College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Faculty advisors

Once students declare their area of concentration, they are mentored and advised by faculty members who are experts in their disciplines, who teach one or more of their classes, and grade their internship experiences.   By combining a strong program office with enthusiastic faculty advising, we hope to foster a "small college" atmosphere on a Research I university campus.

Dr. Isabella Alcañiz, GVPT -- Environmental Politics & Policy

Dr. Isabella Alcañiz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Politics, and the advisor for ENSP-Environmental Politics and Policy students. Her research covers globalization, energy, science, the environment, and multilateral security in the developing world, especially Latin America. Her work has been published in World Politics, the British Journal of Political Science; the Latin American Research Review, and Latin American Perspectives. She is currently working on a book about bureaucratic networks and nuclear energy where she examines the role of science bureaucrats in advancing nuclear science and technology in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Dr. Alcañiz holds a Licenciatura degree in International Relations from the Universidad de Belgrano (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University. Prior to coming to Maryland, she was an Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Houston and a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach Dr. Alcañiz by e-mailing ialcaniz [at]

Dr. Kurt Finsterbusch, SOCY -- Society and Environmental Issues

Dr. Finsterbusch is a professor in the Department of Sociology and is the advisor for ENSP-Society and Environmental Issues. He specializes in Social Impact Assessment, the Sociology of Development, and Environmental Sociology. In the first area he wrote Social Research for Policy Decisions (with Annabelle Bender Motz) and Understanding Social Impacts and edited with others three major works on social impact assessment methodology. In the second area he wrote Organizational Change as a Development Strategy with Jerry Hage. He is currently writing a book on society and the environment. Most ENSP-SEI students meet Dr. Finsterbusch in class and decide upon their concentration when they take SOCY305 - Scarcity and Modern Society with him.

Dr. Finsterbusch received his B.A. in History from Princeton University; and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University. You may reach Dr. Finsterbusch by e-mailing kfin [at] or calling 301.405.6397

Dr. Martha Geores, GEOG -- Land Use

Dr. Geores is one of the two advisers for ENSP-Land Use. Her area of interest and research is the sustainability of social and cultural systems in the face of local and global economic and environmental change. She is the author of Common Ground: the Struggle for Ownership of the Black Hills National Forest (1996) and chapters on common property and cultural geography. Her teaching focus is the relationship between people and the environment, and her courses include Culture and Natural Resource Management (GEOG431); and graduate seminars on Human Dimensions of Global Change (GEOG614), Population and the Environment (GEOG635), and Qualitative Methods (GEOG636).

Dr. Geores’ first career was as a public interest lawyer in Maine. It was in that capacity that she learned first-hand about common property from the Maine lobstermen and about the importance of landscape in social sustainability. Dr. Geores is also an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Women’s Studies.

Dr. Geores received her B.A. in Sociology from Bates College, her JD from New York University School of Law, and her PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can contact Dr. Geores by calling 301.405.4064.

Ms. Joanna Goger, ENSP -- Environmental Law

Ms. Goger is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP). She teaches ENSP 102 - Introduction to Environmental Policy, ENSP 330 - Introduction to Environmental Law, and ENSP400 - Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy. Ms. Goger received her B.A. in History from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she concentrated in Environmental Law and was an articles editor of the Maryland Law Review. After graduating from law school, Ms. Goger clerked for U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin and went on to serve as a trial attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. While there, she litigated cases involving the Florida Everglades and the Klamath River Basin in Oregon, which provide interesting case studies in her courses. In addition to teaching in ENSP, Ms. Goger has also taught a Biodiversity Protection seminar at the University of Maryland School of Law, and regularly advises ENSP Honors students whose topics involve environmental law.

Ms. Goger’s appreciation for the environment grows out of her love for the diverse environmental resources of the state of Maryland. She grew up hiking and camping near Frederick and now enjoys exploring the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay with her husband and three young children. You may contact Ms. Goger by e-mail at jgoger [at], by calling 301.405.4104, or by leaving a message in the ENSP office.

Dr. Bob Hill, ENST -- Soil, Water, and Land Resources

Dr. Hill is a professor of Soil Science in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, where he advises ENSP-Soil, Water and Land Resources students. His primary research investigates tillage effects and nutrient management in agricultural soils and turf. He teaches ENST413 - Soil and Water Conservation and ENST417 - Soil Hydrology and Physics.

