The College of New Jersey

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Meet Our Staff

The Sustainability Institute staff oversees the work of the non-profit organization Sustainable Jersey, which includes the Sustainable Jersey and Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification programs. Review the content below to learn more about our team.

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Randall Solomon
Executive Director
Renee Haider
Deputy Director
Sabrina Arauz
Program Assistant
Stephen Bass
Research & Program Specialist
Jodi Betterman
Research & Program Specialist
JoAnna Contarino
Program Assistant
Tracy Prescilla Glova
Program Coordinator, Policy & Planning
Anne Heasly
Program Manager, Policy & Planning
Véronique Lambert
Program Manager, Schools Outreach, Training and Special Projects
Maureen Jones
Program Assistant
Samantha A. McGraw
Senior Program Manager, Core Operations
Melanie McDermott
Senior Researcher
Nancy Quirk
Program Manager, Energy
Lauren Skowronski
Program Director, Community Engagement
Jennifer Sontupe
Office Manager
Zenon Tech-Czarny
Research & Program Specialist
Kaitlyn Vollmer
Program Manager, Grants Program
Tracey Woods
Research & Project Specialist


Randall Solomon, Executive Director

Randall Solomon has 20 years of experience working in government, academia, and the non-profit sector. He is one of the principals that founded and directs the Sustainable Jersey Certification program. Prior to his current position he was the founder and Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers where he worked to expand the capacity of public decision making to address sustainability. Mr. Solomon’s experience includes positions as a policy advisor on sustainable development for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities integrating land use and energy policy, director of the States Campaign for the Resource Renewal Institute in San Francisco, and policy director for the non-profit New Jersey Future. Other jobs include a stint as a national Park Ranger and serving in the inaugural class of AmeriCorps volunteers. He has participated on advisory boards for federal and state government, civic organizations, and has advised major corporations. He writes and speaks frequently on sustainable development, energy, land use policy, using indicators in public decision making, and governance issues. Randy holds a B.S. in Biology from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a M.S. in Public Policy from Rutgers University. He can be reached at 609-771-2290, or by email at solomonr@tcnj.edu.

Renee Haider, Deputy Director

Renee Haider is the Associate Director of The Sustainability Institute at  The College of New Jersey. The Institute administers the Sustainable  Jersey municipal certification program. Prior to joining The Sustainability  Institute, she was a research associate at the Mineta Transportation  Institute at San Jose State University for two years and the Associate Director of the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University for 18 years. In these capacities she worked with teams of professionals from operating agencies, departments of transportation, industry associations, academic research centers, and Federal government entities to conduct applied research and develop education and training materials related to surface transportation, particularly public transit. This included working with the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration to support intergovernmental sustainability initiatives and collaborating with local, state, and federal government representatives on transportation and land use and statewide transportation planning and programming efforts aimed at supporting the core value of sustainability. She can be reached at 609-771-2307, or by email at haiderr@tcnj.edu.


Sabrina Arauz, Program Assistant

Sabrina supports the marketing and communications of the Sustainable Jersey programs. Her responsibilities include the weekly program update emails, creating and updating website content, social media content creation, video editing, and maintenance of the program’s YouTube channels. Sabrina has a B.A. in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design from The College of New Jersey. She can be reached at 609-771-2921, or by email at arauzs1@tcnj.edu.
 
 
 
 
 
Stephen Bass, Research & Project Specialist

Stephen is a research and project specialist on the Sustainable Jersey Energy Team. He graduated from Binghamton University majoring in Environmental Law, Public Policy, and Administration. He has a background working in sustainability for municipalities and non-profits. Some of his research areas are economics, water systems, energy efficiency, pollution mitigation and monitoring, waste streams, food security, community planning, agriculture, resiliency, transportation, low impact development, economic empowerment, public health, equity, and sustainability in various environments. His work includes assisting in completing certification actions, reviewing submissions, and contributing to policies, programs, guidelines, outreach, and technical assistance for both schools and municipalities to become more sustainable. He can be reached at 609-771-2493, or by email at basss@tcnj.edu.

Jodi Bettermann, Research & Project Specialist

Jodi works as part of the Sustainable Jersey Energy Team assisting schools and municipalities with energy-related actions with a focus on energy efficiency.  Her experience includes educating schools and municipalities in her county about the environmental impact of transportation choice and working in her local public school district implementing energy efficiency programs.  Jodi was named a Sustainability Hero for her work in October 2018.  Jodi’s professional experience includes ten years of work as a process engineer for a pharmaceutical company.  She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University.  In her spare time, Jodi serves on her local Green Team, Board of Education, Board of Health, and various parent groups at her children’s schools. She can be reached at 609-771-2063, or by email at bettermj@tcnj.edu.

