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Elly Engle
  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies
Elly Engle Bio

Nothing brings together people and the environment better than food. While growing up in the rolling ridges and valleys of central Pennsylvania’s farm fields, I observed firsthand the roles agriculture and food play in community development and ecological quality. From being an officer in my high school’s FFA chapter to becoming the co-founder of a new student farm at my undergraduate college, my passion has always been to create sustainable change by understanding and influencing how we produce, distribute, and consume our food.

In graduate school, I turned my attention to the social aspects of food and the environment. My dissertation took me to the coalfields of central Appalachia, where I learned how grassroots movements were using local food systems and small-scale agriculture to create a just economic transition. Here at McDaniel College, I continue my food-related work through campus and community-engaged courses on environmental and social sustainability. My work also includes student-driven research and service opportunities focused on growing organic food and flowers in our campus garden and our budding college farm at the Singleton-Mathews Property.


Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
M.S., The Pennsylvania State University
B.S., Juniata College

Research Interests

  • Community food systems

  • Environmental justice

  • Sustainable development

  • Community-engaged scholarship

Recent Courses

  • ENVI 2151: Sustainability

  • ENVI 2265: Society & Natural Resources

  • ENVI 3365: Sustainable Agriculture

  • ENVI 2T04: Changing Food Systems

Selected Publications

  • Engle, Elyzabeth W. 2019. 'Coal is in our food, coal is in our blood': everyday environmental injustices of rural community gardening in Central Appalachia. Local Environment 24:8, 746-761.

  • Engle, Elyzabeth W., Susannah H. Barsom, Lydia Vandenbergh, Glenn E. Sterner III, and Theodore R. Alter. 2017. Developing a Framework for Sustainability Meta-Competencies. International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability 1(4):285-303.

  • Engle, Elyzabeth W. and Michele W. Halsell. 2017. Mining Community Sustainability Certification Programs for Engaged Scholarship Opportunities. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education 9(3):62-73.

  • Rhubart, Danielle Christine and Elyzabeth W. Engle. 2017. The Environment & Health. Pp. 299- 321 in Rural Poverty in the U.S., edited by A. Tickamyer, J. Sherman, and J. Warlick. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Clubs and community involvement

  • Faculty Advisor for Green Life Club and Compost Club

  • Member of the Singleton-Mathews Governance Committee

  • Co-Chair and Founding Member of the Diversity Committee for the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences

  • Co-Chair of the Sociology of Food and Agriculture Research Interest Group for the Rural Sociological Society

Awards and Honors

  • Nora Roberts Foundation Faculty Award for Community Engagement (2019)

  • McDaniel College’s Advisor of the Year (2019)

  • Penn State University’s Alumni Association Dissertation Award (2018)

  • Penn State University’s Paul Hand Award for Graduate Student Teaching Achievement (2018)

  • Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award (2018)

  • Garden Club of America’s Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship Award (2016)

Elly Engle Bio

"I follow a teaching philosophy of critical pedagogy, which combines education with critical social theory to encourage students to describe and challenge the systems of power that shape our society and environment. This commitment informs my three main teaching goals: improvement in knowledge content and concrete skills; application of core course concepts inside and outside of the classroom; and empowerment towards becoming active citizens and future leaders in promoting social justice and environmental sustainability."