2018 Fellows

 

Sahar Arbab

Sahar will complete her master’s degree in environmental studies at Western Washington University this spring. At Western, she has focused her studies and research on environmental justice, environmental education, and youth-led action. Previously, Sahar was the High School Program Coordinator at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical gardens in Pittsburgh, PA where she oversaw an environmental challenge for K-12 public and private schools and a high school internship program. Sahar’s work is motivated by the desire to create a more just and inclusive environmental movement.

Foundation Partner: The Overbrook Foundation

Host Organization: Grist

Reflection entry

 

Chris Askew-Merwin

Chris is a dual-degree MS/MPP student at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He also received his BS from the University of Michigan in the Program in the Environment. Chris studies environmental policy with a focus on environmental justice and climate change adaptation. He hopes to someday help frontline communities in their efforts to plan and prepare for climate change.

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust 

Host Organization: Natural Resources Defense Council

 

 

Amber Carter

My name is Amber and I’m a master’s student at Villanova University, currently working on finishing up my degree in environmental science! I’m interested in the environmental non-profit sector as well as land and watershed conservation. I love exploring the outdoors and adventuring to new places, particularly in and around my city of Philadelphia.

Foundation Partner: William Penn Foundation

Host Organization: Watershed Protection Grant Center

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Lorena Cortés Torres

I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Conservation Ecology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I am originally from Puerto Rico, where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico I am very passionate about the environment and am interested in topics such as wildlife management, endangered species conservation, environmental awareness and community and biodiversity resilience towards natural disasters.

Foundation Partner: The Charles Steward Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Clean Wisconsin

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Gloria Desanker

Gloria Desanker is working as an environmental analyst for the San Francisco Estuary Institute. She uses remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to facilitate environmental restoration and conservation. She received her master’s degree from the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University and her bachelor’s degree from the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia. 

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organization: The Nature Conservancy

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Jon Espitia

Jon is pursuing an MEM/MBA dual degree from Duke and UNC Chapel Hill. Jon loves engaging with people and has worked as an anthropologist in Peru and has experience cooking in NYC farm-to-table restaurants. He is passionate about creating sustainable, climate change resilient food systems and supply chains, and wants to pursue a career in corporate sustainability.

Foundation Partner: The Barr Foundation

Host Organization: Ceres

 

 

Rashidah Farid

Rashidah H. Farid is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida where she studies Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Her dissertation focuses on the population dynamics of Gunnison’s prairie dogs. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University in Animal Science and a Master of Science at Alabama A&M University in Plant and Soil Science. She is also a 2018 Environmental Fellow. Farid is also the president of the Natural Resources Diversity Initiative (NRDI) in Gainesville, Florida.

Foundation Partner: Island Foundation

Host Organization: New England Grassroots Environment Fund

Reflection entry

 

Antionette Fowlkes

A native of Birmingham, AL, Antionette is an ambitious servant leader, problem solver and organizer. She obtained her bachelors degree in environmental science and environmental health from Alabama A&M University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Iowa State University in Community and Regional Planning. After graduating in in December she plans to attend law school to receive her JD to assist communities in the fight against environmental inequality, social justice and environmental justice. She is a driven, energetic and compassionate person who desires to see all people living in healthy and vibrant communities.

Foundation Partner: McKnight Foundation

Host Organization: Pillsbury United Communities

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Genora Givens

Genora Givens was born and raised in Oakland, CA and is passionate about all things water. Genora is graduating from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies with a Master of Environmental Management in May 2018. She is focused on flood risk and stormwater management in the urban context and is most interested in developing ways to incorporate understandings of social vulnerability and inequity into analysis of geographic risk and watershed management and planning.

Foundation Partner: Singing Field Foundation

Host Organization: Clean Water Fund

Reflection entry

 

Derell Griffin

Derell is a current second year student in the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Michigan. He received BS in Horticulture from Michigan State University. As a native of Detroit, he is interested in green development of highly urban areas, not only in the U.S. but also in developing countries. Water management issues, whether it’s storm water or the quality of a stream is of high importance to him as well and he believes everyone should have access to environments that promotes ones mental and physical well-being.

