Spring 2021 Fellows

Ambria Benesch

Ambria is a recent graduate of Barnard College, where she majored in both Environmental Policy and Political Science. Her academic research included a year-long thesis focused on urban environmental justice communities. She is excited to use her experience with environmental lobbying, political campaigns, and immigration law to work on equitable and effective climate policy with Climate XChange. Ambria is currently based in Chicago.

Anna Wysocki

Anna is a rising senior at Boston University pursuing a double major in Environmental Analysis and Policy and Political Science. She has experience lobbying for renewable energy policy in Massachusetts, building environmental coalitions, and helping students register to vote. On campus, she is involved in organizations focused on intersectional environmentalism, local community service, and food justice. Anna is especially passionate about environmental racism, corporate accountability, and public policy aimed at reducing socio-economic inequalities. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, hiking New England’s 4,000 footers, and trying new vegetarian recipes.

Claire Hetzel

Claire is a third-year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay studying Environmental Science and Policy, specifically aquatic ecosystems. She graduated from St. Norbert College in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Science and was eager to continue with scientific research. Through her graduate studies, she has become more interested in climate policy and recognizes the need for scientists to be knowledgeable about policymaking. Claire is excited to join the SCPN team and dig into the policy world and work toward a more sustainable future. In her free time, Claire loves to spend time outdoors hiking, kayaking, and playing tennis.

Conor Sokolowsky

Conor is a rising junior at William & Mary studying economics and computer science. He is interested in the intersection between sustainability and economics and their application to public policy. He has experience expanding green energy financing options for commercial properties in Virginia, and had the opportunity to spend this past summer researching the impacts of renewable energy installations on wildlife across the US. Over the course of the next year, Conor plans to develop a thesis in environmental economics and push sustainable legislation at the campus and local level. In his free time, Conor loves to travel, hike, spend time with his sisters, and pick up random hobbies that he periodically cycles back to.

Emily Boettger

Emily grew up in the high mountain desert of Idaho with a deep appreciation for the outdoors and environmental justice. Emily is now entering her second year at Boston College where she is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies. She hopes to find a career in Environmental Policy after graduation, but in the meantime, she is continuing to grow her passion for and involvement in the environmental justice movement. In her free time, you can find Emily enjoying the outdoors any way she can, going for a hike or a run, fly fishing, and when she gets the chance white water rafting!

Faiza Azam

Faiza is a rising sophomore at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, studying information security and environmental justice. She began pursuing her passion of environmental policy in government in high school, learning about Hurricane Sandy’s destruction in Southern Brooklyn. Faiza is passionate about youth involvement in climate justice, civics, and ecological justice. Working as a Legislative Aide in the New York State Assembly Office of Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-44), Faiza feels empowered to help people in her district and just make someone’s day. On her spare time, Faiza mentors student advocates as a member of CXC’s partner organization Our Climate NY, Sunrise Movement NYC, and various congressional campaigns. She also loves gaming, movies, and Family Guy!

Izzy Hamilton

Izzy is a third-year student at the University of Virginia studying Public Policy and Global Sustainability. Through her studies, she hopes to learn to use knowledge of U.S. public policy system to advocate for and implement sustainable practices and policies. After interning with the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance, she is experienced in the renewable energy sector and equipped with the knowledge of what it takes on the local, state, and national levels to build coalitions and secure policies that support sustainable projects. In her spare time, Izzy loves to dance, hike, rollerskate, and read. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in the SCPN fellowship and hopes to contribute to climate policy advocacy work.

Jahnavi Patel

Jahnavi is a rising senior at UCLA pursuing a double major in Economics and Political Science with minors in Global Studies and Environmental Systems and Society. She is from Clermont, Florida and has always admired and cherished the beautiful beaches and the pristine environment of the State of Florida growing up and believes it is essential to protect these treasures for the calamitous impact of human-induced climate change. Jahnavi is passionate about raising awareness about the climate crisis to get climate and ecological issues on the voting agenda, particularly at the state and local level. She believes that by getting constituents and consumers to understand the impact of their votes and choices, it is possible to enact policies at the political level and change priorities at the business level to protect our planet.

