Meet Our Rachel Carson Campus Fellows

Rachel Carson Campus Fellows are competitively selected from RCC campuses. This initial class of RCC Fellows (2019-2020) was chosen from the key RCC states of North Carolina and Virginia. The RCC plans to expand the Rachel Carson Fellowship Program in future years as funds permit.

 

Laura Cross – Virginia Organizer

Laura is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia where she became involved in the fight against the pipelines and fossil fuels in Virginia. Laura’s background includes organizing teach-ins and student trips to areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains impacted by the pipeline. Laura’s work included helping with a community-led survey project in Buckingham County Virginia to support the residents resisting the proposed Dominion Compressor Station. Since that time, Laura has been involved in connecting and organizing with communities resisting the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

“In this year, we will facilitate trips of young people from cities and universities across Virginia to see
the impact of the pipeline in southwest Virginia and other forms of extraction. This summer I will be connecting with students and professors to organize several events throughout the fall to connect
young people with the immediate environmental issues in Virginia. This project will help circulate young people beyond the campus, to become more connected with our communities and better networked
with each other.”


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, NC. 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.

“My project is to bring solar energy to the campus of Meredith College and offsetting utility systems currently using non-renewable energy. To do this, I will be assessing the utility system on campus and using my connections at SEM to provide the college with a more in-depth and precise projection of the initial costs required to install solar panels, the long-term profits and the exact amount of energy the university will save if they decide to pursue the investment of solar installations while organizing fellow students in support of renewable energy on our campus.”


Kelsey Hall – University of North Carolina at Asheville

Kelsey is an Environmental Policy and Management major at the University of North Carolina Asheville with minors in Economics and Human Rights Studies. She is particularly interested in intersectional environmental issues, and hopes to pursue a career in climate policy after graduating. Kelsey currently coordinates the fossil fuel divestment campaign at UNCA and is working to further sustainable and ethical investing initiatives on campus, as well as across the UNC System with the NC Reinvest Coalition. Kelsey interns with UNCA’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, using GIS to help cities and municipal entities understand, prepare for, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys hiking, camping, and photography.

“UNC Asheville’s fossil fuel divestment campaign has been active since 2015 and has evolved over time to include a more inclusive ESG (Environmental Social Governance)/SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) lens when screening university endowment investments. In June, UNCA passed a resolution to reallocate $5 million of the $50 million total endowment into a new ESG/SRI-managed portfolio that will not include any investments in fossil fuel companies. This is extremely encouraging first step has a lot of exciting potential to gain further momentum at UNCA and other schools in the UNC system. UNCA Divest is a member of NC Reinvest Coalition, which is a growing group of students working towards divestment and sustainable investment initiatives at other UNC system universities including UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, NC State University, and Appalachian State University. My goals for the next year include advocating for the implementation of classes and curriculum focused on sustainable investing at UNCA, growing the campaign team and student outreach, and advocating for entire endowment divestment.”


Michael James-Deramo – Virginia Organizer

Michael James-Deramo grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. As a co-founder of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and a community organizer with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Michael organized with students, young folks, and communities across the state in organizing against pipelines, coal ash contamination, and military open burning. In the past two years, Michael has focused on direct action and mutual aid organizing working to directly confront industry on its harmful practices and build support systems for organizers to support one another. Michael also works to build out the intersections between race, class, and gender issues and how they interweave in our larger climate and environmental struggle within an economy based on extraction. Michael enjoys spoken word poetry, sustainable gardening, and hugs.

“I plan to organize a series of workshops with both active and aspiring groups of young folks interested in deepening their understanding of direct action and mutual aid organizing. Through these workshops I will support folks in learning the anatomy of an action, the concept and strategy behind direct action and civil disobedience, the roles and steps that go into engaging in an action successfully, and create space for roleplaying and practicing such roles in anticipation for using strategies learned in the struggles they are engaged in.”


Jenny Sab – University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Jenny Sab is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Environmental/Sustainability Studies and Political Science. She is interested in sustainability, environmental education, social justice, and public policy. On campus she volunteered with a local nonprofit advocating for North Carolina’s marine wildlife, is an active member of AAUW, and works as an Office Assistant for the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, watching movies, and playing with her dog Winston!

“I have two projects in mind while working with the Rachel Carson Council Campus Program. The first project is to have more native plant sanctuaries across UNCG. This project will improve the plant ecology, as well as the beauty and attractiveness to the thousands of faculty, administrators, and students who live and work on UNCG’s campus every day. Having a wide range of native plants and wildflowers among UNCG’s campus will play a positive role in improving pollination production and the overall ecosystem health. My second project is to do advocacy through environmental education. This project will give first-year students the opportunity to take online modules that educate and promote sustainability and environmental consciousness. This will give the students the tools to be influential when raising environmental awareness as they continue their journey throughout UNCG, Greensboro, North Carolina, the United States, and globally.”


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 NC’s coasts.

“Partnering with UNCW’s Bee Keeping Club and Hawks Harvest Student Food Pantry, my project is to build a sustainable produce garden-one that’s made by students, for students, and run by students through starting a service club on campus. At least 14% of UNCW students struggle with food scarcity issues. The produce grown will provide provisions for the on-campus student food bank while teaching university students the rewarding skill to growing their own food and gaining basic gardening skills in the process.”


Zakaria Kronemer – Virginia Organizer

Zakaria developed his drive for climate for justice as a student at the University of Mary Washington. It was there that he organized a multi-year campaign that culminated in the university divesting from fossil fuels. Since graduating, he’s followed the need to not just fight the industry through financial pressure but also support the resistance against infrastructure projects immediately threatening communities. He now resides in Southwest Virginia where he is farming and building community with other young people who see confronting the climate crisis as a life long struggle.

I plan to bring young people from around VA together to build connections through the development of skills, knowledge, and experience in growing healthy//affordable food that will supply communities that lack this vital resource.

The affect of this project will be twofold in that:

  1. Young people will be engaged in providing mutual aid to neighborhoods deprived of access to grocery stores and
  2. Will also develop practical skillsets in growing food sustainably as climate change threatens to destabilize our current food systems.”