Environment, Society & Sustainability Faculty

Lawrence W. McKenna III

Associate Professor, Department Chair

Office: Hemenway Annex 346K
Phone Number: 508-626-4741
Email: lmckenna1@framingham.edu

Education

PhD (1990) Geology and Geochemistry, MIT
BS (1984) Geology, MIT

Research Interests

Larry McKenna is an Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science at Framingham State University, where he is currently Chair of the Department of Environment, Society & Sustainability. McKenna trained as a geologist and geochemist at MIT, earning his Ph. D. in 1990 (when average surface temperatures were a full 1 degree Fahrenheit cooler than today!), and has been at FSU since 2008. He is currently finishing his climate change textbook, Conversations with the Earth, for Oxford University Press. His current research interests center on the intersection between climate change, policy, and “agency,” the ability to affect one’s future. He notes, to his surprise, that when he first started working on climate change, the primary challenge was convincing people it was caused by human actions; now the primary challenge is convincing people it’s a problem that can be solved. When asked if there is one thing he wishes he could impart to everyone about climate change, he said, “Yes-there’s positive news here. We still have the power to stop the worst consequences of climate change. We have agency. And we can do it-we must do it-in our lifetimes.” McKenna and his wife live in Jamaica Plain, MA and have two smart, wonderful and mathematically inclined daughters.

Courses Taught

ASTR 128/218  Solar System Astronomy
EASC 101/201  Conversations with the Earth
EASC 450  Seminar in Earth System Science
ENVS 202  Data Analysis for Scientists
ENVS 451/452  Senior Thesis in Environmental Science I/II
ENVS 333  Digital Field Work; Drones, Data and AI
GEOL 108/208  Physical Geology
GEOL 233  Environmental Geology
PHSC 109  Introduction to Physical Science
PHYS 211  Principles of Physics I
PHYS 212  Principles of Physics II
PHYS 272  Modern Physics

Santosha Adhibhatta

Visiting Lecturer

Office: Hemenway Annex 346E
Phone Number: 508-215-5857
Email: sadhibhatta@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD ( 2011) Physics, University of Rhode Island
MS ( 2004) Electrical Engineering, University of Houston
BS ( 2002) Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Andhra University, India

Research Interests:
Dr. Adhibhatta is interested in enhancing students’ knowledge by using several practical approaches to learning at different levels.  She is particularly interested in adopting novel methods of teaching both in the lecture and laboratory, that makes Physics and Engineering fun and informative.

Courses taught:
ASTR 230  Stars and Galaxies
PHSC 109  Introduction to Physical Science
PHYS 212  Principles of Physics II
PHYS 201  Introductory Physics
EGNR 101  Introduction to Engineering
EGNR 201  Engineering Mechanics

George Bentley

Associate Professor

Office: Hemenway 346D
Phone Number: 508-215-5857
Email: gbentley@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD (2013) University of Connecticut
MA (2010) University of Connecticut
BA (2008) University of Connecticut

Research Interests:
Dr. Bentley's research interests include built environment transitions in post-industrial cities, urban analysis and geographic information systems, environmental-economic geography, and public health.

Courses Taught:
GEOG 101  Introduction to Human Geography
GEOG 110  World Regional Geography
GEOG 111  The Digital Earth and our Changing World
GEOG 201  Economic Geography
GEOG 214  Spatial Analysis Using Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 216  Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
GEOG 486  Senior GIS Project


Kristin Chon

Assistant Professor

Office: Hemenway 346F
Phone Number: 508-626-4764
Email: kchon@framingham.edu

Education:
BS (1995) Physics, MIT
MS (1997) Astronomy, UMass Amherst

Research Interests:
Professor Chon is an astronomer by training, and teaches various physics and astronomy classes here at FSU. Her current research is focused on science education, with particular attention to student misconceptions. Additionally, she is very interested in science literacy and the use of planetariums in informal education, and is an active member of the planetarium community at the national level.

Courses Taught: 
ASTR 123  Practical Astronomy
ASTR 230  Stars and Galaxies
PHYS 211  Principles of Physics I
PHSC 109  Introduction to Physical Science

Robert Donnell

Visiting Lecturer

Office: Hemenway 346C
Phone Number: 508-620-1220, x 4243
Email: rdonnell@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD, Syracuse University
MA, Clark University
BA, Boston University

Research Interests:
Dr. Donnell specializes in urban geography, city planning, and environmental hazards.

Courses Taught:
GEOG 230  Geography of Natural and Man-Made Hazards
GEOG 250  Geography of the United States and Canada
GEOG 251  Geography of New England

Gerald A. Galgana, PhD

Visiting Lecturer

Office: Hemenway Annex 346H
Phone Number: 508-626-5007
Email: ggalgana@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD Geophysics, Indiana University-Bloomington
MSc Geophysics, Indiana University-Bloomington
Dipl R&D Management, University of the Philippines Open University
BS Geodetic Engineering, University of the Philippines, Diliman

Research Interests:
Dr. Galgana studies the deformation of the surface of the Earth and other planets (i.e., Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics). His favorite tools of the trade are satellite images and high-precision Global Positioning Systems, which are both used to map out and measure movements of the crust. Dr. Galgana models the Earth's dynamic processes in order to understand how these patterns relate to earthquakes and fault behavior, as well as how planetary volcano deformation patterns reflect what is going on underneath them and how edifices progressively evolved in time.

