Meet the Faculty & Staff

Dr. Derek Larson 

Dr. Derek LarsonEnvironmental Studies Department Chair
Professor of Environmental Studies and History

Office: New Science Center 118, Saint John’s University
Phone: (320) 363-3247

 Courses:

  • ENVR 150: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENVR 215: Sustainability Workshop
  • ENVR 320: Research Colloquium
  • ENVR 395: Research Seminar

Degrees and Post Graduate Research/Study:

  • Ph.D. in History, Indiana University
  • M.A. in History, Indiana University
  • M.A. in Religion, Yale University
  • B.A. in History and Religious Studies, Lewis and Clark College

Dr. Derek Larson began teaching at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in 1998. Dr. Larson has served as Chair of the Environmental Studies Department since 2001 and holds a joint appointment with the CSB/SJU Department of History. His current research is focused on Environmental Politics in Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s. Every month he writes an Op-Ed article for the St. Cloud Times and in his spare time he enjoys fishing, playing guitar, camping and woodworking.


Dr. Troy KnightDr. Troy Knight

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Office: New Science Center 116, Saint John's University
Phone: (320) 363-2007

 Courses:

  • ENVR 150: Intro to Environmental Studies
  • ENVR 175: Integrated Environmental Science I
  • ENVR 215: Sustainability Workshop
  • ENVR 220: Environmental Methods & Measurement
  • ENVR 275: Integrated Environmental Science II
  • ENVR 300G: Science of Global Climate Change
  • ENVR 395: Research Seminar

Degrees and Post-Graduate Research/Study:

  • Ph.D. in Geography, University of Arizona
  •  M.S. in Geography, Georgia State University
  • B.A. in Anthropology and History, University of Georgia

Troy Knight began teaching at CSB/SJU in the fall of 2009.  His initial academic training was in archaeology where an interest in how past societies impacted their environments, and were in turn impacted by environmental change, was ignited.  His current research efforts are focused on the role of climate in past (late Holocene) vegetation change in the American West.  He specializes in dendrochronology, the study of tree-rings, to learn about our planet's recent natural history. 


Dr. Jean LavigneDr. Jean Lavigne

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Office: New Science Center 114, Saint John's University
Phone: (320) 363-3994

Courses:

  • CORE 100 and 395
  • ENVR 150: Intro to Environmental Studies
  • ENVR 220: Environmental Methods & Measurement
  • ENVR 310: Environmental Geography
  • ENVR 311: Intro to Geographic Information Systems
  • ENVR 320: Research Colloquium
  • ENVR 395: Senior Research Seminar

Degrees and Post-Graduate Research/Study:

  • Ph.D. in Geography, University of Kentucky
  • M.S. in Geography, Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A. in Geography, Macalester College

Jean Lavigne started teaching at CSB/SJU in the fall of 2006. She has traveled extensively (especially in Asia), and as a geographer she is interested in the entire world. She spent fall semester of 2008 leading the CSB/SJU semester abroad in France. Her academic interests include the policy dimensions of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the politics of food, water resources, and environmental issues in Asia. She has two children who sometimes show up on campus, and a cat who stays at home. She is very happy to be here at CSB/SJU, where she finds her colleagues truly collegial and her students truly studious.


Dr. Joe StorlienDr. Joe Storlien

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Office: New Science Center 110, Saint John's University
Phone: (320) 363-2053

Courses:

  • ENVR 175: Integrated Environmental Science I
  • ENVR 275: Integrated Environmental Science II
  • ENVR 300: Upper Division Science TBD

Degrees and Post-Graduate Research/Study:

  • Ph.D. in Soil Science, Texas A&M University
  • M.S. in Environmental & Technological Studies, St. Cloud State University
  • B.S. in Environmental Studies, St. Cloud State University

Joe Storlien began teaching at CSB/SJU in the fall of 2014. Growing up in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota gave him an early connection to his interest in environmental issues in agriculture. His early academic work focused on nutrient cycling and sustainable agriculture. His more recent work involves sustainable bioenergy/biofuel crop production, carbon cycling, soil trace gas emissions, and measuring human impact on drivers of global climate change. He can also be found biking, fishing, gardening, and attending live music performances in his free time.


