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Faculty & Staff



Dr. Luke Dollar
Office: ENV 319
Phone: (704) 637-4206

  • Professor of Environment and Sustainability

Dollar is a renowned wildlife biologist and conservationist, and a National Geographic Explorer.  Much of his research is focused in Africa, as he manages the National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative.  In Madagascar, Dollar also leads ongoing, long-term research focusing on the ecology and conservation of the island's largest endemic predator, the Fosa, a unique carnivore found nowhere else in the wild, resembling a blend between the mongoose, hyena, and cat families.
Read more »

jaybolin.jpgDr. Jay F. Bolin
Office: ENV 209
Phone: (704) 637-4450

  • Associate Professor
  • B.S., Virginia Tech
  • M.S., Ph.D., Old Dominion University
  • Post-Doctoral study, Smithsonian Institution Dept. of Botany

Interests: plant systematics, molecular phylogenetics, plant ecology, parasitic plants

SueCalcagni.jpgDr. Sue Calcagni
Office: CENV 303
Phone: (704) 637-4296

  • Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
  • Coordinator of the Environmental Science Program
  • Ph.D., Duke University

Interests: aquatic toxicology, watershed studies, environmental physiology, biodiversity

kellyflanigan.jpgKelly Flanigan
Office: CENV Lobby 
Phone: (704) 637-4195

  • Department Coordinator, Environment and Sustainability
  • Adjunct Professor, Environment and Sustainability

Flanigan completed her Undergraduate in Environmental Studies at the University of Kansas with a focus on conservation and geography. She completed Service Learning, Geographic Information Science, and Geospatial Specialist Certificates. Presently, she is a Master’s Candidate at Ohio University completing her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies. Flanigan’s thesis is an occupancy study of small mammals and quantification of habitat loss in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar. She is placing an emphasis on the elusive carnivore, the Western Falanouc. Flanigan hopes that her thesis research will assist with management strategies and educating resident communities in the park about their impacts on the surrounding ecosystem they depend on in order to work toward more sustainable development.


andrewjacobson19.jpgDr. Andrew Jacobson

  • Assistant Professor of GIS & Conservation
  • GIST Minor Coordinator 
  • B.A., St. Olaf College
  • M.E.M., Nicholas School of the Environment 
  • Ph.D., University College London


Jacobson is a conservation biologist who uses geographic information systems (GIS) to research the location and distribution of special species and places on planet Earth. Jacobson attended the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where he earned his Master’s degree and began a specialization in GIS. Jacobson obtained his PhD from the Geography Department at the University College London, with research focusing on the distribution of large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes of East Africa. Before coming to Catawba College, Jacobson worked as a Science and Geospatial Advisor to the National Geographic Society, helping to identify and prioritize protection of wild places throughout the world. Jacobson is excited to begin collaborative research with Catawba students & faculty, as well as local organizations & non-profits. 

Interests: GIS, drones, conservation biology, carnivores, land & species conservation

JoePoston.jpgDr. Joe Poston

Office: SSB 102
Phone: (704) 637-4443

  • Professor of Biology
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Interests: Animal Behavior, Ornithology, Ecology

mercedesembid.jpgDr. Mercedes C. Quesada-Embid
Office: CENV 203

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Advocacy
  • Ph.D., Antioch University New England
  • M.A., Salisbury University
  • B.S., Salisbury University
  • B.A., Salisbury University

Quesada-Embid is an interdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching interests spanning the social and natural sciences, as well as the humanities. Her interests gravitate toward and explore an array of eco-egalitarian concerns, in particular, the role of socio-ecological resilience as it relates to local and global sustainability efforts. Key to this work is an understanding of communication strategies. The political sphere that revolves around legislative and social change requires strategic listening and communication skills, an organized vision for long-term impact, and an ability to support and mobilize concerned citizens in a transparent, effective, and relevant way. 
Read more »

ConnieLowery.jpgDr. Connie Rogers-Lowery
Office: SSB 203
Phone: (704) 645-4803
Fax: (704) 637-4204

  • Professor of Biology
  • College Provost
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University
  • M.S. and B.A., UNC-Charlotte

Research Interests: Physiology and development of invertebrates; Calcification and development of coral; interactions between parasitic larvae of freshwater mussels and their fish hosts

Course Taught:
Anatomy and Physiology, Animal Physiology, Electron Microscopy, Invertebrate Biology

JamieSlate.jpgDr. Jamie Slate
Phone: (704) 637-4407

  • Associate Professor of Economics
  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Economics
  • B.A., Christopher Newport University, Economics

Courses Taught: Comparative Economic Systems, Business & Economics Statistics, Environmental Economics
Read more »

JohnWear.JPGDr. John Wear, Jr.
Office: CENV 312 
Phone: (704) 637-4738
Fax: (704) 645-4590

  • Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
  • Director of the Center for the Environment
  • B.S., North Carolina State University
  • M.S., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University

Dr. John E. Wear Jr., the Catawba College Center for the Environment's founding director, established the Center and Catawba's Environmental Science & Environmental Studies Program in 1993. Dr. Wear has committed his energies to environmental initiatives at the local, regional and state level. His leadership was instrumental in launching a number of sustainability initiatives in the state relating to air and water quality and land conservation. Read more »


Professors Emeriti

Dr. Michael J. Baranski MikeBaranski.JPG

  • Professor Emeritus of Biology
  • Ph.D. in botany and ecology from NC State University

Baranski joined the Catawba faculty in 1974 and spent his career at Catawba teaching a wide range of subjects, most notably field courses. He also took a leadership role on campus promoting environmental preservation, conservation, and awareness among his students and the public at large. Baranski retired in 2012 after 38 years of service to the College.

drum.jpg Dr. George Drum

  • Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Biology
  • Ph.D., Tulane University

Dr. Drum retired from Catawba after 23 years of service to the College.


Adjunct Faculty


JasonWasler.jpg Jason Walser

  • Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science
  • B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Walser is Executive Director of the LandTrust for Central North Carolina, a non-profit regional land conservancy. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration (1994). Read more »

lisawear.jpgLisa Wear

  • Adjunct Professor with the Center for the Environment

Wear is a North Carolina Certified Environmental Educator and serves as the Director of Horizons Unlimited Science and Technology Center for the Rowan-Salisbury School System.



View a list of staff for the Center for the Environment.