2020 Sustainability Fellows

Abigail Ahern, Sustainability FellowAbigail Ahern

Sustainability Guidelines for Historic Homes
Town of Concord, MA

Abigail Ahern just completed her masters of architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology. This summer she’ll be working with the Town of Concord, MA to develop guidelines to facilitate the update of historic homes to include sustainablity retrofitting while respecting the historic character of the houses and community. With previous experience working as a historic preservation mason apprentice and working at a preservation and engineering firm she will construct an investigation of potential barriers in including sustainable practices in the Historic District. Abigail will create a handbook to help owners of historic properties make their homes more sustainable. Post fellowship, Abigail will look for employment as an entry level architect with a focus on sustainability and in creating architectural solutions for current socio-economic issues.


Griffin Brown, Sustainability FellowVeronica Becherer

Energy Efficiency for Rural Small Businesses
Resilient Buildings Group (RBG)

Veronica is excited to be a Sustainability Fellow this summer! She will work with Resilient Buildings Group and Liberty Utilities staff to identify the barriers for small businesses in rural parts of the state with respect to participation in energy efficiency programs, and to develop strategies for making NHSaves more accessible to that segment. Veronica received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ball State University and just finished her first year of graduate school at Antioch University New England, where she is pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Studies. Her career goals are to work with businesses on sustainability initiatives, and she is excited to start on that path this summer alongside RBG and Liberty Utilities. In her free time, Veronica enjoys going for bike rides and spending time with her friends and family.


Gabriel Desmond, Sustainability FellowGabriel Desmond

Tracking Campus Emissions from Biomass Gasification
Middlebury College

Originally from Tacoma, WA, Gabe Desmond is a rising senior at Middlebury College pursuing a dual BA in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. Over the last year he interned at Middlebury's Office of Sustainability Integration where he worked on projects including the FY20 GHG inventory, a proposal for an internal carbon price, and an analysis of fume hood energy efficiency in the college's science building. Gabe will be building on this past experience to develop a lifecycle analysis of the carbon emissions produced by the biomass gasification on campus. While World Resources Institute and EPA protocols currently treat biomass as a net zero source of energy, there is an effort to develop a protocol for more detailed biomass accounting. Gabe will collaborate with Middlebury faculty & staff, the Vermont Energy Investment Corp, and the Higher Education Bioenergy Working Group to use Middlebury's biomass gasification plant as a case study to better understand the net warming potential of biomass. Outside of passion for sustainability, he leads a regular meditation practice, is an avid fan of logic puzzles, and is always looking for new vegetarian recipes.


Alexandra Duprey, Sustainability FellowAlexandra Duprey

Building Coastal Flood Resilience in a Small Municipality
Town of Kittery, ME

Alexandra Duprey is pursuing a dual degree M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, and Law and Diplomacy. This summer, Alexandra will be working with the Town of Kittery to compile best practices for coastal flood resilience and map vulnerable neighborhoods. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. Alexandra has conducted extensive research on socioecological vulnerabilities, sea level rise planning, and the intersection of resiliency and equity. She has prior experience working as a planner and GIS specialist for an engineering firm and as an environmental educator for a state park.

Alexandra is driven to utilize policy and planning to prepare cities for the hazards associated with climate change and expanding urbanization, while prioritizing socioeconomic equity and ecological systems. In her free time, Alexandra likes to practice her French, play the violin loudly, or read in the sun.


Jake Gerhung, Sustainability FellowJake Gerhung

The Cost of Climate Change Adaptation in Vermont
SolaVida

Jake is a recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire where he studied Environmental Science, Environmental Economics, Spanish, and Business Administration. His passion in life and career is to shift society toward sustainability and peace. As an undergraduate researcher, he completed projects in New England, New Zealand and Ecuador to broaden his perspective on environmental sustainability. As president of Net Impact UNH, he led campaigns to support sustainability on campus like the Fair Trade Campaign, which focused on social sustainability. As an intern at Ceres, he has worked with the most influential companies on pressing challenges in corporate sustainability. As a UNH Sustainability Fellow, he is currently working with SolaVida in Vermont on creating a roadmap for disclosing state spending on climate adaptation initiatives. He hopes to continue building experience in sustainability, making the strongest impact through corporate and political efforts.


Amina Grant, Sustainability FellowAmina Grant

Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
City of Concord, NH

This summer, Amina will work with the City of Concord, NH, to produce a greenhouse gas emissions inventory database for municipal operations. She received her BS in Environmental Systems Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Water Development at the University of Iowa. Her doctoral research focuses on drinking water quality in Iowa. Amina is interested in a career tackling sustainability and environmental health challenges in a government or research agency, and her work with the City of Concord will be a great experience within this area. In her free time, Amina enjoys watching movies, jumping into the occasional cartwheel, discovering new music, and eating. Keeping a positive outlook on life, Amina thought the best way to spend newfound time inside is writing a fiction book trilogy.


