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.
- Maddie Bruns, Marketing Intern
Maddie loves making art and spending time with her dogs!
Madison “Maddie” Bruns joined AASHE in the summer of 2021 after graduating from Villanova University with a BS in Environmental Science and Geography. During college, Maddie worked as a Graphics Associate for the Office of Sustainability at Villanova where she developed a Bi-Annual Sustainability Report, managed the institution’s sustainability Instagram account, led marketing efforts for Villanova’s Earth Week in 2021 and more! She also proudly served in a leadership role on the Student Sustainability Committee while at Villanova. In her free time, Maddie loves to draw, do yoga, and hang out with her family’s dogs. She is excited to bring her passion and creativity to the team!
- Julian Dautremont, 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.
- 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 since 2009 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.
- Alysa Fitch, Education Intern
Alysa really loves moss (as in the plant), chai lattes and rainy days!
Alysa is a rising sophomore at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and joined AASHE as the Education Intern in 2021. She is pursuing a Biochemistry and Biophysics degree with a minor in Sustainability Studies. At school, Alysa is a member of the Student Sustainability Taskforce and is currently working with professors at her school to make laboratories more sustainable. She loves researching any sustainability-related topic and can’t wait to use her skills to further AASHE’s mission!
- Erin Hathaway, Conference and Events Manager
Erin enjoys traveling, dancing to live music, turning pens and bowls on her lathe, weaving chain maille, snuggling her two cats, most things science fiction, and all things outdoors!
Erin comes to AASHE with over seventeen years of working in event and tradeshow management. She has an extensive background in the higher education world, having worked for over twelve years managing the events program at Duke and Oxford University Presses. She has a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Duke University, focusing her thesis work on the impact of colonialism in high altitude mountaineering. She received her bachelor’s in English Literature from North Carolina State University. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Erin was raised with a love of the outdoors and is excited to bring that passion to AASHE.
- Andrea Huggins, Senior Marketing Manager
Andrea believes she’s cracked the code on the perfect chocolate chip cookie!
Andrea joined AASHE in May 2014 and has never looked back! As the senior marketing manager, Andrea has the opportunity to pursue her passion for writing and design. She provides strategic counsel, digital expertise, a keen eye for marketing, as well as media support in order to best serve current and potential AASHE members. Outside of her past experience at communication agencies, she has also volunteered to serve 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. Andrea is a current member of ASAE and PRSA, and a proud graduate of George Mason University (Go Patriots!).
- Nikia Johnson, Membership Development Manager
In her spare time, Nikia enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Nikia is AASHE’s Membership Development Manager and has been with the organization for over ten years. 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. Nikia brings over 15 years of nonprofit experience to AASHE, previously working with the Kentucky Science Center, Hermann Park Conservancy and the Kentucky Blood Center. Nikia’s range of professional expertise includes member engagement, recruitment, and racial equity organizational development.
- 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 Development Manager
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.
- Lillian Makhoul, STARS & Resources Intern
Lillian enjoys hiking and reading up on the latest research in sustainability.
Lillian is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Lillian has worked at Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability and, as part of the Metrics and Reporting Team, has been involved in data collection for the Real Food Challenge. To her, sustainability is about tackling climate change from an institutional level while being conscious of environmental impact as an individual.
- Caroline Nagy, Marketing Intern
Caroline’s favorite pastimes are baking and cooking, going on bike rides with friends, and going thrifting!
Caroline is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design with a minor in Marketing at Lehigh University. She is passionate about implementing as many zero-waste swaps into her day-to-day life as she can, no matter how big or how small. Most recently, Caroline worked as a Graphic Designer for Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability, developing projects like their Climate Action Strategy Report and 2030 Plan Annual Progress Report. She also currently serves as the Co-Creative Director of Fusion, Lehigh’s student-led design agency.
- Chris Pelton, STARS Program Manager
Chris has experienced the wage system as a researcher, technical writer, library worker, groundskeeper, union organizer, musician, restaurant worker and janitor.
In his role at AASHE, Chris manages the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). He has an MA in political economy, a BA in environmental sociology, and an abiding interest in working-class history and prefigurative politics.
- Rogelio Zuniga Rubio, Platform & Software Development Manager.
Rogelio (Ro) enjoys all things more when he is outdoors such as rock climbing and acro yoga, but most of all reading and being with family.
His commitment to “environmentalism” began at the Bronx High School of Science as part of L.E.A.P. The League for Environmental and Animal Protection and continues today through the O.C.A. The Outdoor Climbing Alternative, a climbing education and advocacy non-profit he co-founded in 2019.
He started with a Commodore 64 at 16 and moved on to an Apple II and then discovered FreeBSD and Blackbox but returned to the fold with Darwin and never looked back.
Prior to AASHE Ro worked with Intel in hardware and networking, owned a company that built Intel clones, participated in Java-related open source projects and then began coding in earnest and has since developed and maintained many different systems, all of the web via 2 startups he began in Chile and New York City.
His greatest interest is in human systems, systems thinking and education.
- 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, Bulletin Editor & Program Manager
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 Marketing, Meetings & Membership
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.
- Monika Urbanski, Senior Manager of Resources & Data Quality
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, Accounting & Payroll Manager
Margueritte enjoys knitting, reading, coloring, and playing tenor sax or ukelele in different ensembles.
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.