MA Environmental Studies Faculty

The faculty who will guide you through the curriculum at Goucher are not just professors, and they’re not just at Goucher. They are distinguished leaders in their fields. They bring a depth of practical experience that is invaluable to students.

Thomas Walker, Ph.D.

Academic Director

Thomas Walker received his academic training and degrees in anthropology, history, and folklore. As the founding director of the Environmental Studies program, he teaches the introductory course that orients students to the human dimensions approach to Environmental Studies. Coming to Goucher with over 20 years of experience in the public sector, he has plied his trade as an ethnographer, culture specialist, and independent scholar of work, the working class, cultural heritage, and community development in settings that include museums (South Street Seaport Museum) and arts organizations (project director at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation). As a venture philanthropist, he has served as a trustee for a foundation www.walker-foundation.org which funds research, policy, and projects investigating environmental economics in areas of climate change, energy and tax policy, ecosystem services, ecotourism, and sustainability in forests and fisheries. He has served as a board member for several non-profit organizations in the fields of folk culture, environmental health, Greek culture, and documentary film. He first studied cultural traditions as an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and received his PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Erik Assadourian

Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute where he has studied cultural change, consumerism, degrowth, ecological ethics, corporate responsibility, religion, and sustainable communities over the past 13 years. In 2013, Erik co-directed State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? He is author of two chapters of the report "Re-engineering Cultures to Create a Sustainable Civilization" and "Building an Enduring Environmental Movement." In 2012, Erik co-directed State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity and wrote "The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries" for the report and continues to research and write on degrowth. Erik also directed State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability and wrote "The Rise and Fall of Consumer Cultures." Erik continues to direct the Transforming Cultures project, which explores innovative new ways to intentionally and proactively transform cultural norms so that living sustainably feels as natural as living as a consumer feels today. Most recently, through this project, Erik co-designed an eco-educational scenario for the popular board game Settlers of Catan, Catan: Oil Springs, which he hopes will help players grapple personally with climate change, the tragedy of the commons, and the challenges that come with continued growth in a finite system. Currently, Erik is developing a reality TV show, writing for The Guardian's Sustainable Business blog, and managing the US hub of Future Perfect.

Ann Daniels

Ann's expertise encompasses all areas of supply chain management for the food industry:  purchasing, quality assurance, food safety, distribution, logistics, R&D, and international expansion.  Her professional focus is  the development of  sustainable and socially responsible food supply chains including protocols around treatment of land, people and animals.  She owns a consulting company focused on restaurant chains, and works with executives in the business to adapt and improve their food supply chains.

Tiffany Espinosa, Ph.D.

Dr. Espinosa is the assistant provost and a faculty member in the Welch Center for Graduate & Professional Studies at Goucher College.  Her research and teaching interests are in community wealth development, capacity building, sustainable tourism, community engagement and diversity, and public-private partnership. She has created community organizations, developed new programming, served as a judge for a number of business plan competitions, and consulted with organizations across the country. Dr. Espinosa received her PhD in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University, her MBA and an MA in Education from the University of Colorado Denver, and an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences from the University of Michigan.

Amy Freitag, Ph.D.

Amy is a science studies scholar working to increase the diversity of ideas and creativity represented in scientific expertise. Through collaborative fisheries research, citizen science, and facilitated expert judgment, she is working to find a process that works better for all stakeholders. She works at Virginia Sea Grant and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, currently working on figuring out how ecosystem-based management might take shape in the Chesapeake Bay. For example, what kinds of information are needed to move forward with such a management approach without falling into the trap of measuring everything, all the time? Find out more about her on www.amyfreitag.org.

Rebecca Hill, Ph.D.

Dr. Hill received her doctorate in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics and her bachelors in Agricultural Business at Colorado State University. She teaches Community and Economic Development for the MACS program.  Rebecca currently serves as the Coordinator of Community and Economic Assistance with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at Colorado State University.  Rebecca has experience working in economic and community development both domestically and internationally.   She serves on the City of Fort Collins Water Board, where she is the chair of the Legislative, Finance and Liaison Committee.  In Panama Rebecca has worked with a local organization promoting sustainable ecotourism.  She also has worked with women's rights groups on reservations and in Kenya.   Rebecca has also taught Agricultural Marketing and Microeconomics at Colorado State University.

Mary Hufford, Ph.D.