Aleksander Gulkewicz, Sustainability FellowAleksander Gukewicz

Municipal Climate Action Plan
Town of Kennebunk, ME

Aleksander Gulkewicz is working with the Town of Kennebunk, Maine to finalize a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and to develop and prioritize emissions reduction strategies. This work will be used to formulate a municipal climate action plan for the town. Aleksander completed a BS in Environmental Engineering and is currently pursuing a MA in Environmental Policy with a concentration in Urban Environmental Policy and Planning both at Lehigh University. For the past 3 years, he has worked with his university’s sustainability office to reform the traditional university food system to one which is more healthy, fair, and green. Currently, Aleksander works as a Graduate Assistant in his university’s sustainability office and also serves as a Youth Representative to the United Nations to address the economic, environmental, and social implications of infrastructure corrosion across the globe. In the future, he hopes to influence policy creation and reform, especially in urban areas, to create more sustainable cities and to fight climate change. Beyond his schooling and career, Aleksander enjoys camping, hiking, and listening to and playing music.


David Larson, Sustainability FellowDavid Larson

Utility Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
Unitil

David Larson is a rising senior at Amherst College in Massachusetts, pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Studies and English. This summer, he'll be working with Unitil, a small investor-owned utility company, to develop their first greenhouse gas emissions inventory. As the company's first report, the inventory will help determine emissions baselines and best practices for data collection, as well as establish Unitil as a leader in utility sustainability. With prior internship experience in renewable energy, David hopes to build on his knowledge of the energy industry and learn more about how emissions can be best measured. After college, he plans to pursue a career in environmental law. In his free time, David loves skiing, hiking, his violin, and all things frisbee-related.


Anu Makinde, Sustainability FellowAnu Makinde

Energy Efficiency and New American Communities  
Burlington Electric Department / Vermont Gas Systems - Burlington, VT

Anu Makinde is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Peace, Justice, and Ecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working in her school’s sustainability department has taught her the importance of community engagement and inclusion regarding sustainability education as she met with campus groups to encourage sustainable practices. Growing up in a New American family taught her a lot about navigating different cultures and the effect this can have on life outcomes. This summer she will build on these interests as she works with the Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas to research the energy poverty within vulnerable populations like the New American community. This assessment will be used to create appropriate messaging that will encourage the use of energy-efficient tools and move Burlington closer to its goal of Net Zero Energy by 2030. In the future, she hopes to continue working with vulnerable populations through the use of innovation, policy, and advocacy.

In her free time, you can find her doing yoga, listening to music, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.


Narges Matini, Sustainability Fellow

Narges Matini

Flood-induced Roadway Damage Risk Analysis  
UNH Center for Infrastructure Resilience to Climate (UCIRC)

Narges Matini is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Pavement Engineering at North Carolina State University. The recent increase in the frequency and infrastructure impacts from extreme events has increased her awareness of and desire to research the impact of flooding and heatwave on the structural performance of the pavement system. It became her passion to find approaches to design resilient pavement structures. She has spent the last year learning about the resiliency concept and the effect of flooding on pavement structures. This summer, Narges will be working with the UNH Sustainability Institute to gain experiences and skills that can be used to greatly improve her knowledge and advance her research. In the future, she hopes to influence transportation and pavement system policy to integrate resiliency in the design. Whenever Narges finds time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, hiking, traveling, and watching movies.


Emily Mello, Sustainability FellowEmily Mello

Evaluating Upstream and Downstream Carbon Emissions
UNH SIMAP

Emily Mello is pursuing a Master’s in Physics at UNH (which she will hopefully be able to finish soon after her lab reopens). She holds a B.S. in Space Physics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In the summer of 2019, Emily had a complete change of heart with her career goals when she took the “Introduction to Sustainable Engineering” course through UNH. This course helped her discover her unmistakable passion for sustainability and fighting climate change. In the summer of 2020, Emily will be working with the UNH Sustainability Institute to expand the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP) by incorporating upstream emissions for energy-related activities. With this new data, colleges and universities can begin to understand their carbon and nitrogen footprints in a more complete way. Emily hasn’t fully figured out what she wants to do in the future yet, but she knows it will definitely include helping make the world more sustainable.

In her spare time, you can find Emily outside, soaking up the sun by day, and stargazing by night. She also enjoys spending time with family and helps run a health and fitness accountability group.


Rachel Nadolny, Sustainability FellowRachel Nadolny

Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
Town of Exeter, NH

Rachel Nadolny will complete her Master of Science in Sustainability Science, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in September 2020, upon completion of the practicum requirement. She will be working for the Town of Exeter, NH conducting a municipal greenhouse gas emissions inventory which will fulfill her practicum requirement. Prior to attending UMass Amherst, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Roger Williams University. Throughout her time at Roger Williams University she was involved in the Eco-Reps program and the Food Recovery Network. These two experiences introduced and developed her passion for sustainability. Rachel intends to have a career in which she is a part of the solutions to reducing the effects of climate change and is at the forefront of leading towards a more sustainable future. Outside of her career aspirations, Rachel enjoys spending time outdoors hiking in NH, swimming, and reading on the beach.


