MENTORSHIP SPOTLIGHT: Trio of Success in Climate Adaptation

Meet Mentee Bethany N. Bella (she/her), a passionate sustainability and climate-action advocate based in Columbus, Ohio, Mentee Emily Schoerning, Ph.D., the founder of American Resiliency, a nonprofit bringing information and adaptation services to agricultural and working-class communities, and Mentor Jessica Cahail is a Technical Product Manager with Cervest, a UK-based B Corp that aims to democratize Climate Intelligence. 

With Jessica as a mentor in the ASAP Mentorship Program, Bethany and Emily have had the opportunity to develop their own career paths! She connected Emily with groups doing similar work to her area of interest, as well as non-profit tax professionals, and gave her important background information regarding the current culture of the adaptation field. Most importantly their participation in the program has allowed Emily to understand more of the emerging structure and culture of the vigorous nascent field and it has helped her feel more confident in her work going forward. 

Likewise, Jessica has assisted Bethany with resources and early-career advice for entering the climate adaptation space after her graduate school program finished up last semester. The pairing has allowed Bethany to receive resources on key institutions and professional networking opportunities, including the National Adaptation Forum, allowing her to remain connected to the larger adaptation community in her new role with the City of Columbus!

About Bethany

Bethany N. Bell is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School, where she earned her master’s in city and regional planning with a focus on sustainability planning and equitable community engagement.

As a Sustainable Columbus Coordinator with the City of Columbus, Bethany is involved in the implementation of the city’s first climate action plan, published in December 2021, as well as the coordination of green building policies and programs related to Sustainable Columbus initiatives. View her portfolio of work at:

About Emily

Emily Schoerning, Ph.D. is in her first venture in the climate adaptation field, after a decade in science education research.  Her research has focused on how to engage hard-to-reach groups around complex, controversial issues.  Her science outreach work has received national and international recognition.  Now, she wants to find ways to apply her strengths to the big adaptation problems facing small communities, like her own in central Iowa, so we can build a resilient future for all Americans. 

About Jessica

Mentor Jessica Cahail was the Director of Climate Initiatives at Azavea, a small, geospatial software engineering firm and B Corp that seeks to have a positive civic, social, and environmental impact.

At Azavea, she led the development of Temperate, a decision support tool for small- to mid-sized communities doing vulnerability assessments and climate change adaptation planning. With a background in anthropology and nonprofit administration, Jessica believes that while technology can aid collective action, it’s the collaboration between the actors themselves that provides true innovation.

Jessica has served as a mentor for both Bethany and Emily in a small group since the start of the ASAP mentorship program cycle in January 2022. Through this cohort model, three people with different backgrounds have been able to come together around common goals, focused on exploring big questions around climate adaptation field assumptions, norms, and practices. Everyone’s unique ideas have contributed to a growing perspective within the climate adaptation field, shaping both mentees’ climate adaptation futures and illuminating the ways in which the narratives we craft can contribute to that future’s realization.  

Bethany, Emily, and Jessica have all appreciated the group-learning model with this mentorship cohort and enjoyed the opportunity to hear and learn from multiple perspectives on common areas of interest.  Jessica– who originally applied to be a mentee!– has been honored to act as a sounding board for Bethany and Emily and has found tremendous value in learning more about their individual experiences and paths. Thanks to all three for sharing what they have learned through the ASAP Mentorship Program!