Our Climate Fellows

Current Fellows

Madison Weisend

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Madison Weisend is a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College studying Politics and Human Rights, and Environmental Studies. Her passion for environmentalism began in Ohio where she was born and raised. Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation and must be addressed through large scale political action to avoid catastrophic destruction of the Earth. She is most interested in protecting the world’s food supply through the use of sustainable farming practices that protect biodiversity and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of people suffer from hunger every day due to the massive amounts of drought, flooding, and extreme weather conditions that are brought upon by climate change. She wants to ensure that all people are given their right to clean food and water through effective policies such as carbon pricing. Madison is excited to join Our Climate to show that young people have the power to make a difference, and to join in the fight to put a price on carbon.

Yaz Najeebi

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Yaz is a student organizer at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont studying Environmental Policy in the College Honors Program. After co-coordinating Power Shift Northeast in 2016, Yaz founded Vermont Student Power Network, a statewide network of college activists that leverages students' unified power in order to impact environmental and social justice issues throughout the state of Vermont. Their main campaign is the fracked gas Vermont Gas Systems Pipeline. Yaz now sit on the Board of Directors for the DC-based Power Shift Network. They recently began collaborating with Our Climate's #PutAPriceOnIt Campaign after securing their college's endorsement of Energy Independent Vermont's proposed carbon pollution tax in the fall of 2016. Yaz also works in the College's Sustainability Office, running projects around everything from waste reduction and diversion to the student-written College Anti-Oppression Action Plan. In their spare time, Yaz loves to play ultimate frisbee, tune into NPR, and listen to fire tracks by Drake.

Kevin O'Connor

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Kevin is a senior at the University of Vermont double-majoring in economics and environmental studies with a concentration in environmental policy and development. Kevin focuses his studies on environmental solutions as he believes that climate change is the greatest problem to humankind. Kevin believes that effective carbon pricing policies would be a very profound solution to combat climate change. Further, during the spring of 2016, Kevin developed a carbon tax bill and testified it to the House Transportation Committee in Vermont’s State House. In his free time, Kevin likes to hike, ski, and play guitar.

Jen VanStrander

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Jen VanStrander is a second-year college student studying International and Global studies, Middle Eastern studies, French, and Arabic at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. She is excited to get her campus more involved in carbon pricing initiatives and being actively involved with her local political community. She is also looking forward to meeting with her Congressional representatives and to publish articles related to environmental issues. Her passion for environmental sustainability stems from seeing the adverse affects climate change has had on the Native American population in Upstate New York throughout her lifetime. She is excited to be a part of the Our Climate community and is eagerly looking forward to all that we will accomplish!

Kyle J. Kilkenny

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Kyle J. Kilkenny (FCLC '19) is a political science major with a double major in Italian Language and Literature at Fordham University 's College at Lincoln Center. Born and raised on Long Island, Kyle is a proud graduate of Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. A student leader of FCLC's Model United Nations Team, Kyle writes about issues both foreign and domestic for both Lincoln Center's The Fordham Observer and Fordham Political Review at Fordham's Rose Hill Campus. Following graduation, Kyle hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy, public service and humanitarian work. He is also a member of the Fordham University Choir, and enjoys performing in local theatrical productions in his free time. An Eagle Scout, Kyle also has a deeply-rooted passion for protecting the Earth and all of its beauties. When he's not fighting to #PutAPriceOnIt, Kyle is passionate about quality education, criminal justice reform and protecting civil rights for all global citizens. Connect with Kyle @KyleJKilkenny on Twitter and Instagram!

Chandler Green

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Chandler Green is a Masters candidate in Strategic Communication at American University and a research fellow for the Center for Media and Social Impact, where she studies the intersection of media and environmental issues. Ever since witnessing the rapid retreat of Iceland’s glaciers in 2013, she has been on a quest to improve climate change communication for the public and decision makers. As an avid storyteller and strategist, she has produced videos, published articles and implemented climate communication strategies for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, and Pearson Higher Education. Chandler is a 2016 Graduate with Leadership Distinction from the University of South Carolina where she majored in Environmental Science and minored in Media Arts. She is excited to help Our Climate transform the narrative on climate change from “doom and gloom” to inspiration and mobilization for the practical solution of carbon pricing.

