President - Phoenix Feng | MEM - Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) '21 (she/her)
My consciousness to consider the DE&I issue was in my previous internship experience working in a Buddism-based conservation organization in Tibet as the only Christian. When collaborating with local Buddhists in biodiversity conservation, their values of human-nature relationship and traditional wisdom in ecosystem conservation inspired my later environmental practice. This summer, I also worked with Parliament of the World Religions on a project evaluating worldwide faith-based organizations' progress in SDGs and providing targeted recommendations for them. As an international student, I am also interested in cross-cultural communication among people from diverse national origins or backgrounds. I have benefited a lot from these experiences, and genuinely hope more people can join us to build a more diverse, equal and inclusive community.
Vice President - Ellen Li | MEM - Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) '21 (she/her)
Secretary - Nancy Bao | MEM - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health (EEH) '21 (she/her)
As a member of the wave of 1.5 generation immigrants in the U.S., I follow the typical narrative of being born in a foreign country and immigrating as an infant to the United States (with my mom). I grew up in a household that emphasized the importance of preserving my Chinese roots and exploring other cultures. I have worked with and listened to the struggles of ESL kids in schools and job-shadowed alongside chaplains as well as Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese language interpreters in hospitals. I strongly believe that being cognizant of DE&I issues and appreciating multiculturalism are critical to lifelong learning. My passion and interest towards promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the environment stemmed from my involvement with the Bass Connections Project: Mapping Legacy Lead in Urban Soils. Just walking around the different communities in Durham, sampling soils across different sociodemographic neighborhoods, and talking to the residents about legacy lead and the environmental justice implications, I noticed the gap between academia and the surrounding community. Through DICE and the Nic School community, I want to help foster an environment for promoting DEIJ.
Treasurer - Emma DeAngeli | MEM - Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) '22 (she/her)
Dual Degree Student Representative - Janet Bering | JD/MEM '22 (she/her)
Janet is pursuing a JD/MEM at Duke, with a focus on ocean and coastal law and policy. Before Duke, Janet worked as a marine science researcher and environmental educator in a variety of environments and communities. After Duke, Janet plans to pursue a career in public interest law and advocacy focused on ocean conservation issues. As dual-degree students representative, Janet hopes to bring discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion to members of both schools, to build a strong inclusive community at Duke and to equip professional students with the tools needed to foster diverse, equitable and inclusive communities in their future workplaces.
President - Stella Wang | MEM - Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health '20 (she/her)
Vice President - Jannette Morris | MEM - Water Resources Management '20 (she/her)
I grew up in the south in a multi-cultural household with a midwestern (Kansan) father and a Puerto Rican mother. I identify as bisexual and before I even accepted that part of myself, I was passionate about LGBTQIA+ issues. As an undergraduate student, I was part of the leadership team of a campus ministry where I helped rewrite the organization’s vision statement to explicitly state support and inclusion of all sexualities and gender identities in our faith community. It wasn’t until the Black Lives Matter movement that I started to think about and understand structural racism. I identify as Latina, but I am also white and am on an ongoing journey to unlearn racism and call out my subconscious biases. As a member of DICE, I want to be a part of cultivating an inclusive community for students to feel safe and able to have conversations about navigating DEIJ in professional environments. As an environmental professional and a person of privilege, I also believe it is my (and our) responsibility to think about environmental issues through a lens of DEIJ and the marginalized communities that are most impacted so that I (we) can strive to enact environmental justice in my (our) work.
Treasurer - Tristen Townsend | MEM - Water Resources Management '20 (she/her)
Secretary - Kyle Cornish | MEM - Environmental Policy & Analysis '20 (they/them)
Kyle is a second-year Master of Environmental Management candidate with a concentration in Environmental Policy & Analysis at Duke University. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in African-American and African Studies, Kyle worked on ocean policy and public lands issues in DC and at a local community center in Arlington. Kyle is interested in how inclusive management and policy strategies can be implemented to enhance marine conservation and support environmental justice.
