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.
- Aubrey Organ, Education Intern
Aubrey’s favorite pastimes are ice hockey, hiking, and spending time with friends!
Aubrey is a freshman at Villanova University with a major in Environmental Studies and Communications. Since she was born, she has been working with the environmental nonprofit organization Project Green Schools as a way to educate others on sustainable ways of living. Aubrey has spoken about climate issues at the Massachusetts State House, United Nations events, and others as a way to make a difference. She recently created the water conservation initiative Rink Redemption as a way of spreading awareness about the climate crisis towards the hockey community. With this project, she has gained recognition through sponsors such as the Boston Bruins, the Climate Pledge Arena, Providence Bruins, Seattle Kraken, and others. In the future, she hopes to create an impact among those with little knowledge on these topics.
- Chris Pelton, Senior STARS Program Manager
Chris has experienced the wage system as a researcher, technical writer, library worker, groundskeeper, union organizer, musician, and restaurant worker.
In his role at AASHE, Chris manages the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). He has an MA in political economy and a BA in environmental sociology.
- Crystal Simmons, Bulletin Editor & Program Manager
Crystal infuses an ethic of care and concern into all of her relationships.
Crystal moved into the AASHE orbit in 2007 as a student activist at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where she later opened the first university office of sustainability. There she coordinated the university’s first STARS report and greenhouse gas inventory. Before being hired as a staff member at AASHE in 2015, she was a contractor for AASHE for about a year and a half. Crystal earned a bachelor’s degree in Appropriate Technology from Appalachian State University while being a student project manager for a community-scale, 100kW wind turbine project.
Being a graduate of Rockwood Leadership School and a certified listener through Seek Healing, her purpose is to infuse an ethic of care and concern in all her relationships, including those with the more-than-human world. Some of her identities include being a passionate community organizer, daughter, sister, partner, land tender and ceremony creator, and dog parent.
- Daita Serghi, Senior Education Manager
Daita enjoys getting out in nature with her husband and three children (a third and sixth grader and a soon-to-be college graduate!)
Daita is a scientist by training with 20+ years of experience both as an educator (in faculty and other roles), staff and researcher. She has a specific interest in education programs and making an impact on a larger scale by improving how humans connect, communicate and learn from one another. In her current role as Senior Education Manager, she develops and innovates AASHE’s education vision and strategy and carries it out by managing the professional learning offerings including virtual and in-person workshops, webinars, the call for proposals for the annual AASHE conference and other educational programs.
Prior to joining AASHE, Daita was the first Interim Sustainability Coordinator for the University of Hawai‘i System, lectured at the University of Hawai‘i and was involved in developing new curricula to integrate sustainability in the classroom. Daita is a LEED Green Associate 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.
- Domna Gallion, Accounting & Operations Manager
Domna is the daughter of immigrants; her mother was from The Netherlands (Dutch) and her father was from the island of Cyprus (Greek).
Domna joined AASHE as Accounting & Operations Manager in July 2022. She has over 35 years of accounting and tax experience, with 8 years in nonprofit accounting and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Financial Management from Winthrop University in South Carolina. She also earned her certification as Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP). Originally from Chicago, she has lived her adult life in Charlotte, North Carolina. Domna has previously volunteered on two nonprofit boards as Treasurer. She loves domestic and international travel, reading, volunteering, writing, and spending time with close friends. Together with her husband, they share four adult children.
- Emily Cardinas, Marketing Manager
Emily’s work gets people excited about making a difference.
Emily joined the AASHE team in April 2023 as the Marketing Manager, bringing with her a wealth of experience in marketing and communications. Prior to joining AASHE, Emily gained experience through her work at Tulane University, Pomona College, and Southwestern Law School. In these roles, she incorporated communications and fundraising best practices to build communities, engage audiences, and inspire support for important causes. Whether through social media, email campaigns, or in-person events, Emily has a knack for getting people excited about making a difference.
Her passion for environmental issues and social justice is reflected in her work, both professionally and personally. She holds a BA degree in Africana Studies and Environmental Studies, a BS degree in Public Health, and an MA degree in Liberal Arts from Tulane University in New Orleans. In her free time, she enjoys adventuring with her dog throughout Southern California, volunteering at her local botanic garden, and running half-marathons.
- Erin Hathaway, Conference and Events Manager
With Erin, something always has to be wandering, either her body or her mind. She fills her free time with crafting, gardening, traveling, live music, reading, playing video and board games, fountain pens, finding rainbows, being a good stepmom, snuggling her two cats, and taking her dog on long hikes.
Erin comes to AASHE with over twenty years working in event and tradeshow management. She has extensive background in the higher education space, having worked for over twelve years at Duke and Oxford University Presses. She has a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Duke University, focused on the impact of colonialism in high-altitude mountaineering, and a bachelor’s degree in English from North Carolina State University. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Erin was raised with a love of the outdoors. Erin loves organization, efficiency, and empowering others and is excited to bring that passion to AASHE.
- 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.
- Kimberly Smith, Director of Meetings & MembershipKimberly brings experience and tremendous passion for the association and meetings industry.
With over twenty-five years of association and event management experience, Kimberly has expertise in contract negotiations, event design, and production. Before joining AASHE, she was the Owner & CEO of SOJ Events, an independent meeting planning firm where she worked with various clientele on meetings and events ranging from small groups to city-wide conventions. In addition, Kimberly previously served as Director of Fund Raising Services for Slack, Inc., an association management company, where she served as an Executive Director, Director of Corporate Relations, and Director of Fund Development for several national and internationally based scientific organizations.
She has a tremendous passion for the association and meetings industry and has earned numerous accolades for her work. She has also received several client-bestowed and community service awards for her commitment and dedication. Kimberly graduated from the University of Central Missouri and earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and Management and a Master of Science in Education. She previously served on the Board of Trustees for Benedict College in Columbia, SC, as Chair of the Development Committee and on the National Executive Board of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., headquartered in Washington, D.C, and was the Atlantic Regional Director and Chair of the Regional Directors.
- Maddie Bruns, Marketing Coordinator
Maddie loves to make art and spend time with people who want to make a positive impact.
Madison “Maddie” Bruns joined AASHE in the summer of 2021 after graduating from Villanova University with a BS in Environmental Science and Geography. Through coursework and volunteering, Maddie had many opportunities to learn about topics such as white privilege, food apartheid, and environmental justice. Now, Maddie is passionate about building diverse communities that can come together to make a huge impact. In their free time, Maddie loves to make arts and crafts, play video games, and hang out with the family dogs.
- 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 landscapes 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.
- Monika Urbanski, Senior Manager of Resources, Data Quality & Publications
Outside of work and family, Monika spends her 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.
- 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.
- Robin Frederick, STARS & Resources Intern
Robin brings firsthand experience of the power of STARS in higher education.
Robin is a graduate student at the University of Louisville, pursuing a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, concentration in Sustainability. She has been an advocate for AASHE and the STARS Reporting Framework since she was an undergraduate student at Indiana University Southeast, where she introduced the institution to AASHE and STARS. She has collaborated with stakeholders across IU regional campuses and has presented research independently and co-presented with other regional campuses at past AASHE conferences. Presentations included how STARS reporting can drive innovation in higher education, specifically on regional campuses.
Robin has first-hand experience with the STARS Reporting Framework and enjoys researching topics relevant to sustainable development in higher education. To her, higher education is one of the most powerful tools and can be used to educate, motivate, and inspire students to contribute to sustainable patterns of living.
- 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.