2024 Summer Summit Cohort

Callie Berman, University of Wyoming


Callie Berman

Callie Berman is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the University of Wyoming's Ruckelshaus Institute, where she is leading a number of studies across the United States, Canada and Mexico on social impacts from industry developments and demographic changes in the North American Grasslands. This work engages with overlapping and multidimensional human factors to inform more comprehensive assessment and planning methods for renewable energy project siting, wildlife habitat protection and agricultural sector development. Callie completed her PhD in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge where she researched the role of culture and historical land use relationships in management practices of sturgeon fisheries in the Caspian Sea. She has worked extensively across the Central Asian region developing the first university Sustainability program in Uzbekistan, conducting research on regional food security strategies, and facilitating diverse exchange opportunities to Central Asia for both young and senior professionals.

Claire Burch, University of Oklahoma


Claire	Burch	University of Oklahoma

Claire Burch is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in geography and environmental sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the environmental permitting and planning process for utility-scale renewable energy development, currently focused in the Great Plains region of the U.S. She has had conversations with utility-scale renewable energy developers, state and federal regulators, and environmental non-profit staff members in an effort to understand current challenges and opportunities in the permitting and planning process. In addition to her research, Claire also has experience working directly with renewable energy developers on the permitting of projects in the Great Plains region and working with non-profit organizations to increase collaboration and communication within renewable energy development in the region. Claire is actively engaged in the renewable energy industry in the state of Oklahoma as a board member for the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council and has helped to manage a summer research experience for rural teachers in the state focused on building renewable energy curriculum.

Isabella Caruso, MIT


Isabella Caruso

Isabella Caruso is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at MIT. Her research is in electrochemical gas separations for both carbon dioxide and oxygen, which have the potential to be more efficient than existing processes and which could be coupled with renewable energy sources. Prior to grad school, she worked as a materials engineer at Form Energy, a startup developing iron-air batteries for long-duration energy storage, where she focused on performance of the iron anode. She holds an A.B. and B.E. in Materials Engineering from Dartmouth College and from 2017-2018 was the Chemistry Teaching Science Fellow at Dartmouth, supporting students in introductory chemistry classes.

Ariel de Fauconberg, University of Cambridge


Ariel de Fauconberg University of Cambridge

Âriel (Ari) de Fauconberg is a PhD Candidate in the Organisational Theory & Information Systems group at Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS). Her research focuses on understanding the challenges that large organizations – particularly those in the oil and gas industry – face as they pursue alternative energy-related innovations. She is a member of CJBS' Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG) and is fully supported in her research as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Prior to her PhD, Ari worked as a Research Fellow at Babson College conducting studies on clean energy entrepreneurship and female-led, high growth, high-potential firms, as well as the Stranded Assets team at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Ari holds an MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation from the University of Cambridge, an MBA (Hons) from Bentley University, and an MPhil in Geography & the Environment (Dist.) from the University of Oxford. As a member of the WEF Expert Network, she co-authored a 2021 World Economic Forum white paper on SME resilience and sustainability and was the 2022 winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey & Co. Bracken Bower Prize. She can often be found either running around Cambridge or rowing on the River Cam. 

Megan Egler, University of Vermont


Megan Egler University of Vermont

Megan Egler is an ecological economist who recently completed her PhD in the Department of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Originally from the northern prairies of Canada, her dissertation research focused on discursive power and the narratives and materialities shaping identities, meaningful work, and energy futures in the fossil fuel producing regions of Canada and the United States. She also conducts research around programs and policies dealing with fossil fuel liabilities and the redevelopment of inactive extractive sites and infrastructure. Megan is broadly interested in questions of energy, labor, and power, climate and energy policy, bridging conversations across political polarizations, and transitions as opportunities for societal transformation. She is on the board of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics, organizes with DegrowUS, and is a regular collaborator in politically motivated performance art.

Vasundhara Gaur, New York University School of Law


Vasundhara Gaur New York University School of Law

Vasundhara (Vasu) Gaur is an Economic Fellow for Energy and Environmental Justice at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. She has a background and strong research interests in environmental economics, particularly policy-relevant analysis and non-market valuation. Much of her research has been focused on quantifying externalities from utility-scale solar arrays and wind turbines in the New England area using both revealed preference (hedonic property price analyses) and stated preference (discrete choice survey) methods. At Policy Integrity, she is working on energy and environmental justice issues in the EPA Region 2 geographic area encompassing New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight Indian Nations.Before joining Policy Integrity, Vasu was a postdoctoral researcher in the Wildlife and Conservation Economics Lab (WCEL) at the University of British Columbia in Canada. She received her PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island, and her master's in the same field from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) School of Advanced Sciences in India.

