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.

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.

Natalia Ruich

General Sustainability Intern

Natalia Ruich is a fourth-year student majoring in political science and environmental science. She became interested in sustainability during her time researching and volunteering at the Oxford College Organic Farm. She is interested in the intersections between science, policy, and religion and how all three can inform Emory's sustainability goals.

Nicole Cordasco

Farmers Market Intern

Nicole is a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies focusing on environmental science. She is interested in sustainable agriculture, food, and environmental justice. She hopes to become a horticultural therapist and teach gardening, ecology, interconnectedness and meditation in schools, mental health facilities and prisons. She is excited to organize events at the Farmers market this semester, especially events having to do with art, music, and education.

Alexandra Ridley

Communications 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

Green Office Intern

Natalia Freeze is a General Sustainability Intern with a specialization in the Green Office. She is a junior studying Environmental Science 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.

Saakshi Kale

General Sustainability Intern

Saakshi is a sociology PhD student at Laney Graduate School and studies climate change, sustainability, indigenous peoples, health, and policy. She has joined OSI as an Ethics & Servant Leadership intern for Summer 2023 and hopes to contribute to OSI in ways which bring the office, and Emory as a community, closer to overarching sustainability goals.

Marco Zgliczynski

Sustainable Events/ Zero Waste Ambassador

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

Green Labs Intern

Eliana is a freshman majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She's always been drawn to sustainability because it aligns with her belief in responsible stewardship of our environment. As an OSI intern, she's excited to spearhead initiatives that promote eco-friendly practices within academic and research environments, contributing to a greener future. She's fascinated by the intersection of public health and climate change and hopes to delve deeper into methods for aiding communities disproportionately impacted by environmental health challenges.