Working together for a sustainable future

The Office of Sustainability Initiatives team works with leaders and representatives to integrate sustainability into both the operational and academic functions of the entire Emory enterprise, including all academic locations and health care facilities across the state.

Ciannat Howett

Associate Vice President, Sustainability, Resilience and Economic Inclusion Adjunct Associate Professor, Emory University

Ciannat founded Emory’s first Office of Sustainability Initiatives in July 2006 before assuming her current role as Associate Vice President in 2019, managing an enterprise-wide effort to ensure that Emory’s actions and policies support environmental, social, and economic systems that provide a healthy, productive, and meaningful life for current and future generations. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and Emory College’s Environmental Sciences Department and a Senior Faculty Fellow with Emory’s Center for Ethics. Ciannat attended Emory as an undergraduate, receiving her B.A. in 1987, and she received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1992. She practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton for four years and was Senior Attorney with the Water Enforcement Division the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. for six years before serving as Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama office until 2006. She is a Trustee for the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, the PATH Foundation, and serves on the Advisory Board of Emory Law School’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and the National Council on Competitiveness. She received the 2002 U.S. EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the 2004 Environmental Hero Award from The Wilderness Society, the 2010 Pillar of Sustainability Award from EARTH University, the 2013 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from Rollins School of Public Health, a 2014 Award of Distinction from Emory, and a 2020 Woman to Watch award from the U.S. Green Building Council. She is a co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. She is a frequent regional and national speaker on sustainability issues, and, for four years, was named a “Georgia Super Lawyer” by Atlanta magazine.

Cyrus Bhedwar

Director of Sustainability

Cyrus joined the Office of Sustainability Initiatives team in 2023. His career has focused on advancing energy efficiency and sustainability at the local, state, and regional levels. As the Director of Energy Efficiency Policy at the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, he worked with state and local policymakers to advance energy efficiency across the Southeast. He spends his time thinking hard about how we create the understanding, connections, and infrastructure needed to advance a clean energy future in a region where grits and/or sweet tea are in plentiful supply, truly a perfect fit for Emory! After 18 years of experience working in energy and sustainability, he’s an expert at stakeholder facilitation and strategic thinking, meaning that post-its, markers, and flip charts are on “subscribe and save". In between his busy work schedule, he finds time to give back to the community as a board member of the Decatur MLK Service Project.

Erik Edwards

Educational Garden Project Coordinator, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Erik grew up on a family farm outside of Athens, GA. As a child, he had a passion for plants and gardening with some of his fondest memories being outside with his parents and grandparents working in the dirt of his family’s garden. Erik graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S.A in Horticulture in 2013 and took a job managing 5 acres of floriculture greenhouses in Denver, Colorado. In 2017, he and his wife moved back to Georgia as he took on the position of research greenhouse manager for Emory’s biology department. During his time as the research greenhouse manager, he assisted with the garden project by growing the plant starters and volunteering his time. In June of 2019, he was able combine his position as the greenhouse manager with coordinating the OSI garden project.

Mindy Goldstein

Faculty Fellow

Clinical Professor Mindy Goldstein is director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic and director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at Emory Law School. Her work focuses on matters related to sustainable energy and climate change, land use and conservation, sustainable agriculture and urban farming, protection of natural resources, and access to information.

Rebecca Philipsborn

Faculty Fellow

Dr. Rebecca Philipsborn is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and the Director of Climate, Health Education and Clinical Partnerships for Emory’s Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory (RSC). In research and in medical education, she focuses on the intersection of climate change and health, especially child health, and implications for health equity, clinical practice, and healthcare delivery.

Eri Saikawa

Faculty Fellow

Eri Saikawa is an Associate Professor in Environmental Sciences at Emory University. She conducts interdisciplinary research on the environment, and her main research questions are related to the source and the magnitude of emissions linked to air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming, as well as the impacts of these emissions on humans and on society.

Lydia Fort

Faculty Fellow

Lydia Fort is an Assistant Professor in Theater Studies at Emory University. Her work focuses on the intersection of performance, social change and the environment. She is the co-founder of Atlanta Green Theatre Alliance (AGTA) and a founding member of Climate Commons. Ms. Fort is an alum of Creative Climate Leadership, an international group of artists and cultural workers, and artEquity’s National Facilitation Training for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). At Emory she teaches a course on Eco-theatre, co-leads an annual workshop on interdisciplinary between art and science, and has hosted Earth Matters On Stage New Play Festival, Climate Change Theatre Action, and the “Theatre and the Environment: Representations of Climate Change on Stage” event.

