Environmental Studies and Science Research and Practice

Policy Expertise
Community Partners


Our faculty work at the forefront of the field. They work on the leading edge of the latest environmental, scientific, and policy trends. These experienced scholars, who understand the dynamic nature of their fields, help our students bridge between the concepts learned in the classroom and real-world applications.

All ESS Department faculty members engage in scholarly research with students. Many of the faculty have extramural funding and continually publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals with undergraduate and graduate student authors.

Matthew Aiello-Lammens, PhD
Available as a Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member

Matthew Aiello-Lammens is trained as an Ecologist and Conservation Scientist. He studies factors influencing changes to species ranges, the likely causes of population declines and explosions, and the interconnectedness among species that results in the ecosystems we observe, near and far. He received a B.A. in Physics from Columbia University, a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University, and was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Connecticut. He is currently working on several projects addressing questions related to community ecology, species demography, and conservation science, spanning different regions in the world from the northeastern United States to South Africa. As an educator, he teaches students to investigate the environment around them and guides independent research projects that contribute to our understanding of species ranges.

E. Melanie DuPuis, PhD
Available as a Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member 

E. Melanie DuPuis’ research focuses on environmental policy and sustainable governance, with an emphasis on food and agriculture. Her work in the community includes collaborating with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to develop student internships, including this summer’s internship project on the role of foraging pigs and forest diversity (with student Chase Hartnett) and collaborating with Teatown Nature Preserve on a habitat assessment of the Pocantico Watershed. Her research publications include Nature’s Perfect Food: How Milk Became America’s Drink, Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice and (forthcoming) Food Across Borders: Production, Consumption and Boundary Crossing in North America.

Michael H. Finewood, PhD
Available as a Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member

Michael Finewood is a human geographer and political ecologist with research and teaching interests in environmental governance, water, and urban sustainability, with explicit attention to critical geographies and justice. He earned a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of South Carolina, where he trained as a social scientist who works on challenges in socio-ecological governance. Over his career Dr. Finewood’s interests have focused on environmental perception, expertise, and decision-making, with a concentration on water and society. He has conducted research on the social and ecological impacts of coastal development, resource extraction, urban farming, and urban stormwater governance. His current project explores the challenges of water governance across the politically and ecologically fragmented Bronx River watershed.

Melissa Grigione, PhD
Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member

Primary research interest is mammalian spatial ecology - understanding how ecological and manmade elements influence home range size and location for particular species.  Tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing technology, and molecular genetic techniques are employed to better understand these questions.  Dr. Grigione’s research emphasizes conservation biology because she works with species whose populations have been seriously altered as a consequence of habitat degradation and fragmentation. In addition to wildlife biology, conserving these species requires an intimate knowledge of political and legislative systems, and community-level human dimension practices.  She has worked with a range of species, including mountain lions, Florida panthers, bobcats, coyotes, and Florida burrowing owls.  Her international research includes conservation projects for the puma, guanaco, and vicuna in South America and conservation of Neotropical cats (ocelots, jaguars, jaguarundis) along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Michelle Land, JD
Available as a Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member

Michelle Land’s expertise spans environmental law and policy, wildlife biology, interdisciplinary education, and campus sustainability. She received her Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law, where she earned a certificate in environmental law and served as editor-in-chief of the Pace Environmental Law Review. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph where she majored in wildlife biology and received her Bachelor of Science degree. Currently, Michelle Land’s areas of research interest include the intersection of animal welfare and conservation policy, the welfare of large range animals in circuses, and local and statewide policies for animal protection. She drafted the Traveling Exotic and Wild Animal Protection Act, currently introduced in the New York State Assembly.

Anne Toomey, PhD
Available as a Grad Primary Advisor and/or Committee Member

Anne Toomey is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist who is interested in how people connect to their natural environment and the role of science in supporting that connection. In 2015 she completed her PhD in Human Geography at Lancaster University in the UK, which sought to understand local perceptions of scientific research in the Bolivian Amazon through participatory research with indigenous communities, park guards and biodiversity scientists. Currently, she is Visiting Assistant Professor at Pace University’s Department of Environmental Studies and Science, and her most recent research focuses on the links between citizen science, civic environmental stewardship and community resilience in urban settings.