2013 Fellowships

Each year, Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Climate Fellowships pair outstanding students with challenging, important projects that will propel the US toward a low-carbon future.

In 2013, we’ve identified 14 Fellows to work on 13 projects, in areas like Campus Sustainability, Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Resilient Food Systems and Municipal Climate Action.

Thank you to our 2013 Climate Fellows program funders

Harney & Sons Fine Tea
  • The Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation
  • Clif Bar Family Foundation
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Dr. James Gallagher
  • The George W. Merck Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Marianne Ginsburg
  • Henry P. Kendall Foundation
  • The Josephine Lamprey Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Jeanne & Thomas King
  • Leslie & Colin Masson
  • Margot & Bill Moomaw
  • Kenneth Mountcastle
  • Rob Pratt & Vickie Brennan
  • The Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Jeanne & John Rowe
  • Roy A. Hunt Foundation
  • Elisabeth & Roger S. Smith
  • Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Carol Thompson
  • Susan & John Tierney


Emily Basham Bridgeport Climate Preparedness Fellowship: CA-CP has worked with the City of Bridgeport, as well as The Nature Conservancy, Greater Bridgeport Regional Council (GBRC) and Regional Plan Association (RPA) since 2011 to catalyze a community-wide vulnerability assessment and action planning initiative in Bridgeport. The Climate Preparedness Fellow will provide support for the City and relevant partners on this initiative to advance climate change readiness in the City and surrounding region.

Fellow Emily Basham is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan where she double majored in Environmental Science and Political Science. While there, Emily gained unique learning experiences including a semester long project focused on local-level climate adaptation. She experienced four years in leadership positions for a policy reform student organization that allowed her to hone innovative strategies for gaining student and administrative support for harm reduction policies. Through those experiences she discovered her enthusiasm for policy advocacy and her enjoyment in collaborative outreach. Since graduating, Emily spent time as a coordinator for a statewide renewable energy ballot proposal where she learned to synthesize campaign information for community engagement. She is currently wrapping up an amazing internship at the League of Conservation Voters and looks forward to digging into the CA-CP fellowship in Bridgeport.


Patricia Peng Food Access: Wholesome Wave/City of Bridgeport: Bridgeport’s City Council recently voted to establish a Food Policy Council for the City, to be tasked with improving the availability and distribution of healthy foods through the city. This Fellow will work with the City and local non-profit Wholesome Wave to develop a model of a sustainable, community-oriented food access program, ensuring the availability and affordability of healthy food in diverse, resource–strapped urban areas like Bridgeport.

Fellow Patricia Peng is a 2012 graduate from Purdue University, receiving her Bachelors in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. During her undergraduate studies, she worked with the University Office of Sustainability to promote the reduction of waste and encourage recycling behavior for the collegiate competition, RecycleMania. She is now pursuing her Masters in Public Affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University to study environmental policy. While completing her first year of graduate school, she worked for the Office of Sustainability to help students understand sustainable living behavior and communicate with property managers how to help their tenants live sustainably. Her main interests are in behavioral change and educating the public through policy.


Rebecca Owens A Quantitative Assessment of the State of Climate Leadership in Higher Education: This Fellow will work with Clean Air-Cool Planet, CA-CP partners Sightlines and Second Nature, and others, to analyze and interpret data from the new online database of the Campus Carbon Calculator, and to use that data to create a report for broad distribution.

Fellow Rebecca Owens is an MBA in Sustainability graduate student at Antioch University of New England. She previously worked in Boston for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. as a sustainability planner and LEED AP specialist, where her projects included best practices analysis for green campus and community master plans. Her undergraduate degree was in Environmental Studies, from Wellesley College.


Kristen Rumsey Assessing the State of Sustainability in K-12 Education: The Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program (ED-GRS) is an awards program that recognizes the top “green” elementary, middle, and high schools in the country. This Fellow will download, refine, and analyze Green Ribbon data to date to distill key trends and findings into a report. Through a gap analysis, the fellow will identify future opportunities for improvement, including mechanisms for involving additional schools.

Fellow Kirsten Rumsey graduated in May 2012 from the University of Virginia with a major in Environmental Thought and Practice and a minor in mathematics. Throughout college, she participated in a variety of clubs and activities, including Beyond Coal, an organization dedicated to moving the University to clean energy, a mentoring program tutoring elementary school children, and an internship promoting sustainable projects in local county schools.  After college, she was a Canvass Captain for the Obama Campaign and took her GRE’s in preparation for attending graduate school in either Environmental Management or Sustainability. She is very excited for the opportunity to be part of the Clean-Air Cool Planet Fellowship Program!


