Dr. Robert K. Musil, President and CEO
As the CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, Dr. Musil speaks and organizes nationwide at campuses and civic organizations, is a key advocate on Capitol Hill, and has increased RCC membership, budget, and staff while developing an extensive and growing grassroots and campus network. He has designed and led RCC organizing efforts in North Carolina, spoken and organized in Florida at campus and community events to oppose the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in collaboration with Beyond Nuclear, and is the co-author of Pork and Pollution, Fowl Matters and Blast Zone.
Musil has been a leader, activist, educator, and author in the national environmental, environmental health, peace and social justice movements for over three decades. He is one of the most respected and senior public interest advocates in Washington. He serves as the President of the Scoville Peace Fellowship; Chairman of the Board of the Council for a Livable World (C)(4) and PAC; Chairman of the Board of the Population Connection Action Fund (C)(4) and PAC; a Board member of Beyond Nuclear; and an Advisory Board member of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI). Musil is also an environmental educator who is a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University where he teaches American environmental politics. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut where he is involved in reviewing a new campus master plan and college endowment investments for sustainability and social responsibility. Musil also writes on climate, nuclear and justice issues for the Huffington Post and is the author of three environmental books: Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers, 2009); Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment (Rutgers Press, 2014) and Washington in Spring: A Nature Journal for a Changing Capital (Bartleby Press, 2016).
Mackay Pierce, Associate Director
Drawing from his experience as a campus organizer and leader, Mackay also serves as the Director of the Rachel Carson Council Campus Program and the RCC Fellowhsip Program. Originally from the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Tennessee, he connects his passion for environmental protection to his love of the mountains he calls home. Mackay graduated from Roanoke College in 2017 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Sociology. While on campus, he helped found a student run campus organic garden and led nine Alternative Break trips focusing on environmental justice. Following graduation, Mackay worked for Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley as an AmeriCorps National Member. He has also previously worked for the Friends Committee on National Legislation on climate change and for various political campaigns. He is excited to continue to help students and faculty on college campuses engage with local and national environmental issues.
Ross A. Feldner, Publications and Web Consultant
Ross Feldner is the lead, with Bob Musil, of the RCC Bird Watch and Wonder Program. Ross is a life-long birder and photographer who is the editor of the Friends of Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge newsletter. Ross also serves as a guide at the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge, a frequent birding spot for Rachel Carson who first learned about the health effects of DDT at the laboratory there. He is also the owner/art director of New Age Graphics, a full-service graphic design firm in Wheaton, MD.
RCC Fellows, 2021-2022
RCC Fellow — Jennifer Coronel — Northwestern University
Jennifer is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Human Dimensions, along with two minors in Sustainability and Business. She is pursuing her Master of Science in Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern University. Jennifer has long been a passionate environmentalist since growing up in the lower-income areas of Chicago exposed her to environmental injustices at a young age. She continues to advocate for environmental equity in her community as she works to bring nature to barren neighborhoods.
RCC Fellow — Sahil Inaganti — Tulane University
Sahil is a junior at Tulane University pursuing majors in Environmental Studies, Public Health, and Political Economy with minors in Urban Studies and Management. Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Sahil is passionate about addressing issues of environmental injustice that involve public health. He has interned at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic where he analyzed emissions in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley and has conducted research on the effect of COVID-19 in exacerbating health disparities. At Tulane, Sahil is president of the School of Public Health’s Student Government and co-founder of the Health Equity Fellowship, a leadership development program for first-year students interested in advancing health equity. He is also a trip leader for Tulane Outdoor Adventures where he leads students on outdoor trips across the Gulf South.
RCC Fellow — Yasmeen Mir — University of Missouri
Yasmeen Mir is a senior at the University of Missouri Columbia. With previous experience in journalism and a current major in Anthropology, she seeks to take an interdisciplinary approach to environmental justice. She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, volunteering with Community Gardens and various community organizations. In the past, she has worked on New Orleans area campaigns against petrochemical factories along the Mississippi River corridor. In her college career, she has focused on topics like political ecology and green economies that help inform the way she thinks about future solutions. She has spent time doing policy research with the City of Kansas City and the ACLU of Missouri about the inequities of her home state. Yasmeen brings her skills as a journalist and creative writer to environmental justice.
