A 20-year celebration: Stanback Internship Program

April 14, 2016 - 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Field Auditorium, Environment Hall

Current and former participants of the Stanback Internship program are invited to attend a special 20-year celebration.

Registration is required. RSVP to Lola Martin at lola.martin@duke.edu.

This program is sponsored by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations and the Career Services Center.

Event Schedule >
Speaker Bios >

Event Schedule

12 – 12:15 pm - Welcoming Remarks and acknowledgment of Alice and Fred Stanback, Jr. and their contribution to the Stanback Internship Program

12:15 – 12:45 pm - Key Note Speaker, Derb S. Carter, Jr., Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Chapel Hill Office

1 – 2:15 pm - Panel Discussion: Protecting our Critical Resources

As environmental specialists consider the current challenges facing the protection of our natural resources ranging from water to wildlife, this discussion will explore current issues and opportunities to ensure future protection of these valuable resources.


  • Madeleine Foote MEM’12 Legislative Representative, League of Conservation Voters
  • Keila Hand MEM’07 Paper Sector Manager, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Ben Prater MEM’04 Southeast Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Nick Wildman MEM’05 Restoration Specialist, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration

    Moderator: Vanessa Morel MEM’04 Vice President, NatureBridge

2:30 – 3:45pm - Panel Discussion: Exploring Innovative Solutions

A discussion focused on new science, technology and policy that explores using innovative solutions to solve pertinent challenges in the environmental field.


  • Jeff Mittelstadt MEM’03 President, WildSides, Inc.
  • Betty Watson MEM’10 Deputy Director of Policy and Electricity Markets, SolarCity
  • Luke Wilkinson T’06 Director of Business Development, Silicon Ranch Corporation
  • Nate Woiwode MEM’07 MMP’07, Risk Reduction & Resilience Project Manager, North America Water Program, The Nature Conservancy

    Moderator: Priya Ranganathan MEM’17

3:45 – 4 pm - Closing Remarks

4 – 4:45pm - Social and networking. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

Speaker Bios

Keynote: Derb S. Carter, Jr., Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Chapel Hill Office
Mr. Carter is the Director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center.  SELC uses the power of the law to protect the South’s environment and natural resources.  A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, he graduated in 1975 with honors in biology from the University of North Carolina and in 1980 from the University of Oregon Law School, where he was an editor of the Oregon Law Review.  Prior to joining SELC in 1988, Mr. Carter was an attorney in the Solicitors Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington DC and Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s southeastern regional office in Raleigh, NC.  He has litigated numerous cases in state and federal courts related to the protection of water quality, wetlands, coastal resources, public lands, and endangered species.  He is a past chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, received the National Wetlands Award for Program Development in 2000, and was recognized as North Carolina’s 2004 Conservationist of the Year in the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.

Panel Speakers: Protecting our Critical Resources

Madeleine Foote (MEM’12) – Legislative Representative, League of Conservation Voters
Madeleine Foote is the Legislative Representative at the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. During her four years at LCV, she has advocated for policies that protect the environment and public health, including on the issues of chemical policy reform, clean water, and pollution from the oil and gas industry. Madeleine graduated in May 2012 from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University with a Master of Environmental Management, focusing on environmental policy and economics. She also graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Irvine.

Keila Hand (MEM’07) Paper Sector Manager, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Keila Hand manages WWF US’s Global Forest & Trade Network-North America (GFTN-NA) engagements with forestry companies, such as paper producers and buyers. In her role, Keila engages with leading North American companies that participate in GFTN-NA program, as they develop and implement responsible wood and fiber procurement commitments.  She works with companies to help them understand the forest sources of wood and fiber, implement their procurement policies, engage with suppliers around the world and help them avoid reputational and brand risks associated with procurement of wood and fiber linked to deforestation and forest degradation. Keila also serves as an expert at WWF US on clean production aspects of paper manufacturing, including energy and water use, emissions control and abatement. Keila has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Brazilian Lutheran University in Brazil, and a Masters of Environmental Management as a Fulbright Scholar from the Nicholas School, Duke University School of Environment. She also earned a Post-Graduate degree in Environmental Engineering in 2010 from the State University of Campinas in Brazil.

Ben Prater (MEM’04) Southeast Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife
Ben Prater supervises and directs Defenders' efforts to protect imperiled wildlife and their habitats in the Southeast. He is also building on the outstanding work of our Florida and legal teams throughout the region and expanding our work into the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama which are home to sensitive habitats and many endangered species.  Ben comes to Defenders from Wild South, where he worked as Director of Conservation guiding efforts to protect and restore public lands while preserving wilderness and biodiversity across the Southeast. During his eleven year tenure, Ben participated in strategic partnerships to protect wilderness areas, old-growth forests, and rare species habitats. Under Ben's leadership, Wild South halted oil and gas exploration that threatened endangered species in Alabama's national forests, protected the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker from habitat loss in Mississippi's Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, and established a program to restore stream habitats in North Carolina for the rare Hellbender salamander.  Ben holds a M.S. in Environmental Management from Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University and a B.S. Environmental Science, from Catawba College in North Carolina.

Nick Wildman (MEM’05) Restoration Specialist, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration
Nick Wildman is a Restoration Specialist with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration. As part of this work, Nick is the Division’s lead on eight restoration projects across the state. He also leads the Division’s work examining the economic effects of restoration and serves on the Management Committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. Nick has a decade of experience directing river and wetland projects in the northeast. He lives in New Bedford with his wife, Erin Burke (CEM ’05), and two children.