JoAnna Contarino, Program Assistant

JoAnna supports the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. Her responsibilities include answering questions about the program, reviewing certification applications, updating website content, and conducting outreach to schools. JoAnna has a B.A. in Environmental & Sustainability Studies from Rowan University. In her time as a student she was involved in environmental advocacy on campus, in her community, and at a state-wide level in New Jersey. Most notably she led the NJ Student Sustainability Coalition for two years. In this role she connected students across the state to share resources, build skills, and ultimately create student power to work on sustainability initiatives that benefit us all. She is currently the Alumni Advisor of this group as well as the Secretary of her hometown Environmental Commission. She can be reached at 609-771-3427, or by email at contarij@tcnj.edu.
 
Tracy Prescilla Glova, Program Coordinator, Policy and Planning

Tracy (she/her) supports the development of policies and programs that create sustainable municipalities in New Jersey. Prior to joining SJ, she was an Associate Leader for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Youth Services & Programs Division and a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow at the University of Michigan (’19). These roles were foundational experiences in public programming and evidence-based policymaking. Tracy became especially passionate about climate change adaptation in graduate school, where she supported numerous climate resilience planning projects as a Graduate Assistant at the New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center. With an interdisciplinary policy and planning skillset, she is motivated to foster equitable, accessible, and sustainable communities that thrive in the face of climate change impacts. Tracy holds a B.A. in Political Science from Temple University (’20) and a Master of Public Policy degree from Rutgers University (’22).

Anne Heasly, Program Manager, Policy and Planning

In her role, Anne works with partners to develop policies and programs to assist local governments in implementing sustainable actions. Anne comes to Sustainable Jersey with experience in land conservation, planning, design and funding and most recently served as non-profit consultant. Prior to that, Anne worked on a range of planning and re-grant programs for Conservation Resources, Inc and was a conservation planner working primarily in the Delaware Bayshores and Pine Barrens for over 13 years for the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Anne has a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Master of Landscape Architecture with a Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Washington. Anne is a licensed landscape architect and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She can be reached at 609-771-2865, or by email at heaslya@tcnj.edu.
 
Maureen Jones, Program Assistant

Maureen supports the daily operations of the Sustainable Jersey programs. Her responsibilities include updating content on website and social media, reviewing certification applications from municipalities and school districts, and providing administrative support for the certification programs, grants program, conferences, events and trainings. Maureen has a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Marist College. She can be reached at 609-771-2938, or by email at jonesm@tcnj.edu.
 
 
 
 
Véronique Lambert, Program Manager, Schools Outreach, Training and Special Projects

Véronique supports the development and implementation of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, working with schools, government agencies, community organizations, businesses and municipalities to further sustainability practices and education in New Jersey schools.  A member of her town’s Environmental Commission and Green Team, Véronique has previously worked in sustainability education and community outreach in New York City, London, Providence and Ithaca.  She has also performed cropping systems research in Hawaii and Guyana.  She received a BSc and MSc in Agronomy from Cornell University and University of Hawaii, respectively, and a MSc in Geography from Brunel University, London. She can be reached at 609-771- 3427, or by email at lambertv@tcnj.edu.
 
 
Melanie McDermott, Senior Researcher

With degrees in interdisciplinary social science (PhD.) and forestry (MSc.), Melanie McDermott has over 20 years’ experience in the U.S., Asia, Southern Africa, and the Caribbean in academic and applied research and consulting. Major topics of this work include community forestry, coastal resilience, and the impact of climate change mitigation policy on social equity. Prior to coming to TCNJ, she served at Rutgers University in various capacities, including as research faculty, lecturer, and Associate Director of the Climate and Society Initiative. At the Sustainability Institute, she is leading a collaborative effort to develop a vision, goals, and indicators for sustainability for New Jersey at the state level that will be promulgated in an annually updated report. It will further serve as a basis for creating the Gold level for certification for Sustainable Jersey. She can be reached at 609-771-2836, or by email at mcdermom@tcnj.edu.

Samantha A. McGraw, Senior Program Manager, Core Operations

Samantha manages the Sustainable Jersey municipal and school certification programs, along with the small grants program.  She serves as the primary point of contact for New Jersey municipalities participating in the Sustainable Jersey program as they work toward certification. She provides program and technical assistance for municipalities and outside organizations about the program and certification process, and helps maintain the Sustainable Jersey website and contact databases.  She also serves as staff support to the Waste Management Task Force.  Samantha holds a B.S. in Meteorology from Millersville University, and a M.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University, and brings both a science and policy background to the Sustainable Jersey team, along with experience working in local government.  Samantha is also a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and President of the YWCA Princeton NEXT GEN Board, and also co-chairs its Nomination Committee, and chairs the Communications Committee.  She can be reached at 609-771-2938, or by email at mcgraws@tcnj.edu.

