Theses and Projects

The senior theses and projects developed by Environmental Studies (ENST) majors reflect their diverse interests and areas of focus. For example, students may conduct field or laboratory research, explore policy issues, develop educational plans for local schools, conduct historical analyses, or develop a creative project in literature or art. Students develop close working relationships with their thesis advisor and second reader, who are ENST participating faculty from departments in different divisions of the College.

Jane Ahn
Advisor: Randy Cornelius—Second Reader: Leonisa Ardizzone
The Temporalities of Climate Violence: Mindfulness and Attention, the Many Facets of Violence, and Our Dying Planet

Kathryn Antonatos
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Learning to See, Seeing to Learn; Fostering A Deeper Knowledge of Nature Through Portraits of Hudson Valley Plants

Amelia Boyd
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Meg Ronsheim
Mapping Vassar College Sustainability: Building a Dynamic, Student-led, and Institutionalized Sustainability Communication Resource

Lucy Brown
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Yvonne Elet
An Ecological Landscaper on Campus: A Proposal to Address Restorative Land Practices in Vassar’s Climate Action Plan

Bailey Carrillo
Advisor: Lynn Christenson—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
From Invasives to Cosmetics: Issues with Resource Extraction and Sustainability Within the Beauty Industry

Liam Condon
Advisor: Randy Cornelius—Second Reader: Himadeep Muppidi
For You and Your Country: How the Civilian Climate Corps Reconceptualizes Climate Policy

Katie Doroski
Advisor: Alison Keimowitz—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
Electrodialysis Desalination with Ion-Exchange Membranes and the Potential for Implementation in the Los Angeles Region

Danielle Douglas
Advisor: Kirsten Menking—Second Reader: Randy Cornelius
Investigating the Effects of Glacier Retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana

Eric Feeney
Advisor: Chris Bjork—Second Reader: Laura Haynes
Science Is for Everyone: Designing and Leading Biogeochemistry Activities for Elementary Students Across Spaces

Skylar Herrera-Ross
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Kirsten Menking
Box It Up: Imagining a Long-Term Reusable To-Go Food Container Program at Vassar College

Chloe Kellner
Advisor: Jeff Walker—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
Intentional Communities: A Utopian Reimaging of Green Building

Taber Kremer
Advisor: Laura Haynes—Second Reader: Yvonne Elet
Rock, Water, and People: Nature Sports and Community

Jack McGlinchey
Advisor: Leonard Nevarez—Lynn Christenson
Reimagining Suburban Lawns: A Guide to More Sustainable and Productive Yards

Jameson McLennan
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Lynn Christenson
Exploring the Efficacy of Blue Bonds as a New Financial Tool for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Jack Oliver
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Leroy Cooper
Food Deserts in Poughkeepsie: Origins and Implications

Madelaine Pelletier
Advisor: Jodi Schwarz—Second Reader: Yu Zhou
Ecologically Sustainable and Economically Profitable Seaweed Mariculture in the United States: Lessons from Maine and China

Clara Pitt
Advisor: Jeff Walker—Second Reader: Yvonne Elet
Wasteful Thinking: An Exploratory Study of Student Behaviors Towards Food Waste on the Vassar College Campus

Charlotte Rhoads
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Molly McGlennen
Abstraction and Relation: How the Land Frameworks of the Penobscot Nation Deconstruct Settler Colonialism

Charlotte Schulman
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Lynn Christenson
Is “Natural” The Best Case Scenario? An Analysis of The Natural Cosmetics Industry from An Environmental and Laborer Health Perspective

Ethan Skuches
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Identifying Opportunities and Pathways to Increase Carbon Sequestration through Reforestation on the Vassar Ecological Preserve

Madio Wallner
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Kirsten Menking
Mapping the Distribution of Litter in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Maria Ziaja
Advisor: Paul Kane—Second Reader: Charles Arndt
The Soul of a Nation: Russia’s Omnipresent Forests

Samirah Aziz
Advisor: Lisa Paravisi—Second Reader: Himadeep Muppidi
Sustainable Fashion: A Shift in Conscience and A Segway into Resistance

Zoe Camhi
Advisor: Jill Schneiderman—Second Reader: Randy Cornelius
Can Board Games Save the World? Gaming for a Sustainable Future

Nicoletta Dinelli
Advisor: Andrew Davison—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini—Consultant: Rick Jones
Placemaking in Crisis: Preserving Relationship to Place in Times of Pandemic & Climatic Change

George Edison
Advisor: Joe Nevins—Second Reader: Katie Hite
The 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty and the Americanization of the Borderlands

Claire Furtwangler
Advisor: Jon Chenette—Second Readers: Lynn Christenson, Jeff Walker
Shackled Waters: Illuminating the Movement to Breach the Lower Snake River Dams through Music, Story, and Song

Perri Goodman
Advisor: Samson Okoth Opondo—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
The Coloniality of Conservation: Slow Violence and the Dispossession of the Ahwahneechee in Yosemite National Park

Morgan Hayman
Advisor: Justin Touchon—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Earth, Rain & Fire: the Matrix of Sediment Transport in the Pacific Northwest

