Graduate Students

Graduate students have always been at the center of ASLE. Even before our association was formally organized, The American Nature Writing Newsletter, a biannual publication founded by Alicia Nitecki in 1989, and the forerunner of ASLE News, included the writing and editorial contributions of graduate students—some of whom would become founding members of our association. Graduate students then joined experienced teachers and scholars in building ASLE, compiling reading lists, syllabi and a list of institutions with graduate programs in the environmental humanities.

Today, graduate student members of ASLE enjoy:

  • Friendly, fun, and intellectually invigorating biennial conferences and off-year symposia at which graduate students are warmly welcomed
  • Conferences where graduate students make professional connections with faculty and other students, some of whom become long-term colleagues and friends
  • Conferences that encourage intellectual development by providing graduate students a place to present their work, encounter new ideas and methodologies, and exchange ideas
  • Conferences with dedicated panels and events on professional issues such as tackling the job market and creating course syllabi
  • Conference travel grants to support graduate student attendance
  • Awards for the best work of environmental creative writing and ecocriticism by graduate students (see Graduate Student Paper Awards below)
  • opportunities to work with faculty working in ecocriticism, environmental writing, and the environmental humanities through our Graduate Mentoring Program
  • Opportunities to work closely with the coordinator of the Mentoring Program and other members to develop resources and programs for graduate students
  • An association committed to expanding professionalization opportunities, validate diverse career outcomes, and strengthen teacher training

ASLE Graduate Student Liaisons

Our Graduate Student Liaisons (GSLs)represent the interests and concerns of graduate students at meetings of the Executive Council (EC) and collaborate with the coordinator of the ASLE Mentoring Program. As Project Coordinators, GSLs spearhead projects important to the life and future of the organization.

The following ASLE members have served as GSL, and we recognize here their inspired work and ongoing contributions:

  • 1992: Mark Schlenz & James David Taylor
  • 1993: Dan Philippon & George Hart
  • 1994: Julie Seton & Lisa Spaulding   
  • 1995-97: Laird Christensen & Peter Blakemore
  • 1998-99: Wes Berry & Mei Mei Evans
  • 2000-01: Melissa Goldthwaite & John Krajicek
  • 2002-03: Barbara Cook & Tina Richardson
  • 2004: Sarah McFarland
  • 2004-06: Amy Patrick
  • 2005-07: Tom Hillard & Paul Bogard
  • 2008-09: Angela Waldie
  • 2009-10: Sarah Jaquette Ray
  • 2010-11: Jill Anderson
  • 2011-13: Andrew Hageman
  • 2012-13: Andrew Husband
  • 2014-15: Clare Echterling & Stephen Siperstein
  • 2016-17: Stephen Siperstein & Aubrey Streit Krug

Graduate Student Paper Awards

Our graduate student paper awards in ecocriticism and environmental creative writing were first given at the 2007 conference at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The most recent awards were given at the 2015 conference held at the University of Idaho in Moscow. The next ASLE book awards will be presented at the Twelfth Biennial Conference at Wayne State University in Detroit.

We are honored to list here the award winning writing from previous years:


  • Scholarly: Vera Coleman (Arizona State University), “Becoming a Fish: Trans-Species Beings in Narrative Fiction of the Southern Cone”


  • Creative: Maya Laxmi Kapoor (University of Arizona), “The Slowness of Our Eyes: A Creative Nonfiction Look at Life Through a Microscope”
  • Scholarly: William Lombardi (University of Nevada, Reno), “Unequal Burdens: An Outline for Postlocal Ecocriticism and Notes on the Location of Ecosocial Justice”   


  • Scholarly Paper:  Alenda Chang, University of California, Berkeley, for “Back to the Virtual Farm: Gleaning the Agriculture-Management Game”
  • Creative Writing: Micah Sewell, University of Montana for “Seeds: A Creation Story”


  • Scholarly Paper:  Andrew Husband, Sam Houston State University, “Postcolonial ‘Greenery’: Surreal Garden Imagery in Nuruddin Farah’s Maps”
  • Creative Writing: Emily Carr, University of Calgary, “eve / in exile: the poem as ecotone”


  • Scholarly Paper:  Jill Gatlin, University of Washington, “Landscapes and Lungs: Toxicity, Space, and Race in Hubert Skidmore’s Hawk’s Nest.”
  • Creative Writing: Flannery Scott, Western Illinois University, “The Highest Places.”

Resources for Students

ASLE provides a handful of resources geared toward helping students orient themselves to the field.

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Mentoring Program

The ASLE mentoring program offers graduate students research assistance, career guidance, and other forms of professional support.

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Where to Study

Read ASLE’s list of colleges and universities that are receptive to scholarship in literature and environment.

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