Leadership Team

Jess Siegel
MEM Degree Candidate 2020
  Jess is passionate about empowering individuals, businesses, and communities with the tools to take action to address environmental issues and meet ambitious sustainability goals. Specifically, she is interested in working with utility companies to implement distributed energy resources and energy efficiency programs in order to decarbonize the electricity grid and expand consumer choice. She is also passionate about ensuring the clean energy economy benefits everyone. Prior to attending the Nicholas School, Jess worked for environmental nonprofits where she managed educational programs to promote community engagement in environmental stewardship. Jess received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management from University of California, Davis in 2015.
Aishwarya Jaishankar
MEM Degree Candidate 2020
Aishwarya is a second year MEM candidate, focusing on Energy. She holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Energy Engineering from VIT University, India where she was involved in multiple research projects on the implementation of solar, wind and biofuel energy technologies. She has work experience interning with Shell, India where she worked on the go-to market strategy for their patented biofuels production technology and with Rocky Mountain Institute where she worked as a part of their Electricity Team for India. She is currently doing research with the Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions on electric vehicle penetration in the U.S. She aspires to work full time at the cusp of clean energy technologies and enabling policies. In her free time, Aishwarya enjoys travelling, hiking and exploring new kinds of cuisines.
Zoe Ripecky
Professional Development
MEM/MBA Dual Degree Candidate 2021
Zoe is interested in a career focused on transforming the energy system to incorporate renewables, distributed resources, and other new technologies. Prior to school, Zoe worked for a DC-based solar energy non-profit and in Ukraine’s energy sector as a Fulbright Fellow.
Annie Jung
Communication & Outreach
MEM Degree Candidate 2020
Annie is a second year Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School of the Environment. She is interested in the role of the private sector in the current energy transition, especially in the renewable energy development phase. Prior to enrolling in the Nicholas School, she worked in consulting helping her financial services clients improve their regulatory compliance. Annie hopes to leverage her management and data analysis skills from her previous work experience in her new career in energy development. In her free time, she enjoys watching reality TV shows, singing, and trip planning.
Cheryl Lee 
Career Trek Co-Coordinator
MEM/MBA Dual Degree Candidate 2021
Cheryl has a background in Civil Engineering from Duke and has five years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Her interest is focused on renewable energy development as well as the intersection of energy with the built environment. She loves to spend time playing with her two little Australian Shepherds, reading, and road tripping across the country.
Amit Ranjan
​Career Trek Co-Coordinator
MEM Degree Candidate 2020
Amit is a second year Master’s student at the Nicholas School with a focus on Energy and the Environment. He is passionate about grid modernization, grid resiliency and is interested in energy data analytics. Through his Master’s project on FERC Order 841, Amit is excited to unfold the future of energy storage’s participation in the wholesale markets. During his summer internship at PowerSecure, Amit developed optimal dispatch strategies for advanced microgrids to maximize value stacking in deregulated energy markets and helped C&I customer’s with demand response management. He enjoys biking everywhere and exploring the outdoors.
Jun Ukita Shepard 
​​​PhD Representative
PhD, Earth and Ocean Sciences
 Jun is a PhD candidate in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the Nicholas School. Her research focuses on global energy systems in the context of trade, with the goal of better understanding international energy security and technological transitions. Outside of research, you can find her teaching ballet and exploring Durham with her husband and two dogs.
Michelle Weaver
MEM Degree Candidate 2020

Michelle is a second-year Energy and the Environment MEM student. She spent the summer working in solar project development in Chicago at ENGIE Distributed Solar and is interested in continuing her career in renewables development and integration. Prior to attending Duke, she was a Materials Scientist at Cardinal Glass Industries performing research on residential window coatings in their Coated Glass division.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she loves to travel, try new restaurants, and play volleyball and tennis (when her knees allow it).