We believe that one way to advance sustainability is to have work produced by people who love what they do. Energy, inclusion and collaboration are just some of the values embodied by our staff.
- Jessica Chase, Director of Membership & Marketing
As a “Navy Kid”, Jessica started almost every year at a different school which allowed her to encounter many cultures and taught her to appreciate diversity.
Jessica Chase, CAE, has more than 15 years of association management experience in various functions including membership, administration/governance, marketing and communications. Jessica entered association management in 2004 as an Associate for an association management company. Since then, she has held roles of increasing seniority serving as the manager of membership and administration and director of marketing and membership for the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and director of membership and marketing for AASHE. Jessica holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing Specialist. In 2001, she earned her BS in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
- Julian Dautremont-Smith, Director of Programs
A long-time leader in the higher education sustainability community, Julian was one of AASHE’s co-founders and served as Associate Director from 2004 until 2009, when he left AASHE to pursue graduate studies. He rejoined AASHE in 2015 as the Director of Programs. In his work with AASHE, Julian played leadership roles in creating the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) as well as the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Outside of AASHE, Julian served for two years as the Chief Sustainability Officer of Alfred State College and spent another year as Senior Program Manager with GreenerU. Julian has an MBA and an MS in Natural Resources and the Environment from the University of Michigan and a BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis & Clark College.
- Tessie Devlin, Education Intern
Tessie enjoys exploring creative ways to advance sustainability.
Tessie Devlin is a sophomore Journalism major with a minor in Environmental Studies at Ithaca College. She is passionate about sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. During her freshman year, she was an Eco Rep and helped to plan and organize events to educate students about sustainability topics including composting, renewable energy and living sustainably off and on campus. She also works for her school newspaper, The Ithacan, as a photographer and soon-to-be Assistant Photo Editor. She is interested in combining communication techniques and her passion with sustainability to educate others in a creative, yet powerful format.
- Tylor Dodge, Web Application Developer
Tylor completed a B.A. in Political Science at DePaul University, as well as Peace Corps service in Armenia. Returning to New England, Tylor realized that web development was a field that he had a passion for. After years of formal and informal training, Tylor took a position at Partners Healthcare, building custom reporting applications. He is excited to now work not only in web development, but for a group that advances the cause of sustainability.
- Bob Erb, IT Manager
While studying Creative Writing at Carnegie-Mellon University and then English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, Bob picked up many bad habits that, over the years, have come to feel more like old friends rather than character defects. Eventually following his girlfriend to Boston, Bob worked at a bookstore in Wellesley while taking classes in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts. Bob paid his dues by surviving a few years in Tech Support Purgatory, before finally being granted entry to the League of Paid Computer Programmers. Bob is grateful to have been employed writing code since (except for a few years when he renounced the marketplace to study Buddhism). Bob began happily working at AASHE in 2012.
- Meghan Fay Zahniser, Executive Director
Meghan lives for the cool temperatures of fall, loves winter and spends most of her non-working time outside with her dog and husband enjoying the many parks and urban landscape of Philadelphia.
Meghan has been with AASHE for nine years and previously held the positions of Director of Programs and STARS Program Manager. Prior to AASHE, Meghan worked as Sustainability Specialist at NELSON, where she provided sustainability expertise and consulting services to various clients. She also spent over five years working at the U.S. Green Building Council where, as Manager of Community, she developed and managed a local chapter network for building industry professionals and helped create the Emerging Green Builders program that integrates students and young professionals into the green building movement. Meghan also worked as Environmental Educator for the University at Buffalo Green Office, organizing campus and community education focused on energy conservation, green building, and sustainable living. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, with concentrations in environmental studies and health & human services, from the University at Buffalo, a master’s degree in Organization Management and Development from Fielding Graduate Institute and a certificate in massage therapy from the Potomac Massage Training Institute.