Asalia Arauz 

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Asalia is a second year at Willamette University in Salem OR, studying English and Sociology.Fueled by her passion to minimize and eventually eliminate emissions, to create and maintain a better environmental future she hopes to pursue a career in non-profit administration after graduation. She also has a focused interest in the impact of climate change on indigenous populations and countries whose lifestyles are largely dependent in the environment and what can be done to lessen negative impacts.

Asalia believes that the climate movement is very much, but not solely, in the hands of millennials, so getting her peers to act on this by building up the momentum around the issue, providing information and really emphasizing the importance to act now, is where her time is currently devoted. In her spare time she reads and collects books on marginalized communities and writes short stories.

Samuel Blackwood

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​Samuel Blackwood is an International Studies major at Fordham University. He has been involved in politics and grassroots organizing since he was twelve years old. In 2007 and 2008 he worked on President Obama’s campaign in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Since then he has worked on two congressional campaigns and one state senate campaign. Samuel was introduced to climate advocacy by his father in high school. However, at the time he was training competitively for fencing and in his senior year, Samuel, was a silver medalist at the Junior Olympics in fencing and represented the United States internationally at world cups in Europe. In the summer between his freshman and sophomore year of college he began doing more research on climate change and became motivated to take action. Since he joined the #PUTAPRICEONIT campaign he has helped grow the organization in New York city by organizing the New York kickoff for the campaign, connecting with other climate organizations, and creating awareness of the campaign on Fordham Campus. Samuel is passionate about creating a better world for future generations and believes that organizing young people around climate advocacy is a great first step towards building that world.

Daniel Pertwee

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Daniel is in his third-year at the Florida State University and is currently studying environmental science. His passion for the environment originated through recognizing the inconsistency between the urgency with which the scientific community spoke about climate change, and the leisurely approach politicians seemed to be taking in response. Outside of the Put a Price On It campaign, Daniel applies his passion to his positions as the Director of the Office of Student Sustainability and President of DivestFSU. Both of which have allowed him to expand his ability to communicate on environmental issues, while also helping to develop the professional skills necessary to continue interacting with powerful individuals on the topic of climate change. He is excited to continue growing through the Put a Price On It campaign, and to play a role in establishing a national conversation about the necessity for a carbon tax. 

Stephanie Hunsucker

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Stephanie Hunsucker is a senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology studying International Trade and Marketing with minors in Econ, Math, Latin American Studies, Sociology, and Sustainability & Ethics. Stephanie became passionate about the environment after learning about the severity of climate change and the immediate need to change the way things are done. More specifically, Stephanie was stunned at the environmental damage fashion brands were causing throughout their supply chains and decided she needed to get involved. She joined Our Climate because she feels that political involvement is incredibly important for young adults and hopes to encourage other students to join her in the fight for a Carbon Tax. 

Radhika Shah

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Radhika is a student at Oregon State University majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Oceanography and a focus in Aquatic Biology. She hopes that more windows will open along the way, leading her towards a policy pathway and is using the fellowship as an opportunity to test the waters. Last summer, she was an Our Climate Fellow in Texas, working with Citizens Climate Lobby to advocate for carbon pricing. She attempts social justice work and activism when the time provides and enjoys hiking and reading all the texts.

