Dr. Lisa Cleckner


Lisa Cleckner Phone: (315) 781-4381

Dr. Lisa B. Cleckner, an expert in collaborative aquatic research, community outreach, and administration, became the director of the FLI in 2011. She earned her PhD in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan and worked as a post-doc and staff scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In these roles, Cleckner led a research group investigating mercury cycling in the Great Lakes and Everglades, and supervised a water chemistry laboratory. Subsequently, she earned an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. Lisa was most recently assistant director of operations with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, in Syracuse, N.Y. There, she worked with academic institutions and industry partners on applied research and demonstration projects in water resources, clean and renewable energy, and indoor environmental quality. She was also a faculty member for a certificate of advanced study in Sustainable Enterprise at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, and a member of the leadership team of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership.

Throughout her career, Cleckner has been involved in education and outreach activities targeted to a wide range of audiences including the public, students, businesses, and professional scientists. She has also successfully pursued grant funding totaling more than $3.5 million from federal, state, and non-profit organizations. Most of these proposals have been collaborative efforts engaging different constituencies such as faculty, research scientists, federal agencies, community organizations, and outreach groups.

Since joining the FLI, Dr. Cleckner has secured new funding for the development of initiatives in aquatic invasive species including the FLI’s recently launched Watercraft Steward Program, sustainable community development, a video baseline of the Finger Lakes ecosystems, water quality of green infrastructure installations, and trace metals and mercury in the Seneca Lake watershed. Lisa also has a faculty appointment in the Environmental Studies Department at HWS.

Sam Beck-Andersen

AIS Watercraft Steward Project Manager

Sam Beck-Andersen Phone: 315-781-4388

Sam Beck-Andersen is the full-time manager of the FLI’s Watercraft Steward Program. In addition to the full-time management of the stewards, Sam also provides training and assistance to lake associations and other groups that wish to initiate and conduct watercraft steward programs on their own. Sam’s first position at the FLI was as the seasonal AIS Watercraft Steward Coordinator where he directly worked with 15 watercraft stewards throughout the 2016 boating season. Watercraft stewards provide outreach and education about invasive species and collect data on the use of various boat launches across the Finger Lakes.

Sam graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, NY in 2014 with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management with a focus on Recreation Management. Sam returned to SUNY ESF in 2015 and graduated in 2016 with an M.P.S. in Economics, Governance, and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management. With a focus on human dimensions and management, as well as an appreciation for the Finger Lakes that goes back to his infancy, Sam is right at home working with our team of boat stewards to protect our waterways from the threat of aquatic invasive species.

Susan Cushman

Research Scientist

Susan Cushman Phone: (315) 781-3599

Susan Flanders Cushman has worked at the Finger Lakes Institute as a Research Scientist since 2010. She studies various streams and their watersheds in the Finger Lakes, including those found around Owasco, Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka Lakes. An expert in fish and stream ecology, she measures stream health by a suite of metrics and indices from water quality, benthic macroinvertebrate communities, and stream fish assemblages. Specifically, she has been monitoring stream communities in one of the major Keuka Lake tributaries, Cold Brook, since fish habitat restoration for Rainbow trout was completed in 2006. Her other projects include assisting in the Seneca Watershed Characterization report by surveying the major tributaries around Seneca Lake, contributing to knowledge of trout and other sensitive fish populations within the region, and studying Castle Creek (Geneva) intensely with her research students to better understand changes in stream health along a rural-urban, land-use gradient. In addition to conducting research, Cushman helped establish the FLI Stream Monitoring Program and plays an active role in training teachers involved with the program.

During the academic year, Cushman is the Director of Introductory Biology Laboratories in the Biology Department at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. She has worked at the Colleges since 2007, after completing her PhD at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Fisheries Science in 2006. She received her Masters of Science in Environmental Science at The Johns Hopkins University (2001) and is an alumna of William Smith College (1998).

