News Archive

Collaborative Research: ButterflyNet - an integrative framework for comparative biology

Leslie Ries


More is known about butterflies – their morphology, species distributions, behavior, and larval resources – than any other insect group thanks to the efforts of centuries of collectors and enthusiasts who have appreciated their beauty and fascinating biology. However, this scattered information needs to be synthesized and placed in an evolutionary context to study the ecology and evolution of the group effectively.

Assistant Professor Leslie Ries is part of the NSF-funded grant team (from City College of New York, Georgetown University, Harvard University, University of Florida, and Yale University) that will achieve these two goals by reconstructing the evolutionary history of the approximately 18,800 described species and assembling a database of biological information about each species using field guides, social media, collections, and other sources. All of this information will be made available through “ButterflyNet,” which will use the Map of Life online platform to deliver community vetted and curated data and tools to catalyze comparative research, learn more about insect ecology and evolution, and engage and inform the general public.

Leslie Ries was quoted as part of a recent online Science article highlighting recent monarch butterfly studies.  To read the article, click here.

You also can check out a recent Washington Post article that quotes Professor Leslie Ries's work by clicking here.


Georgetown professor discusses the Anthropocene in a recent publication

Is the Anthropocene Upon Us?

By Patrícia Vieira, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature, and Film and Media Studies and Director of the Comparative Literature Program at Georgetown University

We are in a new geological age, denoted by human beings’ impact on the earth. Does framing our present in this way demonstrate fatalist acceptance or mark us with remarkable hubris?

We are told that we now live in the Anthropocene, a new geological age marked by human beings’ lasting influence on planet earth. In fact, the Anthropocene has become somewhat of a buzzword not only in scientific circles but also in the social sciences and the humanities. We can now attend conferences on “Rethinking Race in the Anthropocene” or “Anthropocene Feminism” and read volumes and articles on The Task of Philosophy in the Anthropocene, Architecture in the Anthropocene, Anthropocene Fictions or “Anthropology at the Time of the Anthropocene” to name but a few. Both The Economist and the Huffington Post have welcomed us to the Anthropocene and the New York Times has even tried to teach us how to die in this novel epoch.

Official Status Pending

But is all this talk of the Anthropocene much ado about nothing? As far as science goes, we will have to wait and see. The recent history of the term goes back to atmospheric chemist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen, who co-wrote an article with Eugene Stoermer in 2000 arguing that, due to our extensive impact on the planet, the current geological period should be called the “Anthropocene,” the age of humans.

Curzen and Stoermer’s idea caught on to the extent that the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has formed an Anthropocene Working Group. On the table is the possibility that the Holocene, the geological epoch that started at the close of the last ice age approximately 11,700 years ago, has given way to the Anthropocene. There is debate as to when the new period is supposed to have begun: some argue for the expansion of agriculture some 5,000 years ago as a starting date, others for the arrival of Europeans on the American continent, others for the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, and others still for the inauguration of the atomic age in 1945. The Group will present its initial recommendations in 2016, after which any proposal needs to be approved by the ICS and the International Union of Geological Sciences. It will probably still be a while before we know for sure whether we are really living in the Anthropocene.

The Lay Perspective

Ponderous as any verdict on geological time necessarily is, the scientific decision to call ours the age of the Anthropocene does not seal the fate of the term. Even if this designation is, in the end, rejected by the ICS, the expression will most likely continue to be used informally not only in academia but also in the media. It looks like the Anthropocene is here to stay, whether stratigraphers like it or not. But should the rest of us laypeople rejoice in our ingress into this brand new geological era?

At first glance, we seem to have little choice but to accept that the Anthropocene is upon us. Global warming and the impending disappearance of several island-nations, the rampant pollution of the atmosphere that leaves cities like Beijing or Paris in the dark when smog is at its worst, the contamination of waterways by noxious chemicals poisoning all organisms around them, the acidification of the oceans and the concomitant death of marine life, and the staggering rate of species extinction in the last few decades are but a few of the most conspicuous side-effects of humanity’s activities on earth. We know of no precedent to such a human-driven hecatomb.

The term Anthropocene brings the disaster-zone that much of our planet has become into a much-needed sharper focus. The shock-effect of realizing that human beings are altering the geological make-up of the earth may jolt the general public out of its habitual complacency. It could serve as a wake-up call to those of us who, while abstractly concerned with environmental issues, are primarily focused on our energy-wasteful, fossil-fuel-driven everyday lives.

