Department of Environmental Studies and Science

The Department of Environmental Studies and Science (ESS) is a vibrant bi-campus unit with a curriculum refined to meet today’s real-world challenges.

ESS was founded in 2014, incorporating two small majors, Environmental Studies, housed in the Philosophy Department, and Environmental Science in Biology. From less than a dozen students, it has expanded to nearly 100 majors. More than 30 students are enrolled in the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Minors and in the Conservation Management Certificate. We have also strengthened our graduate program, with our Master’s in Science in Environmental Science joined by the Master’s of Arts in Environmental Policy. We are further strengthening our graduate programs by combining them into the Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy, beginning in 2021.

Both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs stress training in analytical thinking – multiple frameworks, measurement, media literacy, and communication – with hands-on skills such as field identification, habitat assessment, geographic information systems (GIS) and policy research, and advocacy.

The Department of Environmental Studies and Science has formed partnerships with many organizations in and around New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley. Our students are interning at many local environmental organizations, including Stone Barns Center, Teatown Lake Reservation and the Billion Oyster Project. Several of our student internships have become permanent jobs for our students, including Teatown, the NYC Parks Department and the Green Business Partnership.

Our seven faculty are actively researching and publishing in their environmental fields.

New Programs

Environmental Conservation Certificate

The program, which was officially launched in the Spring of 2018, has seen completion by four students. 74% of the current Pleasantville Environmental Studies and Science students are participating in the program (excludes incoming first year students).

Many students in this program have also secured internships. This summer, seven students who are enrolled in the certificate program participated in paid internships at Rockefeller Park and Preserve, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Teatown Lake Reservation, and the Westmoreland Sanctuary.

In this photo, Environmental Studies student Taylor Ganis ‘22 spent her summer helping to catch turtles at Rockefeller State Park as part of her internship to determine the types and numbers of turtles in Swan Lake.

ENV 297S: Citizen Science

This new elective takes a detailed look at the history and evolution of citizen science, in particular with how it connects to the relationship between science and society, and examines the many different ways that people perceive and engage with science, particularly ecological science, through participatory research, boundary organizations, policies and laws.

ENV 265: Multiple Environmental Perspectives

This new course presents students with case studies in which different types of knowledge, values, and worldviews – both scientific and nonscientific – are to be taken into account for making decisions on natural resources management and policy. Students learn about the science behind a given environmental topic, as well as additional political, economic, social and cultural issues at stake.

Spotlight on: Environmental Studies and Science Students

Several ESS undergraduate and graduate students attended the 2019 Student Conference on Conservation Science at the American Museum of Natural History, including Aljuwan Jeffers ‘22 (photo above), who presented a poster on his capstone research on the Future of Coastal Livelihoods in a Changing Environment. The Environmental Studies and Science Department was proud to be a conference supporter.

Ying Xin (Winnie) Zhao ’20, DCISE intern and Environmental Science graduating student, won the Dyson College Scholastic Achievement Award. This award is given to a graduating student who excelled in scholarship, effectiveness in class discussions, research, and general performance in a baccalaureate degree program. Winnie worked as a mentor to teens in a virtual part-time summer internship through the Fresh Air Fund in their National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) – Environmental Education credentialing program.

The NYC-based student organization Pace Sustainability Initiative was awarded the Dean Emanuel Heller Meritorious Service Award, in honor of the former dean for students, given to the student organization that demonstrates outstanding collective participation in University and community affairs.

Environmental Science student Tatyana Graham ‘21 presented at the American Museum of Natural History on a panel titled “A presentation and panel talk on eastern coyotes with Dr. Roland Kays and the Gotham Coyote Project.”

Students from the class ENV 140: Act Locally: Sustainable Design and You visited Brooklyn Bridge Park with their professor, Anne Toomey, PhD, to do a “Sustainable Landscapes” tour.

Students from the class ENV 201: Animals and Society visited the Bronx Zoo with their professor, Michelle Land, JD, to explore the value of zoological institutions in conservation.

This year, several ESS students were awarded the 2020 Julia and Carroll Fellowship in Environmental Conservation. This fellowship is awarded annually to students enrolled in Pace’s Environmental Conservation Certificate and provides funded summer internships to students. Madelyn Garcia ‘25, Environmental Science, (left – photo courtesy of Teatown Lake Reservation) participated in the fellowship, spending her summer working as a Forestry intern at Teatown Lake Reservation. Other awardees included Taylor Ganis ‘22, Environmental Studies, who documented camera trap photos during her internship at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Jonathan Taylor ‘21, Environmental Science, who worked on a variety of trail and land stewardship projects during his internship at Westmoreland Sanctuary.

