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Environmental Protection for the 21st Century: Putting Equity at the Top of the Agenda

Workforce of the Future Workgroup 

Goal: Recommend strategies for building a more diverse and effective environmental workforce in government to address a new generation of environmental problems, meet the technical and leadership challenges of the future, and move toward fairer, more equitable environmental protection.

Workforce of the Future Workgroup Members

Since formally launching Mobilize Green in 2014, Leah has worked to jumpstart green careers for diverse youth while advancing environmental equity in communities. Leah believes that young people can solve the worlds’ environmental challenges; that those young people must reflect the values and rich demographic mix of the communities they serve; and that if we can create a diverse and inclusive environmental movement and workforce then we can create a just and equitable planet.

Leah is an attorney. She served as the Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to a Member of Congress and was partner in a top DC law firm. Recently, Leah served on the advisory board of the Center for American Progress’ Leadership Institute, a former national initiative advancing a new generation of progressive policy leaders of color, and she served on the National Park Service Centennial Advisory Committee.

Amante supports federal agencies by understanding their needs and working with Partnership staff to design and develop programming to help agencies attain their goals. Prior to joining the Partnership, Michelle ran the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. She also spent years working for Deloitte to consult with unemployment agencies across the country and work on business process improvement and IT modernization efforts. She loves to build partnerships, solve problems and help agencies bring out the best in their people. Michelle’s favorite public servant is Francis Perkins.

Austin began his federal career with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where he served in a variety of management positions for more than ten years, including time working as a Division Chief in the Water Program Office. As a Mike Mansfield Fellow with EPA, Austin spent two years in Tokyo, Japan working with the Japan Ministries of Construction and Environment. He also served on several hurricane relief efforts including the Hurricane Mitch federal response team in Nicaragua, providing hurricane relief assistance.

Austin began his National Park Service career at Gateway National Recreation Area as an interpretive park ranger, resource management specialist, and then law enforcement ranger. He later served as deputy superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah/Arizona, acting deputy superintendent at Yosemite National Park in California, superintendent at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, and regional director for the Southeast (current South Atlantic-Gulf) Region.

Beverly oversaw environmental programs as well as guided the administration of operations for a regional staff of over 850 employees and a budget of over $700 million dollars. She has over 36 years of experience which spans Water, Land (hazardous and solid waste), Air, Chemical Safety and Enforcement Programs. Beverly is most proud of the strong and sustainable state, local and tribal partnerships that have been established under her leadership. These partnerships have been an integral part of the Agency’s success in improving the quality of life for the many diverse communities across the Southeast. In her work at EPA, Beverly often had the opportunity to engage with our international delegations on various environmental topics. One of the highlights that she cherishes is traveling to Shanghai, China to support air quality planning in preparation for the World Cup.

Beverly serves as a certified internal coach in the EPA Coaching Program. Her passion has been to foster a culture that motivates and inspires employees to reach their highest level of performance and job satisfaction.

Judy Braus accepted the position of Executive Director of NAAEE 2011. She was formerly the Sr. Vice President of Education and Centers at the National Audubon Society. She has been actively involved in national and international environment and education efforts for almost three decades. Judy has successfully managed the education and outreach departments at the National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation. She was also the manager of environmental education programming at the U.S. Peace Corps. She helped create and direct TogetherGreen, a $20 million alliance between Audubon and Toyota which provides Fellowships, Grants, and Volunteer Days. TogetherGreen helps people take action at home and in their communities to improve the health of the environment.

In his role at UCS, Dr. Carter investigates how science is used in the policy-making process, focusing on issues of scientific integrity across the federal government.

Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Carter worked at the Environmental Protection Agency as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Postdoctoral Fellow. At the EPA, Dr. Carter integrated the effects of climate change into estimates of future coastal inundation on contaminated lands to help guide adaptation efforts that protect nearby communities from the spread of contaminants in future floods. He also helped model greenhouse gas emissions for the siting of renewable energy installations on green space versus contaminated lands as part of his work with EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative. Prior to his postdoctoral position, Dr. Carter was at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he helped establish an interagency task force on improving the health of honey bees and other pollinators, planned the planting of the first pollinator garden on the south lawn of the White House, and worked on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

Deoudes has guided the evolution and growth of several nonprofit organizations, setting and achieving aggressive programmatic and financial goals. Prior to NEEF, Meri-Margaret was president and CEO of EarthShare, a strategic advisor and programmatic partner to the business sector, developing dynamic engagement and philanthropy programs focused on creating tangible sustainability progress.

Meri-Margaret has an extensive background in developing holistic corporate alliances, special events, and employee engagement programs for prominent health-focused nonprofits, including the March of Dimes and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Meri-Margaret has worked in the environmental community—including multiple roles at the National Wildlife Federation—to create, market, and fund programs that promote the benefits of outdoor activity and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards.

Thomas is assistant dean of community and inclusion at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where he helps strengthen community diversity and develops programming around workplace equity. Thomas comes to Yale from North Carolina State University (NCSU), where he spent 13 years as the Director of Community Diversity at the university’s College of Natural Resources. He has a master’s degree in forest genetics from Iowa State University and a doctorate of education from NCSU. He is also a hip hop artist who performs under the name RaShad Eas.