A Battle Cry

“Anthropocene" thus has a performative function: its strategic usefulness as a rallying-point for the environmental movement and as a call to action for politicians and regular citizens goes beyond strictly scientific concerns. It is a battle cry for environmental justice, not only for humans but also for all non-human living beings, who are paying the price for our folly.

Still, deep-seated tensions lurk under the blanket-term “Anthropocene.” For one, placing the blame on “anthropos,” on humans as a species, hides profound asymmetries in the history and geopolitics of homo sapiens. A fisherman living off his catch on a Mozambican island or a subsistence farmer in Sri Lanka are certainly not as guilty of ushering humankind into the Anthropocene as the average American or European. What is more, the world’s poor, deprived of many of the material comforts achieved at nature’s expense, lack the means to mitigate the effects of global warming and pollution, therefore bearing the brunt of these scourges.

But the most serious problem with the Anthropocene is that it reaffirms humankind’s hubris. By singling ourselves out as the one mover and shaker who determines the fate of the entire planet, are we not falling into the fallacy of human exceptionalism that brought us to our current predicament in the first place? Is there not a certain perverse pride in our quasi-divine ability to shape the earth? In other words, is the use of the term Anthropocene, to a certain extent, not a case of relishing our power, even if it can cause us some misfortunes? After all—so some arguments go—if we are smart enough to almost destroy the planet, we will also be sufficiently clever to save it.

Resigning to the Status Quo

The other side of this hubris-laden defiance is the fatalism that sometimes accompanies the thought of the Anthropocene. Perhaps, some say, our impact on the world is already too significant to be reversed. And maybe humans cannot do otherwise but bring destruction upon ourselves and other inhabitants of the earth. By using this expression, are we not resigning to the status quo and accepting that there is nothing each of us can do against such a powerful geological force as the entire human species?

Whether we strategically adopt the term Anthropocene or shun it for endorsing the very larger-than-life view of humanity at the root of the environmental crisis, we would do well to soberly ponder upon our short life on the planet. The earth thrived without us for millions of years and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to do so once we are gone. Is the Anthropocene the legacy we wish to leave behind? Do we really want to live in a human-crafted geological era? Perhaps, instead of dwelling on thoughts of the Anthropocene, we should strive to leave it behind, once and for all.



History Department Celebrates Environment Graduate Students


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Georgetown environmental history PhD students, 2014-15, and Prof. John McNeill (not pictured: Meredith Denning)


Clark Alejandrino

Clark works on the environmental history of late imperial and modern China, especially climate and animal history. He came to Georgetown in 2012.  He is currently writing a dissertation about typhoons on the south China coast from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. He is also broadly interested in East Asian and World history while seeking to bring a diversity of perspectives from the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences into his work. His research has been supported by funding from the Luce Foundation, ACLS, and the Center for Chinese Studies at the National Central Library of Taiwan.  Before coming to Georgetown, Clark finished his undergraduate degree in history at Ateneo de Manila University and an MA in Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney.

Conference Participation

• 19th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia, Manila, Philippines: 2006

• 23rd Graduate Student Conference on East Asia, Columbia University: 2014


Meredith Denning

Meredith is curious about transboundary water management, because most pollution problems can only be solved when all the people sharing a lake or river are on board. She studies how the United States and Canada cooperated to transform the Great Lakes during the twentieth century. In particular, she wants to know how residents, scientists and local governments got involved in managing the Lakes they lived by, and how international relations altered the Great Lakes watershed. If she can discover how the many, many interested groups learned to take better care of the water they share, perhaps she can help continue the process.  Her work has been supported by a Hackman Residency at the New York State Archives.  She entered the Ph.D. program in 2010.

Conference Participation

• American Society of Environmental History Annual Meeting:  2013, 2015

• European Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting:  2013


Chris Gratien

Chris is a graduate of the MA Arab Studies program at Georgetown University and joined the History PhD program in 2009. His dissertation, entitled “’The Mountains are Ours’: Settlement, Ecology, and the late Ottoman Frontier (1856-1956),” focuses on the social environmental history of Southern Anatolia from the last decades of Ottoman rule into the 1950s. It examines how the issues of settlement, disease, and ecology intersected with the socioeconomic transformation of the Adana region.  His dissertation research has been supported by a SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship as well as an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship. He is also co-creator and producer of Ottoman History Podcast, a weekly internet radio program featuring interviews with scholars and researchers about emerging topics in the history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East (

• Chris Gratien, “Globalization as if Geography Mattered: Ecological Exchanges and Environmental History” in History and Globalization: Concepts, Approaches, Methodologies, ed. by Catia Antunes and Karwan Fatah-Black, London: Routledge, 2015.