Students from the class ENV 140: Act Locally: Sustainable Design and You visited Atelier Ten, an environmental design consulting firm with their professor, Anne Toomey, PhD.

Students from the class ENV 285: Food Revolutions visited Stone Barns Center, Fable Farm, Common Ground Farm, as well as the Pace Pleasantville Garden on a farm tour. Students learned how these farms are run from its farm managers and owners and got to sample lots of delicious food.

Spotlight on: Recent ESS Alumni

Alexxis Granger '19

MA in Environmental Policy

Allie is working as a Policy Associate, Farm Animal Program at the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, DC. This highly competitive position was well earned for Allie, who held transformative internships at Riverkeeper and the Humane Society of the United States, and an externship with Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s office during her time at Pace.

Letizia Macchini ’19

Environmental Science

Letizia was recently hired by Bristol Myers Squibb as a Manufacturing Associate for CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy) where she manufactures human blood derived components through selection, activation, transduction, cell culture, harvest, and cryopreservation.

Christina Thomas ‘18

Environmental Studies and Economics

Christina is a first-year graduate in Lehigh University’s Environmental Policy program focusing on the intersection of science and policy, ultimately planning to explore water resource management.

Chase Ballas ‘18

Environmental Science
Graduate Student, Columbia University MA in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

Kimberly Castaldo ‘18

Environmental Studies
Land Steward, Rockefeller State Park and Preserve

Katherine Cognata ‘18

Environmental Science
Greenmarket Manager, GrowNYC

Alexandra Derosa ‘18

MA in Environmental Policy
Environmental Justice Coordinator, New York Power Authority

Michael Fraatz ‘18

MS in Environmental Science
Biologist, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Nadya Hall ‘18

MA in Environmental Policy
Community Environmentalist, Teatown Lake Reservation

Chase Harnett ‘18

Environmental Science
Greenhouse Assistant, Stone Barns Center

Ethan Kravitz ‘18

Environmental Studies
Director of Membership, Westchester Green Business Partnership

Anna Kusler ‘18

MS in Environmental Science
Graduate Researcher, Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project

Katherine Murphy ‘18

Environmental Studies
Urban Park Ranger, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

Carly Sheinberg ‘19

Environmental Studies
Sustainability Director, Ovation In-Store

Nicole Virgona ‘18

MA in Environmental Policy
Deputy Regional Director, United States Senate – Office of Charles Schumer

Andrew Welch '18

MA in Environmental Policy
Legislative Analyst, Oklahoma State Senate

Intermural and Extramural Funding

Investigating the Social and Biophysical Drivers of Ecosystem Services and Disservices along New York City Waterfronts

Funding Sources:
Pace Faculty Research Grant ($2,800); Bridge Funding $5,000 (Co-awarded with Monica Palta)

Anne Toomey, PhD

Faculty publications

* Indicates participation with undergraduate or graduate student advisee.

Anne Toomey, PhD

Maas, B., Grogan, K.E., Chirango, Y., Harris, N., Fernanda Liévano-Latorre, L., McGuire, K., Moore, A.C.,… Toomey, A.H (2020). Academic leaders must support inclusive scientific communities during COVID-19. Nature Ecology and Evolution. (2020).

*Toomey, A.H., Strehlau-Howay, L., Manzolillo, B., & Thomas, C. The place-making potential of citizen science: Creating social-ecological connections in an urbanized world. Landscape and Urban Planning, 200, 103824. (2020)

Toomey, A.H. The making of a conservation landscape: Towards a practice of interdependence. Conservation and Society 18(1), 25-36. (2020).

Maass, B., Toomey, A.H., Loyola, R. Editorial: Exploring and expanding the spaces between research and implementation in conservation science. Biological Conservation, 240(1), 1-11. (2019).

*Manzolillo, B., Henger, C.S., Graham, T., Hall, N., Toomey, A.H. Are coyotes “natural”? Differences in perceptions of coyotes among urban and suburban park users. Cities and the Environment, 12(2), 1-18. (2019).