Emory Alumni in Climate Action

By Aaron Klingensmith, General Sustainability Intern, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

This Climate Awareness and Women’s History Month, OSI is highlighting the contributions of some seasoned professionals and recent Emory graduates to local, national and global climate action work. These leaders are dedicated to working toward a more sustainable and environmentally just society, and they are leaders in climate advocacy in their respective federal government, university, movement, and nonprofit roles.

Vicki Arroyo, Director of Georgetown Climate Center, Associate Administrator in the EPA

Vicki Arroyo (C’85, Biology B.S., Philosophy B.A.) is the Executive Director of the Georgetown University Law Center’s Georgetown Climate Center and was recently appointed to serve as Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy in the US Environmental Protection Agency under the Biden-Harris administration. After graduating from Emory in 1985, Professor Arroyo went on to pursue a masters in public administration from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown Law School. She proceeded to practice environmental law with the EPA and multiple private law firms. Some significant projects during that time were her creation and leadership of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s policy office and her role as environmental advisor to Louisiana’s governor. Professor Arroyo later served as a director of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s domestic policy program and held teaching positions on environmental policy and climate change at multiple universities. After returning to Georgetown as a professor, Professor Arroyo helped launch a new Environmental Law LLM degree program as the Georgetown Law Center’s first Environmental Law Program Director. She now oversees the Georgetown Climate Center’s work on climate mitigation and adaptation as the Center’s Executive Director. You can learn more about her experiences from Arroyo’s feature in a recent Emory Climate Talk webinar.

Kathy Castor, U.S. House of Representative of Florida’s 14th congressional district

Kathy Castor (C’88, Political Science B.A.) was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2006, representing Florida’s 14th congressional district. Before entering Congress, Castor earned a J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law and served as a partner in the Florida Department of Community Affairs. She went on to serve as President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Hillsborough County Commissioner, and Chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. Since her election to Congress, Castor has taken the lead on multiple pieces of legislation regarding environmental protection and climate solutions. She currently serves as Chair of the House’s Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and as a member of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee. As Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Castor led the introduction of “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America”, a detailed climate solutions plan that Congress could enact through specifically recommended legislation. Castor has also introduced and passed legislation regarding the protection of Florida’s coastline from drilling and the disclosure of energy information for commercial buildings. She remains a pivotal voice in Congress for issues surrounding environmental protection and sustainable development.

Jennifer Fundora, Project Manager for Clean Cities Georgia, Program Coordinator for Southface Institute

Jennifer Fundora (C’18, Environmental Science B.A., International Studies B.A.) is a Project Manager and Program Coordinator with Southface Institute, an Atlanta nonprofit organization focused on sustainable development and environmental justice. Before assuming this role, Fundora worked as an associate for the Center for Transportation and the Environment, another Atlanta-based nonprofit devoted to developing and commercializing sustainable forms of transportation. In 2019, she became a Program Coordinator with Southface, where she tracks compliance with green building policies and analyzes data regarding EarthCraft’s Building Certification Program. She also serves as the co-coordinator of Clean Cities Georgia, for which she organizes and facilitates several projects related to creating sustainable urban environments in Georgia. Recently, Fundora assumed the role of Project Manager withinClean Cities Georgia and partnered the organization with the Southface Institute. Through this joint position, she serves as a liaison between the two nonprofits and has a critical role in managing the organizations’ Energy Rated Homes projects.

Angela Jiang, Conservation Organizer for the Georgia Sierra Club

Angela Jiang (C’19, Environmental Science B.S.) is a Conservation Organizer at the Georgia Sierra Club. She assumed this role in January 2020 after working as a field organizer for New American Pathways in the Greater Atlanta area. In her role at the Georgia Sierra Club, Jiang oversees several campaigns advancing environmental justice, sustainable development, and conservation. These campaigns include Ready for 100, a program which inspires community and government leaders to implement 100% clean energy commitments in American cities, several state and local political advocacy campaigns, and a legislative liaison program. Jiang has been involved as a community organizer since her days as an undergraduate at Emory, when she worked with nonprofits, city government officials, and political action committees. These included positions with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Park Pride, New American Pathways, and City of Atlanta District 2 Councilman Amir Farokhi. Jiang exemplifies the spirit of advocacy and community empowerment, and she continues to be a strong progressive voice for climate action through her role at the Georgia Sierra Club.

Camilla Schramek, Senior Communications Campaigner for The Sunrise Project

Camilla Schramek (C’16, Environmental Science B.S., Mathematics and Political Science B.A.) is a Senior Communications Campaigner at The Sunrise Project in Copenhagen, Denmark. Within this role, Schramek is a member of the Global Finance Team and leads campaigns to move the insurance sector into clean energy and to align major European banks with the Paris Agreement. Before assuming her role with The Sunrise Project in August 2020, Schramek worked as the Head of Climate Change Communications with CARE’s Copenhagen office. She oversaw and completed several projects related to climate action communication within this role, including the development of CARE’s Climate Change and Resilience Platform and its Climate Learning Advocacy for Resilience Program, media correspondence, and social media communications. Through both of these roles, Schramek has had a significant impact on climate action communications both in Denmark and abroad and continues to play a major role in the movement of the global finance sector to align with clean energy policies. Recently, Schramek and Jiang were guest speakers for an Emory Climate Talks webinar on careers in the climate change movement. Watch the recording here

 

These incredible climate leaders are just some of the many Emory alumni influencing policy, programs, livelihoods, and people and planetary health every day. We are inspired by and learn from the various strategies they are using to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help build more resilient communities. You can also read about some Emory faculty members whose research and mentorship are helping current students find their roles as climate leaders today. 

 

References:

“Adventures in Green Networking: Guest Directory.” Emory University Office of Sustainability Initiatives. Emory University, Feb. 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“Angela Jiang”. Linked-in. 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“Camilla Schramek”. Linked-in. 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“Camilla Schramek (‘16C)”. Emory College of Arts and Sciences National Scholarships and Fellowships. Emory University, 2016. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“Jennifer Fundora”. Linked-in. 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“Professor from Practice; Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center Vicki A. Arroyo.” Georgetown Law. Georgetown University, 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

“US Representative Kathy Castor: Biography”. U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, 14th District of Florida. United States House of Representatives, 2021. Accessed 15 Mar. 2021.

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