Folklorist and independent scholar Mary Hufford has worked over the past three decades in both government and academic settings. Her scholarship, teaching, and writing have centered on the interrelations of social, ecological, and cultural systems, and the formation of democratic public space through community-based, participatory research. As folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (1982-2002) she led regional team fieldwork projects in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the southern West Virginia coalfields. From 2002-2012, she served on the graduate faculty of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, directing the Center for Folklore and Ethnography from 2002 to 2008. Her seminars and field practica engaged students in ethnographies of movements for environmental and social justice in Philadelphia neighborhoods and the Central Appalachian coalfields. She is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a Guggenheim Fellow.

She has published articles and reviews in both public and academic venues, including Orion Magazine, Gastronomica, the Journal of American Folklore, Southern Quarterly, Cahiers de Litterature Orale, Cornbread Nation, Social Identities, Western Folklore, and the Proceedings of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. Her present writing project, Holding Up the Mountains: An Ecology of Narrative Climax Forests, explores how conversational genres in cross-disciplinary, multi-sectoral communities of inquiry form matrices of democratic public space. For a more complete list of her downloadable publications go to: http://vt.academia.edu/MaryHufford

Susan Mazur-Stommen, Ph. D.

Susan Mazur-Stommen is a cultural anthropologist who conducts qualitative research on behavior change and energy usage. She has more than 20 years of experience working in corporate, academic, and non-profit circles. Her work has been published in peer reviewed journal articles and books from academic presses, as well as trade journals and other media publications. She is a sought after conference speaker and presenter on a variety of topics. Her research focus is on the intersection of behavior and culture with the built environment.

Susan is the principal of Indicia Consulting, which she founded in 2008. In 2011 she took a three year hiatus from teaching and consulting and joined the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy as the Director of their Behavior and Human Dimensions Program. She has also been the chair of the Behavior Energy and Climate Change Conference since 2011. Prior to joining ACEEE, Susan worked as an adjunct professor in the California State University system for ten years, teaching approximately 5000 students! Susan earned both a Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, and her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from San Jose State University. She received a Fulbright for her dissertation research in the former East Germany. More information on her research can be found at Academia.edu. There are also some slide decks up on SlideShare

Spencer Phillips, Ph. D.

Spencer Phillips is a natural resource economist with more than 20 years' experience helping people, communities, and institutions understand and attain the benefits of improved land stewardship. As principal of Key-Log Economics, LLC, he seeks science-based policy and market solutions that foster positive, sustainable connections between community, economic, and ecosystem health. His current research portfolio focuses on the assessment of ecosystem service value - especially as impacted by climate change, public land and resource management, and water quality improvement - and the economics of biodiversity conservation.

In addition to teaching the "Environment, Development and Economics" course in the MAES/MACS program, he lectures in microeconomics, ecological economics and natural resource policy at the University of Virginia. He has previously served the cause of conservation in a variety of research and organizational leadership roles at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, The Wilderness Society, Northwoods Stewardship Center, and the Northeast Wilderness Trust. Backpacking on a snowy Mt. Rogers in 1983 re-connected Spencer to wildlands and sparked his passion for exploring the intersections of wilderness with human spiritual and economic development. Whenever possible, he continues that exploration by skiing, hunting, canoeing, flyfishing and hiking.

Michael Alvarez Shepard, Ph.D.

Dr. Shepard is an anthropologist who teaches for both the Master's in Cultural Sustainability and Master's in Environmental Studies programs at Goucher College. His research focuses on documentation and dissemination of endangered Indigenous languages, cultural resource management, treaty rights, sovereignty and environmental preservation. He specializes in linguistic anthropology, ethnography, applied research methods and the application of collaborative Internet technologies. Dr. Shepard supports online course design and development in Goucher's Welch Center as an Instructional Designer. His Ph.D. is from the University of British Columbia. Michael lives with his wife and two children in Bellingham, Washington. 

Thomas Simchak, M.Litt., M.S.

Tom Simchak is an energy policy advisor for the British Embassy in Washington, DC where he advises the U.K. Foreign Office on U.S. federal and state energy and climate policy. Prior to joining the embassy, Tom was involved in various clean energy policy issues at a number of DC organizations, including the Center for Clean Air Policy, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Alliance to Save Energy, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. His work has focused on electrical grid modernization, sustainable energy finance, and energy tax incentives. He has a Master of Science in Nature, Society, and Environmental Policy and a Master of Letters in Geography from the University of Oxford, where he researched social and cultural impacts of North Sea oil development in Shetland, a Scottish island community. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Ohio and currently lives in suburban Maryland.