RCC Fellow — Edgar Villeda — Appalachian State University
Edgar is a senior majoring in Biological Anthropology and minoring in Biology at Appalachian State University. Edgar has long held a passion for conservation and primates. From Jeff Corwin to Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson, environmental leaders have inspired Edgar that there is still hope for us and the wildlife that shares the earth with us. Edgar is working to support his community in efforts to address environmental justice issues, while hoping to build a career helping other communities do the same.
RCC Fellow — Sara Heimlich — Tulane University
Sara Heimlich is a senior at Tulane University majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science, with minors in History and Psychology. On campus, Sara is a DJ for WTUL New Orleans 91.5FM, a member of the student government’s sustainability committee, and an intern with the Tulane Admissions Department. She is interning for the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a local nonprofit that advocates for fair, affordable and environmentally responsible energy policy in New Orleans. She is also a Clean Energy Advocacy Intern with the Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment, doing research on state-by-state solar regulations. Sara loves to explore New Orleans, backpack, and camp whenever she gets the chance.
RCC Fellow — Gabriela Duncan — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gabriela Duncan is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Environmental Justice with a minor in Geography. After graduation, she hopes to go to law school to focus on environmental law and specialize in environmental justice cases, a love sparked by her divestment work. Gabriela is also engaged in research with Dr. Gabriela Valdivia about mutual aid organizing in Ecuador during the stay-at-home orders of COVID-19. Outside of EJ work, Gabriela enjoys meeting prospective students as an Admissions Ambassador, playing the saxophone as a Pep Band/Marching Band member, dancing to reggaeton, cooking, and traveling.
RCC Presidential Fellow — Audrey Magnuson – Duke University
Audrey Magnuson is a senior at Duke University majoring in Public Policy with minors in Environmental Science and Art History. She is passionate about leveraging quality environmental policy to better her community in North Carolina and beyond, particularly in environmental justice. She hopes to earn a law degree after completing her Duke education. In her free time, Audrey is a yoga and Pilates instructor and loves to spend time looking for new hiking trails or creating new recipes in the kitchen. On campus, she also leads an all-women’s dance company and directs communications for a student-led sexual violence prevention initiative.
RCC Presidential Fellow — Isabel Wood – Duke University
Isabel Wood is a junior at Duke University majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with a certificate in Documentary Studies. She feels passionate about science communication, the preservation of biodiversity, and environmental justice. Outside of the classroom, Isabel is a Vice President of the Duke Undergraduate Environmental Union (UEU) where she works on environmental literacy topics and The Enviro-Art Gallery. She is also in Duke Mock Trial and works for the Wright Lab, a research lab focused on climate change and ecology. Isabel is excited to be one of this year’s Presidential Fellows with the RCC. She believes that learning to communicate about the environment in the way that Rachel Carson did and the way that the RCC continues her legacy is key to solving many environmental issues.
RCC Fellow — Ethan Vitaz — Pitzer College
Ethan Vitaz is a senior at Pitzer College studying Environmental Analysis with a focus on Sustainability in the Built Environment. He is primarily interested in using regional food systems as a tool to mitigate catastrophic climate change, increase resiliency, and restore ecological health. He is also interested in the importance of building regional power to demand suitable solutions to the issues we face today. He believes that addressing our ecological crises requires returning stolen land to the Indigenous people that have cared for the land for centuries.
RCC Fellow — Willow Gatewood — Catawba College
Willow Gatewood is a junior at Catawba College studying Environment and Sustainability, with minors in Creative Writing and GIS. She is currently an intern and work-study for the Catawba College Center for the Environment and involved in environmental and climate advocacy groups such as Citizen’s Climate Lobby, 350.org, and Fridays for Future. Her passions lie in regenerative, sustainable living, environmental justice, and helping others see the connections between human-made systems and ecosystems through writing and art. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a Master’s towards a career in ecosystems conservation, with a focus on educating others. She also aspires to pursue Indigenous studies to bring more Indigenous science and knowledge to the fields of conservation and ecology. In her free time, she can be found exploring the woods around her home in Cascade, Virginia, reading, gardening, or tucked away in a quiet place writing, painting, and playing guitar.