Foundation Partner: Wege Foundation

Host Organization: West Michigan Environmental Action Council

 

 

Helen Gutierrez

Helen is graduating from University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability with an MS in Environmental Justice with an emphasis on climate change and vulnerability on April 28 (!). With a background in environmental health, her primary interests are in climate change and food security, and how that impacts community development. Helen is excited to be in New York City for the first time this summer, working at UPROSE on climate justice.

Foundation Partner: The JPB Foundation

Host Organization: UPROSE

Reflection entry

 

 

Teal Harrison

Teal Harrison is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan and has a M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Behavioral Biology. Teal is interested in investigating food security and environmental justice issues that affect coastal communities, especially native coastal communities and non-native coastal communities of color. She hopes to collaborate with coastal farmers and fisherman on these issues and apply her training in EEB to developing socially and environmentally just outcomes. Outside of research, Teal enjoys dance, yoga, documentaries, and sunny days.

Foundation Partner and Host Organization: Erb Family Foundation

Reflection entry

 

Kareem Heshmat

I am a Masters candidate in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University in Houston. I discovered my passion for sustainability while volunteering but it wasn’t until 2017 that I would transition careers from financial services to urban planning. My focus is environmental justice and the siting of toxic hazards in low-wealth and minority communities. This semester, I visited Portland, OR over spring break to study bicycle infrastructure and the benefits of alternative transportation. I look forward to working with my 2018 Environmental Fellows cohort this summer and learning from their experiences.

Foundation Partner: The JPB Foundation

Host Organization: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

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Stephanie Hung

Stephanie Hung is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she earned a master’s in Environmental Health Sciences. She is interested in drinking water quality and environmental justice. She hopes to bring her scientific background and communication skills to push for sustainable policies that prioritize the environment and human health. She grew up outside Washington, D.C. and Taipei, Taiwan. Stephanie has worked as a counselor at a crisis center and a staff member of a grassroots community organizing class.

Foundation Partner: 11th Hour Project/Schmidt Marine Technology Partners

Host Organization: Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE Healthy Energy)

Reflection entry

 

Kayla Hunter

My name is Kayla Hunter, a New Jersey resident and dual Masters student in the Urban & Regional Planning and Public Health at the University of Michigan. I completed a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Public Health minor at Spelman College. My interests are grounded in environmental justice, building sustainable communities that reduce minority health disparities.

Foundation Partner and Host Organization: The JPB Foundation

Reflection entry

 

 

Quenton King

Quenton is completing his first year at the Columbia University Mailman School of Ira Public Health, where he is an MPH a candidate in Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in History, Ethics, and Law. Born and raised in West Virginia, Quenton graduated from West Virginia University with a BA in Criminology, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. He is excited to gain experience in environmental justice and grassroots advocacy as an Environmental Fellow at Appalachian Voices this summer.

Foundation Partner: Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Host Organization: Appalachian Voices

Reflection entry

 

 

Victoria Loong

Hailing from Oak Park, IL, Victoria is a 2014 graduate of Purdue University. After working for two years as founding director of the Asian American Cultural Center at Purdue, she began her masters program in University of Michigan where she is now pursuing her interests in environmental policy.

Foundation Partner and Host Organization: Solidago Foundation

Reflection entry

 

 

Claire Luce

Claire is a doctoral student in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated with her MSW from the University of Illinois and with her BA in environmental science from Franklin University Switzerland. Her research interests include environmental justice and the intersection of the effects of climate change, trauma, migration, and mental health.

Foundation Partner: Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Host Organization: Virginia Conservation Network

 

 

Amonté Martin

l, Amonté Martin, am a first year doctoral student In the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. I desire to continue to develop as a researcher and learn more about the relationship between research and policy, specifically, environmental equity issues as they relate to urban and rural food deserts, food access, justice and policy.

Foundation Partner: Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Host Organization: Virginia Environmental Justice, Collaborative/University of Richmond

 

 

Sarah Naiman

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. My research aims to understand various barriers to Latinx engagement in environmental projects and organizations. Generally, I’m interested in how to include marginalized voices and concerns into mainstream environmental projects. In my spare time I love to play board games, hike, and play volleyball.

Foundation Partner: The Barr Foundation

Host Organization: Clean Water Fund

Reflection entry

 

 

April Richards

April Richards completed her master’s in Environmental Justice and Conservation Ecology at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability in 2018. While in graduate school, Richards explored the connections between environmental justice, fisheries, and aquatic ecosystems. Following her 2018 Fellowship through the Environmental Fellows Program with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), she received a job at the organization. She is now a Research Associate for ORCA’s One Health Initiative.

