University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Sustainability Studies Minor | Make an advising appointment

Beth Mercer-Taylor

Sustainability Education Coordinator
(612) 624 – 9430


Beth Mercer-Taylor is the sustainability education coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She administers the Sustainability Studies Minor, an interdisciplinary, free-standing program with nearly 200 undergraduates enrolled. Her work involves recruiting and advising students, creating community-building activities, coordinating the efforts of the curriculum committee that oversees the minor’s academic program, and leading new initiatives related to sustainability on campus.

Lauren McCarthy

Sustainability Education Minor Adviser

Lauren McCarthy is the Sustainability Studies minor adviser, as well as a scholarship coordinator for CFANS undergraduates. Lauren worked with scholarships, orientation services, and Honors students at the University of Iowa. She received her BA in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Iowa in 2006 and her MPhil in Latin American Studies from Cambridge University in 2007.

Sustainability Faculty Network


Carissa Schively Slotterback

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
(612) 625-0640

Carissa Schively Slotterback directs the Graduate Sustainability Education Network, a grassroots collaboration of U of MN faculty focused on enhancing sustainability education.  In addition, she is an Associate Professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She teaches courses in environmental and land use planning, participation, and sustainability planning. Her research is focused on participation in environmental and land use decision-making, environmental impact analysis, and planning processes and implementation, with a particular focus on how people use information to make decisions. Her current projects focus on collaborative environmental planning processes focused on landscape-scale forest planning in NE Minnesota and watershed planning to support biomass production and water quality in agricultural landscapes. In addition, she is working on a study of complete streets planning and implementation.  She also serves as Director of the Urban and Regional Planning graduate program.  She has faculty appointments in Conservation Biology; Natural Resource Sciences and Management, and Landscape Architecture. In addition, she is a Resident Fellow in the Institute on the Environment and Faculty Scholar with the Center for Transportation Studies.

Student Employees

Dominique Boczek

Undergraduate Editor for Communications and Research

Dominique is an undergraduate student editor with IonE’s Sustainability Education program. She is a blog manager and website developer, and contributes to outreach, event planning and social media communication. Dominique is a senior studying bioproducts, marketing and management with a focus in residential building science technologies and a minor in sustainability. She has a passion for the environment and plans to work with renewable energy and sustainable building. She enjoys spending her free time volunteering at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and participating in the Indian Student Association.

Madeline Giefer

Madeline photoshopped

Undergraduate Assistant for Communications and Research

Madeline Giefer is an undergraduate communications assistant, a position that aligns well with her major in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management. Her favorite part of the job is writing for the Sustainability Education news blog, but she also enjoys editing, managing social media, and helping to coordinate outreach and events. In the future she hopes to use these skills working on sustainable development in Western China.

Nathan Michielson


Undergraduate Assistant for Communications and Research

Nathan Michielson is an undergraduate student studying environmental sciences, policy, and management focusing on policy and law. He also plans on pairing this with a double minor in social justice and sustainability studies. With this, Nathan plans to focus on environmental justice and work towards social and policy change surrounding environmental oppressions such as environmental racism.  He is involved with the Research Apprenticeship Program and Dean’s Engaged Leaders Program both within CFANS, and plans on getting the most of his University of Minnesota experience by joining student organizations with sustainable and social change goals. In Nathan’s free time he enjoys hiking, cross country skiing, and going to farmer’s markets.

Sima Sajjadiani

Sustainability Education Program Graduate Assistant

Sima Sajjadiani joined IonE in September 2012 as a graduate assistant overseeing the logistics of sustainability education programs, including recruitment, registering and tracking students, running focus groups, administering student feedback surveys and supervising students using the Web and social media to communicate and market sustainability education programs and events. Sima is a graduate student in the Carlson School of Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA. If time allows, she enjoys cooking, watching movies and traveling.

The Sustainability Education website is administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

The University of Minnesota offers sustainability courses in most of its colleges and campuses around the state. These courses encompass biophysical sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, design, engineering, business, and health. The Sustainability Studies minor is one of several interdisciplinary programs through which such diverse courses come together.