This year we are offering several resources to teachers and student teams for the Sustainable STEAM Challenge. As in previous years, student teams can connect directly with a volunteer subject matter expert. Students can either reach out to one of the experts listed below or sign into Launchpad to find a mentor. 


Additionally, for the 2020-2021 Academic Year, the Sustainable STEAM Challenge teamed up with the organizations Solar One and Greener JC to provide research materials and suggested activities for a number of sustainability topics, including air pollution, plastic pollution, biodiversity, energy, food systems, and climate science. 


Find all these resources below!


These subject matter experts volunteered to assist student teams in developing their projects as part of the Sustainability STEAM Challenge for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Yi Bao

Stevens Institute of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Sustainable and smart structures and infrastructure that are adaptive to and help mitigate climate changes

Key Questions: How can we mitigate climate change through sustainable and smart structures? How can we design sustainable and adaptive engineering structures?

Email me:

Dr. Ashish Borgaonkar

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Environmental Engineering, STEM Education

Key Questions: How do you research information? How can we spread the word and educate people in our neighborhood?

Email me:

Maravilla Clemens

Rutgers University

Sustainability Expertise: Coastal Resilience, Sustainable Development

Key Question: How can we prepare for the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, and practice sustainable development in ways that are rooted in equity and environmental justice?

Email me:

Jessica Cordaro

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

Sustainability Expertise: STEM Education, Sustainability Education

Key Questions: How can we educate others about sustainability concepts? How can we use STEM to teach others about sustainability and solve problems?

Email me:

Kate Douthat

Rutgers University

Sustainability Expertise: Plant and Community Ecology, Water Resources and Water Quality, Green Infrastructure

Key Questions: Conceptual: What is the role of plants in urban sustainability? Methodological: How do I visualize and analyze ideas and data?

Email me:

Frank Errickson

Princeton University

Sustainability Expertise: Climate science, climate change impacts, economics, inequality, costs & benefits of environmental policy

Key Questions: What are sustainable, scientifically sound, and economically efficient policies for addressing climate change? How can we account for uncertainty about the future as well as concerns for equity in these policies?

Email me:

Mike Hornsby

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Electric vehicles and infrastructure, renewable/alternative energy, strategy and policy, environmental compliance and regulation, site remediation, corporate social responsibility.

Key Question: How does energy production and use affect the environment? What can we do to solve climate change?

Email me:

Matthew Kaplan


Sustainability Expertise: Green Building

Key Question: How do we reduce carbon emissions from buildings?

Email me:

Zoë Kitchel

Rutgers University

Sustainability Expertise: Marine biology, coastal development, warming oceans, marine conservation

Key Question: How can we make the Hudson River cleaner? How will sea level rise impact my community? What types of plants and animals are coming into or leaving NY Harbor? How do human activities on land impact the ocean?

Email me:

Elisabeth Krueger

Princeton University

Sustainability Expertise: Healthy human-nature relationships; water, food & climate; resilience; community building; urban design

Key Questions: How can we live sustainably? Where does our water come from, where does it go, and how can we protect it? How do we prepare for and respond to shocks, such as Covid-19 or sea level rise? 

Email me:

Kate Lawrence

Director of Sustainability, City of Jersey City

Sustainability Expertise: Citywide Sustainability

Key Questions: How can we reduce food waste? How can we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit as a community?

Email me:

Weina Meng

Stevens Institute of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Sustainable construction materials

Key Question: How can cementitious materials support CO2 utilization and mitigation?

Email me:

Amanda Nesheiwat

Hudson County Improvement Authority

Sustainability Expertise: Sustainable Communities, Recycling, Sustainability Careers

Key Questions: How can you get involved in your community? Why is recycling important? What career options are there in the field of sustainability?

Email me:

Angela Oberg

Rutgers University

Sustainability Expertise: Urban environmental planning

Key Question: How do we make sustainable, livable cities?

Email me:

Jesse Rodenbiker

Cornell Aktinson Center for Sustainability; The Dept. of Natural Resources & the Environment at Cornell University

Sustainability Expertise: Social interactions with the environment, environmental science policy, planning, urbanization, global sustainability

Key Questions: How do you practice sustainable consumption? How can you plan for sustainable cities? How do you create local, national, and international policies that protect the environment and promote environmental justice? 

Email me:

Lucia Rodriguez-Freire

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Environmental contaminants; recovery of resources; green technologies

Key Questions: How will a changing environment affect the distribution of pollutants in water, soil, or plants? How can we promote sustainable development? How can we convert waste into valuable resources?

Email me:

Fernando Santos

Princeton University

Sustainability Expertise: Strategic interactions, Game Theory, Dynamics of cooperation and collective action to promote sustainability

Key Questions: How can we incentivize individuals to cooperate with each other towards sustainable outcomes? How can we overcome selfish behaviors that obstruct sustainability?

Email me:

Robert Schmitz

ThinkGreener, LLC

Sustainability Expertise: Carbon Emission Reduction, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Design, Sea Level Rise & Resiliency

Key Questions: How can we reduce fossil fuel consumption by implementing renewable energy solutions and sustainable design? What are the principles of a circular economy? How can living shorelines prevent storm surge damage?

Email me:

Guru Prasath Sivakumar

Chalmers University of Technology

Sustainability Expertise: Sustainable production system, sustainable material selection

Key Questions: How can we manufacture/produce a product in a sustainable way? How do you select alternative materials to make a product sustainable?

Email me:


Launchpad is a project-based learning platform of the New York Academy of Sciences that seeks to inspire and prepare young people as they take on the world’s greatest challenges in STEM. Using Launchpad, students can connect with like-minded individuals, create projects, and work with mentors in topic areas ranging from climate change to racial equity. The Launchpad community consists of 8,000+ passionate students and hundreds of mentors from over 100 countries around the world. Check it out at

Solar One

Solar One is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to design and deliver innovative education, training, and technical assistance that fosters sustainability and resiliency in diverse urban environments. Their programs help individuals and communities explore new ways of living and working that are more adaptive to a changing world. 

Find an overview of all Solar One resources HERE.

Interested teams can also sign up for a virtual classroom session on a variety of topics related to energy. Find more information and how to sign up HERE.


Energy Conservation


Renewable Energy


Service Learning


Sustainability & Food Systems


Climate Science

Greener JC

Greener JC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental action organization committed to supporting a more sustainable future in Jersey City. The organization’s actions include but are not limited to, promoting waste and energy reduction through community outreach and educational actions, supporting sustainable development efforts, and facilitating partnerships to help the community be resilient in the face of global climate change.




Air Pollution


Plastic Pollution