2016 Fellows


Keyyana Blount

For the William Penn Foundation, Keyyanna works with the Watershed Protection team to articulate the connections between grant-supported activities and outcomes using their “theory of change” cumulative impact framework. She is a doctoral student at the University of Oregon studying carbon dynamics in estuarine wetlands within the context of wetland restoration.

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia, PA


Janae Davis

Janae assists the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Great Lakes Regional Office and the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition (HOW) in kicking off their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Janae helps the NWF team clarify and work towards DEI goals related to institutional culture. She also provided feedback on the development of a project to launch the HOW Coalition’s DEI efforts and led an assessment of leaders and organizations serving frontline communities. Janae is a doctoral student in Geography at Clark University.

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: National Wildlife Federation, Ann Arbor, MI


Vanessa De Anda

Vanessa assists the water, environmental education, and climate, and energy programs on various projects, ranging from synthesizing reports for Program Officers to attending webinars with leading environmental experts. She completed her MESM at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara in 2017 with a specialization in Water Resources Management.

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: Pisces Foundation, San Francisco, CA


Carla Dhillon

Dr. Carla Dhillon, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. She is an environmental social scientist working in the areas of climate change, environmental justice, Indigenous studies, and science and
technology. Dhillon was a 2016 Environmental Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and a master’s in Regenerative Studies from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. She obtained a doctorate in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan.

Foundation Partner: CS Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Vision for a Sustainable Environmental Future, Ann Arbor, MI


Elena Huisman

Elena was born and raised in Driftwood, Texas, right outside of Austin where her interest in the environment first started. In 2012 she graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, MA with her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Environmental Studies. Elena went on to earn my Master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in 2016. While in the Environmental Fellows Program Elena was placed at the National Environmental Education Foundation in Washington D.C. where she spent the summer working on evaluation methods and communications projects. Currently, she is the Grants and Program Manager at the Growald Family Fund where she manages the climate grantmaking team.

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: National Environmental Education Foundation, Washington D.C.


Gabriel Jones

Gabriel Jones is a Southern California native who has steadily moved east over time. As program coordinator with the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and proud member of the inaugural cohort of Environmental Fellows, he now assists with planning and coordination for the Fellows Program as well as EGA signature events and communications. During his time as a fellow at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, he worked for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program to provide guidance to undergraduate students on navigating through their research placements and around campus resources, lead seminars on critical discussions of equity and the environment, and plan the 2017 Ann Arbor Diversity Forum. Gabriel received his Master’s in Environmental Justice and Master’s of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan and his Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Foundation Partner: CS Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Vision for a Sustainable Environmental Future, Ann Arbor, MI


Joanna Lehrman

Joanna Lehrman works on strategies for effective engagement with communities impacted by the restoration of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. She prepares recommendations for how to fund inclusive engagement strategies around river restoration. She also works with the foundation to develop organizational Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies based on best practices, community, and board input. Joanna is a recent graduate from University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment with a Master’s in Landscape Architecture. 

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: Wege Foundation, Grand Rapids, MI


Erik Martinez

Erik is working to support the organization’s goal to protect special places located throughout the state of Massachusetts. With the Trustees, he has been able to help develop policies that will help guide Trustees employees on issues dealing with invasive species and land use concerns, as well as assisting with field surveys of sensitive and rare species found on their properties. Erik is a second year Master’s student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara.

Foundation Partner: Island Foundation

Host Organization: Trustees of Reservations, Marion, MA


Caroline Muraida

Caroline Muraida is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Science. Her research investigates the transgenerational health impacts of climate-related extremes.  At the NRDC, Caroline authored a policy brief for the planned creation of an equity-centered, municipally-managed electric vehicle car share program in the City of New York. In addition, she contributed to research efforts on the scope of contaminants in public water systems across the United States. With WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Caroline worked with organizers conducting an urban heat island effects study as part of the larger Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan. Caroline has a master’s in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organizations: Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, NY and WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, NY


Kiara Ott

At the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), Kiara helps plan distance learning tours to Cuba and Southern Africa. She also assists in communication strategies among all members of the Environmental Fellows Program, and works on developing the EGA website’s resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Kiara recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Master’s in Environmental Health.

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: Environmental Grantmakers Association, New York, NY


Christianah Oyengua

As the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Analyst, Christianah acquires, organizes, manages and analyzes citywide GHG emissions data, and contributes to drafting the GHG Inventory report for the City of New York. She is a doctoral candidate at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) School of the Environment studying Environmental Science, Policy and Risk Management. 

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organization: New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, New York, NY


Urooj Raja

For The Solutions Project, Urooj is developing a policy tracking infrastructure to help staff make better organizational decisions, and working to enhance an existing story-telling tool. The story-telling tool is a national map that breaks down how states in the U.S. can take a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Her work focuses on user accessibility, simplicity, and to help define how the map will be used. Urooj is a doctoral student in environmental sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Foundation Partner: 11th Hour

Host Organization: The Solutions Project, Washington, D.C.


Adrien Salazar

Adrien is the Community Energy and Seed Democracy Intern at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. He is supporting the organization’s seed democracy campaign, outreaching to farmer networks, designing a project to assess the seed saving, sharing, and seed production needs of farmers of color and immigrant farmers in California. He is also working with the organization’s community energy program researching community-owned renewable projects and community engagement best practices to include in a legal guide to community-owned renewable energy. Adrien just graduated with his MEM degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 

Foundation Partner: 11th Hour

Host Organization: Sustainable Economies Law Center, Oakland, CA


Whitney Smith

Whitney is working on creating a community fact sheet on the Clean Power Plan in an effort to make this regulation more understandable and digestible to support community advocacy efforts. She will also under-take a GIS mapping project on methane exposure. Whitney just completed her Master’s degree in Environmental Justice at University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment.

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organization: WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Washington, D.C.


Nancy Toure

Nancy assists the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Earthjustice operationalize the successful execution of organization-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals. As part of Earthjustice’s Brown Bag Presentation series she provided training to clerks and interns on the history of race and gender in the environmental movement. Nancy attends Northeastern University for graduate school where she concentrates on race and ethnic relations and environmental sociology.

Foundation Partner: 11th Hour

Host Organization: Earthjustice, San Francisco, CA


Teona Williams

Teona is conducting research on African Americans’ attitudes towards urban parks in Flint, Michigan. The project will generate a report that will be used to help local organizations improve their outreach efforts with often-marginalized groups in Flint. Teona is entering her second year as a Master’s degree student in Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan.   

Foundation Partner/Host Organization: C.S. Mott Foundation, Flint, MI



Michelle Yeh

As a Natural Resource Intern at the Environmental Defense Fund this summer, Michelle specializes in ecosystem restoration projects, including the Mississippi River Delta Restoration project. She was involved in analyzing National Marine Fisheries Service documentation about the alleged impacts of sediment diversions on fishery and marine mammal habitats. Michelle is also engaged in devising a restoration program for Jamaica Bay, aiding the EDF Climate Corps program with organizing New York-based fellow events, and researching sustainability efforts of the largest real estate companies in New York. Michelle is a second year graduate student at Columbia University studying Sustainability Management.

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organization: Environmental Defense Fund, New York, NY