Panel Moderator: Vanessa Morel (MEM’04) Vice President, NatureBridge
Vanessa Morel is the Vice President, East Coast for NatureBridge, an organization that provides hands-on environmental science programs in national parks for 30,000 students each year. She leads the organization’s program expansion in the East and handles legislative affairs and organizational relationships in D.C. Before joining NatureBridge, Vanessa was the Senior Director of Partnerships for the National Parks Conservation Association. Vanessa started with the National Parks Conservation Association as a Stanback intern and enjoyed seven years with the organization. Vanessa grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and spent countless hours on the trails and in the creeks of the national park. She went on to teach high school science and used the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as her classroom. From these experiences, she became an advocate for increasing in-park learning opportunities for teachers and students. She was able to draw on these experiences while serving as a liaison to the Education Committee of the National Parks Second Century Commission. Vanessa is a graduate of Middlebury College and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She is married to Pierre Morel and has two daughters. Vanessa and her family have just moved from the DC area to Richmond, VA.

Panel Speakers: Exploring Innovative Solutions

Jeff Mittelstadt (MEM’03) President, WildSides, Inc.
Jeff Mittelstadt is the founder and President of WildSides. His goal is to use his background in policy, economics, business, higher education and documentary journalism to cover human-wildlife conflict issues like they've never been covered before. He has worked in many different sectors and has always emphasized stakeholder engagement and understanding. Jeff was Davidson College's first Director of Sustainability. He worked for the U.S. EPA's Office of Inspector General in Research Triangle Park evaluating national air quality programs. He was a vice president and senior analyst at Bank of America working on green building, sustainable purchasing, green cleaning, renewable energy and more. Jeff designed, implemented, and managed a national sustainable manufacturing initiative for a D.C. nonprofit, the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing. The U.S. Department of Commerce appointed him to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Advisory Expert Group on Sustainable Manufacturing and Eco-Innovation. Jeff earned a master's degree in journalism and mass communication at UNC-Chapel Hill where he worked on the 2011 Powering A Nation team to make the award-winning interactive documentary Coal: A Love Story. Jeff has served on boards such as the Davidson Farmers' Market and the start-up incubator Project for Innovation, Energy and Sustainability (PiES) in Davidson, NC. He also holds the following degrees: B.A. 1999, Psychology, Davidson College. M.E.M. 2003, Resource Economics and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Science, Duke University. M.B.A. 2007, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Enterprise, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Betty Watson (MEM’10) Deputy Director of Policy and Electricity Markets, SolarCity
Betty Watson is Deputy Director of Policy and Electricity Markets at SolarCity.  Ms. Watson’s work includes policies for battery storage, microgrids, and utility business models for distributed resources, particularly on the east coast.  Before joining SolarCity, Ms. Watson worked in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where she advised the Commission on wholesale electricity markets and transmission policy.  Prior to that, she completed an Energy and Environment Fellowship with the Regulatory Assistance Project, working on energy regulatory issues in the United States, European Union, China, and India.  She received her Master of Environmental Management degree, in the Energy Concentration, from The Nicholas School at Duke University.

Luke Wilkinson (T’06) Director of Business Development, Silicon Ranch Corporation
Luke Wilkinson focuses on managing utility scale solar energy projects through all of the different aspects of the project’s development lifecycle, from concept to completion.  His responsibilities include creating opportunities in new markets, finding and acquiring land for speculative projects and developed projects, solar project financial analysis, and general marketing outreach and services. Before starting with Silicon Ranch in 2013, Luke received a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Sustainability Management from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.  He had spent the previous three years as an ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Research Analyst for MSCI, Inc.  Luke covered the energy and materials sectors and developed the MSCI Environmental Index Series during his time with the company.

Nate Woiwode (MEM’07 MMP’07) Risk Reduction & Resilience Project Manager, North America Water Program, The Nature Conservancy
Nate Woiwode is the Risk Reduction and Resilience Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s North American Water Program.  In this role Nate manages the Conservancy’s efforts to build the business case for creating more resilient communities by employing nature and natural systems in managing flood risk in coastal and riverine communities across the United States. Previously, Nate helped guide many of the Conservancy’s post-Sandy efforts in New York and regionally, including managing our engagement in the $1 billion Rebuild by Design competition and serving as a key member of the team that supported Mark Tercek’s role on the NYS 2100 Commission, convened by Governor Cuomo to develop long term recommendations on how to make New York State more resilient to the impacts of climate change.  He also led the Coastal Resilience Team for the Long Island Chapter and was a co-lead of the New York State Climate Change Team.  Nate also helped craft and pass New York’s Community Risk and Resilience Act and the Seagrass Protection Act as well as serve as a member of the Staff Steering Committee on the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force. Nate lives with his wife Jen, a fellow Nicholas School alum, and their two children in Sag Harbor, New York.

Panel Moderator: Priya Ranganathan (MEM ’17)
Priya Ranganathan is a first year in the Ecosystem Science and Conservation concentration at the Nicholas School. Prior to Duke, she studied Environmental Geology and Biology, with certificates in Geospatial Analysis and South Asian Studies, at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. Hailing from Mumbai, India, Priya is most interested in wildlife conservation and grassroots development and environmental education work in South and Southeast Asia, with a focus on India. She is also interested in greening coastal cities and is analyzing the effects of mangrove restoration on preventing coastal flooding and in soil stabilization in Southeast Asia as her master’s project. Priya is involved in the Student Association for Geospatial Analysis (SAGA), the Duke Conservation Society (DCS), and interns with the Big Cats Initiative run by National Geographic. She will be spending her summer in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India as a part of World Wildlife Fund India’s Project Tiger working on mapping tiger territory and village encroachment on reserve land, dealing with livestock depredation and poaching. When not in Environment Hall, Priya teaches Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) and is an avid hiker and reader.