Pre-College Programs
Students Engage in Learning about the Environment at Haffenreffer Estate

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Rhode Island Faculty


Kisa Jo Takesue
is the Director of Leadership Programs in The School of Professional Studies at Brown University.  Raised in Hawai'i and Massachusetts, she received an A.B. in American Studies from Brown University and Master's in Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin. She worked as a community-based social worker, providing supportive services to teen parents, immigrant families, and medical patients before returning to Brown to serve as a dean in the Office of Student Life and, later, as the inaugural director of the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center and the Student Activities Office.  During her tenure at Brown, she has collaborated with students and colleagues to implement a wide range of educational programs and courses focusing on leadership and diversity. Takesue is a volunteer with Youth in Action, a Providence non-profit organization where young people work for positive social change.

Lauren Watka graduated from Brown University with a Master's in Environmental Studies in 2012 and continues to explore the natural, and specifically marine, world at every opportunity. She received a B.S. in biology and has conducted research at Brown University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dartmouth College in subjects from micro- and molecular biology to ecology. In addition to research, Lauren has worked as a fisheries scientist on a few New Bedford commercial fishing boats and as an educator with the New England Aquarium in Boston.  Now back at Brown, as a Program Manager, she enjoys the opportunity to learn alongside seasoned environmental education veterans and students new to the field. As a Providence resident, Lauren supports local food and fishery initiatives, bikes as a means of transportation, and serves with her church in the city.

Jayce G is a science teacher at Arlington High School in Arlington, MA, where he teaches elective courses in Astronomy and Oceanography to seniors and juniors and Physical Science to freshman. He holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from Eckerd College (2008) and is currently working towards a Master in Environmental Sustainability at the Harvard University Extension School. Jayce has also spent a great deal of time on non-classroom education. Prior to his years at Arlington High, he worked at Project Oceanology in Groton, CT, leading marine science programs about the estuary of Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River Watershed, and human impacts on the two. He also spent summer 2012 & 2014 as an instructor with BELL Rhode Island and is an instructor for the Spring 2014 BELL program in New Orleans.  For summer 2015, Jayce will be joining the BELL Rhode Island instructional staff once again. Jayce currently lives in Arlington and spends his free time working on his various aquariums or watching any Boston sports team play.

Jane Diener is currently working on a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia (UGA), where she is completing research on sustainability in on-campus student housing. Jane works for University Housing as the Doctoral Intern for Sustainability—a position that allows her to work with staff and students on campus to promote sustainable behavior and environmental awareness. Jane holds a B.S. in Forest Resources from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA, where she also completed one year of a Master of Science before transitioning to the Ph.D. program. Jane started working in environmental education with the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office, where she worked with a diverse population of children and adults in her community. She also worked in various summer camps to establish and implement nature programs. Jane currently lives in Athens, Georgia where she enjoys running, hiking, live music, supporting local restaurants, and cheering on the Dawgs during football season.   

Ross Donihue is the Founder and Media Director at Maps for Good, a visual storytelling team that makes custom maps and digital media for conservation initiatives. Ross is a 2011 graduate of Macalester College, where he majored in Environmental Studies and Geography. He started his career as a cartographer at National Geographic, where he developed a passion for making maps that communicate conservation stories. Soon thereafter, he helped start the conservation mapping program for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Monteverde, Costa Rica. His work in Costa Rica inspired him to found Maps for Good and devote the next year to mapping the future Patagonia National Park in southern Chile. Raised in Maine, Ross is an east coast transplant currently living near San Francisco, California. Today Ross works with conservation initiatives around the world to help tell their story and connect people with places through maps. He enjoys leading workshops focused on conservation, mapping, and photography. He is an avid conservation photographer and advocate for the environment. He is excited to join the BELL Rhode Island team for the first time this year. Ross is a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

Kurt Teichert is a Lecturer in Environmental Studies and Manager of Environmental Stewardship Initiatives at Brown University. He teaches courses and advises students on Sustainable Design and Environmental Stewardship. In 1990, Brown established an environmental education and advocacy initiative that links student research and education efforts with university operations to implement programs that reduce the negative environmental impacts. Kurt came to Brown in 1992 to support that initiative. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and has been involved in research, design and construction of high performance educational facilities for 20 years. Teichert serves as a Stakeholder in the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Initiative to develop and implement a state climate action plan. Prior to coming to Brown, Kurt served as Research Associate and Facilities Manager at New Alchemy Institute. He holds an M.Sc. in Resource Economics from Oregon State University and a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College.