Melissa Young, Director of Resource Conservation Initiatives (917-576-4853): Melissa joined the CSCS-EFC 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 CSCS’s efforts in the Caribbean, including the development of the SMM Stewardship Program that has 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 holds 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 oversees CSCS’s programs in New York and Puerto Rico. 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.
Kaira T. Fuentes, PhD, Program Manager: Kaira is an environmental scientist, community planner, and researcher from Puerto Rico. Her areas of competency include Collaborative Planning, Environmental Governance, Water Management, Environmental Justice, Caribbean Studies, and Sustainable Materials Management (SMM). As CSCS-EFC’s team lead on Caribbean programs, Kaira has developed and conducted multiple successful trainings and workshops on SMM, Watershed Management, and Resiliency for diverse communities across Puerto Rico. Kaira holds a PhD in Environmental and Community Land Planning from SUNY-ESF and a Master’s in Environmental Planning from Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Her doctoral thesis looked at the role of community-based organizations in natural disaster recovery and community resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jesse Kerns, Program Manager (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. Jesse holds a Bachelor’s in Communication from SUNY-Fredonia and a Master’s in Environmental Science from SUNY-ESF.
Tess Clark, Program Manager (315-443-1846): Tess works as a Program Manager on the EFC team’s 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 also holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from New York University.
Patrick Lynch, Program Manager: Patrick is a teams-builder, community advocate, and policy strategist with a focus on water and climate. At Syracuse University he is responsible for managing rural development programs in New York State and Puerto Rico, launching a national pilot program on workforce development in the water sector, and supporting local leaders on infrastructure financing and communications. Before joining SU, Patrick served as policy and planning director at a New England nonprofit and an environmental leadership fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. He has advised city and county officials on climate resiliency, produced research through Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and managed community-based organizations on two continents. Patrick earned his Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and a J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School. He is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law, and sits on the IUCN WCEL Climate Change Law Specialist Group.
Stephanie I. Anderson-Morales, Program Assistant: Stephanie works at CSCS-EFC’s 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, Río Piedras. Stephanie 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 a founding member of the urban cycling collective, RUEDA Ciclista.
Jessica Eckerlin, Project Associate: 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 an M.S. from SUNY-ESF specializing in water and wetland resources, and an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Averi Davis, Program Associate: Averi assists with outreach and engagement related to the EFC team’s environmental finance and resiliency programs, primarily focusing on organizational and communication needs as they relate to adaptation, resiliency, public water infrastructure, and watershed management. Averi holds a B.S. from Syracuse University in Communication & Rhetorical Studies, a double major in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy, and a geography minor in Environment & Society.
Cristen Crew, Program Associate: Cristen holds a B.S. from SUNY-ESF in Environmental Studies. Cristen is passionate about helping create sustainable and resilient systems and people. Before working at EFC, Cristen worked as an environmental policy research intern. In 2020, she co-founded Nice Biscuit, a vegan, sustainability-focused eatery in Syracuse, NY. Outside of work, Cristen enjoys cooking, reading, and hiking with her dog, Phoebe.
MeiLin Luzadis, Project Assistant: MeiLin works on the CSCS team and assists with the Sustainable Materials Management programs. She is interested in combining art and science to help bring awareness to issues. MeiLin holds a BFA from Syracuse University in Art Photography.
Morgan Ingraham, Program Coordinator: Morgan assists with Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) projects, including waste reduction & reuse grants, NYS SMM Stewardship Program, Locator Maps, NYSAR3 Organics Council, and more. She has over a decade of experience in education, outreach, and ecological research working for environmental-focused non-profits. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Humboldt State University and an M.S. in Environmental Biology from SUNY-ESF.
Mya Bonney, Project Assistant: Mya is passionate about using both creative and technical work to bridge the gap between local officials, science professionals, and the general public. Mya holds a B.S. from SUNY-ESF in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Communication and a minor in Writing & Rhetorical Studies. Mya supports the EFC’s internal and external communication needs and assists in outreach and engagement initiatives.
Laura Markley, PhD, Research and Program Coordinator: Dr. Laura Markley is a researcher and plastic pollution expert working on programs related to recycling and sustainable materials management, including end market and material flow research for recyclables, the NYS SMM Stewardship Program, locator maps for Recycle Right New York (RRNY), and others. She has 10+ years of experience in conducting research on various environmental topics and has a passion for outreach projects that make science accessible. She holds her PhD in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University and her B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Earth Science from Eastern Connecticut State University and Lehigh University, respectively.