Meet the officers for the 2017-2018 school year!

Rajah Saparapa, President

Rajah is from Togo and moved to the U.S. a few years ago for her studies. She graduated from McDaniel College in 2015 with a Bachelor in Economics. She has always had an interest for the environment since she was a child; she grew up going to farms and constantly being  in touch with nature. Even before she finished her Bachelor’s, she knew she wanted to continue her education in the environmental field and decided to apply for the MEM program at Duke. She is now in her second year in the Environmental Economics and Policy track, and her goal is to get her PhD in environmental economics. She is interested in environmental issues in developing countries like access to clean water, energy and agricultural development. She likes to sleep a lot and eat a lot too.

Gina Daniel, Treasurer

Gina is a second-year MEM candidate at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Her concentration is Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health, focusing on human health effects of chemical exposures. She is a proud “double Dukie,” earning her B.S. and MEM at Duke through the Cooperative College 3-2 accelerated masters program. She has interned with Clean Air Carolina in Charlotte, NC and the Nabwabini Environmental Health Care Intervention Programme in Mumias, Kenya. Working with these community-based environmental NGOs has fueled her passion for science communication and inspired her to pursue a career in international environmental health and chemical policy. In her free time Gina works on a consulting team for local non-profits, is an active runner around the Durham area, and enjoys cheering on Duke athletics teams!

Vanessa Ferrero, Communications Director

Vanessa is pursuing an MEM with a concentration in Energy and the Environment at the Nicholas School. She graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.A. in French from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. Her career interests focus on energy access issues in developing countries, particularly in the African context. She hopes to work on the development of renewable energy in these countries to help limit the effects of their industrialization on worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. She is currently working as a research assistant for the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI) at Duke. Vanessa has a passion for learning other languages and enjoys cooking, singing, and watching shows on Netflix in her free time.

Laurie Muzzy, Grant Liaison

Laurie is a first-year MEM (Ecosystem Science and Conservation) who identifies as a Californian-with-Californian-values, but is happy to add another hyphen for North Carolinian. She obtained a B.S. in Soil Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2013. Her current work at the Duke Wetland Center supports her career plans to work on remediation of contaminated soil and water. She is especially interested in African water policy and road infrastructure… and South African music and Ethiopian food. If you go on a hike with her, expect to scramble up the tallest rocks (or else go reeeally slow because of all the cool bugs and plants there are to observe).


Rebecca Marx, Event Planner

Rebecca is a first-year MEM at Duke’s Nicholas School focusing on environmental economics and sustainable business. She fell in love with the colors and vibrancy of Senegal studying abroad in 2010 while at the same time being introduced to the quandary of how to pursue sustainable development in emerging economies. Rebecca returned to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 to support African penguin rehabilitation at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Center, in addition to working with a handful of other NGOs in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Before pursuing her master’s, Rebecca was an Analyst at Enclude where she helped direct capital to businesses around the world that have social or environmental missions. She is interested in financing and implementing projects at the nexus of energy, water, and food, and is currently conducting research on this topic through the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Rebecca completed her bachelor’s at Northeastern University graduating with degrees in Economics and International Affairs.

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