Our Climate Fellows

Spring 2019 New England Fellows

Violette Ballecer

Violette is a freshman studying Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University while concurrently earning her MA in Energy and Environment. A California native, she spent her childhood exploring ‘the great outdoors’, gaining a deep appreciation and respect for the world around her. Violette’s passion for environmental advocacy stems from her experience as a lifelong resident of the Central Valley, America’s agricultural capital. In just 18 years, her home has become unrecognizable due to climate change, ravaged by droughts and wildfires. By championing carbon pricing with Our Climate, she hopes to set a positive precedent for future environmental policy and be an example for the nation’s youth. When she is not studying or working, Violette can be found running, cycling, skiing, hiking, or stargazing in her hammock with her black lab, Gus.

Caitlin Colino

Caitlin is a first-year Environmental Engineer at Tufts University. She grew up in Seattle, WA which gave her a deep appreciation of the natural world, our planet, and the people who live on it. Throughout middle and high school she learned to turn this passion into productivity through a group called Sustainability Ambassadors where she trained in policy analysis, performance assessment, project management, and public speaking. Caitlin is pumped to take the next step with Our Climate and focus her work on policies surrounding putting a price on carbon, and hopes to help make the movement more inclusive. She believes deeply that climate injustice is one of, if not the greatest, challenges of our time and that we must approach all sustainability work through an equity lens. Whenever she has time Caitlin enjoys dancing, playing frisbee, traveling, and exploring the outdoors.

Connor Farnham

Connor is currently a senior at the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts, Boston. They grew up in suburban Wilmington, MA and spent their childhood exploring the forests, mountains, and lakes of New Hampshire. As a member of the LGBTQ community and an ardent student of Marxian economics, Connor is most passionate about fighting climate change through a social justice and economic lens. They aim to pursue a PhD in environmental policy focusing on theories of environmental imperialism and political ecology, hopefully ending up as a professor somewhere in the secluded wilderness of New England.

Ava Harrington

Ava Harrington is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy who grew up in North Reading, Massachusetts. Her interest in biology and ecology has pushed her to feel extremely concerned about climate change She believes that climate change is the greatest issue facing her generation. She is excited to tackle these issues by addressing them at the source: legislature. She believes carbon pricing is the best way to tackle the disaster of climate change, and hopes to study biology and political science in college. Outside of learning all things bio, Ava loves writing and hopes to be a science writer one day. She spends her free time playing video games, reading, and hanging out with her pet fish.

Hannah Lydon

Hannah Lydon became interested in climate change when she was young through reading An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. Since then, Hannah has studied Environmental Technology at Essex Technical High School where she first started learning GIS and studying how sea level rise would affect coastal communities. Today Hannah is a junior at the University of Massachusetts Boston pursuing her bachelors of science in Environmental Science. Hannah looks forward to increasing her knowledge of carbon pricing and environmental activism with Our Climate. She is especially excited to be working with other youth leaders to create statewide change. Hannah also enjoys practicing, teaching, and competing in kung fu, tai chi, and dragon dance.

Rhiannon McIsaac

Rhiannon is a senior at Attleboro High School. She has loved the ocean since she was a child and intends to major in marine science in the coming fall. She came to climate activism through researching marine science and seeing the effects of a changing climate on the oceans she loves so much. She is especially excited to work with Our Climate on carbon pricing as she believes it is a real solution to a very real problem. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys reading, taking pictures, and hiking with her dog who is very ironically named Diesel.

Emily Radkowski

Emily is a first-year student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst pursuing a major in environmental science and a certificate in coastal and marine sciences. As a former captain of her high school’s speech and debate team, she is passionate about helping others find their voices and share their stories. Through her fellowship with Our Climate, Emily hopes to continue that passion. She is excited to assist other young people in advocating for strong and equitable carbon pricing legislation in her home state of Massachusetts. In her downtime, Emily can either be found hiking, trying new recipes, or searching for the best reading spots on campus.

Meaghan Tully

Meaghan is a senior at Attleboro High school, graduating in May. She plans to attend College in the Fall and pursue a degree in Environmental Studies. Born in Brockton and raised in Attleboro, MA, Meaghan has always been passionate about environmental protection and advocacy. She believes that Climate Change is the most pressing issue of our time, and is concerned that everyone will feel the effects, especially those most vulnerable to a changing landscape. This belief led her to Our Climate’s campaign. She believes carbon fee and rebate policies are a viable, equitable way to help tackle the issue and create tangible change. In her free time, Meaghan enjoys skateboarding, skiing, knitting, and spending quality time with her dog, Kato.  