Dr. Hill received his B.S. in Zoology and M.S. in Soil Science from North Carolina State University; and his Ph.D. in Soil Physics from Iowa State University. You can reach Dr. Hill be e-mailing rlh [at] or calling 301.405.1347.

Dr. George Hurtt, GEOG -- Global Environmental Change

Dr. Hurtt is an ecologist and geographer who studies carbon; land-use, land-cover, and climate change; integrated models and observations of coupled natural-human systems; and sustainability science. Following his passion for research, he Dr. Hurtt came to Maryland from the University of New Hampshire as Professor & Research Director in the Department of Geography, and in 2011 was named Associate Director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and Associate Director of Research Innovations at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). He currently leads an international effort on global land-use harmonization in preparation for the IPCC 5th assessment, a NASA interdisciplinary science investigation focused on the role of natural disturbances on the Earth's coupled carbon-climate-human system, and is Science Team Leader for the NASA Carbon Monitoring System.

Dr. Hurtt received his B.A. in Biology from Middlebury College; his M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut; and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Hurtt advises the ENSP - Global Environmental Change students. You can reach him by e-mailing gchurtt [at] or calling: 301.405.8541

Dr. Chris Justice, GEOG -- Land Use

Dr. Justice is the Department Chair in Geographical Sciences and advises students in ENSP-Land Use. He works closely with NASA on a variety of projects; serves on the Strategic Objective Team for USAID's Central Africa Regional Project for the Environment; and is Co-Chair of the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring Task. His current research is on Land Use at the global level, including land cover and land use change, the extent and impacts of global fire, global agricultural monitoring, and their associated information technology and decision support systems. You can learn more about Dr. Justice and his research here.

Dr. Justice received his B.A. in Geography (Honors) from Reading University (in the UK) and his Ph.D. in Geography, also from Reading. You can reach Dr. Justice by calling his administrative assistant, Katie Holland, at:  301.405.1600

Dr. Howard Leathers, AREC -- Environmental Economics

Dr. Leathers is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator in the department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and advises students in ENSP-Environmental Economics. He teaches World Hunger, Population, and Food Supplies (AREC 365) and senior level courses in Agricultural Policy (AREC 433) and Commodity Markets (AREC 427). His book, The World Food Problem, recognizes that millions of people in the less-developed countries continue to go hungry while there is more than enough food globally to feed them - and tackles the questions of why and what can be done about it. Dr. Leathers has also authored numerous scholarly articles and served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Dr. Leathers received his A.B. degree from Princeton University, his M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. You can reach Dr. Leathers by e-mailing howardl [at]

Dr. Sara Lombardi, BSCI -- Biodiversity & Conservation Biology

Dr. Lombardi is a lecturer in the Department of Biology and is the advisor for thr ENSP-Biodiversity and Conservation.  Dr. Lombardi’s research focuses on physiological ecology, particularly, the impacts of predation and ambient oxygen concentration on metabolic physiology and energy allocation.   Much of Dr. Lombardi’s work has focused on Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration.  In addition to physiological ecology and restoration research, Dr. Lombardi is involved in science education research focusing on improving student learning gains, content retention, retention in the STEM fields, and perceptions of science. Dr. Lombardi earned her B.S. in Biology and Marine Science with a minor in Education from Juniata College; and her Ph.D. in Marine Estuarine Environmental Science from University of Maryland. You can contact Dr. Lombardi by emailing: saral [at]

Dr. John Merck, GEOL -- Environmental Geosciences and Restoration

A vertebrate paleontologist by training, Dr. Merck's primary research addresses the phylogenetic relationships of diapsid reptiles, focusing especially on the enigmatic euryapsids, which include ichthyosaurs, nothosaurs, placodonts, and plesiosaurs. His teaching experience spans geological and biological subjects including physical geology, invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology and evolution, and comparative vertebrate anatomy. At Maryland, he teaches GEOL 100/110 - Introduction to Physical Geology; and GEOL 331 - Principles of Paleontology.

Dr. Merck joined the University of Maryland's faculty in 1999 and has served since then as Associate Director of Science and Global Change in College Park Scholars; and advisor to ENSP-Environmental Geosciences and Restoration students. Since 2004, he has also served Director of Undergraduate Studies in Geology. In 2004, he was recognized by the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences as that year's Outstanding Instructor. He has also led eleven travel study programs to natural history localities in Arizona and the Galápagos Islands, and has participated in travel studies to other destinations. Dr. Merck is a self-described "avocational" undergraduate educator, whose philosophy is that curriculum should be structured so that students receive the maximum educational benefit for their efforts and establish early connections with their intended professions.

