Who We Are
The Sustainable GW team brings together expertise from across functions of the University to support efforts in action, academics, and research that promote healthy and thriving resource systems for all.
Sustainable GW is led by Dr. Tara Scully, Director of the Sustainability Minor, Dr. Robert Orttung, Research Director for Sustainability Initiatives, and Josh Lasky, Director of the Office of Sustainability.
Dr. Tara Scully
Director of the Sustainability Minor Program; Associate Professor of Biology
Tara A. Scully is the Director of the Sustainability Minor Program and an Associate Professor at the George Washington University. At GW, she regularly teaches introductory biology and sustainability courses and laboratories to non-science majors. Currently, she teaches five different courses: Introduction to Sustainability; The Biology of Nutrition and Health; The Ecology and Evolution of Organisms; Food, Nutrition, and Service; and Understanding Organisms through Service Learning.
Dr. Scully received her MS, specializing in forensic science research with a concentration on fiber evidence and a PhD with a research focus on developmental biology from The George Washington University. She has worked for a nonprofit agency training prosecutors nationwide on how to present forensic evidence—specifically DNA—in criminal cases and is the author of the book Discovering Biology in the Lab: An Introductory Laboratory Manual as well as Why We Eat Food. Tara can be reached at [email protected] or 202-994-5758.
Dr. Robert Orttung
Associate Research Professor of International Affairs; Director of Research for Sustainability Initiatives
Dr. Robert Orttung is the Director of Research for Sustainability Initiatives, as well as an Associate Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Bob is the lead PI on two National Science Foundation grants focused on promoting urban sustainability in the Arctic. He is the editor of the forthcoming Sustaining Russia’s Arctic Cities. Among his previous publications are several books and articles examining the interconnection between energy and international relations, including serving as editor with Andreas Wenger and Jeronim Perovic of Energy and the Transformation of International Relations: Toward a New Producer–Consumer Framework and Russian Energy Power and Foreign Relations: Implications for conflict and cooperation. He is the president of the Westover Village Civic Association and a member of the board of Field to Table, which runs two farmers markets in Arlington, Virginia. Bob received a B.A. in Russian Studies from Stanford University and both a M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Bob can be reached at [email protected] or 202-994-5730.
Director of the Office of Sustainability
Josh Lasky serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability. He has dedicated his career to advancing sustainability and social impact, implementing strategic change across public, private, and non-profit sectors. Most recently, Josh served as Managing Director and Chief Strategist for LINK Strategic Partners, a GW-alumni led social impact consulting firm that works with clients to engage and empower audiences to learn, share, and take action. During his five years at LINK, the firm added 300 new clients to its portfolio and built core practice areas in sustainability, strategic planning, and organizational development. Prior to joining LINK, Josh worked to build strategic partnerships in various roles at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and held a joint-faculty staff appointment at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where he launched the university-wide sustainability initiative and served as UDC’s first instructor of Urban Sustainability. Josh holds a Master’s in public administration and a Bachelor’s in political science from GW. During his term as a Presidential Administrative Fellow, Josh served as the GW Office of Sustainability's first staff member. He is a recipient of the George Washington Award and serves as a board member of Climate Ride, a non-profit that organizes life-changing charitable outdoor adventures. Josh can be reached at [email protected].
Director of Strategic Initiatives, School of Media and Public Affairs
Frank Sesno serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the GW's School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), Frank was the school's Director for 11 years, where he focused on the next generation of storytellers and on the future of journalism in a chaotic world. In 2009, during his tenure as director, he started Planet Forward to both launch the next generation of environmental storytellers and highlight ideas that can be transformative.
Direcor of the Energy Innovation Initiative
Dr. Saniya LeBlanc is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Energy Innovation Initiative at GW. The Energy Innovation Initiative builds research and engagement capacity in three themes: energy as an equity enabler, the next generation energy network, and multiscale materials for energy. In leading the initiative, Dr. LeBlanc brings industry and academic research experience in creating energy conversion technologies using advanced materials and manufacturing techniques.
Engagement Lead, Office of Sustainability
Kimberly Williams is the Stakeholder Engagement Associate with the Office of Sustainability. Prior to her time at the George Washington University, she served as the Clean Water Network Coordinator with Environment America, convening local watershed organizations across the country around campaigns for clean water protections. Kimberly earned her Masters Degree from the George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. She can be reached at [email protected] or 202-570-1202.
Program Manager, Sustainability Minor
Erin Carlin is the Program Manager of the Sustainability Minor. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a minor in Philosophy from the University of Scranton. During her time at the University of Scranton, she assisted with campus sustainability efforts in the Office of Sustainability and completed her thesis research on climate change rhetoric. Prior to her time at GWU, she worked as the Head of Project Development for a startup company focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the cement industry. She can be reached at [email protected] or 202-994-1719.
Colin O’Brien is a Sustainability Specialist with the Office of Sustainability. He manages a variety of Zero Waste initiatives including composting, recycling, textile reuse, and Green Move Out. A graduate of the Elliott School, Colin earned a minor in Sustainability along with a B.A. in International Affairs. As a student-employee, Colin led the Eco Rep program for two years, organizing dozens of GW students around sustainability issues like reducing water and energy consumption, and significantly expanded student access to composting. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sofie Lindberg interns with the Eco-Reps program, in which she serves as the Director of Programs. Sofie is majoring in Human Services & Social Justice and minors in Organizational Sciences.
Kaya Crawford interns with the Eco-Reps program, in which she serves as the Director of Community Engagement. Kaya is majoring in Human Services & Social Justice and Political Science.
Esther Stoppani runs the Green Office Network employee educators program. Esther is a graduate student in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology.
Madeline Billet interns with the Compost Educator program. Madeline in majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies and minors in Public Health.
Jackson Dueweke interns with the Compost Educator program. Jackson is majoring in Environmental Studies with minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Political Science.
Kristen Caldwell inters with the Compost Educator program. She majors in Geography and Environmental Studies with a minor in Geographic Information Systems.