Ruby Wincele

Ruby is a junior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where she is majoring in Economics and Mathematics, and minoring in Environmental Studies and Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity. She is interested in the economic impacts of climate change and is currently focusing on environmental and food policy in school.  In 2018, Ruby worked at the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), which helps researchers and undergraduate students understand and explore environmental solutions. At ESI, she learned about carbon pricing and how this type of policy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide benefits to American families and help communities adapt to climate change. She is excited to be working with Our Climate to help increase support for carbon pricing in Massachusetts and to learn more about environmental activism. Originally from White Plains, NY, Ruby is a huge New York Yankees fan; she also loves coffee, cats, hiking and baking.

Summer 2019 New York Fellows

Daksh Arora

Daksh Arora is a budding aviation engineer who wants to advocate for better public policies to fight climate change through technology, innovation, and collective action. Daksh had worked on curbing indoor air pollution, improving access to drinking water and menstrual hygiene in rural parts of India through entrepreneurial action. Daksh was a core team member at Enactus India and worked on harvesting green energy at Johns Hopkins University as a research student. Daksh has his M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University and his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi. For fun, Daksh likes to hike, paint, go to music concerts and play board games. 

Jenna Langan

Jenna is going into her junior year of undergrad at Binghamton University as a biology major. She minors in environmental studies and Spanish. Jenna is a key member of many community outreach programs in both Binghamton and her hometown. Jenna works with young student to teach and educate them in many scientific fields as well as helps teach English to Spanish speaking children. For fun Jenna is a competitive dancer and also enjoys running, listening to music, and painting. 

Ayessa Mae Oasan

Ayessa Mae recently completed her B.A.in Environmental Studies and a minor in Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University. She has been involved in a number of local green revitalization projects in Binghamton while attending university and is passionate about working directly with a community on creating an equitable and sustainable environment for all. Ayessa Mae was also an executive board member of the Asian Student Union on campus, setting a platform for topics in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history, contemporary issues, and civic engagement to flourish. In her spare time, Ayessa Mae enjoys drawing, playing guitar, singing, and going to concerts.

Daniel Baah

Daniel just graduated from the MS  Environmental Science program at Rochester Institute of Technology (USA) where he researched into treating industrial wastewater with green algae.  Currently a PhD student in RIT’s Sustainability program, he has developed a passion for various waste-to-energy technologies which mitigates greenhouse gases that causes climate change. Born and raised in Sub-saharan Africa (Ghana), he has had his fair share of the ulgy face of climate change. The mention of changing rainfall patterns and the continuous spread of the desert to arable lands with its accompanied  droughts have affected food security and caused famine in the region. These impacts have motivated him to support the campaign to hold polluters accountable and push for clean energy alternatives. He enjoys soccer and listens to Enya’s tracks during his quiet times. He is married with two handsome boys.

Paola Orozco

Paola Orozco has a BA in International Relations with a minor in History from SUNY New Paltz. She has been involved in International organizations, such as, the Anne Frank Center in NYC and the Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations. Paola engages with the community  in different ways. She assisted her school food pantry, volunteered at a shelter in Kingston, NY and served as a mentor to guide other students. For fun, Paola enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures, bike, collect post cards and puzzles, watching soccer and seeing her favorite band.

Summer 2019 Oregon Fellows

Zac Pinard

Zac recently graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Environmental Science specializing in Environmental Economics and Policy.

Zac took as many opportunities as he could in college to learn about the world, having studied abroad twice, been involved in clubs that go on hiking and backpacking trips, and working as a research assistant for multiple scientific projects.  He feels more connected to the planet than any city, state, or country that I have lived in, and does his best to take an active role in helping it thrive for both people, and the rest of nature.

That is why he is fighting for the environment in our legislature.  It is absolutely essential that every government in every place recognizes the global problem of climate change, and takes meaningful steps to address it.  The Clean Energy Jobs bill is Oregon’s meaningful step, and because this is his home, he feels he has have a special responsibility to fight for it.