Skylar Herrera-Ross
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Kirsten Menking
Box It Up: Imagining a Long-Term Reusable To-Go Food Container Program at Vassar College

Erica Hertzberg
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Alison Spodek
Techno-racism: The Toxic Treadmill of the Digital Era

Melissa Hoffmann
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Ashley Fent
Stopping the Expansion of Fossil Fuels in the Hudson Valley: The Strategies, Organizations, and Actions Needed to Make the Hudson Valley Fossil Free

Jacob Hunter
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Claire Sagan
Approaching Catastrophe: An Exploration of Jewish Environmental Thought and Its Place in the Contemporary Climate Movement

Rachael Kraft
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Mario Cesareo
A Movement Divided: The Latin American Fight Against Climate Change: Argentina’s Youth Movement

Madison Maguire
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Meg Ronsheim
People, Places, and Spaces of Vassar

Jack McGlinchey
Advisor: Leonard Nevarez—Lynn Christenson
Reimagining Suburban Lawns: A Guide to More Sustainable and Productive Yards

Greta Nelson
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Jodi Schwarz
Seaweeds and the Seascape: An Anthology for an Undecided Future

Bronwyn Pappas-Byers
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Lynn Christenson
Food for Thought: How Land Justice, Seed Sovereignty, and a Food Consciousness Rooted in Knowledge Justice Form the Foundations of a Food Sovereignty Transformation

Willow Parchment
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
Internalized Racism and Environmental Degradation in Jamaica: Connections and Hypotheses

Leanna Tang
Advisor: Tom Parker—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
Environment, Economics, and Equity: Sustainability Challenges and Proposals in Côte d’Ivoire’s Cacao Sector

Isabel Urbanski-Farrell
Advisor: Adedoyin Teriba—Second Reader: Zach Cofran
Sustainability in Vernacular Architecture: Lessons From Passive Ventilation in the Traditional Architecture of Damascus and Ghadames

Vanessa Vazquez
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
An Exploration of the Violent Connections Between Environmental Racism and COVID-19 on Marginalized Communities

Benjamin Volk
Advisor: Judy Linn—Second Reader: Zach Cofran

Tamika Whitenack
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Diane Pater
The Climate Crisis and Sustainable Agriculture: Impacts and Possibilities for Small Farms in Northern California

Cutler, Savannah
Advisor: Kirsten Menking—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
Diatom Response to Changes in Water Chemistry During the Last Glacial Maximum in Estancia Basin, New Mexico

Gordon, Lucas
Advisor: April Beisaw—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
The Poughkeepsie Riverfront Project

Greenlees, Kai
Advisor: Randy Cornelius—Second Reader: Joe Nevins
Panarchy on the Peninsula: Rockaways’ Risk, Response and Resilience Following Superstorm Sandy

Guo, Shijie
Advisor: Lynn Christenson—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
GIS-Based Wildlife Activity and Habitat Modeling Using Wildlife Cameras: A Study of the Hubbard Brook’s Moose

MacEwen, Adele
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
Sitting with The Oaks: A Journey Towards Greater Ecological Intelligence

Pierce, Ethan
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Chris Bjork
A River’s Role in Climate Justice Education

Rodas, Sofia
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Jodi Schwarz
The Fate of Oysters in a Time of Climate Change: How Cascading Impacts of Climate Change Are Forcing Oyster Aquaculturalists Into the Front Lines of Climate Change Opposition

Zenni, Wyn
Advisor: Myra Hughey—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
Speaking for the Frogs: Exploring Seasonal Variation in the Presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in New York State

Julia Blass
Advisor: Joe Nevins—Second Reader: Jamie Kelly
The Evolving Political Economy of Food Waste: Emerging Experiments in Combating Urban Food Insecurity

Sophie Cash
Advisor: Jodi Schwarz—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
Climate Inclusion and an Inclusive Climate: The Why and the How of Integrating Climate Change in Higher Education

Haley Cubell
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Martha Kaplan
Artist, NGO, and Corporate Environmental Activism Through Creative and Artistic Expression

Mitchell Davis
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Kirsten Menking
City and Sea: Connecting the Urban and Natural Environment in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Stephen Kovari
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Using Camera Traps to Study Carnivores and Engage the Public in Conservation

Joan Krickellas
Advisor: Paul Kane—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
The Kyllini Hairbrush: A Pre-Teen Novel on the Climate Refugee Experience

Elise Matera
Advisor: Paul Kane—Second Reader: Pinar Batur
Non-Zero Stuff I Accumulated in 2017

Mirit Rutishauser
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Lisa Paravisini
Depicting the Destructive Beauty of Invasives

Thomas Schindelman
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: April Beisaw
Silences, Symbols and Solutions: Understanding the American Environmental Imaginary of the 21st Century Through Eco-disaster Dystopian Film

Morrigan Turner
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Meg Ronsheim
Growing Together: Bridging Human and Nature Connections at the Old Garden Art Space

