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Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS)

Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability, Smith College

The Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS) exists with one purpose: We facilitate academic and applied experiences for students that help them excel at integrating knowledge across disciplines, in support of environmental decisions and action.

We work to integrate sustainable practices into Smith’s operations and connect campus operations with student learning. We also support faculty in their efforts to deepen their understanding of salient environmental issues and to integrate those issues into the curricula. We promote institutional innovation and progress toward the college’s commitment to be a model of sustainability.

The mission of CEEDS is to catalyze, enable, and support campus inquiry and action toward positive sustainable change at Smith and in the world by engaging our community through academics, college operations, co-curricular programming, and research.

We support the Environmental Science and Policy program, offer the Environmental Concentration, act as an internal consultant for sustainable operations, manage the MacLeish Field Station, direct the Spatial Analysis Lab, host numerous internships and independent studies, offer a welcoming space for people to gather, connect, and learn, and are an intersection for students and faculty to explore how and where to make change. 

Students discussing environmental data

Meet the Team

Photo of Joanne Benkley
Joanne Benkley

Associate Director, CEEDS & Environmental Science and Policy

413-585-3951 |

Joanne Benkley combines professional and academic interests in sustainability in her work at Smith that leverages alumni, community, and faculty expertise in environmental issues and encourages new and exciting interdisciplinary connections. She joined the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ES&P) at Smith in 2003 and since then has played a pivotal role in leading and supporting institutional change related to the environment and sustainability through, among other things,  the establishment of the Committee on Sustainability, the development of ES&P into a major course of study, and the establishment of CEEDS. She continues this exciting work in her role as liaison to current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and other Smith departments and offices. Joanne co-chairs the Environmental Concentration and the Arts Afield initiative. 


Beth Hooker
Beth Hooker

Director of Sustainability & Administrative Director of CEEDS

413-585-3412 |

Beth Hooker has extensive experience in education, teaching environmental science and providing institutional sustainability leadership at Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and Deerfield Academy. At Hampshire, Beth directed a 100-acre educational and production organic farm and led numerous projects to promote regional resiliency, sustainable practices and clean energy technologies. Prior to joining Smith, Beth worked to advance corporate goals and practices to steward freshwater resources at the environmental non-profit, Ceres. Beth received a B.A. from Connecticut College, double majoring in chemistry and Asian studies. She earned an M.S. in soil science and a Ph.D. in ecosystems ecology from the University of Connecticut.


Becca Malloy

Assistant Director of Sustainability

413-585-3538 |

Becca Malloy is a learner and shaper of dynamic and resilient systems. With twenty years of education and sustainability leadership in the Connecticut River watershed at Northfield Mount Hermon, her work is informed by the landscape, the traditional ecological knowledge, and the diverse communities of the valley. She grew up mucking around in the New England intertidal zone, which inspired her early career in experiential education. Becca earned a B.A. from Colby College in biology with a concentration in environmental studies and an M.B.A. in sustainability from Antioch University New England.


Andrew Berke
Andrew Berke

Faculty Director, Associate Professor of Chemistry

413-585-3637 |

Andrew Berke combines elements of atmospheric and physical chemistry to explore the fundamental physical properties and chemical composition of aerosols—properties that affect both human health and the climate. His lab is specifically interested in a molecular-level understanding of how chemical complexity affects aerosol composition, growth, transport and optical properties. In addition to teaching chemistry classes, Berke is also a member of the Environmental Science and Policy program. He holds degrees in Studio Art (B.A., Calvin College) and Chemistry (B.S., Grand Valley State University, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison), and integrates both into his teaching and research.

Paul Wetzel

Curriculum & Research Administrator

413-585-2646 |

Paul Wetzel has a lifelong curiosity and fascination with the natural world and a passion for sharing that sense of wonder, which forms the basis of his position as manager of the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station. Trained as a wetland ecologist, Paul is interested in landscape conservation and restoration, applying ecology principles toward the practical restoration of ecosystems at MacLeish and beyond. He has been a periodic instructor at Smith since 2007 and currently teaches courses in the Environmental Concentration. Paul received his M.S. in environmental science from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Iowa State University.


Dierdre Quirk
Deirdre Quirk

Administrative Coordinator, CEEDS

413-585-3352 |

Deirdre Quirk has a personal passion for climate change action and is proud to be supporting CEEDS and Smith College in achieving their environmental goals and educating future climate leaders. She has a background in both municipal government (working as office support staff for the city of Portland, OR) and the publishing industry (working as a marketing coordinator and a slush reader). Deirdre holds a B.A. in theater from Reed College and a professional certificate in editing from the University of California, Berkeley.


Jon Caris

Director, Spatial Analysis Lab

413-585-3042 |

Jon Caris builds capacity within the Smith community to extend and enrich spatial analysis in research and teaching. Many of his initiatives build upon the notion of making invisible, visible. He enjoys creating conditions that afford opportunity to see through a spatial lens, prompting new questions and discussion. Jon previously taught at Mount Holyoke College before defecting across the river to build Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab. Primarily trained as a geographer and environmental planner, evidence indicates Jon received a M.S. in GeoEnvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University and a B.A. in Geography from SUNY Geneseo.


Kalai Ellis
Kala'i Ellis

Spatial Data Specialist, Spatial Analysis Lab

413-585-3862 |

Kala'i Ellis is passionate about blending fields and knowledge bases to provide innovative approaches to new challenges in this ever changing world. His background in merging Indigenous and Western knowledge bases, especially in the realms of marine and terrestrial remote sensing and geospatial analyses, have been shaped by his lived experiences growing up in Hawaii and attending college in Utah. Kala'i holds a B.S. in Biodiversity and Conservation with a minor in Geospatial Sciences and Technology and received his M.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University, Provo.

Study Sustainability

Explore Smith’s various sustainability-related academic pathways.

Learn more about the variety of options in Academics on the Sustainable Smith site or come visit us in CEEDS to chat about your interests.

Work-Study Positions & Spot Jobs

During the academic year and summer, CEEDS hosts a variety of work-study positions and internships such as:

  • CEEDS Programming and Communications Internships
  • Smithcycle and Eco-Reps Program coordinators
  • Periodic short-term jobs such as zero waste ambassadors

Adventures and Events

CEEDS hosts programming to help students get access to, play in, and learn about our natural environment. We lead birding, mushroom hunting, snowshoeing tours, do apple cider pressing, and much more. Lean about all our events, lectures, and workshops by visiting the events page.

Visit Get Involved on the Sustainable Smith site for more ways to participate.

Students as ECOReps

Partnering with CEEDS as a student

CEEDS collaborates with and supports students in all manner of pursuits.  Examples include: 

  • One on one academic and career advising
  • Support for student organizations and student-led initiatives such as Sunrise Movement
  • Co-designing and supporting special studies and research
  • Hosting outdoor events such as mushroom hunting, birding, snowshoeing, campfire-making and more.

If you are interested in collaborating with CEEDS in these or other ways, please reach out! 



Wright Hall 005
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3352
Fax: 413-585-3333