Peter P. Marra
Director, The Earth Commons
Laudato Si’ Professor of Biology and the Environment
Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy
Regents Hall, Room 391
Peter Marra uses birds to help us define and understand broad environmental issues, tackling contemporary conservation challenges by addressing fundamental knowledge gaps at the intersection of ornithology, ecology and conservation biology. His transformative work—including quantifying the loss of 3 billion birds from North America, the impacts of climate change, the astounding ecological destruction of outdoor cats and emerging diseases such as West Nile virus—explores the interaction between humans and our environment and poses critical questions to humanity about the environmental costs of urbanization and globalization. His work spans biology, engineering, physiology, and biogeochemistry, and has helped ignite new research into the study of full life cycles of migratory animals while furthering technological advances, including the use of genetics, stable isotopes and remote tracking technologies. Marra uses integrative techniques and rigorous quantitative approaches, leveraging data to link fundamental ecological advances to address conservation problems and reimagine approaches that inform policy. 55 current and former students and his position as founding director of the Earth Commons—Georgetown University’s new institute for environment and sustainability—demonstrate Marra’s dedication to moving research to implementation and educating the next generation of diverse scientists.
Pete comes to Georgetown University after a 20-year career at the Smithsonian Institution, most recently as Director of the Migratory Bird Center. He has a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College and has authored over 260 peer-reviewed papers published in journals such as Science, Nature and Conservation Biology on various aspects of the biology and conservation of birds and other animals, as well as on topics as broad as urban disease ecology. He co-edited the frequently cited book, Birds of Two Worlds, and recently published a second book, Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of Cuddly Killer. Pete lives in Takoma Park with his wife and two kids, is an avid fisherman, a gardener and cook.
Professor of the Practice, Earth Commons
Gina Green is a specialist in biodiversity (terrestrial and marine), climate change, forestry, and agriculture. She has over 35 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to protect and manage marine and terrestrial resources in Latin and North America, Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific. Dr. Green worked for the Environment and Natural Resource Sector for Tetra Tech-ARD as a Senior Technical Scientific Associate and was responsible for the execution of highly lauded marine biodiversity, fisheries, and marine debris prevention programs. For over 12 years she grew and managed Tetra Tech’s portfolio of USG international marine coastal initiatives. Dr Green has lived and worked throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, implementing Forestry, Climate Change, Marine Debris Recovery and Sustainable Fisheries programs. She is fluent in Spanish.
Previously, Dr. Green served as Vice President for The Nature Conservancy, where she worked with a team to build the TNC Caribbean program. While at TNC she developed and implemented the first Initiative for Joint Implementation-certified carbon sequestration project located in Belize, assisted with the first Caribbean Debt for Nature swap, initiated the sister-forest program between USFS and the Caribbean (which was for the John Crow, Blue Mountain National Park in Jamaica), gained the needed private and public support for the sustainable management of a million-hectare ridge-to-reef corridor in Belize and assisted in the development of the Tropical Forest Conservation and Coral Reef Conservation Acts. Dr. Green has testified to Congress on the need of funding for tropical marine biodiversity. She began her professional career working for the USFS in Oregon as a wilderness ranger, fire fighter, and recreational planner.
Dr. Green serves as board member on the National Whistleblower Center, where she has helped the organization expand its activities to include representation of environmental, fisheries and wildlife trafficking whistleblowing. She also owns and co-manages Kew Park and Copse Mountain Farms, in western Jamaica. She holds a D. Phil in Natural Resource Management from Oxford University, M.Sc. from Oxford University, and BS in Natural Resource Management from the University of Oregon. During 2001 she took a sabbatical from TNC and established and taught as a visiting lecturer the Masters in Biodiversity Management course at Oxford University. Dr. Green has authored academic articles and spoken widely about her work and projects.
Assistant Teaching Professor, the Earth Commons
Brian Griffiths is an Assistant Teaching Professor in The Earth Commons. He holds degrees in Environmental Engineering (B. Eng) and Plant Science (B.S.) from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching, examining environmental sustainability and conservation from social, cultural, economic, and ecological perspectives. Brian’s research focuses on game mammal conservation in the Peruvian Amazon, where he has collaborated for several years with the Indigenous Maijuna people. Specific focus areas include the sustainability of hunting, the ecology and behavior of game species at mineral lick sites, the sociocultural complexities of hunting and the game meat supply chain, and the impacts of cultural loss on the conservation of biodiversity. Brian has a passion for using socially informed research and digital storytelling to empower Amazonian Indigenous people to conserve their cultures and the environment and using visual media to promote conservation awareness. He collaborates with several nonprofit institutions in his work, including OnePlanet, the Morpho Institute, Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon, ACEER, and many others.