Nancy Quirk, Senior Program Manager, Energy

Nancy Quirk serves as the Energy Program Manager with Sustainable Jersey providing guidance to local governments on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Her background includes engagement with local efforts to address waste management, energy efficiency, and sustainability planning. After Katrina, she worked with a university-community outreach program to assist homeowners in rebuilding with energy efficient and hazard resilient practices and materials. Most recently her work focused on providing support to local governments in reducing the “soft costs” related to solar photovoltaic deployment. She can be reached at 609-771-2902, or by email at quirkn@tcnj.edu.
 
 
 
Lauren Skowronski, Program Director for Community Engagement

Lauren’s expertise lies in community development and civic engagement.  As Program Director for Community Engagement, she supports our grassroots regional networks across the state with leadership development, capacity building and technical assistance.  Lauren also heads our Community Information & Citizen Engagement Initiative which facilitates online engagement between local governments and their citizens.  Prior to joining our team, she served as State Campaign Director of The Citizens Campaign  for over ten years, where she focused on increasing civic engagement through education and grassroots organizing efforts, as well as collaborated with local, county and state officials on issues such as government reform, transparency and open government, environment, economic development, public safety and education.  Lauren assisted Green Teams and environmental advocates across the state with strategies to interface with government officials on policy development.   Lauren holds a Master’s degree from the School of Social Work at Monmouth University, where she concentrated in International and Community Development.  She can be reached at 609-771-3129, or by email at skowronl@tcnj.edu.

Jennifer Sontupe, Office Manager

Ms. Sontupe plays many roles at the Sustainability Institute at the College of New Jersey. She is responsible for maintaining the Institute’s programmatic budgets which includes tracking income and expenses for over a dozen grants and programs and maintaining financial records for staff.  As Office Manager, Ms. Sontupe facilitates the hiring of employees, student interns, consultants and subcontractors; keeps track of timesheets and coordinates meetings for staff.  In addition, she serves as executive assistant to Senior Staff, and serves as the liaison between the Institute and various departments at The College of New Jersey including Finance and Business Services, Human Resources, and Grants and Sponsored Research.  Prior to working at the Institute, Ms. Sontupe worked for the State of New Jersey Office of Economic Growth as a confidential secretary to the Deputy Chief of staff during the Corzine administration. Jen holds an A.A. in Graphic Design from Mercer County Community College. She can be reached at 609-771-2832, or by email at sontupe@tcnj.edu.

Zenon Tech-Czarny, Research and Project Specialist

Zenon is an Environmental and Urban Planner passionate about creating more sustainable and resilient communities. While his primary focus at the Sustainability Institute is energy and climate change related research, he also investigates land use, transportation, water, waste, economic development, and other related topics. His work is used to update and develop new sustainability policies, guidance, tools, and actions for local governments. Zenon has over ten years of professional experience working with private firms, public sector clients, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. In addition to his professional work, Zenon has taught courses at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy and the Rutgers School of Environmental & Biological Sciences. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning from Rutgers University and a Master of Urban Planning from the City University of New York. He can be reached at 609-771-2549, or by email at czarnyz@tcnj.edu.

Kaitlyn Vollmer, Grants Program Manager

Kaitlyn coordinates the Sustainable Jersey small grants program, a valuable resource available to municipalities and schools that are registered in the Sustainable Jersey program. Her responsibilities include intaking and reviewing grant applications and reports, providing program and technical assistance related to the small grants program, and updating the Sustainable Jersey website’s grants portal. Kaitlyn earned B.A. degrees in English Writing and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and also holds a Public and Professional Writing certificate. Kaitlyn has experience working at the local level, including assisting the grant writer of the Human Rights City Alliance, a grassroots organization in Pittsburgh, to promote human rights education, action, and policies. She can be reached at 609-771-3189, or by email at vollmerk@tcnj.edu.

Tracey Woods, Research & Project Specialist

Tracey Woods works with the Sustainable Jersey Energy Team as a Part-Time Research &  Specialist. Her responsibilities include assisting municipal leadership and green team members in completing Sustainable Jersey’s energy actions and helping create guidance documents to aid municipalities in completing sustainability projects. In addition to a professional background in project management, Tracey is a long-time green team leader. Her public service experience guides her work helping local governments move forward on sustainability projects.  Tracey has been awarded the New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service. She can be reached by email at woodst@tcnj.edu.

 

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