• Chris Gratien and Graham Pitts, "Towards an Environmental History of World War I: Human and Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Mediterranean." In Helmut Bley and Anorthe Kremers, eds.  The World during the First World War: Perceptions, Experiences and Consequences. Essen, Ruhr: Klartext, 2014, 237-250.

• Chris Gratien, “Ottoman Environmental History: A New Area of Middle East Studies,” Arab Studies Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1 (Spring 2012), 246-254.

Conference Participation

• Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting: 2013, 2014

• Not All Quiet on the Ottoman Fronts: Neglected Perspectives on a Global War.  Istanbul, Bilgi University, Turkey: 2014


Faisal Husain

Faisal joined the Ph.D. program in 2012.  His research focuses on Iraq's alluvial plain during the Ottoman period (1534-1917) and analyzes its environmental conditions in the context of long-term human settlement, land use, and irrigation. Faisal works mainly with the local sources of the region (Ottoman, Arabic, and Persian) and is particularly interested in the Tigris and Euphrates river systems, water control projects, wetland formation and habitation, and steppe-sown relations.


• Faisal Husain, “In the Bellies of the Marshes: Water and Power in the Countryside of Ottoman Baghdad,” Environmental History 19 (2014): 638-664.

Conference Participation

• Northeast Regional Environmental History Conference, Yale University: 2014

• American Society of Environmental History Annual Conference: 2014, 2015

• Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference:  2013


Robynne Mellor

Robynne came to Georgetown in 2011.  Her research focuses on the intersection of the environment and the Cold War. Her dissertation, which she is currently researching, will examine the history of uranium mining and milling in North America (Canada and the U.S.) and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1985, using and building upon approaches from environmental history, diplomatic history, and international comparative history.  Her dissertation research is supported by awards from the SSRC and SSHRC.

Conference participation

• Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Nuclear Bootcamp, University of Roma Tre and the Machiavelli Center for Cold War Studies, Rome, Italy: 2013


Jackson Perry

Jackson joined the Ph.D. program in 2014, and is researching the politics of forestry in the modern Middle East and North Africa, as well as the transregional scientific networks of 19th- and 20th-century Western imperialism. His master's thesis (2014) at New York University critically examined the development projects of the forestry division of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization in Morocco in the 1950s and 1960s. When he isn't reading about eucalyptus trees, Jackson is probably jogging in Rock Creek Park.

Conference Participation

• Developing Agriculture, Cultivating Sovereignty? A cross-study of agricultural development and political mobilizations in the Arab Middle East (1940-2014). Fribourg University, Switzerland: 2014

• Paradigmatic Conflict and Crisis: A Graduate Conference on the Middle East South Asia and Africa, Columbia University: 2013

• Syracuse History Graduate Conference: Violence and Resistance, Syracuse University: 2013


Graham Pitts

Graham studies the environmental history of the modern Middle East.  His interests also include global history, gender and the history of soccer.  Currently finishing a dissertation on the environmental history of Lebanon, entitled "Hunger is a Heretic," Graham plans to devote his career to teaching undergraduates.  He joined the Ph.D. program in 2009. 


  • Pitts, Graham Auman and Chris Gratien. "Towards an Environmental History of World War I: Human and Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Mediterranean." In Helmut Bley and Anorthe Kremers, eds.  The World during the First World War: Perceptions, Experiences and Consequences. Essen, Ruhr: Klartext, 2014, 237-250.
  • Graham Auman Pitts. “La France et la famine au Liban.” Cahiers de l’Orient 117 (hiver 2015)
  • Graham Auman Pitts. “Ottoman Empire”; “Kurds, Kurdish Nationalism”; “Armenian Massacres”; “Crimean War”; “Sublime Porte”; “Young Turks”; “Sykes-Picot, Agreement of”;  “Enver Pasha”; “Halabja”; “Minorities”; “Al-Azm (Syrian Notable Family)”; “Turkey, Republic of”; etc. Cambridge Dictionary of Modern World History [forthcoming]

Conference Participation

  • Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.:2014
  • The Global Environmental History of World War I in Perspective. Rachel Carson Center, Georgetown University: 2014
  • World Conference on Environmental History. Guimaraes, Portugal: 2014
  • Rural History.  Bern, Switzerland: 2013


Alan Roe

Alan’s dissertation is on the formation of national parks in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.  It argues that the national park movement marked a significant shift in the Soviet debate over the protection of landscapes beginning in the 1950s.  Preservation of reserves for scientific study had been the predominant rationale for the protection of territories during the USSR’s first three decades.  With an improving standard of life from the 1950s until the mid-1980s and increased openness to the non-socialist world, tourism became accessible to the average Soviet citizen and internationally accepted environmental institutions, such as national parks, were embraced by the Soviet Union.   He joined the PhD. program in 2008.


