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.

Akelia Hypolite

Administrative Assistant, Sustainability, Resilience & Economic Inclusion

Akelia joined the Office of Sustainability Initiatives team in 2015. In this role, she maintains office operations and supports event coordination. Before Emory, she worked at Pruitthealth-Brookhaven as a receptionist and admissions administrative assistant. Akelia earned her BA in Speech Communications from Georgia State University in 2010. While attending GA State, she volunteered with the SpeakLife Organization as a speech consultant.

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.

Kamea Alleyne

General Sustainability Intern (Zero Waste Ambassadors, Events)

Kamea Alleyne (she/her) joined OSI as an Ethics & Servant Leadership intern in Summer 2022. She is currently a junior at the College of Arts & Sciences and is a Film Major on the Pre-Med Track. Her interests include health sciences, film and media, music, and social justice. As a member of Volunteer Emory, Kamea has joined various community service trips in her first year and is excited to channel her focus into sustainability initiatives on campus.

Julia Marquis

Communications & Marketing Intern (Social Media, Marketing Materials, Newsletter,Tracking)

Julia Marquis is a Communications and Marketing Intern focusing on social media outreach and the weekly newsletter. She is a rising junior studying Environmental Science and Film and Media. She is interested in studying ecology and the connections between sustainability and the film industry. In her free time, she enjoys leading trips with Outdoor Emory, volunteering with the educational gardens, and singing with her a capella group on campus!

Lucia Buscemi

General Sustainability Intern

Lucia Buscemi is a fourth year student majoring in Anthropology and Environmental Science. Her specific interests within sustainability include environmental policy & justice, public health, and the social impacts of climate change. Lucia is super excited to join the OSI team as a General Sustainability Intern!

Emily Wilhelm

Educational Gardens Intern

Emily Wilhelm is a Gardens and General Sustainability Intern. She is a junior majoring in Environmental Science on the health track and minoring in QSS. Emily is most interested in food systems, environmental justice in the Atlanta Metro Area, and environmental health issues. In her free time, she enjoys running through Lullwater, reading, and going on sunrise hikes.

Natalia Freeze

General Sustainability Intern (Green Offices)

Natalia is a General Sustainability Intern with a specialization in the Green Office. She is a rising 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

Ethics & Servant Leadership 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.

Jason Huang

General Sustainability Intern

Jason is a rising Sophomore double majoring in Environmental Science and matriculating into the business school next semester. He is a part of Emory's men's track and field team, and enjoys playing card games and spike-ball in his spare time. He is interested in the intersection between sustainability and business, and is looking forward to being a part of the OSI team!

Jillian Wu

General Sustainability/ Green Labs Intern

Jillian is a General Sustainability Intern with focus on Green Labs. She is a rising junior from Taipei, Taiwan studying biology & business. In her free time she enjoys listening to podcasts, weight training, making healthy desserts, hiking, making new friends and watching YouTube. A fun fact about Jillian is she has a twin brother who’s coming to the US very soon this year!