2018 Better Selves Fellowship
Josh is a community organizer in the Ossipee Mountain Region of NH where he directs the nonprofit, Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.). G.A.L.A. is building a Makerspace & Incubator for bringing people together to discover passions and cultivate skills that enrich rural lives and livelihoods. Josh and his wife Molly live in an old Grange Hall where they host music, potlucks, puppet shows and other community events.
Andrea Bogomolni considers herself a community scientist. Her efforts are directed towards understanding and interpreting the interdisciplinary connections of marine mammal, human and ocean health. Her goal is to be able to provide the knowledge needed to mitigate human impact on marine species, understand risks of these impacts and facilitate collaborations. She is currently a postdoctoral investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the co-founder and chair of the Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium, and teaches science courses to students of all ages.
Nate Brown is a federal employee working in a coalition of public, private and university stakeholders that are cooperating to identify, develop and commercialize sustainable fuels that can dramatically improve the environmental impact of aviation, while also supporting rural economic development and energy diversity. He is passionate about understanding the complexity of human development and sustaining the ecosystem we live in and depend on, and is interested in how best to bridge the gap between innovation and broad uptake of solutions that can simultaneously address environmental and economic challenges.
Throughout her career, Tara has worked through nonprofit and government organizations to build opportunity for people left behind economically. A native of West Virginia, Tara now lives in New York City where she works as Senior Program Manager at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and serves on the board of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC.
Jane Calvin is the Executive Director of the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, an urban land trust that focuses on environmental education, historic preservation, and urban forestry. Jane holds graduate degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Jane is passionate about creating community through conservation.
Stuart Clarke is the Executive Director of the Town Creek Foundation, which makes grants to support environmental advocacy work in Maryland. Town Creek’s work focuses on restoring the Chesapeake Bay, facilitating the state’s clean energy transition, and building a food system reform movement. Stuart also serves as Co-Chair of Maryland’s Climate Change Commission, a Trustee of the Blue Mountain Center, and the Finance Chair of Greenpeace US.
George is a sixth-generation Austinite. He loves the great outdoors, especially hiking, kayaking, sleeping under the stars and swimming in the Frio River at the family ranch in Texas. George has spent the past thirty years helping to conserve the natural environment through advocacy, policy work and executing conservation easements in the Texas Hill Country. For fun, George reads, writes, watches crazy movies and surfs hurricanes.
Lisa is an infectious diseases physician, medical epidemiologist and public health activist who is launching a health care start up for low-income communities. She loves tennis, biking, yoga, traveling, photography and dining, especially to try new foods.
Clyde W. Ford
Clyde’s from Bellingham, Washington. He’s an award-winning author of books from body-mind healing to the environment. An avid outdoorsman he’s equally at home backpacking in the Cascades as cruising the Inside Passage. He’s just returned from delivering a yacht up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, Alaska.
Sarah has been a public defender for more than twenty years. She resides in Baltimore, Maryland, but serves clients across the country. Her work focuses on the federal death penalty and is driven by an abiding belief that nobody is as bad as the worst thing they have ever done.
Brent Godfrey is a firefighter for the New Orleans Fire Department and the Executive Director of the Crescent City Corps. He has dedicated his life to public service and is deeply passionate about helping others find their own call to serve. He served on active duty as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy four years, where he deployed to sea twice, developed and taught leadership curriculum to future naval leaders, and served as a collections strategist for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prior to joining the military, he lived in New Orleans, where he served as a firefighter and led IDEAcorps, a service learning program for MBAs, at The Idea Village. Brent earned his BA in History from Yale University and he is a Field Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Maya Higgins is, at her heart, an adventurer, a community-builder, and an educator. In 2016, Maya was named one of National Geographic’s 20 Under 30: the Next Generation of National Park Leaders while working as an educator and Site Manager for NatureBridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Currently, Maya designs student programs as a Director for Putney Student Travel, National Geographic Student Expeditions, and the New York Times Student Journeys. Maya is passionate about youth empowerment and conservation and is currently working on a project to empower youth voices in her home state of New Mexico to protect one of the last remaining ‘wild’ rivers in all of the Southwest, the Gila River.
Michele Holt-Shannon is a co-founder and Director for New Hampshire Listens in the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Michele’s work on and off campus is focused on responding to controversial issues and social crises in ways that increase collaboration, restore trust, and center equitable outcomes. She works to bring people together across perspectives and backgrounds to solve problems and create solutions for their communities. Michele’s dog Archie has the job of walking her several times a week.
Kimya S. Jackson, M.Ed, is a second grade teacher in West Orange, New Jersey. She will be working on her PhD in Teacher Education and Teacher Development in the fall of 2018. She is a co-author of #HELPME: A Parent’s Guide to Navigating the School System Through the Eyes of Teachers and a curriculum developer for BAZANED.
Blaze is an urbanist helping to grow more resilient communities. He formerly managed the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance after Superstorm Sandy, expanded The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future program and currently leads equitable development planning for the Lowline underground park in New York City.
Arani is an environmentalist and social sector strategist who is passionate about water and agriculture. With professional experience in academia, philanthropy, and management consulting, Arani hopes to use her time in Vermont to explore the role of local food systems in improving the quality, sustainability, and economics of available foods.
Maisha Khalfani joined Harlem Grown in October of 2017 as the Office Manager. She is a mother of four, a native New Yorker and Harlem resident. Maisha believes health and wellness are the keys to a better future for Harlem youth. A former Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, Maisha holds a certification in Fitness Nutrition Coaching from NESTA. She received her Associate’s degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Business, with a focus on Project Management. Maisha’s goal is to increase the visibility of Harlem Grown through community engagement and expand its programming throughout Harlem.