Kevin McGrath Economic Strategies for Climate Preparedness in NJ: This Fellow will provide support for the statewide effort in New Jersey by undertaking analysis designed to support public policy development as to sustainable methods of funding support for climate change preparedness and response efforts, including practices underway elsewhere.

Fellow Kevin McGrath is a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.  His policy concentration is on environmental and energy policy, with a particular interest in climate and water resources.  He has recently worked for non-profit policy advocacy organizations in the fields of renewable energy and waterfront restoration, as well as with the National Academy of Sciences.  In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor sports and recreation, college athletics, and a good book, as well as taking his dogs to the beach.  A native of New Jersey, Kevin is a graduate of Rutgers University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in History and Psychology.


Kelly Bickers Identifying and Assisting Vulnerable Populations to Enhance Climate Preparedness in NJ: The Climate Preparedness Fellow will provide support for the statewide effort in New Jersey by undertaking analysis that will identify especially vulnerable communities to climate change impacts in New Jersey as well as corresponding best practices elsewhere for public policies to address those impacts to vulnerable communities.

Fellow Kelly Bickers is a graduate student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where she is studying City and Regional Planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. She is concentrating her studies in Environmental and Physical Planning, focusing on ways in which planners contribute to designing more resilient and inclusive communities. In addition to her studies, Kelly serves as the American Planning Association Student Representative for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Rutgers Association of Planning and Public Policy Students. Kelly also works as a research assistant for the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at Rutgers. Kelly received her B.A. in Geography from Georgia Southern University. Her interest in culture and “sense of place” took her abroad after graduation where she worked in Munich, Germany for Lemontree Brand Strategy, a consulting firm specializing in brand management. Kelly lives in Highland Park, New Jersey and enjoys photography and cycling in her spare time.


Kimiko Nygaard Water Resources and Climate Preparedness in Montana: This Fellow will canvas stakeholders in the northern Rockies region working in the agricultural and forestry industries to catalog current adaptation practices and challenges.  From this research, the fellow will develop a white paper describing the real world stories of adaptation and providing any pertinent data on the effectiveness of these practices in recent years.

Fellow Kimiko Nygaard was born and raised outside Bozeman, Montana which has cultivated a deep appreciation for the outdoors and the rural environment. Over the years, she has spent extensive amounts of time working with and studying remote mountain environments, including natural resource management, land use practices, land development models and landownership patterns.  She has a MSc degree in Geography from Montana State University’s (MSU) Department of Earth Sciences and since 2010, she has been working on her doctoral degree at University of Montana’s (UM) College of Forestry and Conservation. Her research dissertation is examining how mountain communities adapt and respond to climatic variability and changes in the hydrologic cycle, particularly with respect to food production, natural hazard response, and long-term socioeconomic security. When she is not working, you can find her recreating in the mountains including backcountry skiing, biking, camping, running, and hiking.


Emily FrancisMaxim Grigri Field Survey of Whitebark Pine Damage in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Recent climate warming has exacerbated the pine beetle threat to the Whitebark Pine forests of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This Fellow will work on a 2-person team to ground-truth and update the status of forests surveyed by air in 2009;gauge the ecological impacts of pine beetle outbreaks by conducting wildlife point surveys; and work with concerned local citizens to collect forest mortality and wildlife response data.

Emily Francis, one of two Whitebark Pine Fellows, will graduate in June 2013 from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and certificates in Environmental Studies and Dance. While at Princeton, Emily studied the various types of human influences on ecosystem functioning and natural resource availability. Emily’s main research interest is forest ecology, and she did an original senior thesis on the carbon sequestration of secondary redwood forests in the state and local parks of the Santa Cruz Mountains. While at Princeton, Emily was a leader of freshmen backpacking trips and an instructor of Wilderness First Aid for Princeton’s Outdoor Action program. Emily spent any time left over after academics dancing in a student-run dance company and with the Princeton dance department.  Emily loves field research and making maps with Geographic Information Systems, and she is very excited to be part of the CA-CP fellowship program!

Maxim Grigri, the second of two Whitebark Pine Fellows, was born in Philadelphia and grew up mostly in South Jersey in a small 1-square-mile town called Wenonah. He is 50% French, and has been to France many times to visit family. He meandered through high school before coming to Ithaca College to play Varsity Soccer. He played for just two years before turning his attention elsewhere. After three degree changes he arrived at Environmental Science, which has allowed him to gain knowledge of natural sciences and a unique, interdisciplinary perspective on modern global issues. In addition, he graduated from a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) semester in India, in which he learned to navigate the back country and lead outdoor adventure activities. A 2013 graduate of Ithaca College, he looks forward to joining Clean Air-Cool Planet to study the ecological impact of Whitebark Pine decline in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Megan Barry

Civic Engagement on Coastal Hazards and Sea Level Rise: This Fellow will work with Clean Air-Cool Planet and the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup to promote and examine private sector awareness of local impacts of a changing climate, including education on adaptation to introduce interested business owners to current projects and to the people in charge of them.

