and public service with the US Forest Service. He then gained non-profit experience in land conservation and affordable housing, and found his way to Vermont for graduate school at UVM where he earned a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Planning. Bryan lives in Burlington with his wife and two young daughters. He enjoys heavy metal, mountain biking, and can’t stop collecting bicycles.
Since 2009 Richard has worked as a strategic planner for Efficiency Vermont. With a focus on the institutional markets (K12, CU, state gov't, health care), Richard is charged with developing the long term vision and strategies to transition Institutions from their current state to a evermore sustainable state.
Prior to working for VEIC, Richard has worn many hats: chef, small business owner, economic development official, and as marketing director at a publicly-owned telecom entity.
Christina is the Sustainability Director at Champlain College where she works on integrating sustainability concepts and practices into the institution, operations, academics and culture of the campus. Prior to Champlain, she ran the Eco-Reps Program, a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach program, at the University of Vermont as a Graduate Fellow in the Office of Sustainability. Before UVM she worked as the Sustainability Coordinator at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT where she also taught outdoor education courses.
Christina has a PhD in Natural Resources with a focus in Sustainability Education, from the University of Vermont, a M.S. from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University’s Ecological Teaching & Learning Program, which focuses on place-based, ecological education and has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from St. Lawrence University.
Christina lives in the Old North End of Burlington with her husband, daughter, dog, and chickens. Favorite activities include skiing, canoeing, growing and processing food, and generally playing outside.
Curt McCormack is an environmental consultant, LEED Green Associate, Master Electrician; clients include USAID, Peace Corps, State of Vermont and the City of Burlington. Work includes environmental assessments, energy audits and solid waste system design. He was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives for seven terms in the 1980s and 90s, recently elected for an eighth term. He has chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and the Joint House and Senate Committee on Energy; was Vice-Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Environment Committee; Co-Chair New England Recycling Council and was the first Vice-chair of the Vermont Rail Council. He was sponsor of Act 78, Vermont’s comprehensive solid waste law; first in the nation 1989 law that regulated Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) and the creation of the Ethan Allen Express Amtrak train service. Representative McCormack was also the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator; Director of Advocacy at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council Advocate and an electrical contractor. He was the recipient of the New England Environmental Leadership award from Tufts University.
Robert F. McDougall joined the Vermont Office of the Attorney General in 2002. He currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Office’s Environmental Protection Division, handling environmental enforcement litigation on behalf of the State of Vermont. Rob earned both a Juris Doctor and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. He grew up in Southern Vermont and attended Lyndon State College for his undergraduate studies, majoring in English Literature and Journalism. Rob lives in South Burlington and is an avid golfer and runner.
Jeff arrived in Vermont in 1979, to attend the University of Vermont where he studied geology and civil engineering, focusing on the study of surface water and groundwater hydrology. Jeff founded Pioneer Environmental Associates, LLC in 1996, providing environmental consulting services to public- and private-sector clients throughout Vermont. Pioneer merged its services with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. in 2008, where he now serves as the Director of Environmental and Energy Services in the firm’s North Ferrisburgh office.
The focus of Jeff’s professional practice in Vermont has included a wide range of critical water resources assessment, restoration and permitting matters. He has advised ski resorts, business and industry, municipalities, and utilities. Jeff and his firm have focused on providing services that not only address the immediate regulatory requirements but also take a broader view of a project’s overall context, and seek opportunities to enhance beneficial environmental outcomes wherever possible.
Jeff explores the lands and waters of Vermont from a home base in the Town of Addison, residing with his partner and their beloved dogs, where they have renovated an 1820s era brick farmhouse, created extensive flower and vegetable gardens, and recently planted wine grapes.
Candace Page was a reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. A native of Burlington, Vermont and a graduate of Brown University, she reported for the Providence, R.I. Journal and United Press International, before returning to her home and the Burlington, Vermont Free Press.
During her years at the Free Press she worked in every newsroom department except sports. She covered City Hall, served as Statehouse bureau chief, editorial page editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor.
She greatly disliked being a manager and in 2000 returned to reporting fulltime. She retired in 2013 but continues to freelance for the newspaper and Vermont Public Radio.
Page won numerous awards for her writing, including a first place Penny-Missouri prize for best short feature and a national prize for her Statehouse coverage. She twice was named Gannett’s best writer in the yearly competition.
Expertise: Public engagement for public policy development, consensus building, mediation, conflict resolution, conflict prevention, dialogue, organizational development.
Julian Portilla is the director of Champlain College’s Master’s in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies. He has designed and led complex, multistakeholder consensus building processes on such issues as fisheries management, national park management plans, climate change legislation, restorative justice and others. He has worked in building consensus throughout the continent, focusing primarily in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Panama as well as the United States.
