By Jeff Peterson
By: Jennifer Carman, University of Michigan
Mentee Nathan Stinnette is a sustainability consultant and project manager with Reynolds, Smith & Hills Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida. Within the RS&H environmental and sustainability group, he consults on projects related to sustainability planning, climate change and adaptation, resource efficiencies, waste minimization, environmental management systems, NEPA, and environmental compliance. Nathan joined ASAP and the mentorship program to develop adaptation planning skills that will help him better serve clients.
Mentee Juanita Constible works for the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), focusing on climate change and health. Her experience prior to joining NRDC includes authoring a book about climate change for high school classrooms, overseeing the Science and Solutions Department at the Climate Reality Project, and serving as an adviser to the Climate Action Campaign. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in biology from the University of Victoria in Canada, and a climate change and health certificate from the Yale School of Public Health.
The Summit Foundation will support ASAP, in partnership with Network Impact, in regional hub strategy development and deployment. We are excited for this opportunity to critically review and expand ways to strengthen capacity for climate adaptation through the development of interconnected, local professional networks or hubs.
Mentee Lindsay Ross is a Senior Analyst on the client services team at Four Twenty Seven, where she helps clients, including multilateral development banks, real estate investment trusts, asset managers, and asset owners, understand the economic and financial impacts of physical climate change. Previously she worked for the U.S. International Trade Commission, assisting with macroeconomic research on the impacts of international trade on the U.S. economy. Lindsay studied at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, focusing on energy, resources, and the environment, as well as international finance and economics.
Mentee Sierra Gladfelter recently began working as a Project Manager at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Engagement & Negotiation (IEN), coordinating the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool, a one-year community-driven resilience planning process for seven localities on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Prior to this, as the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Fellowship, Sierra spent five years doing applied research on climate change impacts on vulnerable communities in Nepal, Zambia, and India. She specifically examined the extent to which development interventions are able to assist these communities in coping with climate-exacerbated floods and droughts. Sierra holds a Master’s Degree in Geography and a Certificate in Development Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder, and lives in Charlottesville, VA.
This past weekend, neither widespread ICE raids nor one-time hurricane (now tropical storm) Barry wreaked the level of havoc newscasters predicted they would. However, these specific threats still exist, as do the conditions that have enabled them, displaying the complex, interconnected experiences of human migration and environmental change.
Mentee Libby Szuflita is a Master’s student in City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in transportation planning with a Natural Hazards Resilience Certificate. Her research focus is on growth projections in long-range transportation planning, particularly how large transportation infrastructure projects impact land use decisions and how resilience can be prioritized in these decisions. Prior to graduate school, she worked for a sustainable transportation advocacy non-profit in New York City. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Bowdoin College.
Mentor Michael Dexter is a climate risk and resilience expert and Certified Floodplain Manager. He works as the Finance and Grants Manager for the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, where he supports local, state, and federal efforts to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity for one of the 28 estuaries of national significance. Previously, he worked in the EPA Administrators Office, coordinating climate adaptation planning and environmental financing efforts that support federal, state, tribal, and local efforts to adapt to climate change. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida.
Through her mentorship with Michael, Libby has learned about the important role that local government plays in building resilience on the ground. “Michael has shared how local transportation and public works departments oftentimes have the most direct experience managing the consequences of poor planning for hazards, and play an important role in advocating for adaptation,” she said. “I can bring lessons of adaptation to any future role I have, whether it has ‘resilience’ in the title or not.” Libby has appreciated learning about adaptation career opportunities across the US, as Michael has worked in Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle, and Sarasota.
Michael and Libby have also taken a closer look at the process behind EPA grant funding for resilience work. Specifically, they have discussed how block grants have unique potential to be utilized for environmental programs that incorporate climate change adaptation. Tribal governments have been notably innovative in leveraging EPA grants for adaptation. In their next meeting, Michael and Libby will investigate how the word “adaptation” is applied in varying contexts, and how to take action in the name of adaptation in the most productive way.
Michael has enjoyed learning about Libby’s interests in transportation and adaptation, and how these interests were fostered through her coursework and education. “Hearing how climate adaptation is being covered in undergrad and graduate programs gives hope for the continued mainstreaming of adaptation as a defined field of research within multiple disciplines,” he said.
Thanks to both for sharing what they’ve learned!