Meet the DEI Office

Nicolette Cagle, PhD

Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Nicholas School of the Environment

Dr. Cagle is a DEI professional, ecologist, and award-winning environmental educator with over 20 years of experience in DEI work.

Dr. Cagle has conducted research around the world, published in social and environmental identity literature, launched four diversity pathway programs (and raised over $140,910 for their implementation before 2019), developed DEI strategic plans ranging from K-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) to faculty, and founded the Diversity and Equity in Environmental Programs (DEEP) collaborative with 40+ local organizations.

In addition, Dr. Cagle has received 200+ hours of DEI training and is a certified CELTA instructor and Certified CQ Facilitator (Cultural Intelligence Center). In 2022, Dr. Cagle was selected to be a part of the Ivy+ Faculty Advancement Network (FAN) Fellow to participate in the FAN Institute on Inquiry, Equity, and Leadership in the Academic Department.  

DEI Pathway & Identity-focused Publications: 

Tessa Jackson, MPA

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator for the Nicholas School of the Environment

Tessa Jackson is a dedicated DEI practitioner with over three years of experience in DEI consulting, organizational development, and higher education. She is highly motivated and skilled in working with underrecognized and diverse communities. Tessa excels at building relationships that promote belonging across all organizational levels. She is dedicated to assisting students throughout their journey toward completing their college education, ensuring empowerment and support at every step.


Laura Martinez, M.Ed., M.E.M

Laura Martinez is the Community Engagement Fellow for the Nicholas School at Duke University. She graduated from the MEM program at the Nicholas School in May of 2023 with a concentration in Ecosystem Science and Conservation and certificates in Community Based Environmental Management and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

She grew up in Los Angeles, California, and studied at UCLA, where she majored in Environmental Science. Prior to Duke, she received her Master’s in Education and worked in Providence Public Schools as a Special Education high school teacher for three years. Laura is deeply committed to conservation, educational equity, inclusive curriculum design, and environmental justice. 

Graduate Fellows


Roo Jackson


Roo is a MEM graduate student in the Ecosystem Science and Conservation concentration. A self-proclaimed plant nerd, they enjoy seeing all the ways their love of botany meets their love of social justice. Roo believes there is more to this field than just the aspect of science. The social component is just as, if not more, important especially in this predominantly white field.

In the future, Roo hopes to work on the federal or state level managing land. In the meantime, they will be fighting to make sure the voices of NSOE community members are heard by those who have the power to make tangible change.

Mel Arcila-Delgado

Mel Arcila-Delgado, is a first-generation Latinx scholar currently serving as a Diverse, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Fellow at Duke University in Durham, NC pursuing a dual Master’s in Forestry and Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, with concentrations in Community Based Environmental Management and Terrestrial and Freshwater Environments. As a first-generation student and a member of the Latinx community, Arcila-Delgado bring a unique perspective to my work in DEI.

After Duke, she aspires to work in Ecuador, engaging in forest conservation efforts through community engagement and sustainable practices.

Aileen Lavelle (Duke University Marine Lab Fellow)

Aileen is a Master of Coastal Environmental Management at Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. Her passions lie in protected species conservation and environmental justice. Threats facing sea turtles and our oceans are derived from complex societal challenges requiring intersectional research to stimulate scientific innovation and effective conservation management. As she enters the field of wildlife biology conservation, she hopes to create space for interventions that address not only pollution and environmental degradation but their colonial roots and their classist and racist impacts.  

In the future, Aileen hopes to pursue a PhD in sea turtle conservation. Until then, she hopes to begin developing pedagogy for students, staff, and faculty at the Duke University Marine Laboratory to create more inclusive and equitable academic environments.

Work-Study Student Worker

Rory Reedy-Solano

Rory is a first-year undergraduate student within the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences studying Environmental Science & Policy and Global Health. She is involved with different organizations on campus, like Duke Climate Coalition and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity. Long term, Rory hopes to one day pursue the field of Environmental Law and policymaking after graduating from Duke and attending graduate school.

Past Fellows

Alex Urbina


Alex is a MEM graduate student in the Energy & Environment concentration. At NSOE, Alex is invested in creating spaces that are inclusive and supportive for students of all backgrounds and identities. As a DEI fellow, Alex is invested in helping every student find the resources they need to be successful environmental leaders, including student services, community, and academic support.

After Duke, Alex hopes to work as a Renewable Energy Project Manager for a large utility-scale developer. Notwithstanding her love of big projects, she deeply understands the value of a diversified grid and the need to center community engagement & trust-building at every scale. Long-term, she hopes to contribute to a just energy transition for all that makes use of the tenants of environmental justice and equity.

Jessica Brooks


Jessica is a MF & MEM graduate student in the Coastal Environmental Management concentration. Her passions lie in the intersection of plastic pollution, waste and recycling management, and social justice. She is also interested in unearthing how sustainable forestry and community engagement could play a role in mitigating these issues. 

In the future, Jessica hopes to pursue a PhD in plastic pollution. Until then, she will continue finding ways to make NSOE a more equitable and welcoming place where everyone feels seen, heard, known, and celebrated.

Nicholas Fairbairn


Nicholas, who also goes by “Nico,” is pursuing a Master’s of Environmental Management at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where they’re focused on coastal management and policy. Nico is interested in how coastal communities can build and restore natural infrastructure to support resilience to climate change. Their master’s project will study the decisions, socioeconomic demographics, and policies that influence the adoption and distribution of living shorelines, a nature-based approach to shoreline stabilization. In all of their work, they are committed to centering climate-, environmental- and racial justice.

Nicholas identifies as queer, non-binary, and vegan and believes that connection, belonging, inclusion, and psychological safety are prerequisites for effective and meaningful work.