Julia Hananel

Julia is entering her second year at University of Maryland, where she is pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Piano Performance. Her passion for climate activism began when she attended Fridays for Future climate strikes in high school; since then, she has volunteered for numerous climate organizations. She has worked with her local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, advocating for carbon pricing by lobbying members of Congress. Additionally, she has been working with CXC this past year, testifying at a hearing for the Climate Crisis and Education Act. She looks forward to more climate advocacy and fighting for her generation’s future through climate policy. Aside from environmental activism, Julia loves playing piano and is excited to continue studying music in college.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin is a second year law student at Boston College Law School. Before attending law school, he spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Wyoming where he conducted research on access to justice issues in the state court system. Apart from the service work, Kevin was drawn to Wyoming because of his passion for the outdoors. This passion led him to law school, where he hopes to use his legal education to address environmental injustices, conserve wilderness, promote renewable energy, and encourage sustainable agricultural practices. Kevin recently worked as a legal intern for the Sierra Club Maine Chapter and is the Vice President of the Boston College Environmental Law Society. In his free time, he likes to hike, listen to music, and garden.

Kira Presley

Kira is a rising sophomore at UCLA, pursuing a double major of Geography/Environmental Studies and International Development Studies. She is passionate about implementing environmental policies that tackle both sustainability and social justice. She will be working alongside a UCLA professor on a niche environmental research project in the upcoming year, which will aid her research and knowledge on environmental topics and policies for this fellowship. She also has experience working in environmental coalitions and researching food sustainability, but specifically hopes to work on improving public policy, environmental racism, and resilient food systems. In her free time, Kira enjoys being outdoors, baking new desserts, and listening to podcasts. She is incredibly excited to work as a Fall 2021 SCPN fellow.

Lauren Moschitta

Lauren is a recent graduate of Northeastern University, where she received her bachelor’s in History/Political Science. She is currently completing her masters degree in Public Policy at Northeastern University while living at home in New York. Although her studies have covered a wide range of policy areas, she is most excited for the opportunity to delve deeper into climate policy and urban policy. Having studied and learned how to create more equitable policies, she is excited to contribute to Climate XChange’s mission.

Melanie Mathewson

Melanie is a student at Northeastern University currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy. She graduated in 2020 from Lesley University with degrees in Political Science and English Literature. At Lesley, Melanie interned with Senator Elizabeth Warren and competed at the Yale International Policy Competition where she developed policy implementing biomass gasification plants to process excess hurricane debris in the Caribbean. In her time working with climate and food policy activist, Frances Moore Lappe, and volunteering with food rescue organization, Farm to Pantry, Melanie gained a passion for building a more climate resilient food system; something she hopes to pursue post-graduation. A California native, Melanie enjoys all things outdoors, warm weather, and playing soccer with friends!

Nicole Howard

Nicole is embarking on her second career and is currently a graduate student in Public Policy at Northeastern University. A former public school teacher, Nicole believes education is the root cause of social change. She is passionate about activism and equity and recognizes the key role of education in working toward environmental justice. Nicole enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family in her free time, reading memoirs, and discussing current events. 

Raihan Rashidi

Raihan works as a clean energy organizer at the Iowa Environmental Council where she engages with various stakeholders in passing and implementing equitable clean energy policies and initiatives at the local and state level. With research and education, increasingly efficient technologies, and establishments of effective policies, she believes that energy democracy and independence can be achieved for all, especially for the historically underserved communities. Raihan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BSc in Environmental Economics and Policy, and a minor in Sustainability. Her interests include energy policy and economics, climate and food justice, event and campaign development, as well as research analysis. In her free time, she finds joy in outdoor recreation, non-fictional literature, and performance arts.