- Andrea Huggins, Programs Marketing Manager
A Northern Virginia native, Andrea always had a knack for being able to gather people together toward a common purpose, whether that was to arrange a fundraising event for the victims of Hurricane Katrina or to help coordinate and promote adoption events for City Dogs Rescue, communications is in her blood. Andrea joined AASHE in 2014 to provide strategic counsel, digital expertise and media support in order to best serve current and potential AASHE members. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Washington Women in Public Relations and as a Strategic Communication Volunteer Consultant for the Arlington/Alexandria Gay and Lesbian Alliance.
- Nikia Johnson, Membership Engagement Manager
In her spare time, Nikia enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Nikia joined AASHE in 2010 as the Membership Outreach Coordinator and now functions as Membership Engagement Manager. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s degree in Communications & Information Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining AASHE, Nikia worked as a Recruiter for the Kentucky Blood Center in Lexington, KY and was the Community Development Manager for Hermann Park Conservancy in Houston, TX. Nikia’s background includes customer service, recruitment, community development and working with diverse populations.
- Allison Jones, Director of Finance & Administration
When she’s not working, Allison enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews and camping by the lake.
Allison joined AASHE in January of 2009 and has over 15 years experience in nonprofit financial management, administration and human resource management. Allison holds a certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with the HR Certification Institute and a certification as a Society of Human Resources Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Prior to joining AASHE, Allison served as the Finance Director for Habitat for Humanity. Allison has a bachelor of science degree in Accounting at the University of Southern Maine.
- Heather Lynch, Membership Operations Coordinator
Heather enjoys hiking in the mountains, gardening, snuggling with her cats and taking an annual trek with her husband out West to a National Park in search of solitude, inspiration and Pikas.
Heather has been in the sustainability field since her undergraduate days at the University of New Hampshire, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Conservation with a concentration in Environmental Affairs. Interested in how institutions of higher education were playing a role in reducing their impact on the environment, she spent her senior year working as the Campus Climate Intern at Clean Air–Cool Planet (now part of the UNH Sustainability Institute). It was this internship that introduced Heather to AASHE and cemented her belief that institutions of higher education are the beacons of hope we need for a sustainable future.
In 2007, Heather spent a year in Durango, Colorado as the Environmental Center Intern at Fort Lewis College. From 2008 to 2018, Heather became the first Director of Sustainability at Saint Michael’s College where she oversaw the Recycling Program, created the Garden Program and its expansion into a 1.75-acre Farm, taught in the Environmental Studies and Science Department, managed the Eco-Rep Program, advised the student environmental club, maintained the college’s greenhouse gas inventory and completed the college’s first STARS report.
She is a certified UVM Extension Master Gardener and holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College.
- Chris Pelton, STARS Program Manager
Prior to joining AASHE in 2011, Chris evaluated social service programs and policies and helped design assessment tools for the state of Tennessee. He also conducted participatory, community-based research projects and helped lead a living wage campaign at the University of Tennessee. Chris has a master’s degree in Sociology (Political Economy) and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sociology from UT-Knoxville.
- Claire Pope, Resources Intern
Claire Pope is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Temple University. Before joining AASHE, Claire actively participated in Temple University’s sustainability efforts through her work at the Office of Sustainability, and in her undergraduate career as a co-founding member of the Rad Dish Co-op Cafe, which won the AASHE Student Leadership Award in 2015. Throughout her tenure at Temple, she has worked to create a dialogue on campus about issues of sustainability, environmental justice and resilience, and engaged her community in environmental action through education, programming and outreach. As a social worker, Claire is especially interested in using resource development, research and empowerment strategies to address the societal impacts of environmental injustice and help build resilient communities.
- Jordan Schanda, STARS Program Coordinator
Jordan enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, playing tennis and baking “healthy” desserts.
Jordan graduated with honors from University of Arkansas in 2012, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, minoring in statistics and sustainability. She obtained her Master of Science in Administrative Studies from Missouri State University, where she also worked full-time as the Sustainability Coordinator. In this role, she led the University’s first sustainability strategic planning process, using STARS as a guide. Jordan values the intersection between relationships and analysis and believes that sustainability reporting is essential for creating change.
- Daita Serghi, Education Programs Manager
Daita enjoys getting out in nature with her family including a pre-schooler, first grader and high schooler.
