Graduate Student Ambassadors

Graduate student ambassadors are available to answer questions about graduate student life, academic programs and student activities. They are happy to share their own personal experiences as graduate students at SUNY-ESF. The ambassadors also lead the campus tours. Feel free to connect with them through the personal email addresses below.

Craig Lazzar


Elaina K. Burns


Hometown: Rochester, NY

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Science in Biology from Nazareth College, 2008

Graduate education: Master's in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management – Graduation: May 2014

Professional Experience: After receiving her B.S., Elaina worked as a field technician at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge monitoring shorebirds and marsh birds.  She gained valuable experience working as a research assistant for various universities with projects focusing on social behavior of white-throated sparrows in Maine, impacts of northeastern coyotes on white-tailed deer populations in New York, and the distribution and foraging ecology of American marten and fisher in the Adirondack Park.  Here at ESF, Elaina is pursuing a M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management with research focusing on monitoring a newly established river otter population in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. 

Hobbies/Interests: Elaina is a kayaking enthusiast, hiker, and competitive swimmer.

Elaina covers Friday tours.


Natalia Cagide


Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Undergraduate education: Forestry Engineering with a specialty in Environmental and Silvipastoral Management (Polytechnic University of Madrid) – Graduation: Summer 2011

Graduate education: Master's in Landscape Architecture (SUNY-ESF) – Graduation: May 2014Craig Lazzar

Leadership/Professional Experience:

  • Parsons Commercial Services Inc. (August 2013-Present)
  • ESF Research Foundation Graduate Researcher (May-August 2013)
  • Vice-president of Student Delegate Association (2004) and Student Representative at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (2002-2007)
  • Vice-president of Graduate Student Association at SUNY-ESF (Academic term 2013-2014)
  •  and Departmental Student Representative (2012-Present)
  • Graduate Assistant, Department of Landscape Architecture (Fall 2012-Present)
  • Tree inventory for the Street Tree Committee of the Town of Dewitt in collaboration with Cornell University (May 2012)
  • Research Assistant for Prof. Emanuel Carter, Department of Landscape Architecture, Consultancy for the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism of Chile on the redevelopment and revitalization of the neighborhood Baja la Mena through the use of urban planning, green infrastructure and urban forestry (Spring 2013)
  • Treasurer and member of the International Honor Society of Sigma Lambda Alpha, NU Chapter (Spring 2013-Present)

Interests/Hobbies: Anything related to the outdoors…hiking, skiing, exploring! Have a passion for landscape and ecological restoration, as well as urban forestry and biophillic urban development. Fierce traveler, craft beer lover, amateur singer and avid foodie J

Quote: “SUNY-ESF is in a location that has many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, being packed with avid enthusiasts who want to dedicate their careers to improving the environment and promoting conservation together with sustainability practice. The energy and close-knit community within the school is something I treasure, and I would have never even imagined how many opportunities and great experiences have come my way through ESF, not to mention how much I have learned and grown academically, personally, and professionally, since I've been here.”

Natalia covers Wednesday tours.

Craig Lazzar

Craig Lazzar


Hometown: Webster, NY

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies: Communication and Culture from SUNY-ESF, 2008

Graduate education: Master's in Environmental Studies

Leadership/Professional Experience: Craig secured an internship at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont during his undergraduate work, and he also worked professionally for a number of years before continuing graduate school. He is now President of the Graduate Student Association. During the summer of 2013, he is working extensively with ESF Outreach to coordinate continuing education and summer programming, and is conducting research into the socio-political context of energy and climate around Superstorm Sandy.

Interests/Hobbies: Craig is an avid game enthusiast, hunter, fisherman, and hiker.

Quote: "My experience at ESF has been the ongoing discovery of this amazing community, formed around a nexus of scholarship, research, environmental stewardship, and global awareness. ESF students are united by a common desire to improve our world and help preserve and utilize its incredible diversity of life, creating an institutional culture that is unique within the academic landscape."

Craig covers Monday tours.



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