RCC Fellow — Kisara Dang — University of Texas at Austin
Kisara Dang is a junior geography, sustainability, business, and humanities major at the University of Texas at Austin from Kerrville, Texas. Her humanities degree focuses on the spatial and social implications of environmental policy. Her passions lie in research and teaching others about interdisciplinary and intersectional environmentalism. Ultimately, Kisara hopes to become a professor of environmental policy. Kisara has also worked as an intern at the City of Austin Urban Forestry Department as well as a Mickey Leland Environmental Intern at the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality. On campus, she is a team member of projects related to campus sustainability including awards for the President’s Award for Global Learning and the University of Texas Green Fund Award.
RCC Fellow — Jelina Liu — George Washington University
Jelina is studying Political Communication at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has a diverse media background, but her current focus is documentary filmmaking while looking for ways to combine advocacy with media production. Jelina is originally from Northern California and is the Western U.S. coordinator for the College Climate Coalition, a global coalition of college fossil fuel divestment campaigns. She spent summer 2021 in Minnesota on the frontlines of the Line 3 pipeline battle and hopes to continue participating in similar direct action campaigns. Her favorite nature spot is the beach.
RCC 2021 Stanback Interns
Audrey Magnuson – Duke University
Audrey Magnuson is a senior at Duke University pursuing a major in Public Policy and minors in Environmental Science and Art History. She is passionate about leveraging quality environmental policy to better her community in North Carolina and beyond, particularly in the realms of environmental justice. She hopes to earn a law degree after completing her Duke education to further these ambitions. In her free time, Audrey is a yoga and Pilates instructor and loves to spend time looking for new hiking trails or creating new recipes in the kitchen. On campus, she also leads an all women’s dance company and directs communications for a student-lead sexual violence prevention initiative.
Isabel Wood – Duke University
Isabel Wood is a Junior at Duke University majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with a certificate in Documentary Studies. She feels passionate about science communication, the preservation of biodiversity, and environmental justice. Outside of the classroom, Isabel is one of the Vice Presidents of the Duke Undergraduate Environmental Union (UEU) where she works on environmental literacy topics and The Enviro-Art Gallery. She is also in Duke Mock Trial and works for the Wright Lab, a research lab focused on climate change and ecology. Isabel is so excited to be one of this year’s Presidential Fellows with the RCC. She thinks that learning to communicate about the environment in the way that Rachel Carson did and the way that the RCC continues to is key to solving many environmental issues.
Andrei Santos – Duke University
Andrei is a junior at Duke University majoring in Environmental Science and Public Policy. He is from Davie, a town bordering the Florida Everglades, and has interned for the Town Hall of Davie. This is his second year at the Rachel Carson Council, having worked on digital organizing and environmental justice in the previous year. He is a member of the Duke Mock Trial Team and is planning on attending law school to study environmental law. Andrei is interested in exploring the intersection between public policy, environmental sustainability, and economic decisions.
Rishab Jagetia – Duke University
Rishab Jagetia is a sophomore at Duke University planning to major in Environmental Science and Policy. Hailing from Houston, Texas, his exposure to environmental justice issues perpetuated by oil and gas companies and the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey has led him towards a path of climate action. He is passionate about community engagement and specifically how to leverage youth voices to accomplish transformative change. When he isn’t doing work, you’ll probably find him reading memoirs or playing sports. In high school, he was heavily involved in youth climate organizing and education efforts that centered on environmental justice in Houston neighborhoods. At Duke, he enjoys working on an environmental podcast, engaging in student government, and advocating for a new curriculum that focuses on bottom-up alternative economics and community activism.
Sam Vanasse – Duke University
Sam is a first-year master’s student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment earning a Master of Environmental Management. He is in the Environmental Economics and Policy concentration with a focus on economics and energy. In 2020, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College with a major in economics and minors in environmental studies and mathematics. He recently acted as a Research Assistant at Duke University’s Energy Initiative in their Data Analytics Lab where he assisted with their research at the intersection of machine learning and solar energy data collection. He is eager to apply his background in environmental economics and energy to divestment and reinvestment research at the RCC and hopes to carry what he learns into future opportunities. Outside of class Sam enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Wayne Rouse, Financial Officer. Wayne Rouse has been the financial officer of the Rachel Carson Council since 2011. Wayne has been the accountant for a number of non-profits and retired from the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) in Washington where he held positions in engineering, computers and energy management. He has also served as President, Treasurer, and Manager of the PEPCO Federal Credit Union.