Topic: Mentorship Program

Mentorship Spotlight: The Power of Long-Term Planning

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.

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Mentorship Spotlight: Pushing the Limits

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.

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Mentorship Spotlight: The Value of Social Strategies

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.

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Mentorship Spotlight: Community-Driven Adaptation

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.

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Mentorship Spotlight: Building Resilience Locally

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!

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Mentorship Spotlight: Turning Momentum into Action

Mentee Amy Henry is a planner for Kimley-Horn, where she has worked for about four years, and has a multidisciplinary background, including consulting experience in environmental science and a Bachelor of Arts in English. She specializes in crafting narratives and telling the story, through maps, text, and graphics, to present complex technical ideas to non-technical audiences. As a Certified Floodplain Manager and soon-to-be AICP professional, she is particularly interested in the intersection of community planning and resilience to climate impacts such as flooding, extreme storm events, and acute and chronic stressors to infrastructure and vulnerable populations.

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Mentorship Spotlight: Starting a Career in Adaptation

Mentee Kimberly Duong is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering (water resources) at UC Irvine, working on urban drought management in southern California in collaboration with the Irvine Ranch Water District. She has a B.S. from UCLA in Atmospheric Sciences (meteorology). In past years, she has been involved with the Solar Decathlon, Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and the UCI Climate Action Training Program. She is also a co-founder and executive board member of Climatepedia, a climate communications nonprofit. In 2018, she was a Mirzayan science policy fellow at the National Academies in Washington DC, as well as a Subject Matter Expert for the Resilience Dialogues. From April 2018 to April 2019 she served as part of Voices for Science, a science advocacy program hosted by the American Geophysical Union. She will graduate with her Ph.D. in September 2019 and is seeking employment in water management/climate change policy.

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Mentorship Spotlight: The Frontlines of Resilience Storytelling

Alex Basaraba works at the interstice of environmental conservation, climate change, and human well-being using visual story-telling, research, and planning. Currently, he works as a climate resilience specialist with Adaptation International, a consulting firm focused on helping communities and organizations prepare for the impacts of climate change. Adaptation International specializes in bridging the gap between climate science and community action and invests in developing tools and strategies necessary to support climate change preparedness. In addition to pursuing his own climate and environmentally-focused storytelling projects, Alex works in Nepal as an educator with National Geographic Expeditions. He holds a Master’s in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and a Bachelor’s in Biology, both from Colorado State University.

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Mentorship Spotlight: Adaptation Knowledge Networks

Alexander Hurley is Jr. Vice President of Operations for smart-cities startup firm Venture Smarter, Inc. and leads the company’s energy and resilience practice. He is dedicated to supporting governments, businesses, and universities that are researching, building, funding, and deploying smart and sustainable solutions to make better places to live, work, play, and visit. Alex completed a Master of Science in Environmental Studies degree through Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in May of 2018. In this degree program, he studied the nature of large organizational partnership networks focused on developing localized climate change policies and programs.

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