Dr. Penelope Fenner-Crisp began her 22-year EPA career in 1978 in the Office of Drinking Water as a Senior Toxicologist. From 1987-1989, she served as the Director of the Health and Environmental Review Division in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, overseeing staff responsible for conducting human health and ecological assessments for new and existing commercial chemicals. She is an expert toxicologist.

She is currently a member of the Board of the EPA Alumni Association and the Board of Directors of GreenBlue, an environmental non-profit in Charlottesville, VA, dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society. She taught for several years in the Principles of Risk Assessment course sponsored by the USDA Graduate School, is the author of 50 scientific papers, a book chapter, and co-author of the chapter on pesticides in the EPA Alumni Association’s Environmental Protection: A Half Century of Progress.

Noha Gaber is a highly accomplished and motivated public servant, intrapreneur and community builder. She brings a unique blend of technical expertise, policy awareness, leadership skills and change management acumen to support strategic mission priorities and transformational organizational goals. She served as an advisory board member to the White House on SES reform, was Director of Internal Affairs at EPA, and was Chief of Staff of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at NOAA. Over the span of Noha’s career in public administration and international development, she has led a large number of successful projects that demonstrated her strategic planning, problem-solving, management and collaboration and coalition-building skills.

Dr. Meiburg is the Director of the Master of Arts in Sustainability Program and associated dual degree and certificate programs at Wake Forest University. He works with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES). He is the Chair of this working group.

Meiburg served as Acting Deputy Administrator for the EPA from 2014 to 2017, capping a 39-year career with the agency. He is known for leading efforts to protect the nation’s air and water, clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites, build collaborative relationships with state and tribal environmental programs, and promote sound management in EPA. Meiburg joined the EPA in 1977 in Washington, D.C., and later served as Deputy Regional Director of the EPA’s Atlanta office and as the Deputy Regional Administrator in Dallas, Texas. He was only the second person in the agency’s history to serve as Deputy Regional Administrator in more than one region.

Carolyn is the Deputy Director at ECOS. She also supports the Cross Media Committee, Federal Facilities Forum, and ERIS. Before holding her position as Deputy Director, she was a Senior Project Manager at ECOS working with the Waste Committee, the ECOS-DOD Sustainability Work Group, the Federal Facilities Forum, the Quicksilver Caucus, and the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC). She joined ECOS in September 2002 after working with the National Science Resources Center at the Smithsonian Institution to help develop an inquiry-based science curriculum. Prior to that she was a high school chemistry teacher in Asheville, North Carolina and Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Carolyn holds a B.S. in chemistry from Davidson College and a M.P.A. with a concentration in nonprofit management from George Mason University. She is originally from Florida.

Mr. Reeder is an Executive in Residence with AU's School of Public Affairs and Center for Environmental Policy. Prior to joining AU, he served over 30 years at the US Environmental Protection Agency, most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff. Previously, Mr. Reeder held several positions throughout EPA, including special assistant in EPA's Office of Water, director of EPA's environmental cleanups at federal Superfund sites, and director of EPA's Office of Congressional Affairs. He served on assignment to the US Senate during consideration of agricultural and environmental legislative reforms, and was awarded the EPA Administrator's Gold Medal for his work on reforming the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. He was a member of the federal career Senior Executive Service for 17 years.

Prior to government service, Mr. Reeder served overseas on active duty in the US Army, and was awarded the Army's Commendation Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service" upon completion of his tour.

Alexis Strauss Hacker, Piedmont, held several leadership roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1979 to 2019, including acting regional administrator, deputy regional administrator, water division director, and manager of Superfund enforcement programs. She has been recognized with several leadership and management awards in her federal career. She now serves as a governor-appointed member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. She earned a Master of Arts degree in urban planning and a Bachelor of Arts in geography from the University of California, Los Angeles

Walter A. Rosenbaum was Director Emeritus of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. During the academic years 2003-2005 he was a Visiting Professor in the Program in the Environment, University of Michigan, and, earlier, a Fellow in the Global Environmental Assessment Program and a Visiting Scholar at the International Center of Harvard University, and an Adjunct Professor Department of Environmental Medicine, School of Public Health, Tulane University Medical College. He has previously served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator for Policy Planning, U.S. EPA. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. His research and publications focus on U.S. environmental and energy policy, the politics of risk assessment, and regulatory science.

Pooja was born in Gujarat, India, but raised in a suburb of Philadelphia and moved to Washington, DC to attend American University in 2014. She graduated in 2018 with a BS in Economics and BA in International Studies, with a focus on justice, ethics, human rights, and a regional focus on South Asia. After graduating, Pooja worked as a project associate for the Meridian Institute in collaborative problem-solving on various environmental issues. Just this week, she started working remotely from PA with Kennebunkport Climate Initiative as an entrepreneur, implementing an online platform she designed to educate, empower, and activate youth in the climate space. For fun, Pooja enjoys bhangra dance, kayaking, hiking, and throwing food parties.