Academics photos

Meet the Environmental Studies Faculty

Karin Warren

Associate Professor and Herzog Family Chair in Environmental Studies
B.S., Cornell University; M.S., Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
(e-mail) (web site)

A childhood love of thunderstorms led me to study meteorology as an undergraduate, and then a stirring guest speaker from NASA convinced me to focus on global change as my mien for graduate study and my career beyond.

At Randolph, I have had the challenge and privilege of developing an interdisciplinary major in environmental studies. The goal of Randolph's environmental studies program is to develop scholars, thinkers, teachers, and activists who back up their passion for the environment with a sound grasp of the underlying science and policy, and a comfortable ability to work with numbers.

My philosophy for teaching environmental studies also rests on the belief that to understand the environment, you have to get out in it, literally and figuratively. Environmental studies students all get wet and dirty at some point (or at several points) in their academic experience here -- through stream monitoring in Introductory Environmental Studies, or geology field trips in Earth Interactions, or on a geocaching treasure hunt. I also encourage each student to consider how study abroad, field work programs, and internships opportunities fit into her ultimate academic plan, and how seeking "a life more abundant" fits into her own environmental philosophy.

I am the the Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies at Randolph College, and hold degrees in meteorology (B.S. from Cornell University) and energy and resources (M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley). I have taught at U.C. Berkeley, Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I teach many of the core and upper-division courses in environmental studies (including quantitative aspects of environmental problems, energy & society, earth interactions, and environmental policy), coordinate the senior program in environmental studies, am a faculty advisor for the student-run environmental club, and chair the Randolph Environmental Issues Council. My specialties and areas of research include: climate and global change, mathematical modeling, energy and environmental policy, and quantitative methods in environmental analysis. In addition to the global environment, my passions in life include my daughter, Galen, and son, Xan, hiking, gardening, low-stress cooking, reading anything I can get my hands on, and practicing t'ai chi chuan and yoga.

Richard Barnes

Mary Sable Girard Chair in Psychology, Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies
B.A., Vanderbilt University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
(e-mail)

Winston Churchill once said, "First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us."

For most of my professional career I have had one foot in the world of psychology and one in the world of architecture and environmental design. I studied social psychology and environmental psychology at the University of Wisconsin, and I love exploring how people create and respond to their social and physical environments.

At Randolph College, I teach courses in Social Psychology, Environmental Psychology, and Psychology and Environmental Change, all of which deal in one way or another with people's interactions with their environments. Most recently I have been teaching courses in our Environmental Studies Program focusing on the relationship between people's behavior and significant environmental issues such as pollution, energy use, and waste management.

One of my other interests is the history of psychology. I am fascinated by the social, cultural, and historical forces that have helped to shape modern psychology. The Randolph College Psychology Lab is one of the oldest in the US. I teach our History of Psychology course and have supervised student research projects on the College’s large collection of antique laboratory equipment, some of which dates back to the founding years of psychology.

At a practical level, I have been involved in efforts to make Randolph a "greener" campus through the College’s Sustainability Plan and Campus Master Plan and also serve on the City of Lynchburg’s Planning Commission and Natural Resources Advisory Committee, which advise city government on land use and environmental sustainability.

My wife, Tina Barnes, is Coordinator of Disability Services at Randolph, and we have two sons. In my spare time I do house projects and carpentry and have been learning how to play the banjo.

Follow me on my Fall 2010 Semester at Sea journey.

Sarah Sojka

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Physics
B.A., Eckerd College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Virginia
(e-mail)

I fell in love with science as a child, balanced on my toes on a stool leaning over the sink with a friend, our “chemicals”, including dish soap and bubble bath, surrounding us, trying to remove the smell from black pepper. I remember the intensity with which we worked and the thrill of feeling that we were discovering something. My goal as a science educator is to foster that same sense of wonder and curiosity in all of my students.

I earned my undergraduate degree at Eckerd College in Environmental Studies-Public Policy. As a student at a small liberal arts college, I loved getting to know my professors and the opportunities for research, including a project studying water quality in Nicaragua. My interest in water quality led me to the University of Virginia for an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. I studied how physical processes affect the biological processes in shallow coastal systems. Unfortunately, we frequently study average or calm weather conditions in these systems and forget how much winds and waves can affect the primary producers. I used modeling, experiments and monitoring data to study how wind conditions affect light and nutrient availability for seagrass. I am continuing this research and look forward to involving students in it. After graduate school, I took my work inland and began working on rainwater harvesting systems. These systems are designed to collect the rain that falls on the roof of a building and use it for irrigation, toilets and other uses. My primary interest is how rainwater harvesting can be used to reduce stormwater runoff and protect coastal systems.

Laura-Gray Street

Assistant Professor of English
B.A., Hollins College; M.A., University of Virginia; M.F.A., Warren Wilson College
(e-mail)

Laura-Gray Street’s work has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, The Human Genre Project, Isotope, Gargoyle, From the Fishouse, ISLE, Shenandoah, Meridian, Blackbird, Poetry Daily, The Notre Dame Review, The Greensboro Review, and elsewhere; selected by George Garrett for Best New Poets 2005; commissioned by the New York Festival of Song; and included in Pivot Points, an exhibition of poets and painters that traveled internationally.

Street has received a Poetry Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Editors’ Prize in Poetry from Isotope, the Emerging Writer in Poetry Award for the Southern Women Writers Conference, the Dana Award in Poetry, and The Greensboro Review’s Annual Literary Award in Poetry, and fellowships at the VCCA and the Artist House at St. Mary's College in Maryland.

She is co-editing an anthology of ecopoetry that is forthcoming from Trinity University Press, and her poetry collection Rung was short listed for the 2009 Benjamin Saltman Award with Red Hen Press. Street has an MA in English from the Universityof Virginia and an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers.

Street also teaches in the Environmental Studies Department and serves on the board of two local environmental groups, the Greater Lynchburg Environmental Network (GLEN) and the Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC).

Some of her work can be read at...