Alexandra Bless

Alexandra is a junior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry at Willamette University. During her time growing up in Petersburg, Alaska, she became aware of the impacts of climate change by studying the retreat of the local LeConté Glacier and its effects on the surrounding environment. Upon entering college, Alexandra continued her environmental work by taking part in a spring break trip that focused on the intersectionalities between environmental and social justice, sitting on a committee that funds sustainability related student projects on campus, and becoming a part of Our Climate to push for more strict climate policies, which has given her confidence in the future of environmental policy and inspired her to continue pushing for revolutionary climate solutions. In addition to environmental justice activism, Alexandra enjoys choreographing for Willamette’s dance company, writing for the student newspaper, and doing research in the biology department.

Grant Starr

Grant Starr is a native Oregonian currently attending WIllamette University as a PPLE (Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics) major. He is a senator in student government and the Vice President of the Willamette College Democrats. He hopes to pursue a career in politics, with a focus on LGBTQ rights, Climate Change, and reforming the political system. In his spare time he enjoys watching FMA Brotherhood, playing video games, and reading policy papers.

Madelyn Starr

Madelyn Starr is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (Class of 2019) with a double major in Political Science and Spanish. She is a native Oregonian and credits the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and pioneering spirit for inspiring her commitment to environmental justice. She plans to further her community organizing work in the Portland area. In her spare time, she can be found thrift shopping, attending trivia nights, and listening to comedy podcasts.

Ellen Smith

Ellen Smith is 20 years old and is pursuing a degree in Policy and Ethics at Willamette University. She enjoys reading, writing, and anything outdoors. Before being a fellow with Our Climate, she interned with a lobbying firm in Salem. She is excited to be working to pass Clean Energy Jobs because her future depends on its passage.

Ross Wheeler

Ross Wheeler has done two rounds of Our Climate fellowships. He has always had a passion for exploring the science behind global climate change and the personal and societal changes that we must make to reduce our impact on the environment. Growing up on Vashon Island, Washington, Ross experienced the close relationship between humans, health, and the natural environment. Ross is excited to join Our Climate to fight for market-based solutions to climate change as an essential part of a total climate solution. Ross is currently a Sophomore Politics major at Willamette University.

Spring 2019 Washington Fellows

Robin Chapman

Robin is a freshman at The Evergreen State College. She's originally from Issaquah, Washington, but is excited to be in Olympia studying the environment and policy. Robin has always cared for animals and nature since she has lived so close to both. Robin's care for climate change really solidified at the Seattle Aquarium when she was a Youth Ocean Advocate during high school. Robin saw the effects climate change had on the ocean and felt like she could make a difference . Robin now feels personally responsible for making sure the Pacific Northwest stays beautiful and sustainable. This is Robin's second time being a part of Our Climate's Fellowship!

Monique Reese

Monique is a junior at Eastern Washington University.  She’s always had a love for science, which lead her to major in Environmental Chemistry.  In efforts to become a part of the movement for cleaner energy, she joined the Our Climate Fellowship in Washington.  Throughout this experience she hopes to continue building on her leadership skills, network with other leaders in her campus and city community, and make a difference in our nations pollution habits.  National change is a big goal. But to create change in our world, we must think globally and act locally.

Zoe Hemez

Zoe is a freshman at Western Washington University, where she plans on double-majoring in mathematics and public health. Born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Zoe has always felt deeply passionate about preserving the environment for generations to come. By serving as an Our Climate fellow for her campus, she hopes to inspire her fellow students to speak out against those issues that threaten the future of our planet. In her spare time, Zoe loves to rock climb, take photos, read books, and pet her kitties.

Jessica Hart

Jessica is a junior at Washington State University and currently studying Sports Science. She hopes to go into the medical field but firmly believes that a crucial piece of one's health is the environmental conditions they are in. Growing up in an area where she was able to see the effects of environmental degradation and the side effects on public health, she hopes to be able to share her experiences to prevent others from the same situations. 

Spring 2019 Virginia Fellow

Riley Place is a a Freshman at the University of Richmond. Originally from the Washington DC area, Riley began his involvement with Our Climate by working on the DC Put A Price On It Campaign. This campaign succeeded in passing one of the most ambitious local level climate bills in the country. In Virginia, Riley has facilitated training and petitioning events on campus, published an Op-Ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and organized a lobby day for carbon pricing in the state offices. In his free time, Riley enjoys running along the James River and birdwatching. He believes this is a critical time to mitigate climate change, as many of the effects of climate change on biodiversity and human society will be either impossible or extremely expensive to address the longer society waits.

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