Anna Brachey

Climate Solutions Fellow, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Anna joined the Office of Sustainability Initiatives team in 2023. As a Climate Solutions Fellow, she will facilitate the completion of Emory’s annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory, collaborate with student and community groups to advance climate resilience, and support Emory’s research into climate mitigation and adaptation innovations. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia in 2020, then graduated in the inaugural class of Columbia University’s Climate School with an M.A. in Climate and Society in 2022. In her research, Anna uses social and environmental sciences to better understand how climate and conservation solutions can be most effective and just in practice.

Kendra Ding

Sustainability & Social Justice Fellow, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Kendra Ding first joined the OSI team as a student intern in 2021 and now works as a Sustainability & Social Justice Fellow. She will help manage and develop frameworks for the Green Office program, Emory Farmer's Market, and Green Networking Events, as well as provide input for the Incentives Fund programs. Kendra graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Film and Media from Emory University in 2023.

Justin Bright

Sustainability & Social Justice Fellow, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Justin Bright first joined the Office of Sustainability Initiatives as a General Sustainability Intern in Summer 2021. After graduating from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Justin now works as a Sustainability and Social Justice Fellow. Justin helps run the OSI newsletter, Sustainable Events Program, and the Green Labs Program.

Anissa Patel

General Sustainability Intern

Anissa is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science and Philosophy, Politics, and Law. She is passionate about advancing equitable, effective climate policy and solutions that bridge institutions and communities. She hopes to pursue environmental law, working to transform political and economic organizations into just, sustainable environments. She is excited to work as an OSI intern and create interdisciplinary initiatives that promote a sustainable future at Emory and its interconnected institutions.

Nicole Cordasco

General Sustainability Intern

Nicole is a rising junior studying interdisciplinary studies, with focuses on sustainability, environmental science, Native American and Indigenous studies, visual art and decolonial theory. They hope to foster sacred relationality between all beings in a career as a horticultural therapist, educator, caregiver, artist and activist. With OSI, they hope to support Emory in becoming more life-sustaining and respectful of the land within which we live and work through data collection and research on STARS. Nicole aims to fight the exploitation of all beings and land and to ensure the nourishment of all through interconnected spiritual presence.

Alexandra Ridley

General Sustainability Intern

Alexandra (AJ) is a Bobby Jones Scholar majoring in Biology. She never ceases to be amazed by the biodiversity and natural beauty of our planet; she believes that every person has a responsibility to protect the natural world and give back to the planet that makes human life possible. In the future, she hopes to go into urban planning with a sustainability focus. AJ is excited to begin this journey by helping higher education institutions make progress in reducing their environmental impacts.

Natalia Freeze

General Sustainability/Green Office Intern

Natalia Freeze is a General Sustainability Intern with a specialization in the Green Office. She is a rising senior studying Environmental Science with a minor in Sustainability at Emory. She is interested in scientific communication to foster optimism and hope about protecting the Earth. Her most memorable experiences have been volunteering at a panda sanctuary in Ya’an, China, and participating in a field course in the Amazon rainforest in Iquitos, Peru. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, and gardening in her backyard.

Alison Myers-Beck

Educational Gardens Intern

Alison Myers-Beck is a second-year student majoring in Physics & Astronomy and Biology. She is interested in how sustainable farming and gardening are possible on a smaller scale. She hopes to help people realize that organic gardening is possible and help them achieve their goals of starting gardens in their own lives. She is looking forward to assisting with the Educational Garden project and learning more about how Emory is using gardens to help educate people about sustainable practices.

Marco Zgliczynski

General Sustainability Intern

Marco is a MBA candidate at the Goizueta Business School. He is excited to work with the OSI to learn more about climate change and energy initiatives which will contribute to his future goal of entering the strategy space with specific interest in ESG practices.

Eliana Liporace

General Sustainability/Green Labs Intern

Eliana is a General Sustainability Intern specifically focusing on Green Labs at Emory. She is a rising sophomore majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, thrilled to take on a proactive role in spearheading initiatives that promote eco-friendly practices within academic and research environments. Eliana is particularly drawn to the intersection of public health and climate change, recognizing the urgent need to address environmental health challenges facing disproportionately impacted communities. Eliana is eager to explore innovative methods for mitigating the effects of climate change and fostering a greener, healthier future for all.

Michelina Schach

General Sustainability Intern/EASL Intern

Michelina is a rising junior studying Environmental Science on the Environmental Health track with a minor in Global Health, Culture, and Society. She is deeply passionate about the intersections between climate change and the holistic health of vulnerable communities and ecosystems. Michelina hopes to contribute to a future where our choices honor our planet rather than exploiting its people, living beings, or natural resources. She is very excited to contribute to sustainability at Emory and hopes to support institution-wide change. She loves spending her free time hiking, creating art, reading, and taking photos of animals.