Portilla has also consulted for government agencies, non-government agencies and inter-government agencies in the areas of organizational conflict and organizational development, helping them to work more effectively together to fulfill their missions.
Joshua Schwartz is Executive Director of the Mad River Valley Planning District, a unique three-town planning entity developed by the towns of Fayston, Waitsfield and Warren and Sugarbush Resort to carry out a program of planning for the Mad River Valley directed toward its physical, social, economic, fiscal, environmental, cultural and aesthetic well being. He works in all aspects of planning, with a focus in economic development, flood resilience, recreation, housing, and transportation. Previously, Joshua served as Planning & Zoning Director for the City of Barre and Staff Planner with the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission. He holds a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. Joshua received the 2012 Professional Planner of the Year Award from the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association and was selected as a Vermont Rising Star in 2015 through Vermont Business Magazine’s 40 under 40 program.
After graduating from law school, I embarked on my legal career initially as a criminal prosecutor in the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office. Over the next 17 years, I worked in many of the office's specialized units and eventually supervised the consumer and environmental protection division. In that unit I was responsible for all the usual administrative duties and carried my own caseload of both civil and criminal environmental cases.
During a break from the DA's Office I was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting a variety of federal crimes. I also taught Trial Advocacy at a local law school.
After obtaining a Masters in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School (1993), I moved to Vermont where I was the director of the Enforcement Division at Agency of Natural Resources for 14 years. This unit of attorneys and investigators was responsible for the investigation and civil enforcement of virtually all state environmental offenses.
Locally, I am a 15 year (or so) member of the Waitsfield select board, chair during one year, and currently maintain a limited environmental legal practice.
Stormwater Mitigation Consultant Juliana Dixon has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, and holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Development. Before becoming involved with the Lake Champlain watershed she was involved with the Klamath River conflict in Northern California and studied localized food systems in Yorkshire, England. Juliana was an invited speaker at the Climate Change and Sustainable Solutions conference in Brussels and offered a natural resource management presentation at Tropentag Germany. Now the owner of Salix Solutions operating the BLUE program, Juliana is enjoying empowering citizens to make the changes they want to see in their watersheds.
Kristin Wolf is an assistant professor at Champlain College where she teaches interdisciplinary courses in environmental ethics, science and society, and globalization, as well as a course on human and ecological communities of the Peruvian Amazon, where she works on community-driven development initiatives. She is also a faculty member of the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont Environmental Science and Technology Summer Program, where she guides stream ecology studies. Kristin has recently established an apiary on Champlain’s campus to facilitate experiential learning opportunities for the Champlain and wider Burlington communities. In her free time she enjoys all things outdoors, road trips, and especially likes porch-sitting.
Robin Collins started teaching at Champlain in the spring of 2012. She teaches both Nutrition and Environmental Issues. She has also taught introductory biology at UVM and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Robin received her undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in Biology. She then went on to receive a master's degree in Forestry from the University of Florida and her Ph.D from UVM in Plant Biology. Robin spent two years overseas in Switzerland doing a postdoc at the University of Fribourg.
In her free time, Robin loves to spend time with her family, sing, read, swim, speak french and take in the natural beauty of Vermont.
Vic Izzo is a Evolutionary Ecologist, Herpetologist, Entomologist and Environmental Educator hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York. Vic received his Master of Science in Conservation Biology from Drexel University and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from The University of Vermont. In addition to his position at Champlain College, Vic also teaches Biology and Food System Leadership at Johnson State College and The University of Vermont.
As a lifetime educator, Vic has spent the majority of his career teaching ecology and conservation biology to a wide range of audiences and cultures. From high schools in Mexico City to university field courses in New England, Vic strives to create a more ecologically literate population. Owing to his dedication to education, Vic has received numerous awards for teaching excellence including the 2012 Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) and the 2012 Plant and Soil Science Teaching Assistant of the Year Award.
Prior to arriving in Vermont, Vic served as a staff biologist and educator on several domestic and international Earthwatch conservation programs. As part of these programs he had the unique opportunity to witness the complex interaction of local communities and agricultural land use policies. These experiences led Victor to “move up the chain” from conservation ecology to agricultural systems. He believes that many of the current conservation issues are intimately linked to the management of agricultural lands and the modern high input agroecosystem. As such, his current research looks to provide an evolutionary perspective to agricultural systems, especially in regards to the local adaptation of pest insects.
“By bringing a more ecological perspective to the existing concept of agricultural, we can create both a more integrated and sustainable system of food production while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of our wild lands.”
An environmental historian by training, Dr. Rob Williams is a professor of global studies, media and communications at Champlain College and the University of Vermont.