Khristopher Dodson (Associate Director) 315-443-8818:
Khris provides technical assistance to local government leaders on topics related to Asset Management, Land Use and Comprehensive Planning, stormwater management and other topics related to Local Infrastructure, Leadership, Management and Finance. He was also the coordinator for Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program. Khris has a master’s degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Master of Arts from Syracuse University.
Melissa Young (Assistant Director) 917-576-4853:
Melissa joined the SU-CSCS team in 2008 and oversees programs and staff working on community sustainability with a focus on Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) and Watershed Management. She leads SU-CSCS’s efforts in the Caribbean, including the development of the SMM Stewardship Program that has since engaged hundreds of college students and thousands of K-12 students and teachers in New York, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands. She is a Certified Master Composter through Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, New York City Compost Project, and the US Composting Council. Melissa received an M.S. in Natural Resource Management and Policy from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Lisa Ruggero (Program Manager) 315-443-0292: Lisa is currently a Program Manager at the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions overseeing programs in New York and Puerto Rico communities. Through partnerships with organizations and initiatives such as the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, the Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership, the GREEN-Puerto Rico network and the Plastic Free Waterways Partnership, Lisa’s work promotes a shift from traditional schemes of solid waste management towards Sustainable Materials Management, focusing on creative solutions at the top of the waste management hierarchy in source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and redesign. She is inspired by the power and energy that comes from bringing people together to collaborate and is always looking for creative ways to engage people to be a force for good. Lisa holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on communication and culture.
Meredith Perreault (Program Manager) 315-443-3741: Meredith manages SU-EFC’s watershed planning, local government assistance and community resiliency initiatives. She has expertise in collaborative watershed planning and management, water quality and land conservation education and outreach, organizational management, and grant writing. Meredith has a master’s degree in Geography from Texas State University.
Kathy Forrest (Budget Administrator) 315-443-1131: Kathy assists senior staff in overseeing grant-related charges. She manages all financial transactions for sponsored and non-sponsored projects. She reviews SU Policies and grant guidelines to ensure compliance by attending various Sponsored Projects Training. She also coordinates a portion of CSCS sponsored events. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Albany.
Jesse Kerns (Program Coordinator) 315-443-8488: Jesse assists with Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) programming, including the NYS SMM Stewardship Program, SMM Facility Tours and Case Studies, the Trash Free Waters initiative, Plastic-Free Waterways Through Art, NYSAR3‘s Organics Council, and the NYS Food Recovery Campaign. Previously, he worked for Grid, a sustainability focused magazine based in Philadelphia, PA. He holds a Bachelor’s in Communication from SUNY-Fredonia and a Master’s in Environmental Science from SUNY-ESF.
Stephanie I. Anderson-Morales (Program Assistant): Stephanie works at the SU-EFC/Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions (CSCS) San Juan Satellite office. She assists with the SMM Stewardship Program and Generating Replicable Environmental Education Networks in Puerto Rico (GREEN-PR). She holds a master’s degree in international development studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. She has worked in several economic development projects, including the community micro-enterprise Martín Peña Recicla where she gave support and technical assistance as part of her role with Americorps VISTA in Proyecto Enlace del Caño Martín Peña. She is also founding member of the urban cycling collective, RUEDA Ciclista.
Savannah Betkowski (Project Assistant): Savannah assists with national programming for drinking water system operators. She is also the staff assistant with the National Recycling Coalition (NRC). Savannah manages the NRC’s administrative needs, assists with communications and outreach, helps with events, and supports the Board of Directors and NRC committees. Savannah has a bachelor’s of science in Environmental Studies focused on Natural Systems Application from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry.
Tess Clark (Project Assistant): Tess works as a Project Assistant on SU-EFC climate adaptation and resiliency program areas. She also works with the Sustainable Materials Management team on policy research and economic development. Tess received her M.S. from SUNY-ESF in environmental policy, with a research focus on New York State timber sales and forest policy. She has worked with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the SUNY Research Foundation, and Brooklyn-based non-profit the Human Impacts Institute. She graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from New York University.
Michael U. Connelly Reyes (Project Assistant): Michael works at SU-EFC’s Puerto Rico Satellite Office and assists primarily with sustainable materials management and green infrastructure on his island home of Vieques. Michael is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico. His main focus is on public education and outreach to implement sustainability solutions in school, festivals and public spaces.
Jessica Eckerlin (Project Assistant): Jessica assists with the Smart Management for Small Water Systems Program, which provides technical assistance to local government leaders on topics relating to Local Infrastructure, Leadership, Management and Finance. Jessica holds a Master of Science degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry specializing in water and wetland resources and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Kaira T. Fuentes (Caribbean Project Leader): Native to Puerto Rico, Kaira Fuentes is an environmental scientist, community planner, and researcher. Her areas of competency are Collaborative Planning, Environmental Governance, Water Management, Environmental Justice, Caribbean Studies, and Sustainable Material Management (SMM). Her work as Caribbean Project Leader for the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solution has enabled her to develop and conduct multiple and successful trainings and workshops regarding SMM, Watershed Management and Resiliency to diverse communities in Puerto Rico. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate from SUNY-ESF under the program of Environmental and Community Land Planning, and her research topic is “The Role of Community-based Organizations in Natural Disaster Recovery and Community Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
Kristen Hychka (Research Specialist): Kristen provides technical assistance to municipalities regarding water resources management and smart growth planning. Her focus areas include flood resilience, stormwater management, and green infrastructure planning and implementation. She also has expertise in wetlands and watershed management, geographic information systems (GIS), ecosystem services, and public engagement. She has a BA in Biology from Smith College, an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State, and a PhD in Geography from Penn State.
Kate Palermo (Graphic Designer): Kate assists with graphic design for the SU-EFC. She has experience in designing documents, logos, signage, digital images, websites, enewsletters, and digital and traditional illustration. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology
Melvin Rodriguez-Rodriguez (Project Assistant): Melvin works at SU-EFC’s Puerto Rico Satellite Office and assists primarily with sustainable materials management and green infrastructure programs in the Caribbean region, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Melvin is pursuing his master’s degree in Puerto Rican studies at the Center of Higher Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Bill Whipps (Logistics Coordinator): Bill coordinates the Smart Management for Small Drinking Water Systems Program, which provides training and technical assistance to water systems and local government leaders on topics such as Asset Management, Financial Planning, Climate Resiliency and Workforce Development. Bill holds a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and an M.A. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining SU-EFC, Bill worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Water Protection Program managing development of Total Maximum Daily Loads and state water quality standards.
Haley Jones (Community Development Intern): Haley helps with communications at the SU-EFC by creating mail campaigns, designing flyers and other deliverables, and maintaining the website and Facebook page. She helps compile information and data from previous events hosted by the EFC and presents them in a digestible way. Haley is currently a senior at Syracuse University where she is double majoring in Advertising and Geography with an emphasis on renewable energy and sustainability. She is also a member of the Syracuse University Women’s Rowing team.