Daita has a strong interest for both higher education and sustainability. Her focus at AASHE is on managing all the education and professional development offerings including: webinars, workshops and the program of the annual conference. Prior to joining AASHE, Daita was the first Interim Sustainability Coordinator for the University of Hawai‘i System, and the main coordinator for the Annual Hawaii Sustainability in Higher Education Summit. Additionally, Daita lectured at the University of Hawai‘i both introductory biology classes to non-majors as well as advanced molecular or cell biology classes. She was involved in developing new curricula to integrate sustainability in the classroom. Furthermore, she was the coordinator of the non-profit organization Sustainability Association of Hawaii where she developed programs, organized workshops and conferences and was involved in the passing of legislation to allow Hawai‘i businesses to operate as Sustainable Business Corporations. Daita is a LEED Green Associate, a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) certified reporter and an ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional, and holds a BS degree in Molecular Biology and Biosciences from the University of Bucharest, Romania and MA, MPhil and PhD degrees in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in the City of New York.
- Crystal Simmons, Programs Coordinator
Crystal set up an aluminum recycling station for her family in 1984 (she was seven) so she could have some spending money.
Crystal worked with AASHE as a contractor beginning in August 2013 and assumed the role of AASHE Bulletin editor. Crystal became a full-time staff member in 2015 and now supports and manages various member resources, including STARS, the AASHE Sustainability Awards, the AASHE Affiliates program and the Student Summit. Before coming to AASHE, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Appropriate Technology from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) where she later worked as the communications and outreach manager for the university’s Office of Sustainability. In her spare time, you’ll find Crystal hiking and admiring the biological diversity in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and practicing and teaching yoga and meditation.
- Kimberly Smith, Director of Conferences & Events
A virtuoso performer, Kimberly worked her way through college by crooning with her band at area restaurants and clubs.
With over twenty years of association and conference management experience, Kimberly has expertise in contract negotiations, event design, and production. Prior to joining AASHE, she served as the President of an independent meeting planning company where she worked with a variety of clientele on meetings and events ranging from small groups to city-wide conventions. A veteran of the association community, she previously worked for an association management company where she served as Director of Fund Raising Services and Executive Director for several national and internationally based professional medical associations. She has a tremendous passion for meeting planning which has earned her numerous accolades including the “Rising Young Association Executives Award” by Association Trends; she was named a Top Ten Event Planner by NJBIZ, New Jersey’s only weekly business journal and was profiled by Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine for her expertise as an independent meeting planner and business owner. She is also the recipient of several client bestowed and community awards for her commitment and dedication to service excellence. Kimberly is an active member of several professional associations where she has been a national conference speaker, ambassador, and served on various local committees. A graduate of the University of Central Missouri, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and Management, and a Master of Science degree in Education and Speech Communication.
- Noah Swistak, Membership Development Manager
When he’s not advancing campus sustainability, Noah enjoys going to shows, maintaining his home aquarium and drinking seltzer.
Noah Swistak joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in 2015 as Member Services Coordinator. He know serves as the Membership Development Manager. Prior to AASHE, he served as Associate Director at the Philadelphia Folksong Society, a membership-based non-profit arts organization, and was employed by Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger-relief agency. Noah holds a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and a BA from Villanova University.
- Monika Urbanski, Data & Content Manager
Outside of work and family, Monika spends free time traveling, hiking, and practicing holistic healing and martial arts.
Monika joined AASHE in Summer 2011 and currently manages AASHE publications, resources and STARS submission review. Before coming to AASHE, Monika worked in institutional research, planning and assessment at Frostburg State University. During that time, she helped launch the University’s Learning Green, Living Green (LGLG) sustainability initiative and developed LGLG’s first climate action plan. Monika holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages from Frostburg State.
- Margueritte Williams, Staff Accountant
Margueritte is originally from Williamsburg, KY. She currently lives in Lexington, KY. She studied Business Administration, IT and Music while in college and has over 20 years of experience in Accounting. She started working at AASHE in February 2010.