Assistant Professor, Earth Commons
Rebecca Helm is a marine biologist studying life in the open ocean and at the ocean’s surface. Helm grew up in Arizona and completed her undergraduate degree in Marine Science at Eckerd College before conducting research on jellyfish life cycles as a Fullbright Fellow in South Africa. Helm received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University, where she was an NSF Graduate Student Research Fellow and an NSF EPSCoR fellow. Her Ph.D. work focused on the evolution of open-ocean and coastal jellyfish species. Helm then conducted research on circadian rhythms as a postdoc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and later at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, where she continued her research on coastal and open-ocean jellies. For the last four years, Helm has been an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she has led multiple interdisciplinary projects on the biology of life on the high seas.
Professor of the Practice in Environment and International Affairs, the Earth Commons, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Marcus D. King is Professor of the Practice in Environment and International Affairs in the Science and Technology in International Affairs Program (STIA) at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Prior to Georgetown, King was the John O. Rankin Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Master of Arts in International Affairs Program at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Dr. King previously served as Director of Research and Associate Research Professor.
Dr. King also draws on experience from a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations including as research analyst at CNA Corporation’s Center for Naval Analyses, as Research Director of the Sustainable Energy Institute, and Senior Manager for Energy and Security Programs at a private consultancy. He has held Presidential appointments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he represented the United States for negotiation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Office of the Secretary of Energy.
Dr. King maintains expertise in areas including environmental security, climate change and conflict and transnational security. His present research focuses on identifying ties between water scarcity and large-scale violence. His most recent book is “Water and Conflict in the Middle East” (Oxford University Press, 2020). King is Vice Chairman of the Council on Strategic Risks and a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board.
Assistant Professor, Earth Commons, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Megan Lickley is an Assistant Professor in the Earth Commons and the Science Technology and International Affairs Program in the School of Foreign Service. She has a PhD in Climate Science from MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Her research uses methods from data science and climate science to reduce the uncertainty in the climate system and inform adaptation and mitigation policy. She uses tools from data science that bridge climate science, math and policy in order to assess a range of outcomes and their likelihood of occurring. This involves combining various Earth system models with in situ measurements and population data in a rigorous statistical framework. She applies these methods to core climate issues including water resources, the duration of rapid climate change, and sea level change. Her recent work has focused on evaluating global compliance with the Montreal Protocol, which regulates the production of ozone depleting substances and their replacement chemicals, many of which are potent greenhouse gases.
Prior to her PhD she consulted to the World Bank in Uganda and taught math courses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has a MSc in Technology and Policy from MIT and a BSc in mathematics and statistics from Acadia University. Before starting her PhD she spent time in the Democratic Republic of Congo teaching math courses at the Catholic University of Bukavu. She’s consulted for the World Bank in Uganda, contributing to a climate change impacts report and strategy plan. She is a co-author to the ongoing International Ozone Assessment.
Associate Teaching Professor, the Earth Commons
Jesse Meiller is a marine ecologist and environmental toxicologist and an Associate Teaching Professor in The Earth Commons. Currently, she works with her students and colleagues to investigate microplastics in water, sediment, and biological communities in the Chesapeake Bay and to increase awareness and understanding about the environmental and health effects of pollution. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students and conducts teacher training for middle and high school teachers to investigate microplastics with their students. Jesse regularly conducts outreach to local environmental and community-based organizations on microplastics and connects people to their local waterways and environments. Jesse received her PhD from the University of Maryland in the Marine, Estuarine, Environmental Sciences (MEES) program after doing her undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University. She received and held an AAAS fellowship in Environmental Science Policy at the EPA. Following her fellowship, and while still at the EPA, she provided expertise in aquatic and invertebrate biology and toxicology as well as on science policy and regulatory issues. Jesse represented the US on several Expert Groups for the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Prior to coming to Georgetown, Jesse was a Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer in Environmental Science as well as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Environmental Science Department at American University in Washington, DC.
Maria A. Petrova
Program Co-Director, M.S. in Environment and Sustainability Management (MS-ESM)
Assistant Director, Earth Commons Education, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Dr. Petrova joined the Earth Commons (formerly the Georgetown Environment Initiative, or “GEI”) in September 2019 to develop and launch the Georgetown Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability Management (MS-ESM). Before joining GEI, she managed a UMass Boston-based transdisciplinary NSF IGERT “Coasts and Communities” program dedicated to training PhD and Master’s degree students with different academic backgrounds to become future environmental leaders. Prior to that, she also worked in academia outside of the US – in Greece and Bulgaria – in the offices of development, alumni relations, admissions, recruitment, and marketing. She is teaching the Environmental Sciences 1&2, Energy Transitions, Sustainability Management and Capstone courses for MS-ESM.
