UMCES welcomes Crystal Upperman as Board of Visitors member

November 2, 2023

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), a premier research and educational institution working to better understand and manage our world’s natural resources, welcomes Dr. Crystal Romeo Upperman to its Board of Visitors. Dr. Upperman is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in business development and environmental services, including sustainability, climate adaptation, and climate equity. The UMCES Board of Visitors provides advice and counsel to the President on matters pertaining to public outreach, development, and policy issues. 

Dr. Crystal Upperman joins the UMCES Board of Visitors

“Crystal brings an incredible depth of understanding around climate change, equity, and business with an interdisciplinary mindset across various sectors to UMCES’s Board of Visitors, and her experience will be invaluable in helping UMCES to move forward as a catalyst and facilitator of environmental solutions at a crucial time,” said UMCES Interim President Bill Dennison.

As a scientist, Dr. Upperman currently serves as a review editor for the 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5) that evaluates the impacts of global change across the United States and she serves on the executive committee for the U.S. EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors in the Office of Research and Development. As a senior manager at a leading global firm, she spends her time helping to bring best-in-class sustainability, climate adaptation, and climate equity support to clients.

She has been a contributor toward shaping the landscape of sustainability and climate equity through her distinguished career in notable organizations. While serving as Vice President of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) for the Americas at AECOM, she pioneered the establishment of a groundbreaking business portfolio addressing climate equity and environmental justice, ensuring equity across all business lines. Her contributions also extend to the World Resources Institute, where she worked on the Global Commission on Adaptation, demonstrating the positive impact of adapting to climate change on human well-being and economic development. As a consultant at the World Bank, her research on sustainable agricultural development in diverse regions such as China, the Philippines, and Vietnam aligned with global sustainability goals. At the Maryland Department of Health, she led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Building Resilience Against Climate Effects grant, shedding light on the intersection of climate change and public health.      

Dr. Upperman's career exemplifies an unwavering commitment to fostering sustainability, climate equity, and environmental justice, leaving an indelible mark on the field. Prior to her business career, her time spent in academia was focused on research at the intersection of environmental science, exposure science and spatial epidemiology. She has engaged in research projects that entail health risk assessment of climate and weather hazards, exposure assessment of pollen and extreme heat, environmental science translational research to promote sustainability, and positive environmental and public health policies.

She earned a Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.