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.
Senior Program Consultant, Digital Schools
Research & Project Specialist
Program Manager, Policy & Planning
Program Coordinator, Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Program Director, Sustainable Jersey for Schools
|Samantha A. McGraw
Energy Program Manager
Program Director, Community Engagement
Research & Program Specialist
Program Coordinator, Grants Program
Research & Project Specialist
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurence (Larry) Cocco is Senior Program Consultant, Sustainable Jersey for Schools, Digital Schools Program (SJDS). Formerly the Director of Educational Technology for the New Jersey Department of Education, he was one of the co-founders of Future Ready Schools – New Jersey, the forerunner to the SJDS program. He currently serves on the NJDOE Continuity of Learning Working Group, charged with developing plans and guidance for opening New Jersey schools in Fall 2020 and beyond. Laurence served on the Board of Directors for the national State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and was recognized in 2014 as the State Leader of the Year. He has also been a member of Thirteen/WNET’s Educational Services Advisory Committee since 2006. Additional experience includes Associate Vice President for Government Relations at NJEdge, Principal K-12 Technology Consultant at Office Depot, Media Integration Project Director at Jersey City Public Schools and Senior Audiovisual Designer for Cosentini Information Technologies. Laurence has a M.A. in Educational Communication & Technology from NYU. He can be reached at 609-771-2802, or by email at email@example.com.
Hogan is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, where he majored in Environmental Studies & Philosophy. At St. Lawrence, Hogan ran across country and track, successfully advocated to reduce waste in campus dining facilities, and lobbied elected officials to support state and federal carbon pricing legislation. His senior thesis extrapolated the liberatarian perspective on climate change from writings by influential libertarian theorists and illustrated how government mitigation solutions conform to it. As a Research & Project Specialist, he directly supports municipal energy efficiency, electriciation of transportation, and renewable energy projects and writes clean energy guides. He can be reached at 609-771-2948, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
As the Sustainable Schools Program Director at Sustainability Institute, Heather oversees Sustainable Jersey’s program development and management of the newly created schools initiative. Heather’s role with the Sustainable Schools program builds on over 10 years of work empowering community based nonprofits. Prior to joining the Sustainability Institute, Heather worked as the Assistant State Coordinator for the NJ Department of Community Affairs’ Main Street New Jersey & Improvement Districts Program, where she worked closely with volunteer driven downtown revitalization programs providing technical assistance and training throughout the state. Heather received a B.A. from University of Alaska, a M.C.P. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and holds a Charrette Facilitation & Management Certification from the National Charrette Institute. Since 2007, she has been a Senior Fellow with the Washington D.C. based Environmental Leadership Program. Heather holds a M.A. in City & Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Sociology, University of Alaska Anchorage. She can be reached at 609-771-2469, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan helps to support the certification process for the Sustainable Jersey municipal and schools programs as well as general communications. Her responsibilities include assisting with the review process, updating submission information, maintaining website content, and drafting the weekly e-newsletters. Megan received her B.S. in Human Ecology & Sustainability from Rutgers University. Megan also has experience in the environmental sector, and has interned with the non-profit organization NY/NJ Baykeeper as well as the waste-to-energy company Organic Diversion. She can be reached at 609-771-2921, or by email at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.