Jack Meyer

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Jack Meyer is attending his junior year at NAU in Flagstaff, AZ as an Environmental Studies and Sustainability major, and is getting his minor in Civic Engagement and Political Science. Born and raised in the rural Arizona mountains that is Pinetop he developed a fierce passion for the native Pine trees, woodland creatures and the equitable treatment of the world’s communities. Once at NAU, his passions lead him into a life of social activism and environmental stewardship. Along with being one of Our Climates 2016 Fall Fellows, he sits as the Vice Chair of NAU's Green Fund, is an active member of NAU's Fossil Fuel Divestment movement, assists in teaching the community leadership and peer mentorship course, and plays a strong role in the universities Sustainability Club. Jack believes that the most sustainable way to hold on to the passion needed for activist work is through cultivating loving relationships with the places around him and the people in his community. You can connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?vpa=pub&locale=en_US


Sam Becker

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Sam is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) dual majoring in EEP (Environment, Economics, Politics) and Philosophy. He’s passionate environmental sustainability because he wants to provide future generations with an earth that has the economic viability and natural beauty that characterizes it today. He believes that to mitigate climate change, decrease reliance on dirty energy, and increase competition in the green energy market, it is necessary to organize around carbon pricing legislation, like a Fee and Dividend. At CMC, he’s a fellow with the Put A Price On it Campaign, fellow with Strategic Energy Innovations, member of Model United Nations, president of CCL Claremont Colleges, co-lead of Food Recovery Network, Chair of the Senate's Environmental Concerns Committee, and student baker at the Motley. In his free time, Sam likes walking around to find fresh fruit, hiking, working out, brewing kombucha, discussing current events, and spending time with family and friends. Connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/samhbecker


Lola Jusidman

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Lola is a senior at New York University’s College of Arts and Science, where she is majoring in Politics with a concentration in Climate Politics, and minors in Latin American Studies, Economics, and History. She is from Mexico City and has lived in France and Los Angeles, but often identifies simply as an Earthling. Having investigated the global carbon pricing landscape and campaigned for three years to divest NYU of fossil fuel shares, Lola is excited to see the burgeoning, bipartisan, beautiful momentum that has grown in 2016 for a federal carbon price in the US. She hopes that today’s global pricing patchwork will coalesce into a blanket of tough, synchronized, and progressive carbon pricing instruments.


Olivia Perfetti

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Olivia (Liv) Perfetti is a sophomore at the University of Michigan, majoring in environmental science. Olivia is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and chose to dedicate her career to environmental justice after attending PowerShift (a national summit for the youth climate movement) in 2013. She believes that youth will play an essential role in the carbon pricing movement, and is excited to be building support for the campaign on U of M’s campus. Olivia is also the service director of the student-run organization, Students for Clean Energy, one of many environmentally-focused groups at U of M. In her free time, she plays Ultimate Frisbee for the University of Michigan women’s ultimate team, called “Flywheel.”


Alex Kendig

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Alex Kendig is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Economics and Environmental Science. He has played an active role in climate justice campaigns in Ann Arbor, leading the Students for Clean Energy and co-organizing the Michigan Climate March, and was a participant in the People's Climate March in 2014. He enjoys traveling, backpacking, and recording music, and hopes to work in the renewable energy sector after graduation.  

Austin Matheny

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Austin is a junior at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana majoring in Economics with minors in both Energy Studies and Public Service. He is focused on achieving social and economic equality within the US, and this largely influences his desire to help create a more sustainable world for future generations. A San Diego native, his desire to help people live better and longer lives trumps his desire for more 85 degree days on the beach. The economic and social impacts of greenhouse gases are large, just like many other social justice issues that result from market failures. In his free time, Austin is an avid lacrosse player and is co-president of the club lacrosse team at Notre Dame; he also enjoys going to the beach, playing basketball, and going to the horse races at Del Mar.

Joey Waldingher

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Joey Waldinger is a sophomore at the University of Vermont where he is majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in English. He became drawn to studying the environment after falling in love with natural spaces through snowboarding, hiking, and camping, which are some of his favorite activities. An avid writer and contributor to The Water Tower, his school`s alternative, sometimes satirical newspaper, Joey hopes to one day make a career of reporting on issues of environmental justice, and is excited that this fellowship gives him the opportunity to sharpen his ability to communicate effectively about environmental issues.

