Return to Skip Menu

Main Navigation

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Meet Our Team

    Headshot of Angie De Soto
Angie De Soto
Director, Sustainability Institute

Angie De Soto joined the College of Natural Resources and Environment in August 2014 to launch the Sustainability Institute. She is a passionate intrapreneur in the sustainability education field and has been working on sustainability at Virginia Tech since the spring of 2006. Angie has served in numerous roles on campus, including as a student leader in the Environmental Coalition, the education assistant in the Recycling Department, an intern and undergraduate representative to the Energy and Sustainability Committee, a contracted consultant, and three years as Virginia Tech’s first campus sustainability planner. Her leadership as both a student and staff member has been integral to the establishment of the university’s policy on sustainability and its award-winning approach to implementation.

In addition to her work on campus, Angie has worked on programs at the state, national, and international levels, including participating in U.N. climate negotiations in Copenhagen as a youth delegate in 2009. Most recently, she worked in Guilin, China, designing sustainability-focused study-abroad programs with the Chinese Language Institute.

Angie completed her undergraduate work in environmental policy and planning at Virginia Tech and is a graduate of the university’s executive master of natural resources program

    Headshot of Paul M. Winistorfer
Paul Winistorfer
Dean, College of Natural Resources and Environment

Paul M. Winistorfer has served as dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment since August 2009. He previously served as head of the college’s Department of Wood Science and Forest Products (now the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials) from 2001 to 2009 and was chair of the Virginia Tech Department Head’s Executive Council in 2009.

Dr. Winistorfer earned his doctorate in forestry (wood science) from Iowa State University in 1985 and began his professional career as a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Georgia. He served on the faculty at the University of Tennessee for 16 years, where he was the founder and director of the Tennessee Forest Products Center (now the Center for Renewable Carbon).

Dr. Winistorfer has extensive experience in the field of wood composites, directing a research program at the University of Tennessee that focused on density and densification of such products during manufacture. This work led to successful USDA Research Initiative Competitive grants, a stream of important publications, and technology that has been commercialized in the private sector and is now in place at over 120 manufacturing facilities and R&D, government, and university labs worldwide. He is a U.S. patent holder and received the American Museum of Science and Energy Emerging Technology Award in 1999 and 2000.

    Headshot of Emily Hutchins
Emily Hutchins
Director of Development, College of Natural Resources and Environment

Emily Hutchins joined the College of Natural Resources and Environment in February 2014 as director of development. She provides strategic leadership to help the college meet its goal in securing resources to support students and faculty, and to enhance its programs for teaching, research, and outreach. She works closely with individual donors and companies to align their philanthropic interests with the college's top priorities to create a lasting impact.

Emily came to Virginia Tech from the Denver Zoo, where she worked in a philanthropic role raising long-term support through major gifts. She previously served as managing director of the Mountain Lake Conservancy in Pembroke, Virginia.

Emily is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and recently completed her master’s in nonprofit management from Regis University.

Faculty Fellows

    Headshot of Kathy A. Alexander, Ph.D.
Dr. Kathy Alexander, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Dr. Alexander’s research program is directed at exploring and understanding the factors that influence the emergence and persistence of emerging and re-emerging diseases at the human-wildlife interface. Her program embraces a systems biology approach to ecosystem health integrated with public health, beginning with host-pathogen dynamics and extending to the rural livelihoods of communities living with wildlife, including the impact on ecosystem function and local communities themselves.

    Headshot of Timothy Baird
Dr. Tim Baird, Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

Dr. Baird’s research focuses on human-environment interactions, especially the social dynamics of conservation and sustainable natural resource management in the developing world. He is interested in how instruments of conservation (e.g., parks, protected areas, etc.) affect economic, demographic, and social factors at the household and community levels. Recently, his work in rural Africa has focused on how groups adapt to conservation in terms of community development, economic diversity, and cultural reproduction. This work engages scholarship in livelihood studies, human ecology, resilience studies, and cultural and political ecology.