Gopi Donald Shelton Krishna is A Lover of Our Human connections to Source (deep self) I can attest to a Heartfelt Warm drawn from being a spiritual warrior in forward movements for reparations for POC locally in W. Massachusetts and beyond. I’m Building alliances and networks of POC and assisting conscious creative socially just communities one day at a time. My “Earthdance” is Life threatening and Challenging work in this Amerikkka.
Michelle Lewis is the pastor of New Rochelle United Methodist Church and is passionate about the intersection of religion and the environment. She is the director of the Peace Garden Project that looks at the intersection of Food Justice with other justice issues. She is an award winning filmmaker, and has a film in production. Michelle also hosts a radio show that examines connecting our spirituality with daily life. Michelle is the first woman of color to hold joint Master’s degrees in Religion and the Environment from Yale.
Gina Luster, a lifelong Flint resident, lost her job after getting sick from the drinking water. She’s found a new calling among the city’s activist “water warriors”—and recently announced plans to run as a commissioner in Genesee County.
Sally is a writer, musher, steward of mountains and is deeply engaged in the communities of Coos County, NH. Employed by The Conservation Fund, Sally works in NH and VT serving land and water conservation and economic development. Home is Shelburne, NH, with her disabled brother and sister, for whom she is a caregiver, and the 24 athletes of her racing sled dog team.
Sister Alison McCrary, SFCC serves as the Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project, a Spiritual Advisor on Louisiana’s death row, a social justice movement lawyer, and a Catholic nun. She formerly served as President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and the founding Director of the New Orleans Community-Police Mediation Program.
Joe Moll heads up the McKenzie River Trust in Eugene, Oregon. He has worked in wildlife, land, and water conservation since the early 1990s. He likes to run, hike, fish, explore, and play music. He is married and the father of three sons, high school and college aged.
Rachel is a facilitator who looks to connect the world of sport with social justice driven research, education and advocacy through programming and community engagement. Rachel aims to transform the culture of sports from competition to inclusion and to promote a paradigm shift that sports are more than just the scoreboard and believe sport can bridge cultural gaps, resolve conflict and educate people in a way that few other activities can.
Teresa is the Director of the Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) in Camden, NJ. CFET operates a retreat center, manages urban gardens, and runs a youth job training program. She is experienced in non-profit management and grant-writing. Teresa is an avid gardener. She is a member of the Collingswood Community Garden and farms a small piece of land on her friend’s organic farm (Philly Chile).
Utē Petit is a recent graduate from Rhode Island School of Design, where they received their BFA in Textiles and Industrial Design. While at RISD, they worked as President and organizer of the club Black Artists and Designers. They are hoping to continue community- based work wherever they land, while also developing an art practice postgrad. They also have a deep obsession with public transportation, most importantly airplanes.
Josh is the Senior Conservation Scientist for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. He brings an understanding of geography, forests and rivers to conservation and restoration planning as well as monitoring to detect change and suggest alternative paths. He facilitates partnerships local to global including collaborations for Penobscot River restoration, World Fish Migration Foundation and the EU’s AMBER project.
Jay Salinas is an artist, farmer, educator and co-founder of Wormfarm Institute serving as Director of Special Projects. Wormfarm’s mission is to integrate culture and agriculture to strengthen connections along the rural/ urban continuum, building a thriving region that values its urban and rural parts. Programs include a farm-based artist residency and an annual live culture convergence.
J. Miakoda Taylor
Gender Pronouns: they/our/we
I am a lifelong bridge builder across dis-membered sectors of society, dedicated to supporting individuals and organizations to leverage adversity towards resilience, power, and freedom. I am a dancer, photographer, artivist, meditator, yogi, public speaker, coach, trainer, facilitator, strategy consultant and Founding Director of Fierce Allies.
Tamara Toles O’ Laughlin
Tamara is an environmental advocate for equity, access and justice issues at the local, regional and national level. She is the executive director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. Tamara has over fifteen years of cross sector experience. Among her activities, she develops capacity building programs and multimedia campaigns to dismantle privilege and seed opportunities for vulnerable populations to access healthy air, clean energy, and a toxic free economy.
As Director of Urban Conservation for The Nature Conservancy, Julie is working to help create and grow a new platform that is rooted in conservation, social and environmental justice, and human well-being
Maria Vertkin is a social worker, immigrant, formerly homeless, and Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. She is the founder and executive director Found in Translation, which provides medical interpreter training and job placement to low-income and homeless bilingual women, enabling them to turn their most stigmatized characteristic—their linguistic and cultural backgrounds—into their biggest asset in the workforce. Maria is passionate about gender and racial justice, and is working to create change at the the intersection of economic disparity, language rights, and health access.
Steve has led family foundations in Michigan and his expertise is in building community collaborations. Steve collaborated with a colleague in Flint to present at a national conference, celebrating the heroic women of the Flint water crisis. In September, he begins a new role at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids.
Alexis Winter is a cultural anthropologist with the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum in Chicago. Her work is focused on expanding participation in environmental conservation through asset-based, applied research that celebrates the diverse ways that people relate to nature and centers quality of life.
Rebecca Zisook is a third grade bilingual teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She is committed to decolonizing the content and methodologies of her instruction, and to providing culturally relevant learning experiences for her students. Her current focus is to develop units of study that lift up the stories of indigenous peoples, specifically of Mexico, in order to empower her students and encourage their critical thinking.
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