Sustainability Certificate Program Instructors

  • thumbnail chris bennerDr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He currently directs the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change and the Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation.  His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment.  He has authored or co-authored seven books (most recently Solidarity Economics, 2021, Polity Press) and more that 70 journal articles, chapters and research reports.  He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Thumbnail Image EricksonElida Erickson (she/her) joined the University of California, Santa Cruz campus in 2005, and the Sustainability Office in 2011. Over the years, she has collaborated with the local community, students, faculty and staff to support the goal of Zero Waste by 2020, as well as reduce campus water usage by 25% in response to the California statewide drought in 2014-15. In her current role as Sustainability Director, she is a strong advocate for student engagement and empowerment, and is passionate about challenging the environmental movement to be more open to diverse cultural interpretations of sustainability. Elida received her M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from Indiana University in 2004.
  • Thumbnail HernandezDr. Rebecca Hernandez PhD (she/her), is the new Community Archivist at the UCSC University Library where she partners with local stakeholders to promote the acquisition, preservation, and use of archival materials that document the communities of Santa Cruz County. She has worked in higher education administration for over 15 years and served as Director of the UCSC American Indian Resource Center from 2014-2021 where she worked with the team to create successful collaborative programs across campus including the People of Color Sustainability Collective and the UCSC Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Series. She holds an MFA in Design from CSU Fullerton, is a graduate of the UCLA American Indian Studies MA Program and earned her PhD in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. 
  • Kevin Koenig thumbnail imageKevin Koenig (he/his) is the Ecuador Program Director for Amazon Watch. He is a leading expert on resource and rights conflicts in the western Amazon Basin, having worked for over two decades with indigenous peoples in the defense of their territories and rights throughout the region's rainforests. From the frontlines to the corporate boardroom, Kevin has collaborated with indigenous peoples in challenging and influencing oil drilling projects, government development policies, finance for mega-infrastructure projects, lending practices, and demand-side U.S. oil consumption, winning important victories and setting legal precedents. He is a UC Santa Cruz alumnus.
  • Thumbnail Flora Lu

    Dr. Flora Lu (she/her) (A.B. Human Ecology, Stanford and Ph.D. Ecology, UNC-Chapel Hill) is a Professor of Environmental Studies at UCSC and Provost of Colleges Nine and Ten and John R. Lewis College. Her scholarly interests include: ecological anthropology, environmental justice, conservation politics, indigenous livelihoods, and political ecology. For the past two decades, she has conducted research in the Ecuadorian Amazon examining the relationship between extractivism, indigenous communities, and rainforests. As College Provost, she builds co-curricular programs at UCSC around food justice, inclusive sustainability, and environmental equity in policymaking, forging campus/community partnerships in the Bay Area and Central Coast. 

  • No alternative textDerek Martin has spent 12 years working in higher education, first as an accountant and then transitioned into sustainability to better align his professional life with his commitment to leave the planet a little better than how he found it. As UCSC's Sustainability Programs Manager, Derek works at the intersection of zero waste, food, procurement, and health and wellness. Additionally, he oversees the Green Office Certification Program and the Student Sustainability Advisors. The circular economy, electric vehicles, food, and sustainable business are a few of his favorite topics to talk about. In his free time he loves to run, bike, and swim and find unique hot sauces. 
  • Thumbnail of Leslie OMalleyLeslie O'Malley, is a Discard Management Professional specializing in Waste Reduction strategies and Recycling processes. She joined the City of Santa Cruz in 2016 and has developed and implemented various programs, including an industry award-winning Master Recycler Volunteer training program.
    Building bridges in the community and meeting people wherever they are on the hierarchy of Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot are the keystones that guide her work as Waste Reduction Manager for the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department.
  • Ellen VaughanEllen Vaughan (she/her) studied business and forestry at Virginia Tech before receiving her Masters in Environmental Policy at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. She has worked as a Global Warming Field Organizer for Greenpeace in Washington, DC, the Director of Sustainability for the Syracuse Center for Excellence, and Project Coordinator for the Public Counsel of the Rockies in Aspen, CO. Ellen found her true calling in higher education in beautiful Flagstaff, AZ where she worked as Northern Arizona University's Sustainability Manager for five years. She joined the UCSC team in October, 2018.
  • jonathan weidmanJonathan Weidman (he/him) joined UCSC in 2020 as the Associate Director of Transportation and Parking Services. In his role he helps manage campus transit services, permitted parking, vanpool, the Bike Library, and other sustainable transportation initiatives. Before UCSC, Jonathan worked in sustainable transportation consulting, and he is the owner and founder of a bike valet service provider called Two Wheel Valet. Jonathan earned a Master’s degree in Real Estate and Infrastructure at John Hopkins. He is on the Board of Directors for Bike Santa Cruz County, and he is endlessly fascinated by how our transportation infrastructure shapes our public spaces.
  • Thumbnail Tiffany WW image

    Dr. Tiffany Wise-West (she/her) is the Sustainability and Climate Action Manager for the City of Santa Cruz. Tiffany is a licensed civil engineer with a bachelor’s degree in civil/environmental engineering from Purdue University and a doctorate in Environmental Studies from University of California Santa Cruz. With over 25 years of experience in municipal environmental infrastructure planning, design, and implementation, Tiffany specializes in collaborating across public, private and academic sectors to deliver award winning and impactful emissions mitigation and climate adaptation policies, projects, and programs. Tiffany also is recent former chair of the Santa Cruz County Commission on the Environment, co-chair of the Central Coast Climate Collaborative and is on the board of directors for Central Coast Energy Services, a nonprofit organization providing energy education and services to people in need.