• Alan Roe,“Rivers and Humanity” in: Companion to Global Environmental History , J.R. McNeill and Erin Stewart eds. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) pp. 297-318

• Global Environmental History co-editor with J.R. McNeill (London: Routledge, 2012)

Conference Participation

• Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Annual Meeting: 2012, 2013

• Presentation at Saratov State Technical University, Saratov, Russia: 2013

• Exploring Russia’s Environmental History and Natural Resources, Solovki, Russia: 2013

• Lecture at the European University of Saint Petersburg, Russia: 2012

• Southern Conference on Slavic Studies, Gainesville, Florida: 2010


Hillar Schwertner

Hill entered the PhD program in 2013.  His research examines the history of water in the arid U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He is especially interested in the availability, distribution, and consumption of water resources in the transborder metropolis of Tijuana-San Diego – the largest and most economically significant of more than a dozen transborder cities that transcend the political boundary.  Hill's work takes a transnational approach in exploring the history of this precious commodity in order to provide a deeper understanding of the complexities, challenges, and potential solutions to the greatest problems afflicting the region.  His research has been supported by the Georgetown Environment Initiative’s Graduate Grant-in-Aid.


Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth is completing a dissertation entitled “Cultivating Empires: Environment, Expertise, and Scientific Agriculture in Late Ottoman and French Mandate Syria.”  It traces negotiations and struggles between state and peasantry over agricultural practice and the production and transmission of agricultural knowledge in Syria and Lebanon from the final decades of the Ottoman Empire through the interwar French mandate period. Her research has been supported by an IIE Fulbright for Turkey, a fellowship from the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT), and an Institute of Turkish Studies (ITS) grant.  She joined the Ph.D. program in 2008.


  • Elizabeth Williams, "Contesting the Colonial Narrative’s Claims to Progress: A Nationalist’s Proposal for Agrarian Reform," The Review of Middle East Studies 44:2 (Winter 2010): 187-195.
  • Elizabeth Williams, "Nazik al-'Abid and the Nur al-Fayha’ Society: Independent Modernity, Colonial Threat, and the Space of Women," in Mohammed Bamyeh, ed., Intellectuals and Civil Society in the Middle East: Liberalism, Modernity, and Political Discourse (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012).
  • Elizabeth Williams, “Environmental History of the Middle East.” In: Jens Hanssen and Amal Ghazal, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African History. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, under contract).
  • Elizabeth Williams, "Mapping the Cadastre, Producing the Fellah: Technologies and Discourses of Rule in French Mandate Syria and Lebanon." In: Cyrus Schayegh and Andrew Arsan, eds., Routledge Companion to the Middle East Mandates (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2015)

Conference Participation

  • Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • American Society for Environmental History: 2013, 2015
  • Society for French Historical Studies, Montreal, Canada: 2014
  • Ninth Mediterranean Research Meeting, Florence-Montecatini Terme, Italy: 2008
  • The Syrian Lands During the Great War: The Fourth Army Region Symposium, İstanbul Şehir University, Turkey: 2014
  • The Mashriq in the Age of Late Imperialism: The Mandates in Global Perspective Conference, Princeton University: 2013
  • Critchfield Conference in Middle East Studies, College of William and Mary: 2009



Forest Ecology class hosts poster symposium



GEI Faculty, Heidi Elmendorf, Named 2014 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching District of Columbia Professor of the Year

Professor Heidi Elmendorf was recently selected as the 2014 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching District of Columbia Professor of the Year.

Heidi is Associate Professor of Biology, Director of Undergraduate Studies, co-Director of the Biology of Global Health major, and Director of Science Education Outreach. This set of titles alone evidences her passion for educating students of all ages for a life of learning. Her impacts expand beyond the university including on professional communities in advancing teaching and learning, such as being one of the co-founders of the enormously successful “Biology Scholar Program,” run by the American Society of Microbiology. From her work with K-12 students, with undergraduate and graduate students, to professional development of university professors, Heidi's work on science literacy, teaching and learning is deeply impactful.