Brendan Wirth
Advisor: Alison Keimowitz—Second Reader: Joe Nevins
Mad Hatters of the Tioronda Hat Works: Legacies of Capitalist Enterprise and Environmental Inequity Stemming from the Hat-Making Industry in Beacon, New York

John Ammondson
Advisor: Joe Nevins—Second Reader: Jeff Walker
A River Runs Through It: Ecological Crisis, Environmental Justice, and Discourses of Salvation in the California Delta

Anna Beeman
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Paul Ruud
Valuing the Co-Benefits of Safe Harbors Green: How Valuation Can Inform the Implementation of Green Infrastructure

Eilis Donohue
Advisor: Stuart Belli—Second Reader: Mark Andrews
Natural Disaster Preparedness in the Anthropocene Case Study: Hurricane Sandy and New York City

Fiona Lunt
Advisor: Lynn Christenson—Second Reader: April Beisaw
Science, Subjectivity, and Seeds: Development of a Conceptual Framework for Ecological Restoration through an Experimental Investigation and “Restoration” Project on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

Clare McClellan
Advisor: Erin McCloskey—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Expanding Environmental Education Programs: Evaluating and Developing Environmental and Outdoor Education Field Experience Programs With the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Nick Olkovsky
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Food Sovereignty as a Process: Exploring the Multiple Dimensions of Food Sovereignty in Venezuela and Maine

Clara Pomper
Advisor: Stuart Belli—Second Reader: Leonard Nevarez
An Examination of the Implications of State and Local Environmental Regulations for Grassroots Green Efforts

Jessie Prutisto-Chang
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
A Proposal for the Replacement of Ash Trees in Poughkeepsie Parks

Gregory Suplinskas
Advisor: Lisa Paravisini—Second Reader: Stuart Belli
Producing Possibilities: Nature as a Transforming, Contested, and Coercive Agent in Queer Identity Production

Fate Syewoangnuan
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Zach Cofran
Mapping and Managing the Ecological Communities of Vassar College’s Campus

Jessica Cervantes
Advisor: Joe Nevins—Second Reader: Jeff Walker
The Ecological Colonization of Kern County: Fracking, Colonization, Nature and Violence

Elise Ferguson
Advisor: Jill Schneiderman—Second Reader: Rick Jarow
Problematizing “Mother Nature”: How Fear of the Feminine Has Ramifications for Women, Animals, and the Environment

Lydia Gold
Advisor: Erin McCloskey—Second Reader: Meg Ronsheim
Path to Nature Stewardship: Creation and Implementation of a Multi-Sensory Nature Trail at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve to Promote Cognitive Development and Nature Positive Behavior in Young Children

Rachel Marklyn
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Chris Bjork
Environmental Education Through Signage on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

Addison Tate
Advisor: Leonard Nevarez—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Poughkeepsie Produce and the Potential for Food Justice in the Hudson Valley

Lucy Brainerd
Advisor: Lynn Christenson—Second Reader: Marque Miringoff
Bull’s-Eye: An Interdisciplinary Study of Lyme Disease at Vassar College and in the Dutchess County, New York Area

Colin Cederna
Advisor: Mary Ann Cunningham—Second Reader: Stuart Belli
The Water Lords

Samantha Crane
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Stuart Belli
Wastelanding the South Bronx: Compounded Racism, Slow Violence, and Possible Rejuvenation

Sarah King
Advisor: Peter Antelyes—Second Reader: Randy Cornelius
The Climate of Vulnerable Spaces: An ENST Thesis Project

Benjamin Lehr
Advisor: G. Borradori—Second Reader: R. Edwards
Derrida on the Buffalo Commons

Ariel Looser
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Mark Andrews
Taking Stock: Considering Value in the CSA Farm Share

Jackson Miller
Advisor: Paul Ruud—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
The Push for Solar Energy at Vassar: Working towards Carbon Neutrality with the Vassar Solar Initiative

Maria Morris
Advisor: Paul Kane—Second Reader: Jeff Walker
Nature Experience as Sacred Experience, and the Production of Natural Places as Sacred Spaces in Contemporary America

Sarah Muskin
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Kirsten Menking
Outdoor Education as Ecocide Resistance: A Case Study of the Country School in Madison, CT Used to Examine Environmental Education Within an Outdoor Education Program

Sacha Pfeufer
Advisor: Joe Nevins—Second Reader: Paul Kane
The Nature of Resiliency: Urban Farming and the Negotiation of Difference in a Boston Neighborhood

Liliana Sabsowitz-Silverman
Advisor: Leonard Nevarez—Second Reader: Mark Schlessman
Waste Wonders: The Hidden Flows, Politics and Culture of Food Waste

Naomi Sudo
Advisor: Meg Ronsheim—Second Reader: Mary Ann Cunningham
Native Pollinator Restoration Within the CSA Model

Taylor Vann
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Elisabeth Chaves
Environmentalism at a Crossroads: Characterizing the Political Spectrum of Environmental Law and Practice

Kristianna Weber
Advisor: Pinar Batur—Second Reader: Stuart Belli
Postcolonial Ecologies of South Pacific Atolls: Climate Change, Vulnerability, and Global Responsibility