Beaufort Representative - Lauren A. Mariolis | MEM - Coastal Environmental Management '20 (she/her)
Lauren is a second-year Master of Environmental Management student in the Coastal Environmental Management concentration at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; she seeks to cultivate healthy socioecological relationships while rehabilitating coastal ecosystems. Lauren spent her summer internship at Chesapeake Conservancy as their first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Intern. Here, she worked to promote and institutionalize DEIJ into the organization’s internal operations and programming efforts, in order to foster environmental management solutions that are foundationally designed to achieve socially just and environmentally equitable outcomes. Through her personal and academic experiences, Lauren has learned about the value of building genuine relationships, leading with intentionality, and understanding the world through the lens of environmental equity. It is through these formative experiences and her membership with DICE that have fostered Lauren’s deep curiosity and determination to facilitate management practices that promote environmental stewardship, social justice, and community well-being.
Marketing & Communications Chair - Johanna Kluck | MEM - Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health '21 (she/her)
Deeper Discussions Chair - Udit Gupta | MEM '21 (he/him)
President - Allison Killius | MEM-Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health (EEH) '17
Born in Buffalo and raised in Tallahassee, I never quite fit in with the Deep South mentality. Desperate to find a more diverse and eclectic culture, I moved to New Orleans and completed my undergrad degree in Ecology at Tulane University. While attending Tulane I became a founding member of a mentorship program, WYSE. We visited a middle school once a week and established relationships with a group of young girls, mostly poor and all African American. It was fascinating hearing them speak of their own experiences growing up - some so similar to mine while also wildly different. When I arrived at Duke, I quickly got involved in the D&I community, eventually going on to co-found DICE. It is a personal goal of mine to ensure all students have a welcoming and comfortable home in the Nicholas School, regardless of personal background or current situation. I love to push people out of their comfort zone and challenge them on their perspectives. I will continue to "fight the good fight" for those who do not have a voice, be it the environment, children, poor and underprivileged, incarcerated, etc.
Vice President - Diego Calderón-Arrieta | MEM-Ecosystem Science & Conservation (ESC) '17
I am first-generation Peruvian-American student raised in Mobile, AL after being born in Tampa, FL. I received a BA in Economics at Rhodes College in Memphis in 2015, and I decided to pursue environmental science as a Plan B when I dropped out of Calculus 3 and let go of any chance of a Ph. D. in Economics. I became "woke" to structural racism when there was an influx of police brutality cases in 2014, and I realized that people will treat me differently than my privileged peers based on the color of my skin. I realized there are not many people from my background who appreciate "naturaleza" in the same way that I do when I came to the Nicholas School. I helped co-found this organization when NSOE administration expressed sincere support to diversify our student body. Now I am thoroughly-enthralled with environmental justice and I will apply my mapping & science skills for that movement.
Treasurer - Mauricio Hérnandez | MEM-Energy & Environment (EE) '16
I was born in Mexico City, Mexico and was raised in Mexico City and Queretaro. I received my BS in Electrical Engineering and my MSc. in Automation and worked in the automotive and aviation industry for several years before deciding to move to the US to study my master's degree at the Nicholas School. Before coming to Duke, I taught some classes in a private college and I volunteered with different children’s shelters. From these experiences, I realized how poverty and violence affect children's behavior and academic performance. I saw that for some children having dreams and working hard were not enough to reach a good life. I also learned that discrimination has a great impact on the future of these children because it limits their opportunities. Now that I am living in the US, I have realized that discrimination, particularly racism, also deeply affects American society. I also believe that discrimination limits our ability to solve issues of word-wide importance, such as global warming. Fortunately, during my time at Duke I have gotten to know wonderful people that care about diversity and inclusion. I am really happy that I have had the opportunity to work with them in a group like DICE.
Secretary - Shaina Nanavati | MEM-Energy & Environment (EE) '17
I was born and raised in California, and the past couple years since I've moved to the south have truly been transformative for me. Coming to the Nicholas School, I have learned to embrace my unique identity as a first generation Indian-American woman in the environmental field. I grew up in San Jose, California,attending a high school where over 70% of the student body came from low income families and most students were either immigrants or children of immigrants. After graduating from the University of California Davis, I worked for two years in the clean energy sector.Moving to Durham, North Carolina to begin grad school was a culture shock for me. I was fortunate enough to meet other students at the Nicholas School who were willing to discuss being a minority in the field and making the school a comfortable place for everyone.My experiences have helped me to realize the value of diversity and to understand the role I can play in fostering inclusion in any professional or educational environment.Being a member of DICE has taught me important skills that I plan to bring to my future job, including how to engage people in meaningful cultural interactions and how to implement lasting systemic change.