In addition to working directly on pedagogy and science literacy, Heidi conducts research on Giardia lamblia and engages undergraduate and graduate students in an integrated program of research, teaching, and science communication. Her students have gone off to successful careers in science, medicine, law, development, and myriad other paths. 

Heidi joins a small group of distinguished past-awardees at Georgetown: Monika Konrad Hellwig (Theology, 1988), Joseph Neale (Biology, 1998), James Sandefur (Mathematics and Statistics, 2008), and Joan Burgraff Riley (Human Science, 2009).

When considering Heidi's research and teaching together, it is clear that her ambition is no less than to save the world. We are grateful to count her as one of our community. Read more about her accomplishments and this award on the Georgetown University website.



At Georgetown, Elena Noyes (C’15) has been able to include her love of the environment in her life on campus and in the classroom. Photo by Tess O’Connor.

October 20, 2014—Growing up in Wisconsin instilled a love and respect for the outdoors in environmental biology major Elena Noyes (C’15). She attended wilderness camp throughout her childhood, and during her senior year of high school she went on a month-long backpacking trip in Montana.

“My interest in the environment has stemmed from that outdoor background,” Noyes explained. “I feel like my best self when I’m out there.”

But when Noyes first started college, she didn’t plan to study the environment.

“I came into Georgetown very dedicated to the idea of majoring in biology of global health. I even wrote my essay about how I wanted to be a doctor, but when I got here I realized that wasn’t my passion,” Noyes said.

Noyes, who began working for the Center for the Environment as a first-year student, was soon on her way to declaring her major in environmental biology, which she describes as “an interesting mixture of hard sciences, policy, and interdisciplinary studies.”

“It’s not a soft-science major,” Noyes emphasized. “There’s just more room to be creative in learning about science, sustainability, and communicating what you know.”

Noyes also added a minor in science, technology, and international affairs, through which she’s learned “how to think about science not just in lab and the field, but what it means for the general population.”

One of the things Noyes enjoys most about her studies is that she applies them to other facets of her life. As a member of The Corp Green Team, she has the chance to support initiatives like this month’s Kill the Cup University Challenge, part of a nationwide effort to promote sustainability.

Featuring 10 universities, the challenge invites students, faculty, and staff to help reduce waste produced by disposable coffee cups. The schools that make the greatest strides in environmental awareness can win $5,000 to fund their own social impact projects. Noyes serves as an ambassador for Georgetown’s team. 

One of her most transformative experiences took place last year when Noyes studied abroad near Queensland, Australia, where she conducted research on the economics of ecotourism. Noyes and her fellow researchers interviewed more than 200 tourists from all over the world who had visited free World Heritage Sites in Australia. Noyes focused on how the tourists’ feelings about the sites would change if an entrance fee was required.

“What I found was that most domestic travelers would not want to pay an additional fee, whereas those who traveled from abroad were much more willing to pay upwards of $10,” Noyes said.

After more research and analysis, Noyes proposed that the government implement a $5 fee and try to increase interest domestic travel.

Due to the remote location in Australia, Noyes was largely disconnected from her life back in the United States—including social media and the Internet. But the change was something she embraced and looked forward to.

“I wanted to be sure I was completely immersed in my experience,” she explained.

Feeling inspired after her stint abroad, Noyes interned at the Wilderness Society this past summer in Washington, DC. There, she saw firsthand how a grassroots ethos can impact policy and legislation through her work with programs like theLand and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

LWCF helps protect natural resources and lands by providing funds to federal, state, and local governments. Subject to appropriations each year, LWCF must be continuously reviewed—Noyes’ work focused on examining fund recipients in specific districts and what they were able to accomplish through LWCF support.

“I loved working at the Wilderness Society,” Noyes said. “That’s what has really pushed me into pursuing environmental nonprofits as a career path. I’m really interested in the grassroots angle.”

But four years ago, if you’d asked Noyes what she wanted to do with her life, she probably wouldn’t have mentioned an interest in the environment.

“When I came to Georgetown,” she explained, “I didn’t think that I could turn my love of the outdoors into an actual career. But when I learned about the environmental biology major during my sophomore year, I realized it was possible to have this as my passion and my career.”

Noyes plans to continue to build on this passion no matter where life takes her—especially in a field that’s continually evolving.  