Foundation Partner: 11th Hour Project/Schmidt, Marine Technology Partners

Host Organization: Ocean Research & Conservation Organization

 

 

Sally Ross

Sally Ross, who resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is pursuing a master’s in Forestry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During the spring 2019 term, Ross will serve as an applied research consultant for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s DEVELOP pathway program. Sally enjoys writing, mentoring, and meeting new people. 

Foundation Partner: Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Host Organization: Chesapeake Climate Action Network

 

 

Julie Skarha

Julie Skarha is a graduate student in the Department of Epidemiology at Brown University and was a 2018 Environmental Fellow. She received an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences and statistics. She is passionate about environmental and health justice for incarcerated populations. Currently, she is studying how people who are incarcerated may be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures and related health outcomes.

Foundation Partner: The Charles Steward Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Natural Resources Defense Council, Chicago Office

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Tabaris D. Smith

Tabaris D. Smith is a Research Associate at Alabama A&M University, where he was formerly a graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning; he specialized in Community Development and Transportation. Smith also studied topics such as food insecurity, food banks, and institutional diversity. He has worked as an organizer on a number of local, statewide and national campaigns including that of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Smith was also a legislative aide for his state representative in Orangeburg. Smith obtained a bachelor’s in Economics from South Carolina State University in 2016.

Foundation Partner: The Barr Foundation

Host Organization: Transportation for Massachusetts

Reflection entry

 

 

Tiffany Taulton

I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Policy and Management, with a concentration in Environmental Policy, at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. I am particularly interested in Environmental Justice issues and helping vulnerable communities become more climate resilient. As a former Navy brat and traveling English teacher, I’ve been to over 20 countries. I enjoy working with people from diverse backgrounds and speak varying levels of Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese.

Foundation Partner: The New York Community Trust

Host Organization: Environmental Defense Fund

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Chris Torres

Chris is a doctoral student in the Public Policy and Administration program at Boise State University. With a background in philosophy and environmental humanities from UC Berkeley and University of Oregon, he studies how concepts of and mechanisms for equity and social justice can be better designed into and implemented through environmental policy.

Foundation Partner and Host Organization: The Pisces Foundation

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Rebeca Villegas

Rebeca Villegas is a dual degree student at the University of Michigan pursuing a Master of Science and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. She is specializing in environmental justice, land-use and environmental planning, and science, technology and public policy. Villegas looks forward to graduating in May 2020 and applying the skills she has garnered through her degrees to contribute to climate change resiliency efforts in urban and rural communities. Currently, she serves as an Equity Intern for the Office of Sustainability and Innovation for the City of Ann Arbor.

Foundation Partner: The Charles Steward Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Alliance for the Great Lakes

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Fantasia Williams

Fantasia Williams is a graduate of Howard University where she studied Economics and Sociology. She now attends the University of Michigan where she is pursuing a master’s in Environmental Justice as well as a Master of Public Health in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology. At Michigan, Williams is exploring ways in which minorities can minimize environmental health disparities and environmental injustices in an era of climate change.

Foundation Partner: The JPB Foundation

Host Organization: National Audubon Society

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Shanna Williamson

Shanna Williamson is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Digital Coast Fellow at the National Association of Counties (NACo). Williamson engages in research and outreach that helps coastal counties in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi increase their long-term resilience. Before joining NACo, Williamson worked for the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance where she assisted the organization with community outreach for their Great Neighborhoods Campaign. The campaign focused on reforming Massachusetts’ zoning and permitting laws. Williamson has a master’s degree from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and a bachelor’s in the Geosciences from Skidmore College.

Foundation Partner: The Barr Foundation

Host Organization: Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

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Brett Zeuner

Brett is an MS student in the Environmental Justice track at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. His master’s project focuses on distributive justice, using GIS to measure Inequitable distributions of cumulative risk. He is also researching the use of conflict minerals in green technology. This Summer, Brett looks forward to working with the Environmental Grantmakers Association to better understand how social sustainability is conceptualized in environmental philanthropy.

Foundation Partner: The Charles Steward Mott Foundation

Host Organization: Environmental Grantmakers Association