Dr. Christopher ThomsDr. Christopher Thoms

Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies
Office: Peter Engel Science Center 247, Saint John's University
Phone: (320) 363-2552

Courses:

  • ENVR 150: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENVR 300N: Conservation, Natural Resource Policy and Management
  • ENVR 320: Research Colloquium

Degrees and Post-Graduate Research/Study:

  • Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • M.S. in Forest Policy, Colorado State University
  • B.S. in Natural Resource Management; Philosophy (dual major), University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Christopher Thoms began teaching at CSB/SJU in the spring of 2014. As an undergraduate student, a short study-abroad experience sparked a passion for travel and global issues. Dr. Thoms is now a devoted internationalist, having traveled, studied, lived, and conducted research in a diversity of countries, including: Germany, Poland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Nepal, India, Great Britain, Peru, and even exotic Canada. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal (1997-98). His research and interests focus on the social and policy dimensions of environment and natural resource management, bridging several conceptual areas including organizations, governance, power, neoliberalization, international development, social stratification, and social justice. On occasions when Dr. Thoms has time to recreate, he enjoys biking, hiking, martial arts, archery, reading fantasy and science fiction, and complex board games.


Diane Veale-JonesProfessor Diane Veale Jones

Professor of Environmental Studies
Office: New Science Center 112, Saint John’s University
Phone: (320) 363-2844

 Courses:

  • ENVR 150: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENVR 225: Food, Gender and the Environment 
  • ENVR 321: Sustainable Agriculture
  • ETHS 390: Poverty, Hunger and Ethical Issues

Degrees and Post Graduate Research/Study:

  • M.S. in Human Nutrition, Cornell University
    Emphasis in international nutrition and community nutrition
    Minor in Rural Sociology, emphasis on food and agriculture
  • B.A. in Dietetics, San Jose State University
    Honors in Dietetics

Diane Veale Jones began teaching in the Nutrition Department in 1985. She transferred to the Environmental Studies Department in 2007. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Licensed Dietitian. Diane has a wide variety of interests and hobbies that include gardening, baking bread, cooking (especially ethnic foods), traveling (especially to food museums), and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her academic interests include ethnic foodways, locally grown foods, food issues related to gender, farm to school initiatives, world hunger, and innovative environmental studies pedagogy.


Jenny Kutter '03Jenny Kutter

Department Coordinator | Assistant to the Chair
Office: New Science 104, Saint John's University
Phone: (320) 363-3163

Degrees:

  • B.A. in Chemistry and Environmental Studies,  College of Saint Benedict

Jenny Kutter began work in the environmental studies department in 2008. Her interests in science and the environment have taken her career in a variety of directions: analyst at the newborn screening laboratory for the State of Minnesota, lab manager at a private water testing laboratory, head baker at Saint Benedict's Monastery, and garden manager for Common Ground Garden. Her interests in the environment spill over into her home life where she and her husband have been restoring a 100-year-old farmhouse, complete with geothermal heating/cooling and solar photovoltaic electricity. A solarthermal winter greenhouse keeps her rich in greens throughout the winter, and summer gardens and a small chicken ranch help feed her passion for cooking and eating locally. Kayaking, good music, a little yoga, and spending time with her young daughter feed her soul.

 


Contributing Faculty:

Jeff Anderson, Peace Studies (Ph.D., The American University)
Richard Bresnahan, Art (B.A., Saint John’s University)
Gordon Brown, Biology (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Matt Callahan, English (M.F.A., University of Alaska Anchorage)
Terry Check, Communications (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh)
Bernadette Elhard, Nutrition (M.B.A., Saint Cloud State University)
Bernard Evans, Theology (Ph.D., The Catholic University of America)
William Lamberts, Biology (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Matthew Lindstrom, Political Science (Ph.D. Northern Arizona University)
Rachel Melis, Art (M.F.A., University of Wisconsin)
Scott Murphy, Art (M.F.A.,  Arizona State University)
Jessica O'Reilly, Anthropology (Ph.D., University of California-Santa Cruz)
Kristina Timmerman, Biology
Richard Wielkiewicz, Psychology (Ph.D., University of Hawaii)
Charles Wright, Philosophy (Ph.D., State University of New York—Stony Brook)