Sarah Fadem

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Sarah is stoked to continue her path as an activist in Vermont with Oregon Climate after having spent the summer canvassing with Vermont Public Interest Research Group for a similar policy. Being from California, the community of activism in Vermont is as refreshing as the summer rains. She is now a student at Bennington College studying Environmental Activism and Compassionate Politics through science, policy and social justice. Her main inquiry revolves around how personal connection can make us better activists. A a thread through all of Sarah's endeavors, she explores how compassion can be an engine for social change. With her free time Sarah roller-skates, sings, collects rocks and dead insects and arranges crystal grids.

Shana Gallagher

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Shana Gallagher believes that climate change is the most urgent and pressing problem that faces every single one of us, no matter our backgrounds or personalities or location on the globe, and that environmental organizing needs to become more mainstream. To address this crisis, we're all going to need to get behind bold and effective policies, like a price on carbon. More importantly, she understands that the biggest obstacle to a clean energy future is the power of the fossil fuel industry, and that a price on carbon is one of the few remedies to this reality. Shana's drive to protect the planet comes from a lifelong awe and admiration for the oceans, but she now focuses on making general environmental organizing accessible for everyone. She is a rising senior at Tufts University, studying Biology and Environmental Studies.


Grace Galletti

 

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I am a sophomore at Brown University, majoring in Environmental Engineering. I grew up in Paris, France and I am passionate about environmental sustainability. As an international student, I have realized the global extent of climate change. I believe this is the biggest and most pressing issue that humankind is facing. As an environmental engineer, I hope to create solutions to environmental problems. However, technology can only bring us so far, which is why I am very excited to be working on the campaign to put a price on carbon. In my free time, I love to do gymnastics, go rock climbing and be a part of the Brown Outing Club.

Darren Bingham 

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Darren Bingham is a 6th year senior majoring in Environmental Studies, in the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University. Currently, Darren works closely on building collaboration and solidarity among all groups at his college. His university isn't known for its activism or student involvement but has since changed with Darren's help. In addition, he is the undergraduate advisor for SOSNR (the student organization for society and natural resources) the most active club at USU around social and environmental justice. Through his lifestyle, innumerable achievements, and inspirational prowess; Darren has helped foster and ignite the passions that others have for bettering the world. He is also heavily involved with all sustainability efforts on and off campus. In his spare time, Darren works diligently to remove and improve the systemic failures of our capitalist model and encourages others to do the same. He also enjoys going to the mountains for much needed alone time, has an infatuation with coconut oil, brewing his own beer/spirits and loves to learn homesteading skills like farming and building Earthships.

Darren hopes to one day work in corporate responsibility as a sustainability manager. This he believes will allow him the freedom to become creative with innovative designs and ideas. Connect with Darren @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/darren-bingham-6b0195aa?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Leyana Dessauer

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Leyana is a senior at Sarah Lawrence College in New York State, where she studies Spanish and environmental science/policy, among other eclectic topics. She was active in the anti-hydrofracking movement in NY as a high school student, and continues to be involved in environmental and social justice organizing in college. She is excited about using public policy to fight climate change.

 Louis Finazzo

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Louis is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Political Science and Environmental Science. He's been involved in various grassroots environmental campaigns in the Ann Arbor area, including co-organizing the Michigan Climate March, and is active in local political campaigns as well. He plans to use his educational experience (both from courses and extracurricular involvement) to analyze, draft, and implement public policies geared toward more sustainable economic, environmental, and social practices in the US and abroad. He enjoys traveling, public service, and listening to music. He plans to have a career in environmental and energy policy. Connect with Louis at www.linkedin.com/in/louis-finazzo-470b11113.

Kelsey Hill

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Kelsey Hill is a current graduate student at Portland State University, earning his Masters in Public Administration, with a focus on Natural Resources Policy. An avid hiker, and ardent nature enthusiast and climate advocate, Kelsey joined Our Climate this summer as a Fellow, and is ready to help lead America in putting a price on bigtime carbon emissions.