Dr. Petrova completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at Oregon State University, where she focused on examining public opinion on a nascent policy issue – the introduction of wave energy in the state of Oregon. Subsequently, she completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on public acceptance of wind energy in Massachusetts. Maria publishes extensively on public perceptions of renewable energy in the US and in Eastern Europe. She has taught courses on environmental policy and politics, sustainability, climate change, human geography, and communications at Oregon State University, Emerson College, and the US Fulbright Program in Bulgaria. Dr. Petrova serves as a section co-editor of the UC Press journal Case Studies in the Environment, and is an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She holds an MA in Marketing, Advertising and PR from the University of Sheffield and a BA in Business Administration from the American University in Bulgaria. A native of Bulgaria, she enjoys learning about cultural differences firsthand through reading and traveling with her husband and two daughters.
Director of Communications
Justine Bowe is a creative communicator, musician and multi-media artist. She joined the Earth Commons team to communicate the initiative’s work to broad audiences in order to expand its impact. She brings a strategic, creative and open mind to the university in hopes of creating a more sustainable, vibrant future.
Bowe brings a background in communications, strategy, and program development from over 4 years at the Smithsonian Institution and previously at start-up social enterprises and non-profits. After years of touring the country playing music, she continues to produce, record and perform from Boston, MA.
Manager of Research and Special Projects
Treasa facilitates all research and award activities for the Earth Commons. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, she has a BA in Irish Studies and an MA in American History.
With extensive experience in higher education administration both in the US and abroad, Treasa came to the Earth Commons from American University, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland before that. She provides critical administrative management to the research operations of the Earth Commons, and is also the research administrator for the Marra lab team. Treasa also manages special projects for the Institute including high profile events and installations across the university. An avid music fan, she enjoys seeing and playing music, wildlife photography, and anything outdoors.
Chief of Staff
Michael Tschiderer is the Chief of Staff at the Earth Commons, where he oversees the execution of our strategic plan and directs operations, finances, and planning through a senior leadership role. Tschiderer holds an M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a focus on Higher Education from Boston University.
Tschiderer has been working with Interdisciplinary research organizations for over 10 years. Prior to joining The Earth Commons, he served as Associate Campus Director for Financial Planning and Analysis in the Office of the Provost: Financial & Business Services, and as Director of Finance and Operations at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown. He was previously a Manager of Finance and Administration at Boston University.
Hayda has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. She is also graduated with distinction from the Inter-American Defense College Class 57 “La Mejor”.
Wallen has a wealth of experience in international organizations and diplomacy, prior to joining Georgetown University, she worked at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago in Washington D.C. Wallen assists with recruitment, scheduling, and oversees daily office operations.
Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is Co-Director and Teaching Professor of Environmental Studies. He teaches and publishes on subjects including peace and nonviolence, social and environmental justice, political theory, and emerging technologies; serves on the editorial board of numerous academic journals; and writes for a wide range of popular and scholarly publications.
His research interests include environmental peacebuilding, climate justice, intersectionality and ecology, community and sustainability, “digital food,” and the justice implications of contemporary technology. On campus, he works with groups exploring areas including climate change, food justice, and curricular development, and serves as Faculty Director of the Core Pathways and Core Transformation initiatives.
Angela van Doorn
Assistant Teaching Professor, the Earth Commons, Department of Biology
Email: Angela.van.Doorn@georgetown.edu (new window)
Angela van Doorn has a Ph.D. in Zoology and a MS in Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her past research focused on wildlife conservation and specifically human/primate conflict. She has lived and worked in East, South, and West Africa for a period of 12 years and regularly incorporates this experience into her teaching. Here at Georgetown, Angela teaches both environmental science and conservation courses.
Professor and Co-Director, Environmental Studies Program
Director, Major in Environmental Biology
Martha Weiss is a professor in the Department of Biology and director of the major in Environmental Biology. Her research focuses on the role of behavior, by both plants and insects, in mediating interactions among the two groups of organisms.
Earth Commons Fellowships enable interdisciplinary research, education and action on various aspects of environment and sustainability challenges and scholarship.
Common Home Editorial Board
The Earth Commons’ Common Home magazine is edited by a board of student editors appointed by Georgetown University’s Earth Commons Institute. These undergraduates are the lifeblood behind Common Home magazine. The student editors, under the direction of Georgetown’s Earth Commons Institute, select topics they find most pressing and relevant to the Georgetown community—and pursue expert contributors to dive in deep.