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. 

ENSP Faculty Advisors

TBD - Environmental Politics & Policy (GVPT)

Coming soon!

Ms. Joanna Goger - Environmental Law (ENSP)

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 - Soil, Water, and Land Resources (ENST)

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 - Global Environmental Change (GEOG)

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 - Land Use (GEOG)

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 as the Program Scientist on NASA Land Use and Cover Change (LCLUC); 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, Mary Mitkish, at:  301.405.1600

Dr. Sara Lombardi - Biodiversity & Conservation Biology (BSCI)

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 - Environmental Geosciences and Restoration (GEOL)

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. Lars Olson - Environmental Economics (AREC)

Dr. Olson is Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and he advises students in ENSP-Environmental Economics. He teaches the i-Series course Environment, Economics and Policy (AREC 241) and the graduate course Optimization in Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC 620).  Dr. Olson serves as faculty advisor for the Susustainability Analytics First-Year Innovation and Research (FIRE) stream, he was the founding director of the Global Poverty minor and he served as Chair of AREC for six years.  Dr. Olson's current research focuses on the allocation of natural resources over time and under uncertainty.  You can reach Dr. Olson by e-mailing ljolson [at]

Dr. Bill Phillips - Environment & Agriculture (PSLA)

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 - Culture & Environment (ANTH)

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, South Africa, Kenya 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.

Ms. Annette Spivy - Wildlife Ecology and Management (ENSP)

Ms. Annette Spivy received her BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Central Florida while minoring in Biology.  She then went on to receive an MSc in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology (CONS) with a focus in applied spatial ecology from the University of Maryland, College Park.  Ms. Spivvy always had a passion for conservation and had also developed a strong knowledge of environmental modeling, data management, and quantitative assessments of environmental change and quality (with the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and select programming software). 

As a contemporary scientist, Ms. Spivvy relentlessly investigates the influence of humans on habitats and landscapes.  She strives to answer these questions through interdisciplinary research and rigorous analysis of the relationships between people, organizations, technologies, institutions, cultures, and the environment.  She believes this pragmatic approach is essential for addressing today’s environmental issues, as management and policy makers must increasingly endeavor to meet the needs of both human beings and ecological systems. Her current research specifically involves investigating the effects of sea surface temperature, sea level rise, and coastal development on marine turtle nesting sites to guide management while prioritizing conservation of nesting beaches along the South Atlantic Bight.  GIS is, and will continue to be, an essential component of her work because it is a highly visual tool that fills a key role in manipulating and modeling spatial data; the use of spatial data inherently facilitates improved communication that can then lead to better decision making among a variety of stakeholders.

At Maryland, Ms. Spivy advises ENSP-Wildlife students, and teaches a number of courses, including: ENSP101 - Intro to Environmental Science and plans to teach some of the ENSP Applied Science and Policy courses for the program. You can reach Ms. Spivy by e-mailing aspivy [at]

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

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]