In the winter term, teams of two to three students work on plans for large tracts of land, neighborhoods, towns, cities, or regions. Student projects reflect the real needs of their clients in the context of a changing environment, as well as Conway’s mission of developing, teaching and practicing design that is ecologically and socially sustainable. Towards the end of the term, students present their progress on their projects, in what we call “formal presentations” – not final presentations, because we purposely schedule them with weeks left in the term.

At the presentations, the students’ clients and a panel of guest critics provide feedback, which helps guide revisions students make over the next several weeks. This winter, our distinguished guest critics include Denise Burchsted, Jamie Pottern ’12, and Catherine Ratté. Their feedback will help the students as they continue to work on their projects in the final few weeks of the term. We are so appreciative!

> Learn more and RSVP to attend presentations.

Denise Burchsted is a research scientist and professional engineer working at the intersection of aquatic ecology, water resources engineering, and fluvial geomorphology. She is an associate professor of environmental studies at Keene State College and recently stepped down as the Chairperson of the New England Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration after two terms. Her research of rivers is funded by agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. She has designed dam removals and other fish passage projects, and salt marsh and freshwater wetlands restoration projects. She has evaluated restoration alternatives in the Everglades and led nonprofit watershed conservation planning efforts.

  • PhD, Geoscience, The University of Connecticut
  • MFS, Coastal and Watershed Systems, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • BS, Civil Engineering, University of Connecticut School of Engineering

Jamie Pottern (Conway Class of 2012) is a farmland conservation and food systems practitioner based in western Massachusetts. She manages the Farm Conservation Program at Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, where she protects working farms across north central and western Massachusetts, focusing on innovative mechanisms that keep farms available for farmers. Jamie developed and coordinates the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance, a regional network fostering cross-sector connections to strengthen and rebuild local food systems. She is also the Land, Community & Education Director at Agrarian Trust, a national land trust creating affordable and equitable access to land for the next generation of farmers. Jamie lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts, where she is an active member of the City Planning Board.

  • MALD, The Conway School
  • BA, Brandeis University
  • The Farm School’s Learn to Farm Program

Catherine Ratté works as a Principal Planner and Section Manager of the Land Use/Environment section of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Catherine is an experienced manager, facilitator and strategic planner, establishing connections and collaborations across disciplines with a focus on sustainability and an emphasis on equity. Catherine specializes in inter-disciplinary initiatives, at the
intersection of health, land use, climate action, and transportation planning and is an expert in hazard mitigation. Catherine has been with the PVPC for twenty one years. Previously she worked for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the United States Peace Corps in Cameroon, and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She lives in Springfield, Massachusetts.

  • MS, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin
  • MSSW, Social Work, University of Wisconsin
  • BA, Literature and Society, Brown University