    John Chermak
Dr. John Chermak, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Geosciences, College of Science

Dr. Chermak has been involved for more than 23 years in the scientific, engineering, social, and political aspects of permitting, construction, operation, and closure of mining and industrial sites in 14 states and 9 countries. Currently at Virginia Tech, John continues to bring the “real world” to the classroom and engages students within the subject areas of Mining, Energy, and the Environment. He has recently had a review paper published by the International Journal of Coal Geology titled “Review of the Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Nine Hydrocarbon Producing Shales in the USA” and is currently teaching a graduate level course on hydraulic fracturing and two undergraduate courses. In addition to his teaching and research, John continues to work on numerous projects in the US and internationally.

    Susan Clark
Dr. Susan Clark, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor and Director of Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Susan Clark is an expert in nutrition and hunger in the population and civic agriculture. Dr. Clark's research interests relate to civic and sustainable agriculture, food systems, and community development practice specifically focusing on resilient, accessible, affordable, and healthy place-based food systems in Appalachian communities. I am also interested in assessing how the civic agriculture and food systems curriculum transforms student learning using electronic portfolios. Adjunct faculty appointment in theDepartment of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.

    Sean McGinnis
Dr. Sean McGinnis, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the Green Engineering Program, College of Engineering

Sean McGinnis is a Research Associate Professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Virginia Tech. He directs the Green Engineering program which teaches students skills to minimize the environmental implications of engineering practice across all College of Engineering disciplines. In this program, he teaches both core classes required for the Green Engineering Minor – ENGR 3124: Introduction to Green Engineering and ENGR 4134: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment. In MSE, he teaches Materials Design, Selection, and Processing (MSE 4055). He has also developed a Green Engineering short course for NASA professionals.

Dr. McGinnis received BS degrees in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in MSE from Stanford University. He also worked in industry for 10 years before joining the faculty at VT. His current research focuses on life cycle assessment (LCA), sustainable manufacturing processes, green engineering, and engineering education. He is a LEED AP BD&C and Certified Life Cycle Assessment Professional. Dr. McGinnis also works with local governments and communities to understand their energy inventories and carbon footprints as well as develop plans to reduce them.

    Annie Pearce
Dr. Annie Pearce, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Dr. Annie Pearce specializes in sustainable facilities and infrastructure systems. Throughout her career, Annie has worked with practitioners in both public and private sectors to implement sustainability as part of building planning, design, construction, and operations. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Annie brings the latest in green building methods, technologies, and best practices to the classroom. Her specific areas of interest include metrics of sustainability for built facilities, green building materials and systems, cost modeling to support sustainability implementation, and in situ performance of sustainable facility technologies. She has served as a lead investigator for research related to sustainable facilities and infrastructure for sponsors including the US Army, Air Force, Naval Facilities Command, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Army Environmental Policy Institute, the National Science Foundation, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and multiple private corporations and state agencies.

Annie has represented organizational sustainability initiatives at over 50 conferences and symposia both nationally and internationally, and has developed and taught lectures and courses of varying lengths on sustainable facilities and infrastructure reaching hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students and over a thousand practicing professionals around the world. Along with others in the Myers-Lawson School, Annie is pioneering a new paradigm of construction research, education, and outreach that combines and synergizes inputs from stakeholders in the construction industry with new technologies and research efforts to promote sustainable innovations. For more information, visit Annie’s web site at

    Stephanie Smith
Dr. Stephanie Smith, Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Smith’s research focus is on communication strategies that recent college graduates use to seek and secure jobs. She was recently published in the International Journal of Business Communication, Health Communication, and the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. Smith holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. She teaches principles of public relations and case studies in public relations.

    Headshot of Henry J. Quesada-Pineda
Dr. Henry Quesada, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, Department of Sustainable Biomaterials

Dr. Quesada works in the area of continuous improvement and organizational innovation with applications in sustainable material-based industries. He is also interested in studying supply chain management and international marketing. Before coming to Virginia Tech in 2008, Dr. Quesada served on the faculty at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (Costa Rica Tech) for 10 years. He is a member of the Decision Science Institute, the Forest Products Society, and the Society of Wood Science and Technology.

    Headshot of Marc J. Stern
Dr. Marc Stern, Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Dr. Stern works in the areas of human dimensions of natural resource policy and management, environmental communications, protected areas management, international conservation, natural resource management effectiveness, attitudes vs. actions, public responses to natural resource management, and evaluation of environmental education and other outreach programs.

We will be expanding the Faculty Fellows program to include sustainability experts from other colleges on campus. If you are a Virginia Tech professor interested in joining our team, please email Angie De Soto.

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017

Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.