policies around the globe.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
The Nicholas School's reputation for environmental leadership precedes it in the clean energy and environmental policy fields. I was looking for a graduate education that would train me on a range of environmental issues, connect me with the leading organizations and individual thinkers in my chosen field, and give me a support network of other young professionals working toward similar
goals. The Nicholas School offers all of that, and came highly recommended from former coworkers and managers to boot!
My main focus at the Nicholas School will be learning the skills I need to be an effective advocate for strong environmental policies. I also hope to use my time there to gain expertise on wildlife and wilderness conservation issues, which have not been part of my professional background but which I would like to include in my career plan moving forward.
I am looking forward to joining the community of dedicated environmental advocates that the Nicholas School is so well known for. I can't wait to share ideas and stories of past successes and failures with my new classmates, hear innovative perspectives from my new professors, and get involved with research on cutting-edge environmental policy topics at the Nicholas Institute.
I am using this summer before the Nicholas School to do all the things I've dreamed of doing for a long time but never had the opportunity to do while I was caught up in the world of 9-to-5's: namely, travel and volunteer abroad. I use the term "summer" loosely, as I've actually spent the last 6 months seeing the world. My travels have included a month volunteering at a conservation nonprofit in Costa Rica, a visit to a butterfly farming cooperative in Tanzania, and lots of practice spotting endemic wildlife in Borneo's national parks. Travelling the world has given me a lot of personal insight and fulfillment, but it's also given me some novel career ideas that I'm excited to explore further this fall in Durham!
I don't yet have any specific plans for future employment, but I would like to pursue a position, either for a summer internship or post-graduate, at an international NGO dedicated to conservation.
Concentration: Environmental Economics and Policy
Major: Environmental Analysis
Develop business case for client to establish carbon offset projects on forestlands in North Carolina. Support recommendations with cash flow models, multi-criteria decision analysis, and expert opinions. Create a site prioritization for potential offset projects, working in a team with Master of Forestry students. Sep. 2017 – Present
Write biweekly Wordpress blog entries about environmental policy solutions, attracting over 1,300 views year-to-date. Writing featured on National Geographic Cat Watch blog and Nicholas School webpage for prospective students. Sep. 2016 – Present
Created blog stories and video vignettes featured on NPCA website, based on field interviews in three national parks. Made recommendations to organization on most effective messaging strategies for air and climate programs. Advised Air Team on relevant political developments from congressional hearings. May 2017 – Sep. 2017
Conducted literature review and interviews on state programs to finance conservation in Chesapeake Bay watershed. Integrated research into a policy brief on opportunities for land conservation to help achieve water quality goals under the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulation for the Chesapeake Bay. Sep. 2016 – Jan. 2017
Designed a new methodology to calculate CO2 reduction targets for initiatives in the US, EU, China & India. Recommended allocation of a $130M grant portfolio to an international board of 13 partner foundations. Conducted interviews and wrote literature reviews on power sector trends to inform grant strategy development. Sep. 2014 – Sep. 2015
Wrote regulatory comments and attended hearings with the Cal. Air Resources Board and Public Utilities Commission to represent the utilities’ position on reporting requirements in Cap & Trade regulations. Supervised a cross-functional team of 80 implementing California’s Greenhouse Gas Cap & Trade program. Managed the company’s strategy for carbon allowance procurement, worth over $170M through 18 months. Created and executed a project plan for a new carbon offset procurement strategy valued at $20M. Led contractual negotiations with offset market participants to develop final purchase agreements. Aug. 2011 – Aug. 2014
Created an analytic tool using Excel VBA code to track energy traders’ performance. Evaluated 100 bids for a renewable energy reverse auction, resulting in signed contracts worth over $350M. Designed a first-of-its-kind web platform for bid submission and data storage that is now used for most solicitations
• National Parks Conservation Association, blog and video, 2017: “Yosemite’s dirty air secret”
• National Parks Conservation Association, blog and video, 2017: “Do brook trout have a future in Shenandoah?”
• Kenan Institute for Ethics, presentation, 2017: “Cash for green: payments for ecosystem services in the Global South”
• National Geographic Cat Watch, blog, 2017: “Where have Zimbabwe’s cheetahs gone?”
• Nicholas School Community-Based Environmental Management, article, 2017: “Blue Ventures: Blue Forests”
• Osa Conservation, blog, 2016: “Volunteering for cat conservation”
• USAID Climate Leadership Forum, presentation, 2015: “Market strategy and trading fundamentals in the Kazakhstan ETS”
• Nicholas School Naturalists, 2017-present: Lead outdoor club with membership of 200 and eight events yearly
• Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, 2017-present: Edit legal articles for publication in school journal
• Nicholas Scholars, Durham, NC, 2016-17: Planned program for student/alumni environmental leadership panel
• Kuti Wildlife Reserve, Malawi, 2016: Surveyed species to inform park management; conducted community outreach
• Osa Conservation, Costa Rica, 2016: Collected, analyzed and presented camera trap data on species abundance
• Minds Matter, Los Angeles, CA, 2013-14: Mentored low-income high school student on college admissions process
• Dept. of Wildlife & Natural Resources, Botswana, 2010: Shadowed staff in responding to human-wildlife conflict
My experience working in carbon markets, climate change philanthropy, and conservation NGOs uniquely qualifies me to develop innovative policies that incentivize land conservation as a tool to mitigate climate change. I am also interested in story-based messaging as a tool to build a broad coalition of support for new climate and conservation policies.