New Environmental Science Program Introduces its Board of Advisors

The College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) is looking forward to launching its new Environmental Science program in fall 2023. In anticipation of the university’s first lab-based science major, the College has assembled a distinguished group of environmental science educators and professionals to serve on a Board of Advisors. Board members provide recommendations on curriculum design, internship opportunities, student enrollment, and career development. Importantly, our Board members will also provide valuable insight on how we can empower students who are often underrepresented in STEM majors and professional fields to be resilient, self-sufficient, and confident in their effort to follow their career goals. 

Our Board members are leaders in their fields, broadly published in academic and professional journals, and engaged in community-based projects. Here are a few of our new members: 

Juan Diaz-Carreras is Managing Director for Water (Southern California and Nevada) and Senior Reviewer of the Safe, Clean Water program at WSP Global. He has more than 20 years of planning and project implementation experience in the water and wastewater market, working on restoration, wastewater facilities, water reclamation, and surface water treatment. Mr. Dias-Carreras is also on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Community Garden Council. 

Dr. Tom Fleischner is founding Executive Director of the Natural History Institute and is Faculty Emeritus at Prescott College, where he taught interdisciplinary environmental studies for 29 years. He is also past Chair of the Natural History Section of the Ecological Society of America, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and author or editor of numerous articles and four books. Dr. Fleischner’s approach to environmental science is a perfect fit for the College and its interdisciplinary approach. He states that his “work is always rooted in natural history, ecology, and conservation biology, but plies the terrain at the margins of disciplines. I’m most interested in the connections between sciences, humanities, and public policy, and between analytical and creative modes of thought.” 

Dr. Barbara Hunt, from our own Woodbury community, is an adjunct faculty in the College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Hunt also teaches anatomy and physiology at several California community colleges and has taught biology and research in two universities in Africa. Her public health background will be a boon to the program. As part of the Peace Corps Dr. Hunt traveled to Ghana, West Africa, where she trained small business entrepreneurs. She then helped the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters develop HIV/AIDS volunteer curriculum. Her efforts led to standardized training that was used across West Africa. 

Dr. Travis Longcore is well-known for his work on the conservation of biodiversity and the effects of artificial night lighting on wildlife. His research makes use of diverse statistical tools, field and archival data, and geographic information systems. Dr. Longcore co-developed a science-based habitat restoration program and native plant nursery for coastal dune habitats, which is now used to train at-risk youth and young adults. Dr. Longcore is broadly published. His work has been covered in National Geographic, Audubon, New York Times, Washington Post, Science, Nature, Wall Street Journal, Life, and Discover. He has also been recognized for his contributions to endangered species conservation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. 

 Dr. Victoria Meyer is a carbon scientist who works at the forest reclamation company Terraformation. As the organization’s carbon scientist, she develops forest carbon models for native reforestation projects around the globe. Before joining Terraformation in February 2021, Dr. Meyer worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for nearly 10 years, developing techniques to measure forest carbon using a combination of tree measurements and remote sensing technology, from spaceborne and airborne platforms (mostly Lidar). Fieldwork has taken her to Central America and Africa. 

Susan Southard worked for 40 years as a soil scientist for the National Cooperative Soil Survey, as both a state and federal U.S. Department of Agriculture employee. She provided technical leadership and database expertise for the development and maintenance of soil interpretations, including the development of new interpretations for water management, crop production, air quality, engineering uses, conservation standards and wild lands management. She has served on numerous committees including a USGS National Interagency Ecological Carbon Sequestration Science Panel, the Agronomic Science Foundation Smithsonian Soils Exhibit Design Committee, the Western Cooperative Soil Survey Ad Hoc Interpretations Committee, and served as Chair of the USDA – National Soils Interpretation Advisory Group and was a member of the USDA employee development cadre. She also served as a soil science liaison to the National Park Service, which took her to over 100 park properties across the United States. Her work focused on oversight of soil inventory mapping of park soils used in park management and the assessment of park soil carbon stocks.  

CoLA looks forward to growing this illustrious Board of Advisors and expanding Woodbury University’s visibility as a STEM-focused Hispanic-Serving Institution. 

Last Updated on February 18, 2022. 

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