Courses Taught:
ASTR 128  Solar System Astronomy
ASTR 218  Principles of Solar System Astronomy

Carl Hakansson

Professor

Office: Hemenway 344
Phone Number: 508-626-4772
Email: chakansson@framingham.edu

Education:
JD, New England School of Law
BS Biology, Framingham State College

Research Interests:
Professor Hakansson is an attorney whose areas of expertise include: environmental law, land use law, and over 25 years of experience working with Native American tribes regarding environmental and land use issues. His prior training and experience as a biologist allows for an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable environmental policies.

Courses Taught:
GEOG 110  World Regional Geography
GEOG 135  Introduction to Environmental Studies
GEOG 180  Native Americans: A Geographical and Legal Perspective
GEOG 235  Environmental Law and Policy
GEOG 240  Municipal Land Use
GEOG 375  Resource Management


Amy Johnston, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: Hemenway Annex 346L
Phone Number: 508-626-4762
Email: ajohnston3@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD (2020) Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
MS (2018) Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
BS (2012) Biology, Bates College

Research Interests:
Dr. Johnston’s current research centers on paleoclimate reconstruction of the Gulf of Maine using archaeological mollusk shells. Variations in growth rate, stable isotopic, and trace elemental composition of bivalve shells can be used to reconstruct the past environmental conditions of the Gulf of Maine during the recent Holocene (past 5000 years).

Courses Taught:
EASC 101  Conversations with the Earth, An Introduction to Earth Systems
EASC 118/228  Oceanography/Principles of Oceanography
EASC 108/208  Meteorology/Principles of Meteorology
GEOL 233  Environmental Geology
EASC 490  Independent Study in Earth System Science

David Merwin

Professor

Office: Hemenway 342
Phone Number: 508-626-4771
Email: dmerwin@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD (2004) University of Connecticut
MA (2000) University of Connecticut
BA (1995) University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research Interests:
David Merwin is a professor of geography and director of the university's Center for GIS Outreach (CGO). His expertise is in the fields of geographic information systems (GIS), spatial data science and remote sensing. As director of CGO, Dr. Merwin provides GIS assistance and outreach to the university community and coordinates GIS projects with local municipalities and non-profit organizations. Dr. Merwin also is a faculty representative on the university's Data Enrollment Team. Currently, Dr. Merwin is investigating the impact of land cover change in the olive-growing regions of northern Lebanon using remote sensing and machine learning. 

Courses Taught:
GEOG 110  World Regional Geography
GEOG 214  Spatial Analysis Using Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 216  Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
GEOG 316  Advanced Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 328  Introduction to Remote Sensing

William C. Mills-Curran

Visiting Lecturer

Office: Hemenway Annex 346H
Phone Number: N/A
Email: wmillscurran1@framingham.edu

Education:
BA Mechanical Engineering, University of California, San Diego
PhD Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests:
Dr. Mills-Curran studies concentrated on structural optimization with periodic loads, which led to development of linear and nonlinear finite element analysis code. More recently Dr. Mills-Curran has worked on development of systems to support software development, including efficient build systems.

Courses Taught:
PHYS 212 Principles of Physics II
EGNR 101 Introduction to Engineering

Judith Otto

Professor

Office: Hemenway 346A
Phone Number: 508-626-4770
Email: jotto@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD, University of Minnesota
MLA, Harvard University
BA, Williams College

Research Interests:
Dr. Otto's research focuses on urban sustainability; the spatial dimensions of economic sector growth and change; metropolitan governance; and transitions to capitalism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Courses Taught:
ENVS 451 Capstone I
ENVS 101 Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy
GEOG 110 World Regional Geography
GEOG 380 Making Places Sustainable
GEOG 165 Global Cities
GEOG 252 Geography of Europe
GEOG 253 Geography of Russia and the Former Soviet Republics
GEOG 260 Introduction to Urban Studies and Planning in the US
GEOG 291 Western Regional Geography: Field Study

Vandana Singh

Professor

Office: Hemenway 346D
Phone Number: 508-626-4763
Email: vsingh@framingham.edu

Education:
PhD, Louisiana State University
MSc, BSc, University of Delhi, India

Research Interests:
Dr. Singh’s background is in theoretical particle physics; she is interested in everything from quarks to planets to multiverses.  For a decade her research focus has been on developing a transdisciplinary, justice-centered framework for teaching and conceptualizing climate change at the intersection of science, society and ethics.  She has developed a case study for the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ STIRS (Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skprogram on the impact of Arctic climate change on Alaskan Native communities, and has contributed to the National Academy of Sciences deliberations on interdisciplinarity in STEM.  Dr. Singh is also a writer of speculative fiction and enjoys multiple genres of music. 

Courses Taught:
PHYS 111 Physics, Nature, and Society
PHYS 201 Introductory Physics
PHYS 212 Principles of Physics II
PHYS 272 Modern Physics
RAMS 101 Climate Change and Social Justice in the Arctic and Beyond