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. 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, 2020-2021
Emma Chervek – Central College
Emma Chervek is a senior at Central College studying English, Spanish, and Secondary Education. She is passionate about people, environmental justice, and the constant pursuit of learning. On campus, she is involved in various student-led environmental initiatives, and she is always working to better herself as a student leader in sustainability and environmental education. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to study environmental journalism and pursue a career educating individuals about environmental health and justice. In her free time, she loves hiking, rock climbing, writing, and spending time with her favorite people.
Elise Dudley – Furman University
Elise is a Senior Sustainability Sciences student at Furman University. In the past two years, Elise has studied food systems and environmental policy in Denmark, lived on an off-grid permaculture project in upstate New York, and recently coordinated then led an alternative break program exploring food justice and sustainable consumption. Elise aspires to pursue a career that integrates concerns for climate action, urban design, and public health for building regenerative food systems designed for circularity, justice, and ecosystem diversity. She is currently working as an Undergraduate Research Fellow on backyard gardening as a pathway towards more resilient urban foodscapes. Curiosity and critical reflection drive her interests, and she is passionate about the power of restorative language and active listening. In her free time, she can be found methodically brewing coffee, or outdoors biking, picnicking, and backpacking!
Emma Fry – Meredith College
Emma Fry is a rising sophomore at Meredith College pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Biology with a minor in Professional Writing. She found her passion for professional writing and editing through working with local authors in her community to edit young adult novels and has grown her love for the environment through a summer internship at Southern Energy Management, a solar energy company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Emma hopes to pursue a career in which she can promote and educate a wider audience on the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation. She would love to work with scientists and researchers to cultivate written works that promote sustainability in a way that is more accessible and understandable to those who have less access to education. Her lifelong inspiration and role model is Jane Goodall, whose work encouraged her from a young age to care for those who cannot speak for themselves and to take action toward conserving our planet’s wildlife and vital ecosystems.
Destiny Hodges – Howard University
Destiny Hodges is a junior interdisciplinary major at Howard University from Birmingham, Alabama. Her mission is to educate and uplift the stories of marginalized communities–specifically the Black community– impacted by issues of environmental justice by using media as a form of narrative organizing. Destiny was a labor and economic justice intern at Sierra Club in 2019 where she worked to design strategies and campaigns to engage labor and economic justice communities to help ensure the transition to a clean energy economy. In the past year, she has been organizing with her local and campus community to enrich Howard University’s ethics, campus culture, development, and academic structure with principles of sustainability. In doing so, she organized Climate Strike HU and founded the Howard University Student Sustainability Committee (HUSSC). She recently founded the nonprofit Generation Green with the goal of engaging the African diaspora by internationally connecting and uplifting the work of young, Black environmental leaders. Thus, inspiring others, sharing strategies and solutions, and drawing parallels between Black communities internationally that are disproportionately impacted by environmental inequities exacerbated by climate change.
Emily Irigoyen – Vanderbilt University
Emily Irigoyen is a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University pursuing a double major in Environmental Sociology and Spanish with a minor in Communications in Science and Technology. Hailing from Pembroke Pines, Florida, Emily is interested in environmental justice, climate policy, and coastal protection and mitigation. She has fostered her passion for the environment through a summer internship at Tennessee Environmental Council, a Nashville based non-profit, where she served as the Environmental Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers all around the greater Nashville area as part of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and was the Social Media Manager for a grassroots city council campaign in south Florida. She plans for a career in public interest environmental law and hopes to work in the non-profit sector. In her free time Emily loves to read, go to the beach, kayak, and watch movies.
Kendall Jefferys – Duke University
Kendall is a rising Senior and Rachel Carson Scholar at Duke University. Studying Environmental Science and English with a concentration in Marine Science, she combines her interests in the natural world with her passion for literature and art. Kendall is from Keller, Texas and delights in any moment she finds to read, paint, or write poetry. On campus, she works at the Duke Campus Farm and competes with the Duke Figure Skating team. She also spent a semester and summer studying and researching at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.
Lindsey Nystrom – University of North Carolina, Asheville
Lindsey is a junior at the University of North Carolina Asheville, majoring in Environmental Equity and minoring in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She found her passion for environmentalism through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in high school. Lindsey believes in the intersectionality of social justice and sustainability, and hopes to pursue a career involving both fields. She is a GIS intern at The National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) and does GIS work with Nonprofit Pathways to address food scarcity in Western North Carolina. Outside of school and work, she loves playing with her three dogs, driving through the mountains, and watching movies.
Brandon Rothrock – West Virginia University
Brandon Rothrock is a second-year master’s student at West Virginia University where he is working towards his Master of Arts in Geography and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Brandon’s work focuses on the intersection of climate change and gender and sexuality. Prior to West Virginia University, he worked as a Presidential Associate in the Office of Sustainability at the American University in Cairo. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Geography and minors in Climatology and Sustainability Leadership. Brandon’s passion for environmental outreach, education, and activism has spilled over into his current role as a Southeast Regional Fellow for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, where he helps student leaders push their campuses to support carbon dividends. Aside from his academic and professional pursuits, Brandon enjoys reading, hiking and traveling the world.
Julianna Tresca – University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Julianna is a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington studying Geology and Environmental Science with a focus in geospatial technologies. Upon graduating, her goal is to pursue a career in mitigating water quality depletion, salinization, and pollution in groundwater systems. Julianna has had multiple experiences to shape her environmental work. Most recently she interned for the city of Jacksonville, North Carolina focusing on water quality. In the past, she has gained research experience with multiple labs at the Center for Marine Science, served as a Coastal Ambassador for the NC Coastal Federation, and interned as an aquarist for the Fort Fisher Aquarium.
She is passionate about empowering young students to make a difference in their community while protecting the environment. Growing up gardening in suburban Philadelphia, she is thrilled to be able to create an opportunity for students to learn the reward of growing their own produce. She enjoys salsa dancing, volunteering as an education scuba diver for the Fort Fisher Aquarium, playing guitar, and enjoying North Carolina’s coasts.
RCC 2021 Stanback Interns
Audrey Magnuson – Duke University
Audrey Magnuson is a rising 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 rising 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 rising 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 rising 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.