Website Manager - Celeste Whitman | MEM-Environmental Economics & Policy (EEP) '18
I was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina and received a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta in 2016. I minored in Environmental/Sustainability Studies in undergrad and the introductory class for the minor showed me that you can actually have a career in the environmental field, which led me to pursue an MEM degree at Duke. Throughout my undergraduate education, I was exposed to a variety of social and institutional problems throughout the world around diversity. It was not until I stepped outside of my own culture and studied abroad in Australia that I really saw and realized how minority groups are treated differently by government structures and are denied basic rights based upon their race, ethnicity, religion, and/or cultural background. My brief time in Australia learning about Aboriginal people and their social, economic, and environmental struggles sparked my passion to fight for indigenous environmental rights in the hopes that all underrepresented groups will have their voices heard and their land and culture defended.
Admissions Liaison - Taylor Price | MEM-Environmental Economics & Policy (EEP) '18
Hey Y’all. I’m Taylor Price. I’ve lived in North Carolina for the past 10 years and I am happy to call it home. I graduated from Duke’s biggest rival, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in May 2014 with degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Geography. I am extremely interested in diversifying higher education in general, but of course I have a special interest in STEM, particularly the environmental field. As the DICE admission liaison during for this school year, it is my goal to work with the Nicholas School admission team and DICE to create strategies to expand diversity within the environmental field and the Nicholas School. For me going to college and getting a masters degree was never out of the realm of possibilities for me, but in my two years spent working with high school students as a college adviser, I realized that this was not the case for many students.I believe that it is so important to have environmental leaders of color in order to address many of the justice and environmental challenges we face today!
Multicultural Committee - Rajah Saparapa | MEM-Environmental Economics & Policy (EEP) '18
I am from Togo and moved to the USA few years ago for my studies. I graduated from McDaniel College in 2015 with a Bachelor in Economics. I have always had an interest for the environment since I was a child. I grew up going to farms and being constantly in touch with nature. Even before I finished my Bachelor, I knew I wanted to continue my education in the environmental field and decided to apply for the MEM program at Duke. My goal is get my PhD in environmental economics.
I have never felt like a minority until I left my home country and moved to the USA. After all these years in the states, I have come to realize how social and environmental justice, gender equality, and equity is very important and should be part of our education. As the multicultural leader, I have made it a goal for the not only the Nicholas School community to improve communication among people from different culture but also foster an environment of understanding and acceptance.
"Deeper Discussion" Committee - Haseena Punjani | MEM-Global Environmental Change (GEC) '17
I have always been oriented towards justice and equity. This means both trying to protect the environment from the worst of climate change and habitat destruction, and advocating for minorities who may not be treated fairly. I was born in Hyderabad, India after which I was raised in New York City and Atlanta; these distinct cultures plus my various minority identities have taught me to be adaptable, appreciative, and inclusive of everyone. These identities include growing up with minimal resources in a single parent family, being brought up with Ismaili Muslim ethos, staying under the radar as an undocumented immigrant for nearly two decades, and having a learning disability, among other things. Now, from being in both privileged and underestimated spaces, I've learned to be a strong ally for fairness in all forms. I've cared for the environment before it seems it was cool to do so--from the time I attended a magnet elementary school for environmental sciences to the time I moved back to NYC without a job to pursue my passion. I'm dedicated to making a difference in business sustainability after graduating and am hoping to weave in pluralism in the field along the way.
Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter - Emily Mills | MEM-Ecosystem Science & Conservation (ESC) '17
I'm originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and spent my undergraduate years at THE Ohio State University (I'm a Buckeye for life!), where I earned my Bachelor's degree in Psychology. I pursued Pre-Medicine during most of college, but summer conservation trips to South Africa and Mexico sparked my interest and passion for wildlife conservation. I am very happy to have chosen the Nicholas School at Duke, where I have found such a welcoming and supportive family. My academic focus is using geospatial modeling techniques to study forest elephant habitat in Gabon and inform management of this vulnerable species. I have developed a love for travel and learning about different people, cultures, and especially food. My mother is a first-generation immigrant to the US and my childhood was a delicious mix of Chinese and American traditions. I hope to bring my perspectives and appreciation for diversity in the environmental field to the D&I Newsletter so that the Nicholas School community can be involved, aware, and engaged in activities and current events on this important topic!