Kathryn Des Jardin

Water Chestnut Project Manager

Kathryn Des Jardin

Phone: (315) 781-4383

Kathryn Des Jardin joined the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) as Water Chestnut Project Manager for the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded water chestnut control project in partnership with the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM). Kathryn was instrumental in the survey, control, and post-survey of water chestnut across 13 project sites while managing a field crew to hand-pull sites where physical harvest was appropriate. During the 2016 field season, 179.05 acres of water chestnut were controlled across 12 sites. The Kathryn and the crew surveyed 9679.14 acres for water chestnut and other aquatic invasive species across 49 days during the 2016 field season. The most common co-occurring aquatic invasive species was Eurasian watermilfoil and European frogbit. Kathryn will coordinate and manage the 2017 field season utilizing partner and stakeholder input to effectively address the water chestnut across the region.

Kathryn graduated summa cum laude with the combined B.S./M.S. degree ('13/'15) in Environmental Science & Biology from The College at Brockport, State University of New York, which focused on wetland ecology and included research on water chestnut (Trapa natans) and invasive species management. While completing her degree, Kathryn primarily collected plant data for the EPA GLRI-funded Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project for three field seasons, but assisted with aquatic invertebrate, fish, and water quality data collection.

Prior to joining FLI, Kathryn worked for an environmental consulting firm where she provided field and technical writing skills to assist in wetland delineations, restoration project site oversight, and project reporting. She is a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists, a Wetland-Professional-in-Training (WPIT), and involved in the all-volunteer, nonprofit organization Bergen Swamp Preservation Society.

John Halfman

Professor of Geolimnology and Hydrogeochemistry, FLI Endowed Chair in Environmental Studies

John Halfman Phone: (315) 781-3918

John Halfman teaches in the HWS Department of Geoscience and Environmental Studies Program. He is also intimately linked with creation and development of the Finger Lakes Institute at the Colleges, accumulating over $4.2 million in funding over the past four years from state, federal and private foundation sources. Building on Lake Superior and the East African Rift Lake research before coming to HWS, his current research interests focus on the Finger Lakes and include the collection of limnological and hydrogeochemical data to investigate records of environmental change. Current projects include the hydrogeochemical impact of zebra mussels on these lakes; the source and fate of non-point source pollutants within these watersheds; and water quality variability between watersheds. He also investigates the high-resolution records of climate change that is preserved in the Holocene sediments of the Finger Lakes.

Nadia Harvieux

Education Program Manager

Nadia Harvieux Phone: (315) 781-4386

Nadia Harvieux joined FLI in 2013 as the Education Program Manager, bringing with her seven years of experience in developing K-12 educational programs and curriculum focused on watersheds, aquatic ecosystems, and water quality. Harvieux credits growing up on Canandaigua Lake for sparking her interest in stewardship, education, and protection of the Finger Lakes. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from Hamilton College, Harvieux worked as a field geologist in the Puget Sound region in Washington State and continued her education with a Masters in Teaching degree from Seattle University in Secondary Science and Earth Science. She taught 8th grade Earth Science until moving back to the Finger Lakes region in 2004. Harvieux has been a part of the Finger Lakes education community since 2006 when she co-founded a watershed-focused educational outreach program for the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association. Programs included curricular enrichment for Elementary and Middle School science students, stream monitoring, and service projects such as storm drain marking. In 2010, Harvieux joined Finger Lakes Community College’s Conservation Department as the K-12 Conservation Educator at Muller Field Station on Honeoye Lake and as an Environmental Science Adjunct Instructor, positions that she will continue in conjunction with the Education Program Manager role at FLI.

Trevor Massey

FLI Lab Manager

Trevor Massey E-mail:

As the FLI’s lab manager, Trevor is responsible for maintaining the analytical instrumentation including the Milestone DMA total mercury analyzer and Brooks Rand MERX-X methyl mercury systems Trevor also supports and troubleshoots all field instrumentation and equipment at the FLI including the Fluoroprobe, YSI water quality meter, and boats. In his role, Trevor works with many HWS students on summer projects and supervises both field and laboratory activities associated with FLI research projects.

Trevor completed his bachelor of science from the University of Cincinnati in biological sciences and is pursuing a master of science in environmental policy and management focusing on fish and wildlife management. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio he previously worked as a conservation specialist with Five Rivers Metroparks in southwest Ohio where he was was involved in researching, monitoring, and the management of wildlife and natural habitats to better adapt conservation practices in response to changing needs within the park system. Trevor’s motivation to work in the environmental field comes from a lifetime of enjoyment being outside fishing, hunting, hiking, and enjoying the natural world. The opportunity to work toward bettering our understanding of the how we are influencing change in the environment is something that strongly appealed to me when deciding on a career path.

