Meet Our Rachel Carson Campus Fellows

Rachel Carson Campus Fellows are competitively selected nationwide. RCC Fellows carry out organizing and educational projects that support RCC’s mission from their campus, into the community and beyond.
This year’s class of RCC Fellows (2020-2021) was chosen from our largest group of applicants ever from over 30 states.

RCC Presidential Fellow: Kendall Jefferys

School: Duke University

Project: Selected to work as the special assistant to the President and CEO; Developing and leading the Rachel Carson Council Coasts and Ocean Program

Working directly with RCC President & CEO, Dr. Robert K. Musil, Kendall has carried out research, including updating the marine science, for his new, annotated and illustrated edition, with a scholarly Introduction, of Rachel Carson’s first book, Under the Sea-Wind to be published by Rutgers University Press. Kendall also initiated and now leads the RCC’s new Coasts and Ocean Program for which she posts news, information and action alerts and edits the monthly newsletter, the Coasts and Ocean Observer, with reviews, resources, art and curated articles.

About Kendall: Kendall is a 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. She has been selected as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar and will study the environment and literature at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

RCC Fellow: Destiny Hodges

School: Howard University

Project: Building an integrated sustainability curriculum

Destiny has been building a sustainability and justice curriculum at Howard University, with the hope of sharing the model with other HBCUs across the country. She is building a coalition on campus with other students engaged in climate and sustainability work and conducting research with Howard faculty on Black-oriented environmental work.

About Destiny: 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 — affected by issues of environmental justice 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. 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.

RCC Fellow: Elise Dudley

School: Furman University

Project: Improving food sourcing on campus

One of the primary ways in which college campuses can improve their sustainability efforts is through their sourcing of their food. Elise, approaching her project with both interests in both food norms and sustainability, seeks to improve her campus through by pressuring the school and its food service company, Bon Apetit, to increase the amount of locally sourced food.

About Elise: 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 and 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!

RCC Fellow: Emily Irigoyen

School: University of Vanderbilt

Project: Organizing a campus divestment campaign

Divestment campaigns remain the most direct way to press universities to improve their commitments to sustainability and climate. Through her divestment campaign, Emily will coordinate with allied student and alumni groups to pressure the administration to divest from fossil fuels. In addition to building student power on her own campus, Emily is a founding member and leading coordinator of a group of students beginning divestment campaigns at all schools in the South Eastern Conference (SEC).

About Emily: Emily Irigoyen is a 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.

RCC Fellow: Emma Chervek

School: Central College

Project: Creating a podcast series on industrial agriculture in Iowa

Industrial agriculture is pervasive in Iowa. Through her project, Emma is creating a series of podcasts focusing on two industrial meat packing plants, one in the town where Central College is located, Pella, and another in Waterloo, Iowa. Emma seeks to share the stories of workers and community members who have been affected by the meatpacking industry and weave it into a greater story about sustainability in our food systems.

About Emma: 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.

RCC Fellow: Emma Fry

School: Meredith College

Project: Getting solar energy on campus

At Meredith College, Emma is aiming to get her school to invest in solar energy and build an array on campus. Her project is partially inspired by her previous professional experience at a regional North Carolina solar company. At Meredith, Emma has been able to develop close relationships with members of the faculty, administration, and campus staff to organize a proposal for a solar array to be built on a multi-use outdoor space currently being constructed at the school. Emma, now carrying her second RCC Fellowship into 2020 – 2021, is focused on developing different models for the site with her previous internship employers, and cultivating donors to the project.

About Emma: Emma Fry is a junior 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 developed 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.

RCC Fellow: Julianna Tresca

School: The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Project: Building resources for students experiencing food insecurity

Food Insecurity among current college students was, until recently, both underreported and underrecognized at universities across the country. Through her RCC Fellowship, Julianna is working to support and improve the resources available to students experiencing food insecurity at UNCW in addition to raising awareness among the campus community. In practice, she helps coordinate activities at the campus food pantry and has been working to create a new campus garden to support the food pantry, giving students an opportunity to engage in sustainable organic agriculture.

About Julianna: 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 Fellow: Lindsey Nystrom

School: University of North Carolina at Asheville

Project: Making the Campus Carbon Commitment

Following a string of student successes in divesting fossil fuels and improving sustainability at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Lindsey is working to attain the Campus Carbon Commitment. The Campus Carbon Commitment is a pledge to work to achieve carbon neutrality that offers campus sustainability organizers a flexible, effective and measurable way to fight climate change. Over the course of the year, Lindsey will work with allied campus groups, UNCA faculty and administration to develop plans to meet those goals and finalize the commitment.

About Lindsey: Lindsey is a senior 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. She hopes to pursue a career involving both fields. She has been 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.

RCC Fellow: Brandon Rothrock

School: West Virginia University

Project: Researching the impacts of the climate crisis on the LGBTQ community

Through his graduate program at West Virginia University, Brandon is carrying out research on the adverse impacts of the climate crisis on members of the LGBTQ community. Brandon will be conducting interviews and workshops to support his research and produce publications and graphics for the RCC.

About Brandon: Brandon Rothrock is a second-year master’s student at West Virginia University 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. Aside from his academic and professional pursuits, Brandon enjoys reading, hiking and traveling the world.