ASLE Welcomes New Officers in 2023

ASLE is delighted to announce the results of our recent elections. Here are the new members of our leadership team:

  • Vice President: Cristin Ellis, University of Mississippi
  • Public Engagement Officer: Daniel Lanza Rivers, San José State University
  • Contingent/Independent Advocacy Officer: Katherine M. Huber, Ph.D., M.Ed.
  • Diversity Officer: Fernando Varela, Texas Lutheran University
  • Graduate Student Liaison (GSL): Lucien Darjeun Meadows, University of Denver

ASLE also thank the many excellent candidates who ran for office and enjoyed robust support from the membership: Kathryn Dolan, Stephen Siperstein, Xinmin Liu, Frida Heitland, and Genevieve Pfeiffer.

We are truly grateful to Bethany Wiggin and Laura Barbas-Rhoden, who led us as Co-Presidents for two years (2020-2021), and as Immediate Past Co-Presidents in 2022. Bridgitte Barclay and Heidi Scott, who will be rotating off the Executive Council after serving three years, deserve our thanks and praise for their stellar service. We also say a heartfelt thanks to outgoing GSL Lisa Fink for two years of dedicated service. ASLE has been honored to have them represent the membership, and they have brought an inspiring amount of intellect, energy, time, dedication, and foresight to their respective offices.

Andrea Knutson, Rina Garcia Chua, and Heidi Hong won’t be departing just yet, as they will transition to Immediate Past Vice President (Andrea) and Immediate Past Diversity Co-Officers (Rina and Heidi) for next year, to help mentor incoming officers in those positions.

Read more about our new officers below:

Cristin Ellis is Co-Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Mississippi and an Associate Professor of English specializing in nineteenth-century American literature. Her research interests include the history of science (particularly the histories of environmental and racial science) and contemporary critical discourses of the non/human. She is am currently working on a project on eco-eroticism. Her first book, Antebellum Posthuman: Race and Materiality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, came out with Fordham in 2018, and her work has also appeared in a variety of journals and collections, most recently Dispersion: Thoreau and Vegetal Thought. I live and teach in the hill country of Oxford Mississippi with my partner, two young kids, and the pitbull who found us when we first moved here, and also spend time in the hill towns of Western Massachusetts where my family has farmed for three generations.

Dr. Katherine (Kate) Huber, Ph.D., specializes in multimedia cultural analysis, postcolonial studies, and transnational environmental justice, with a focus on anglophone Irish, African, and Caribbean literatures and cultures, including diaspora cultural production in Britain. Kate’s first book project draws on literature, film, and archival photography and radio to explore how development projects shape social relations, material landscapes, and cultural production in twentieth-century Ireland. Kate teaches a broad range of cultural and environmental studies topics and theories in her language arts, literature, and writing courses. Read more about Kate’s teaching, research, and public writing at

Daniel Lanza Rivers (they/them) is an Assistant Professor of American Studies & Literature at San José State University, where they also serve as Director of the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. Daniel teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental humanities, U.S. literature, cultural studies, and human-animal studies. Their current book project explores the ways that settler speculations about California’s “natural” state have shaped the region’s environments, economies, and social politics since colonization. Daniel’s writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in, American Quarterly, the Steinbeck Review, Feral Bestiary, Boom, Joyland, and Women’s Studies, where they edited the special issue “Futures of Feminist Science Studies.”

Born and raised in Asunción, Paraguay, Fernando Varela moved to South Florida at the age of 15 with his immediate family. He went to Palm Beach State College and Florida Atlantic University for his undergraduate education. Fernando then moved to Nashville, TN, to complete a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese from Vanderbilt University, and graduated in 2021. That same year he became an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX, where he currently live with his brother Alexis and their cat, Mittens. His areas of expertise are in Latin American literature and culture, with a special interest in ecocriticism, environmental humanities, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race and ethnic studies.

Lucien Darjeun Meadows was born and raised among lands sometimes called Virginia and West Virginia to a family of English, German, and Cherokee descent. His debut poetry collection, In the Hands of the River (Hub City Press, 09/2022), subverts traditional poetic forms to show how a childhood for a queer boy of both Cherokee and European heritage happens within and outside dominant narratives of Appalachia. An active member of the ASLE community, Lucien has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, American Association of Geographers, and National Association for Interpretation. Lucien is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Denver, managing editor of Denver Quarterly, poetry editor of The Hopper, and a volunteer ranger assistant and ultramarathon runner among the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute lands of northern Colorado.