Jacob Nelson, Sustainability Fellow

Jacob Nelson

Centering Climate Change Resilience in the NH Food System
NH Food Alliance (NHFA)

Jacob is a farmer, teacher and organizer focused on bringing people together to build resilient local food systems. With the New Hampshire Food Alliance, he will be taking stock of organizations across the state supporting climate resilience in the food system. He will also be creating storytelling materials showcasing how food systems actors are adapting to climate stresses and disruptions, and helping facilitate an NHFA working-group drafting state policy recommendations to cohesively support food system resilience efforts. Jacob earned a BA in Resilient and Sustainable Communities from Green Mountain College where he coordinated resilience planning efforts between the college and town of Poultney, Vermont. He also taught, farmed, and managed permaculture design and farm to school network-building efforts for a boarding school in The Bahamas, and recently dove into ocean farming via kelp and shellfish aquaculture in his native Cape Cod. Ask him about sailing, camping, running, baseball, fixing things, sleeping in weird places, and cooking yummy food!


Hetal Patel, Sustainability FellowHetal Patel

Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Benchmarking
Town of Groton, CT

Hetal Patel is working with the Town of Groton, Connecticut to build upon the town's benchmarking and greenhouse gas inventory, and analyze the effectiveness of previously implemented conservation and energy efficiency actions. Using this analysis, recommendations will be made on how to improve and expand the town’s energy efficiency practices. Currently, Hetal is a rising Junior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability, Energy, and Society. Alongside academics, Hetal is working on research projects through the USC Department of Environmental Studies and the Wrigley Institute, and is an active volunteer for environmental non-profits. In the future, Hetal hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of sustainable business and climate change mitigation, and ultimately help shape the way sustainability is integrated into the framework of society. In her free time, Hetal enjoys photography, videography, hiking, and having a good time with friends and family.


Carly Peruccio, Sustainability FellowCarly Peruccio

Keene Sustainable Energy Plan: Outreach and Education
City of Keene, NH

Carly Peruccio is an audio producer with an interest in state and municipal policy. As a Sustainability Fellow, she’ll work with the City of Keene to engage community members in Keene’s sustainable energy planning process, using audio storytelling to encourage local support for Keene’s energy goals and to highlight progress. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in French from Bates College, and she received a graduate certificate in audio production from the Maine College of Art’s Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She hosts and produces a state environmental policy podcast for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), where she was also a researcher and organizer on a conservation advocacy team. Her work with NRCM focused on land use zoning, land management planning, and conservation funding programs. She has taught podcasting and interviewing skills to elementary school students in South Portland, Maine, and she taught high school English in Luxembourg through the Fulbright program. Carly loves running, playing piano, and asking people for podcast recommendations.


Mary Potts, Sustainability FellowMary Potts

Municipal Carbon and Nitrogen Footprint Analyses
Town of Durham, NH

Mary Potts is working with the Town of Durham, NH to conduct an inventory of the Town’s municipal carbon and nitrogen emissions. Using the Sustainability Indicator Management & Analysis Platform, she will quantify Durham’s carbon and nitrogen footprints, recommend strategies to reduce municipal emissions, and develop a plan for a future community-wide inventory. Mary holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Northeastern University and has been pursuing her MS in Environmental Conservation at the University of New Hampshire. She has previously worked as a teaching assistant in environmental and energy policy at UNH, a summer fellow with the Climate XChange State Carbon Pricing Network, and a communications intern with the MIT Energy Initiative. Her passion is to integrate climate science with policy and communications in order to design and disseminate effective solutions to combat climate change.


Ariella Sela, Sustainability FellowsAriella Sela

Climate and Impact Risk Analysis for Agricultural Businesses
Root Capital

Ariella Sela is currently pursuing her MS/MPH in Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University. Before Friedman, she held various roles within corporate sustainability, most recently consulting for Fortune 500 companies across the food value chain, from animal processors and consumer packaged goods companies to big box retailers and multinational restaurant chains. During her time at Friedman, she has interned at Stonyfield Organic; worked on a research project looking at the impacts of climate change on coffee quality; and helped develop a course on corporate social responsibility in the food industry. This summer she will be the Climate and Impact Risk Fellow at Root Capital, working on a project focused on driving climate resilience for smallholder farmers in Latin America.

Ariella earned a B.S. from Emory University in Environment and Sustainability Management with a minor in Spanish. In her time quarantined, you can find her riding the Minute Man with a bandana around her face, baking much more than usual, and cuddling her two cats and pup.