Master of Environmental Studies Faculty

Our core faculty are dedicated to teaching Environmental Studies at the master's level. Our adjunct faculty are working professionals in the field. Together, they give you individual attention with a balance of theory and practice.

MES Faculty Group 2018-19

Core Faculty

The core faculty listed below are those who you'll come to know over the course of your studies. They teach full-time in MES. All of them are available to any MES student for advising and project work. Eventually, one of them will become your thesis advisor. You do not need to find your own faculty advisor before you start. Have a look at our faculty publications page for a better idea of what they do.

Kevin Francis
Director - Graduate Program on the Environment & Faculty
francisk@evergreen.eduLab I 3018(360) 867-5831
Shawn Hazboun
hazbouns@evergreen.eduLab I 2016(360) 867-6084
John Kirkpatrick
kirkpatj@evergreen.eduLab II 2263(360) 867-6840
Kathleen Saul
saulk@evergreen.eduLab I 2026(360) 867-6511
John Withey
witheyj@evergreen.eduLab I 2013(360) 867-6675
EJ Zita
zita@evergreen.eduLab I 1014(360) 867-6853

Faculty portrait, Kevin Francis

Kevin Francis

Kevin Francis (Core Faculty/Director) worked as a wildlife biologist prior to graduate studies in history of science. He teaches history of ecology, Pacific Northwest history, and environmental communication. His current research focuses on climate literacy, especially how the complexities and uncertainties of climate science are translated to broader audiences through metaphors and images. His previous research examined scientific debates over what caused the mass extinction of Pleistocene megafauna. His most recent publication—“Collaborative Teaching and Interdisciplinary Learning in Graduate Environmental Studies”—focuses on the unique challenges faced by programs like MES.

Phone: (360) 867-5831

Location: Lab 1 3018

Email: Kevin Francis

Shawn HazbounShawn Hazboun

Shawn Hazboun (Core Faculty) is an environmental sociologist and teaches a range of classes on energy, community, research methods, and environmental social theory. Her research focuses on the social dimensions of energy systems, including community impacts from resource extraction and energy production, as well as public perceptions about energy and other environmental issues. She is particularly interested in the social-environmental impacts of the current energy transition, especially within rural communities that have traditionally provided the nation’s energy resources. In 2018, she began a mixed-methods examination of the fossil fuels shipping industry and public opinion surrounding it in the Pacific Northwest.

Google Scholar Page: Shawn Hazboun

Phone: (360) 867-6084

Location: Lab 1 2016

Email: Shawn Hazboun

John KirkpatrickJohn Kirkpatrick

John Kirkpatrick (Core Faculty) comes to MES with a background in oceanographic research and outreach. He trained as a biogeochemist, working to understand links between microbial ecosystems and nutrient chemistry in ocean waters and sediment. His research has evolved to include high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis to better understand how communities respond to change under selective pressure and influence the flow of nitrogen, carbon, and other elements in natural and perturbed systems. Science communication, including dissemination of current research to undergraduates as well as journalists, is another focus of his. Since coming to Evergreen he has worked in various aspects of the Evergreen curriculum including general chemistry, while continuing to publish work on environmental chemistry and microbiology.

Google Scholar Page: John Kirkpatrick

Phone: (360) 867-6840

Location: Lab 2 2263

Email: John Kirkpatrick

Faculty portrait, Kathleen SaulKathleen Saul

Kathleen Saul (Core Faculty) has an interdisciplinary background that spans chemical engineering, business, energy policy, and political ecology. Her electives delve into the energy landscape in the United States as well as what we can learn about effective policy, technology, and social organization from the nations in the Global South that are already feeling the brunt of climate change. Her current research focuses on the socio-political ecology of energy policy and climate change, especially the human dimensions of displacement resulting from large-scale energy projects. In addition, she is developing a project on the role of fences and walls in shaping the power dynamics associated with climate- and development-related projects. Her recent publications focus on  graduate environmental studies and using case studies to help students understand nuclear energy and  access to electricity on tribal lands.

Phone: (360) 867-6511

Location: Lab 1 2026

Email: Kathleen Saul

John WitheyJohn Withey

John Withey (Core Faculty) is a terrestrial ecologist with a background in field ornithology. He teaches classes on landscape conservation and management, urban ecology, research design, and quantitative analyses of environmental data.  He welcomes student involvement in his research, which has recently focused on the effects of land-use and/or climate change on native wildlife.  In one current collaboration he is examining phenological mismatch across multiple trophic levels, with a particular focus on migratory birds. He has also developed and used different conservation prioritization approaches such as conservation return-on-investment, accounting for evolutionary distinctiveness, using sage grouse as an umbrella species, and incorporating climate change into U.S. protected areas. He enjoys using a combination of field-based empirical data, ecological modeling, and spatial and quantitative analyses in his work.

Weebly: John Withey

Google Scholar Page: John Withey

Phone: (360) 867-6675

Location: Lab 1 2013

Email: John Withey

EJ ZitaEJ Zita

EJ Zita (Core Faculty) is a physicist by training, holding a PhD in physics from UW-Madison. Her research spans fusion energy, stellar astrophysics (especially our Sun’s magnetism), and sustainability. In her work she’s learned that the Sun is not causing global warming, and that renewable energy is key to global resiliency and social justice. Zita has worked in private industry, national laboratories, university research, and grassroots environmental activism. She is also an organic farmer and a public servant. Elected to the Port of Olympia Commission in 2015, Zita works for better policies through analysis, transparency, and partnerships. Zita and her wife, an Army veteran, have too many dogs, and a rooster named Buddy.

Phone: (360) 867-6853

Location: Lab 1 1014

Email: EJ Zita


Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct Faculty supplement the core faculty by teaching some of our electives. They bring an excellent blend of professional and academic experience to the MES program, offering unique perspectives.

Sarah Hamman
Faculty (360) 867-6225
Timothy Quinn
Michael (Mike) Ruth
Faculty (360) 867-6225

Michael Ruth PortraitMike Ruth

Mike Ruth (Adjunct Faculty) has been teaching Geographic Information System (GIS) courses at The Evergreen State College for five years, mainly in the Masters of Environmental Studies (MES) program. Mike has a MS  in Geology from George Washington University and a BA from University of Virginia. Mike is a Certified GIS Professional (GISP). Mike has worked in the field of professional GIS consulting for over 35 years. From 2001 to 2018, Mike worked for the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) Inc as a project manager in Esri’s Professional Services division. Mike has consulted on more than 100 GIS projects for various customers, including state and federal government agencies, local cities and municipalities, international organizations (including several United Nations agencies) and major non-profit organizations. Starting in 2010, Mike started Esri’s non-profit professional services practice. In that role, Mike has provided mapping and GIS consulting to international Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO’s) in ~20 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe.

Phone: (360) 867-6225

Location: Lab 1, 3015

Email: Mike Ruth