Lamprey Fellow Megan Barry is a recent graduate of UNH, with a BA in Sustainability and Anthropology.  She worked for the UNH Sustainability Institute and the NH Energy and Climate Collaborative in the area of communication and engagement.  She is most interested in sustainability discourse and the interaction between culture and sustainable development; she will be attending Arizona State University to get her Masters in Sustainability.  In her spare time, Megan enjoys yoga, hiking, and trying new food.

Katie Leone Charting Emissions From Food Services (CHEFS): Supporting Sustainable Decisions: This Fellow will help analyze the results of the alternative food purchasing scenario research carried out by previous CHEFS pilot schools; will recruit and prepare between 1-4 colleges across the US to pilot the CHEFS labeling system in their dining halls; and will help improve the documentation and update the actual modeling data that the CHEFS tool uses.

Ted Smith Fellow Katie Leone is from Youngstown, Ohio.  She completed her undergraduate degrees in Studio Art and Italian Studies at Miami University.  Afterwards, she moved to Korea for three years to teach English.  Eating healthy, affordable, and delicious lunches at the public high school where she taught, Katie began to see institutional food offerings as an opportunity to reshape food systems for the better.  She is finishing up her Master of Arts in Food Studies at Chatham University where she has organized National Food Day events for the Real Food Challenge.  Her thesis is a case study of Higher Education Institutional Cafeteria’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It explores sustainable sourcing and waste reduction initiatives, metrics for evaluating cafeterias, and how food fits into campus-wide sustainability efforts.


Lauren Johnston New England Food Vision: The New England Food Vision is a bold vision that calls for the region to build the capacity to produce up to 80% of clean, fair, just, and accessible (good food) for all New Englanders by 2060.This Fellow will work with Food Solutions New England (FSNE) and its sister initiative at the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute, Carbon Solutions New England (CSNE), to conduct a climate analysis of the New England Food Vision data.

Haas Fellow Lauren Johnston was born in Tempe, Arizona and moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona on 2009. She graduated in 2013 with Honors and a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the U of A. During her time as an undergraduate she worked in the Whiteman Laboratory in the EEB department studying host-parasite co-evolution in Desert Mistletoe. She was also involved in agriculturally- important pollinator habitat research and school gardening programs, which sparked her interest in the American food system. She plans to pursue research on how best to apply ecological principles to redesign food growth and distribution systems in the United States.


Andrea Webster Portsmouth, NH, Climate Action: As a member of ICLEI and an Ecomunicipality, the City of Portsmouth has taken an active role in becoming a sustainable community. This Fellow will work within the municipal Government, directly with the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, to assist the City in forwarding its efforts to reduce its contribution to emissions of greenhouse gases.

Fellow Andrea Webster is a May 2013 graduate of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) where she received a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Sustainable Enterprise. In 2012, Andrea received the Bristol-Myers Squibb Sustainability Fellowship. In previous roles, Andrea served as Sustainability Coordinator at SUNY-ESF and as Publications and Education Coordinator and Editor of the AASHE Bulletin at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).


Catherine Buchalski Stakeholder Engagement on the growing threat of Vibrio infections in New England: This Fellow will work with researchers and extension specialists to engage key stakeholder groups in a discussion about effective responses to the growing threat of Vibrio infections in Northeastern coastal communities.

Fellow Catherine Buchalski is a 2013 graduate of the Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Science, Policy and Management M.S. program at the University of New Hampshire. As part of her degree work, she spent six months in Port Aransas, TX, at the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) where she worked to advance the collaborative aims of a recently funded project, “Balancing Freshwater Needs in a Changing Environment” through her work as a stakeholder communication liaison, blogger, and field assistant. She also had two previous experiences with the NERR System during her undergrad at Smith College as a sea turtle nest monitoring intern at the Rookery Bay Reserve in Florida, and a coastal invasive species research intern at the Wells Reserve in Maine. In addition to her professional life, Catherine can often be found taking advantage of the local foods, venues and beautiful New Hampshire landscapes near her hometown in Seacoast, NH. She is very excited to be a part of the Clean Air-Cool Planet 2013 Fellowship Program and the opportunity to work on challenging issues with such a dedicated and enthusiastic group.