Rajiv Ghimire, University of Michigan


Rajiv Ghimire	University of Michigan

Rajiv Ghimire is a Lecturer in the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan (U-M). At SEAS he focuses on the Master of Science Program specializing in Sustainability and Development. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Ghimire's research interest is centered on global development, climate and energy, and adaptation and resilience. Dr. Ghimire has ongoing research in the U.S. and South Asia. One of his research projects in the U.S. seeks to understand how equity and justice can be embedded in flourishing carbon capture projects with the case of Southeastern Michigan. Another research is focused on energy transition in the developing countries. He is currently analyzing the Socio Environmental Change Associated with Nepal's Energy Transition. Dr. Ghimire has published his work in a wide range of journals and has contributed as a special issue editor in Imaginaries and Environmental Governance (The Professional Geographer) and Everyday Adaptation to Climate Change (Ecology and Society). Before joining U-M, Dr. Ghimire worked as a postdoctoral research scholar at Arizona State University (ASU), where he also completed a Ph.D. in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology.

Dylan M. Harris, University of Colorado Colorado Springs


Dylan 'harris

Dylan M. Harris is an assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). His work focuses on the stories we tell (and don't tell) about socioecological change, focusing specifically on the procedural justice elements of climate and energy justice. He is interested in work that exists at the intersection of change, drawing from what he terms experimental and speculative political ecology to critically study the unequal power structures informing many "transition" projects (e.g., carbon offsets) while also aiming to disrupt them, pointing towards more equitable possibilities, through interventionist research. 

Alexander Headley, University of Memphis


Alex Headly

Alex Headley joined the University of Memphis as an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering after gaining experience in industry and the national laboratory system. He received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2008 and gained three years of valuable experience in industry before he returned for graduate study at the University of Texas at Austin. His master's and PhD research focused on developing control-oriented models of hydrogen fuel cells for automotive applications. From UT, Alex went to Sandia National Laboratories as a postdoc developing thermal/fluids experiments and evaluating energy storage systems for grid support, integrated system design and the development of demonstration facilities for grid-connected energy storage. Alex is particularly interested in collaborative research projects at the intersection of technology, economics, policy, education, and community development. 

Iana Iacob, Carnegie Mellon University


Iana Iacob

Iana Iacob is currently in her third year of doctorate studies at Carnegie Mellon University and a research fellow at Energy Futures Initiative Foundation. Her doctoral work includes the study of non-economic barriers to hydrogen projects, with a focus on community engagement and public perceptions. Within her work at EFI Foundation, she has been a part of the organization's Hydrogen Demand Initiative, whose goal is to develop the demand side of the hydrogen market in the United States.

Tam Kemabonta, Arizona State University


Tam Kemabonta

Tam Kemabonta is a PhD candidate in the Sustainable Energy program at the School of Sustainability in Arizona State University. He is also an Energy Systems Specialist in the Laboratory for Energy and Solution in Arizona State University. His research interests include energy access, renewable energy project development, grid resilience, and electricity markets.

Jongki Lee, Illinois Institute of Technology


Jonoki Lee

Jongki Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architectural Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. He earned his Master's degree and bachelor's degree in the same major from Soongsil University in Seoul, South Korea. His current research topic is evaluating energy consumption in high-rise buildings using interior insulating shades with different shading control algorithms. He participated in a global competition titled "Reduction of Particulate Matters and Improvement of Air Quality in Subways" during the COVID-19 (2021) and took first place in the full paper category. His research background includes building energy conservation and efficiency, building control and measurement, HVAC systems, and all subjects related to indoor environment quality.

Yalin Li, Rutgers University


Yalin Li

Yalin Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her research focuses on advancing the sustainability of energy, civil, and water infrastructure through (i) experimental development of thermochemical and catalytic technologies for resource recovery; and (ii) sustainable design and decision-making to prioritize research, development, and deployment, particularly through open-source platforms that integrate system design and evaluation. Prior to joining Rutgers, Yalin was a Research Scientist at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where her work has centered around the field-to-market bioeconomy value chain as well as sanitation and resource recovery facilities. Yalin received her doctoral degree from Colorado School of Mines and master's degree from UIUC, both in Environmental Engineering.

Jéssica Malinalli Coyotecatl Contreras, University of California, Santa Barbara


Jéssica Malinalli Coyotecatl Contreras	University of California, Santa Barbara

Jéssica Malinalli is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research focuses on infrastructural projects as territorial and social transformations in Mexico and in the United States. Jéssica pursues this investigation through two venues : 1) Her dissertation research, "Sovereign and Deadly Energy Transition: Communal Life against Extractivism in Mexico" engages with Indigenous and peasant struggles in central Mexico against extractivism (i.e. natural gas pipelines for electricity); and 2) She studies oil Infrastructure abandonment in Central California through UCSB-community undertakings. Her research builds on a feminist perspective of social reproduction and anti-extractivism. She approaches research as a political commitment and with community partnerships. Her work has been featured in peer-reviewed articles in Ecología Política: Cuadernos de Debate Internacional (2016), Ciudades: Análisis de la coyuntura teoría e historia urbana (2018), Regions and Cohesion (2021), as well as online pieces for broader audiences. Jéssica is a graduate affiliate to the Environmental Justice/Climate Justice Hub and is also a co-convener of the "Energy Justice in Global Perspective" Research Focus Group at UCSB, with faculty and graduate students. Before coming to UCSB, Jéssica completed a Masters in Social Anthropology in Mexico. 