Dr. Merck received his B.A. In Judaic and Near Eastern Studies from Oberlin College in 1977 and, after a significant mid-life course correction, received his Ph.D. From the Department of Geological Sciences of the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. In his copious free time (!!) Dr. Merck enjoys contradancing, pottery, and nature photography. He can best be reached by e-mail: jmerck [at]

Dr. Jennifer Murrow, ENSP -- Wildlife Ecology and Management

Dr. Jennifer Murrow is a senior lecturer in Environmental Sciences and Policy. A wildlife biologist by training, Dr. Murrow’s primary research interests focus on wildlife habitat use and modeling and demographic analysis as it applies to population viability on the landscape. As such, her research interests have led to a specialty in GIS applications for wildlife species.

Dr. Murrow advises ENSP-Wildlife Ecology and Management students, and teaches a number of courses, including ENST 460 - Principles of Wildlife Management, 461 - Urban Wildlife Management, and 462 - Techniques in Wildlife Management. Dr. Murrow received her B.S. in Wildlife Science from Clemson University, and both her M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In her spare time, she ventures to the southern Appalachians with her family to camp, uke, hike, and mountain bike. You can reach Dr. Murrow by calling 301.405.8373 or e-mailing wildlife [at]

Dr. Bill Phillips, PLSC -- Environment & Agriculture

Dr. Bill Phillips is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Plant Science and Landscape Architecture department and Undergraduate Coordinator of the Agricultural Science and Technology program.  His position allows him the opportunity to focus on teaching and advising students in his department as well as the ENSP-Environment and Agriculture program.  Dr. Phillips teaches Introductory Crop Science (PLSC101), Advanced Crop Science (PLSC407), Weed Science (PLSC453) and Application of Knowledge in Plant Science (PLSC460).  His research is focused on herbicide resistant weeds and the role that they play in crop production.

Dr. Phillips received his B.S. in Horticulture, M.S. in Agronomy and Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland.

You can reach Dr. Phillips by calling 301.405.1061 or e-mailing billii [at]

Dr. L. Jen Shaffer, ANTH -- Culture & Environment

Dr. L. Jen Shaffer is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, and the advisor for ENSP-Culture and Environment students. Her research focuses on human-environment relationships in social-ecological systems; and explores indigenous environmental knowledge to answer questions about how communities and households adapt and respond to environmental risks and changes associated with biodiversity conservation and climate change in rural southern African communities. She has conducted research in Mozambique, Tanzania, Portugal, and Fiji. At Maryland, Dr. Shaffer teaches Intro to Ecological & Evolutionary Anthropology (ANTH222), Changing Climate, Changing Cultures (ANTH266), Researching Environment & Culture (ANTH468), and Anthropology & Climate Change (ANTH452/652).

Dr. Shaffer received her B.S. in Biology (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) from Cornell University, her M.S. in Environmental Studies (Biology, Geography, & Planning, Public Policy, & Management) from the University of Oregon, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology (Ecological & Environmental) from the University of Georgia. She was also a postdoctoral fellow in Geography at the Pennsylvania State University. You can contact Dr. Shaffer by emailing: lshaffe1 [at] or calling 301.405.1441.


Dr. Keith Yearwood, GEOG -- Marine & Coastal Management

Dr. Yearwood is a lecturer in Geographical Sciences, and is well acquainted with marine and coastal issues, having grown up in Guyana, located on the north coast of South America near the intersection of the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans.

Before coming to Maryland, Dr. Yearwood earned a B.A. in Geography from the University of Guyana, then taught for several years in Antigua and the British Virgin Islands. He entered graduate school in urban planning at the University of Florida, but realized after a required internship that he much preferred geomorphology, so switched concentrations and graduated with a Ph.D. in Physical Geography. Given the geography of his home country, Dr. Yearwood holds a special affection for rivers and much of his research is in fluvial geomorphology.

At Maryland, Dr. Yearwood advises ENSP-Marine & Coastal students, and teaches a number of courses, including: GEOG140 - Natural Disasters, and GEOG201/211 - Geography of Environmental Systems. You can reach Dr. Yearwood by calling 301.405.4053 or e-mailing kyearwoo [at]

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