Rachel's pages

Neva Project

Neva Workshop

Altai trip

National Parks project



Sustainability at SU


Syracuse First

Downtown Writers Center

Armory Square Playhouse


Rachel May

Rachel is Coordinator of Sustainability Education at Syracuse University. In a previous life, she was a professor of Russian language and literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and before that, at SUNY Stony Brook. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and Master's degrees from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (environmental communications) and Oxford University (modern languages). She has been a fellow of the Stanford Humanities Center, the Harvard Russian Resarch Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Center, as well as a Marshall Scholar.

Rachel lives in Syracuse, NY, with her husband, Tom Brockelman and their daughter. She is deeply involved in local sustainability efforts: she formerly served on the Mayor's transition team for sustainability and on the Board and as chair of the Recycling Committee for the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, and she currently serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals. She has recently begun a writing career, studying playwriting and creative non-fiction at the YMCA Downtown Writers Center and participating in the Armory Square Playhouse playwrights' circle. Her play, "The Magic Words," about Elena Bulgakova, had two professional readings in 2013-14, and her prose has been published in The Healing Muse and in Winds of Change: Short Stories about our Climate (2015)

Read Rachel's newest story, A Climate Carol. It is a cautionary tale about climate denial, in the spirit of "A Christmas Carol."

The Neva Project

This was a collaboration with professors Maria Ignatieva and Nikolai Rolle, funded by New Directions in the Earth Sciences and Humanities. The team investigated several sites on the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia, with an eye to the ways ecological and cultural influences intersected in those places.