Hannah Morin, Carnegie Mellon University


Hannah Morin

Hannah Morin is a fourth year PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University across the Engineering and Public Policy department as well as the Material Science and Engineering department. She received a BSc in Chemistry and an MA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses batteries technology a policy in which she uses bench experiments to inform techno-economic modeling. Recent work has examined the impact of different amounts of fast charging on degradation in electric vehicles. Her research interests are more broadly around the role of electrochemical systems in decarbonization, including an interest in long duration storage, vehicle to grid applications, batteries for transmission cognition relief, direct air capture, and hydrogen. For the past year and a half Hannah has been working as the Graduate Assembly President at CMU, getting a close up look at how organizations make decisions including those around net zero emission commitments. 

Desen Ozkan, University of Connecticut


Desen Ozkan

Desen Özkan is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on sociotechnical engineering education and contextual energy education for a just energy transition. At UConn, she is a founding faculty member of UConn's Engineering Education Ph.D. program and currently teaches in the Engineering and Human Rights Initiative. Before UConn, Desen was a postdoctoral researcher at Tufts University where she worked in the Institute of Research on Learning and Instruction (IRLI) and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). She also worked with the Offshore Wind Research Group in the OSW graduate program on several interdisciplinary research projects. Desen has a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech and a B.S. in chemical and biological engineering from Tufts University.

Desiree Mae Prado, Case Western Reserve University


Desiree Mae Prado

Desiree Mae Prado is a rising fourth-year PhD candidate at the Department of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Her research focuses on developing structured liquid electrolytes for grid-scale, reliable energy storage. This aims to efficiently store energy from renewable sources like solar and wind, helping to balance the fluctuating output for a more stable grid. Desiree is part of a larger interdisciplinary and collaborative U.S. Department of Energy Breakthrough Electrolytes for Energy Storage and Systems (BEES2) project that has partnerships with other esteemed universities and national laboratory. Currently, she also serves as the president of CWRU Electrochemical Society Student Chapter and director of the U.S. DOE BEES2 student research organization. Desiree holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry and M.Sc. in Energy Engineering from University of the Philippines Diliman. Prior to joining CWRU, Desiree worked as a Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Electrochemical Engineering in UP Diliman and received training as a visiting scholar at the University of California Merced through the CHED-PCARI program. 

Jeremiah Thoronka, Thammasat University


Jeremiah Thoronka

Jeremiah Thoronka is a PhD candidate in Social Innovation and Sustainability at the School of Global Studies, Thammasat University. His research focuses on the sociocultural factors influencing the adoption of clean cooking fuels in Kigali, Rwanda. Jeremiah aims to integrate this ethnographic approach into policy-making and social innovation to facilitate the transition to cleaner energy solutions in developing contexts. Before his doctoral studies, he distinguished himself as a leader and innovator in clean energy and climate change, earning accolades such as Forbes 30 Under 30 and the Inaugural Global Student Prize. Jeremiah holds an MSc in Sustainability, Energy, and Development from Durham University as a Commonwealth Shared Scholar, and he has contributed to influential research and policy discussions worldwide, including at the United Nations and multiple global forums.

Katie Ulrich, Rice University/Harvard University


Katie Ulrich

Katie Ulrich is an incoming postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Ulrich's research is at the intersection of environmental anthropology, feminist science and technology studies, political economy, and energy humanities. Ulrich's current book project focuses on renewable energy and biomaterials made from sugarcane in Brazil, and how such technologies reflect and reproduce certain fundamental cultural conceptions about change more broadly. Ulrich received their degree in cultural anthropology from Rice University in 2024, and before starting graduate school worked in a molecular biology lab at the University of California San Francisco. 

Casey Williams, Rice University


Casey Williams
Casey Williams

Casey A. Williams is a Lecturer in the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice University. His research examines the cultural dimensions of climate and energy politics, with a specific focus on the narrative logics of "climate impasse" and "just transition" in North America. He is a member of the Petrocultures Research Group and After Oil Collective, as well as co-editor of Renewable Societies: Energy Transitions and Life after Fossil Fuels, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press, and "Marxism and Climate Change," a special issue of Polygraph. His public writing on climate, energy and labor politics has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Radical Philosophy, Jacobin, Dissent, In These Times, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in Literature from Duke University.