Paul Smith’s College Announces New Faculty and Instructors to Expand and Strengthen the College’s Position as a Leader in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability

Sep 9, 2022 | The Latest

New Cohort of Faculty and Instructors Among the Most Diverse in the College’s History

PAUL SMITHS, NY –Paul Smith’s College has hired twelve highly respected faculty and instructors in their respective fields to continue to position the institution as a leader in environmental sciences and sustainability. The new hires join the ranks of Paul Smith’s College’s distinguished academy that provides real-world, hands-on learning for our students in core high-demand fields such as business and hospitality, forestry, environmental sciences, and natural resources. The incoming faculty and instructors are among the most diverse in the college’s history—with eight of the 12 new hires being women in a traditionally male-dominated field, demonstrating Paul Smith’s College’s commitment to diversity.

The new faculty and instructors are:

  • Michelle Casson, Chemistry Lab Instructor, holds a Bachelor of Science from SUNY College at Fredonia, including majors in Biology and Medical Technology. Although she has extensive experiences working in local science laboratories, Professor Casson comes to us from the Saranac Lake Central School, where she was a Teaching Assistant. Professor Casson first explored the Adirondack Park while hiking the high peaks at 13 years of age with her outdoor adventure group from school.
  • Matt Clemens, Continuing Lecturer of Biology, holds a Ph.D. in Geology from Southern Methodist University. As a paleontologist who has described new fossil species of frogs, Professor Clemens will be sharing his knowledge with his students in Comparative Chordate Anatomy and Paleontology courses this year. His paleontological fieldwork included work in the United States (Texas), Canada, and Ethiopia excavating fossils ranging from Cretaceous horned dinosaurs to Miocene clawed frogs.
  • Amanda Cording, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, holds a Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont. She joins us from the University of Hawaii, where Professor Cording is a Research Affiliate in the Water Resources Research Center and a Senior Ecological Designer at EcoSolutions, LLC. Professor Cording’s research is focused on maximizing the pollutant removal mechanisms in ecological design features such as bioretention, permeable pavement, and constructed wetlands. She has worked in the environmental field for twenty years, in both the private and non-profit sectors, including projects in the northeastern U.S. as well as Colorado, India, Norway, Africa, and most recently Hawaii.
  • Alex K. George, Assistant Professor of Forest Operations, holds a Ph.D. in Forest Resources from the University of Maine. While he brings experience teaching in higher education, Professor George has also worked as a Program Officer in Uttar Pradesh, India, when he performed audits of wood products and made related recommendations. Professor George will be teaching a variety of forest operation courses including timber harvesting and forest production.
  • Camille Goethals, Horse Barn Manager and Teamster, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to her experiences as a high school teacher and summer camp counselor, Ms. Goethals brings years of experience as a 4H draft horse instructor, already renowned for her performances in the draft horse arena.
  • Emily Grausgruber, Associate Professor of Biology, holds a Ph.D. in Fisheries Biology from Iowa State University. Professor Grausgruber brings extensive experience in teaching, along with a strong history in both securing grants and publishing research.
  • Joe Henderson, Associate Professor of Social Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Interdisciplinary Environmental Education from the University of Rochester. His research focuses on climate change education and American political culture. In addition to serving as a member of the Saranac Lake Central School District Board of Education, Professor Henderson is also a Board member of the Adirondack Research Consortium.
  • Kelly Linehan, Associate Professor of Mathematics, holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Mathematics from Concordia University. A known quantity at Paul Smith’s College, Professor Linehan has served in multiple teaching capacities, especially in the Natural Sciences Department, for nearly 20 years.
  • Marina Morandini, Assistant Professor Conversation Biology, holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and the Environment, with a focus on Wildlife Conservation and Management, from the University of Arizona. Professor Morandini has worked extensively as an educator in both the K-12 and college realms, and she has a publication record related to the behavior of the Mount Graham red squirrel, which is an endangered species. More broadly, Professor Morandini’s research interests include animals’ responses to disturbances and management techniques that focus on conservation. Her passion began while growing up in a small town in the middle of the Alps, and she hopes to nurture similar excitement in her PSC students as they learn in the Adirondacks.
  • Catherine Pelkey, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, holds her Master of Science in Special Education and Grades 7-12 from SUNY Plattsburgh. While she supported TRiO at Paul Smith’s College 10 years ago, Professor Pelkey returns to us with experiences working with students in the mathematics content area.
  • Chris Sheach, Assistant Professor of Disaster Management, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University. In addition to his more recent experiences teaching in higher education, Professor Sheach brings extensive knowledge and nearly two decades of experience in international humanitarian disaster response.
  • Lizz Schuyler, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, holds a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. While she has developed excellent teaching and publishing skills, Professor Schuyler brings a wealth of work experiences, engaging in positions like Wildlife Biologist, Field Ecologist, and Sage Grouse Technician. The focus of her research is to understand how disturbance influences habitat use and population dynamics of harvestable or vulnerable species. Professor Schuyler’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors began as a child growing up in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, and she is happy to return to them.

“We are excited to have recruited some of the best and brightest in their respective fields to Paul Smith’s College in order to strengthen our students’ academic experiences,” said Nicholas Hunt-Bull President of Paul Smith’s College. “The diversity of our incoming faculty and instructors demonstrates we are committed to attracting a vast cross section of scientists to teach in our experiential learning model. This will only enhance the student experience.”

“Paul Smith’s College offers students and faculty the rare opportunity to connect intimately with a fragile alpine environment, and ‘rain or shine’ – the unspoken motto of the college—speaks to our commitment to field-based education that is so truly critical in the environmental field, but is also surprisingly rare,” said Amanda Cording, Associate Professor of Environmental Science.  “A week in the life of a Paul Smith’s student is packed with adventure, personal and professional growth, and participation in a community centered on mutual respect, a love of the outdoors, hard work, and fun. Layer on the small-town artistic vibe of Saranac Lake only 15 minutes away, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

“It is well known that students learn with more enthusiasm and retain information longer when they can apply directly to what they learn. Being able to develop hands on projects with students from studying small mammals’ populations to squirrels’ behavior is an amazing opportunity,” said Marina Morandini, Assistant Professor Conservation Biology.  “I found a great community at Paul Smith’s and was instantly made to feel at home as a part of the team. I hope I will be able to give my contribution to make Paul Smith’s College even more special than what it is already.”


At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. As the only four-year institution of higher education located in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, Paul Smith’s provides real-world, hands-on learning in fields such as business and hospitality, culinary management, forestry, environmental sciences and natural resources. We are able to draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. Our community of resourceful, enterprising, supportive and adventurous individuals collectively provide experiential education, student support in the classroom and beyond, and meaningful opportunities for our alumni. We pride ourselves on research and advocacy on issues that improve our planet and the lives of the people who inhabit it. Learn more at paulsmiths.edu »

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Sarah Wheeler
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swheeler@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6259