“What’s challenging is that people are still really unaware [of many issues],” Noyes said. “It’s not that they wouldn’t care if they knew; they just haven’t been exposed. But it’s the little things that make a difference. What you do as an individual does matter—you can make a difference.”

—Melissa Nyman

Read the original story here.



[Amy Battocletti] “I am very grateful for the NSF graduate research fellowship and feel honored to have been chosen as a recipient,” says Amy Battocletti (G'20), a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Georgetown's biology department.

NOVEMBER 5, 2014 – A GEORGETOWN GRADUATE STUDENT is one of only 11 military veterans nationwide honored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) today in a ceremony at the organization’s headquarters.

Amy Battocletti (G’20), a second-year Ph.D. candidate in the biology department who received a three-year graduate research fellowship from NSF, served in the United States Navy as an aerographer’s mate from 2001 to 2008.

Aerographer’s mates help Navy meteorologists and oceanographers prepare Navy forces to function in any physical environment.


“I am very grateful for the NSF graduate research fellowship and feel honored to have been chosen as a recipient,” says Battocletti, who joined the military after high school. “The fellowship supports me financially and … provides a solid foundation for my career.”

NSF awards approximately 2,000 graduate research fellowships per year to doctoral-level students studying science and engineering.

Today’s ceremony honored graduate student-veterans who have dedicated their studies to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.


Battocletti conducts research at Georgetown on the impact of genetic variation within plant species in salt marsh ecosystems under Gina Wimp and Matthew Hamilton, associate professors of biology.

“Habitat loss is a leading cause of species’ extinction,” Battocletti explains. “In fragmented habitats, populations may become isolated … and are more at risk for local extinction than larger, more connected populations.”

Wimp says Battocletti’s hard work and dedication is paying off and “yielding interesting and novel results.”


“I can say without reservation that Amy is one of the best graduate students that I have known or mentored in my career,” Wimp says. “She pursues every task with a positive attitude and without complaint, and she has been a wonderful role model for the undergraduates working in the lab.  Amy is the kind of graduate student that every mentor hopes to encounter.”

Battocletti also served as a tactical meteorological and oceanographic forecaster at the Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Facility (NEMOF) and the Naval Oceanography Anti-Submarine Warfare Detachment (NOAD) with the 6th Fleet Command in Naples, Italy.

After leaving the U.S. Navy in 2008 with a rank of First Class Petty Officer, she did her undergraduate work at the University of Rhode Island, where she majored in marine biology and wildlife and conservation biology.


[Amy Battocletti] Battocletti's interest in ecology and conservation started as a child when she realized wildlife populations were declining and species were becoming extinct.

Battocletti says her parents influenced her interest in science.

Her mother took her on daily walks to observe nature, and her father, a hydrogeologist, brought rocks home for her and her brother to examine.

She got more interested in ecology and conservation when she realized wildlife populations were declining and species were becoming extinct due to human action.

Battocletti hopes to pursue a research career in ecological genetics after graduation and support conservation efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies.

“We have a responsibility to think about how our actions affect other living beings,” she says. “I’ve wondered what our descendants will think of us in the future. I decided that this was something worth dedicating my life to.”

Read the original story here.


New Master of Science in Global Health Program Announced

The Master of Science in Global Health program is based on an interdisciplinary and development-oriented approach to global health. With a strong focus on quantitative, qualitative and applied social sector research in developing countries, and a rather unique “regional health and development” concentration, the program offers new opportunities to individuals pursuing a career in the field of global health.

This multidisciplinary, university-wide program offers courses taught by faculty from across the different Georgetown University campuses, schools, and institutes, such as Georgetown College, the School of Nursing & Health Studies, the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown Law, and Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

In addition, the Field Research Module provides students with field experience and students are expected to produce a scholarly paper that enhances the academic field of global health.

The application deadline for Fall 2014 is April 1, 2014.  For more information about program application, please visit Admissions.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact us at


Covering Climate Change

November 20, 2013

Leading journalists recently joined the Georgetown Climate Center to discuss the coverage of climate change in the news.

Watch video from the Nov. 14 event to hear NPR's Richard Harris, USA Today's Wendy Koch, and award-winning science writer John Carey share their experiences in covering stories about mitigating and adapting to climate change across the country.

The Georgetown Environment Initiative co-sponsored the event at the Mortara Center at Georgetown University as part of a year-long series on climate change.  Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center and an inaugural Environment Fellow with the Georgetown Environment Initiative, moderated the discussion.