Sarah Meyer

Food Systems Program Manager

Sarah Meyer Phone: (315) 781-4382

Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science (2000) and Masters of Professional Studies (2003) degrees from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y. Today, she is the Finger Lakes Institute’s Food Systems Program Manager, working on regional food system initiatives while offering organizational and programmatic support to Fribolin Farm, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, located in her hometown of Geneva, N.Y.

In this position, which she has held since 2013, Sarah coordinates multiple socially responsible community garden growing projects working with regional chefs, as well as college students and volunteers, to support hunger relief efforts throughout Geneva and the Finger Lakes region. Many of the co-curricular and community projects Sarah manages are complemented by the 34-acre campus farm, which holds over 4,000ft.2 of edible garden space. Sarah routinely dedicates her time to the Finger Lakes Catholic Charities’ Geneva Community Lunch Program, as well as coordinates the Growing Geneva Together Community Garden Coalition. She is currently vice chair of Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty and one of the key coordinators of their annual fundraising gala, Harvest Dinner.

Sarah has worked at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 2004, starting as the Finger Lakes Institute’s Community Outreach and Public Service Coordinator. Sarah credits her early interest and perseverance in serving the environment, sustainable agriculture, and protecting our natural resources to her parent’s influence and early participation in Girl Scouts of America and the Student Conservation Association. She enjoys spending time outdoors kayaking, hiking, gardening, and taking photographs; but most of all, becoming a beekeeper and developing her Worker’s Ransom local honey products.

Hilary Mosher

Coordinator, FL-PRISM

Hilary Mosher Phone: (315) 781-4385

Hilary Mosher is the Coordinator for the Finger Lakes-Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management. She is committed to working with local, state, regional, and federal agencies, NGOs, private enterprise, academic institutions, citizens, and others to manage invasive species efforts on behalf of the 17 counties of the Finger Lakes region.

Prior to this role, Mosher was an instructional support technician and adjunct instructor in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the College at Brockport, teaching or assisting with field instruction in courses such as Environmental Science, Limnology, Fish Biology, Marine Biology, and Plant Ecology. Mosher has taught courses in Biological and Environmental Sciences including Sustainability in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador, Environmental Science, and Limnology & Ecology labs.

Service to the broader community includes environmental education to non-profit, corporations, citizen groups, and school groups covering a variety of topics from aquatic ecology to education for sustainability. Mosher has held various leadership roles within the community and managed projects on both a large and small scale.

Mosher holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from SUNY Plattsburgh and master of science degrees in biological sciences and MPA, both from the College at Brockport.

Patty Wakefield-Brown

Invasive Species Outreach

Patty Wakefield-Brown Phone: (315) 781-4387

Patty Wakefield-Brown is the Invasives Species Outreach and Volunteer Specialist at the FLI. Her work focuses on giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) and water chestnut (Trapa natans) projects in the Finger Lakes region. Patty coordinates education, outreach, and volunteer activities experiential project-based learning and modeling community service. In her role, Patty also works with groups such as the Finger Lakes regional watershed groups, PRISM partners, and county water resource committees to support invasive species outreach, volunteer programming, and recruitment for events and training opportunities.

Prior to joining FLI, Patty worked for New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Environmental Management Bureau, where she was the assistant program coordinator for the Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. Prior to that she worked to ensure bather safety as a Water Quality Specialist at Hamlin Beach State Park on Lake Ontario.

Patty’s background is in environmental education. During her three years at Finger Lakes Community College she volunteered at Muller Field Station where she assisted with environmental programs such as pond life and also teaching beginner canoeing to both public and home school groups. She has also worked at the Seneca Park Zoo as an Interpreter/Educator and spent a summer as the environmental educator at the Bristol Hills 4H Camp where she created curriculum and led environmental programs in GPS, green energy, stream and field ecology, small mammal tracking, adaptations and the ecology of pond life for campers ages 5-14.

Affiliated Faculty

The Finger Lakes Institute collaborates closely with a number of HWS Academic Departments, specifically Environmental Studies, Biology, Economic, Geoscience, and Architectural Studies.


601 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Fax: (315) 781-4399

Mailing Address:
300 Pulteney Street
Geneva, NY 14456




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