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Our Team

Dr. Nicolette Cagle – Program Director 

Dr. Nicolette L. Cagle first discovered her passion for ecology as a kid, hiking the woods and prairies of northern Illinois. Currently, Dr. Cagle is faculty in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and the Director of the Communications Studio in the Nicholas School. Dr. Cagle has a background in ecology, natural history, environmental education, and environmental communication; and she has published articles encompassing a diverse array of topics, from snake species habitat relationships to comprehensive pedagogical approaches to significant life experiences in environmental fields. In her free time, Dr. Cagle enjoys hiking in the woods with her husband and son, traveling to historic and cultural sites locally and abroad, and writing ecopoetry.

Tessa Jackson NSOE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator

Tessa Jackson is a dedicated DEI practitioner with over three years of experience in DEI consulting, organizational development, and higher education. She is highly motivated and skilled in working with underrecognized and diverse communities. Tessa excels at building relationships that promote belonging across all organizational levels. She is dedicated to assisting students throughout their journey toward completing their college education, ensuring empowerment and support at every step.

Sydney Williams – Program Facilitator 

Sydney Williams is currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Management with a focus on Energy and Data Analytics and Modeling at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Prior to her time at Duke, Sydney earned her BA in Sustainable Development from Columbia University in 2021. Then, she spent two years working with a land conservation organization, Open Space Institute, as a Conservation Diversity Fellow. Originally hailing from Jamaica, Sydney draws from her diverse cultural experiences, including study immersions in Tanzania, Vietnam, and Morocco, to inform her passion for climate justice. With a strong background in data visualization and analysis, she is committed to shedding light on the climate risks faced by vulnerable communities in the Global South to support climate finance initiatives. Sydney envisions a world where people prioritize both human well-being and environmental sustainability. To contribute to this vision, she is dedicated to empowering students by fostering confidence, skills, and a supportive community among like-minded individuals. In her rare moments of leisure, Sydney enjoys unwinding with episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, exploring nature through walks, and practicing yoga.

Former Program Facilitators

Meilin Chan – Program Facilitator

Meilin Chan is currently a Master of Environmental Management – Business and Environment student at Duke’s Nicholas School of Environment. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Nicholas School’s Diverse and Inclusive Community for the Environment (DICE). Before coming to Duke, Meilin got her BA in Biology at Boston University in 2020. There, she concentrated on ecology and worked in BU’s Admissions Student Diversity Board, spurring a passion for building inclusive communities within the environmental and sustainability sector. In her free time, you can find Meilin baking sourdough and banana bread, walking around the Duke Pond, and patiently waiting for Min Jin Lee to release her next book.

Maria Alejandra Jaramillo – Program Facilitator

Alejandra Jaramillo (Ale for short)  is currently a Master of Environmental Management – Business and Environment student at Duke’s Nicholas School of Environment. She currently serves as a Board Member for Nic Net Impact, the Working Group for the Environment in Latin American (WGELA), and the Duke Environmental Justice Network (DEJN). Before coming to Duke, Ale got her BA in Communications and Minor in Business at Texas A&M University in 2018. After graduation, she spent four years in the education sector, specifically teaching as a Teach For America Corp Member in Houston, TX. This experience sparked a passion for advocacy, community organizing, and social justice work, specifically at the intersection between education and the environment. Ale aspires to continue her work building a more inclusive and diverse pipeline of leaders in the environmental field at Duke and beyond. In her free time, you can find Ale enjoying live music in the Research Triangle, going on long walks with her dog Mylo, or looking through children’s books at local bookshops.

Deloris Soto – Program Facilitator

Deloris Soto is currently a Master of Environmental Management – Water Resources student at Duke’s Nicholas School of Environment. Before coming to Duke, Deloris got her BA in Environmental Studies and minored in Geology at Northeastern University in 2021. Although she grew up in the “concrete jungle”, her passion for the environment grew from international travel to New Zealand and Iceland. In addition, she has done geospatial and environmental analysis at local and state government-level internships. Deloris aspires to develop innovative ways to tackle environmental issues that lie within the intersection of agriculture, environmental justice, and sustainable water use. You can find Deloris picking up rocks, playing her Nintendo switch, or searching for a new NYTimes Cooking vegetarian recipe to try.

Founding Team

Nadia Thompson – Undergraduate DEI Strategic Plan Co-Author

Nadia Thompson is currently an Environmental Education Fellow at RethinkWaste. Nadia graduated from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy in 2019. During her time at Duke, Nadia was a tutor for Partners for Success, served as a Research Assistant in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and completed an internship with Population Education. Nadia, along with her co-authors, conducted the undergraduate focus groups and in-depth research that led to the creation of the CAIRNS Program.

Lauren Hadley – Undergraduate DEI Strategic Plan Co-Author

Lauren Hadley, originally from Plainfield, New Hampshire,  is currently a FoodCorps Service Member in Ronan, Montana on the Flathead Reservation. She graduated from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy, as well as with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. While at Duke, Lauren tutored with the NSOE ELEMENT Program and the Emily K. Center. She also conducted a biodiversity conservation internship with the Quebec-Labrador Foundation. Lauren, along with her co-authors, conducted the undergraduate focus groups and in-depth research that led to the creation of the CAIRNS Program.

Carsten Pran – Website and Media Creator

I grew up in Southern California during the driest period in our state’s history. I witnessed firsthand the effects of drought, climate change and wildfires. I believe that ensuring access to freshwater, especially in the Western United States, will be one of our generation’s defining challenges. At Duke, I’ve designed a major through Program II called “Integrative Water Studies” to create a framework for holistically understanding water issues on a local scale. Outside of class you can probably find me in the Arts Annex painting, editing videos or creating sculptures. I also love finding new music and exploring new genres!

Avery Indermaur – Curriculum Development

My name is Avery Indermaur, and I am a senior majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Cultural Anthropology.  My interest in environmentalism blossomed in high school when I took my first environmental science course. After having spent a lot of my childhood outside, learning about pressing environmental challenges made me want to work to preserve these fundamental natural spaces. My broad interest has focused on sustainable agriculture and food systems, which is now the theme of my Sustainability Engagement Certificate. When I’m not in class, you can find me baking, cooking, hiking, doing yoda or tucked in a coffee shop somewhere with a good book.

Jessee Steele – Curriculum Development

I’m an Environmental Sciences major in the class of 2023, minoring in Computational Biology and Cultural Anthropology. I grew up in a ruraltown in Western North Carolina—digging around in the dirt, running on the trails, and taste-testing unidentified wild plants (please don’t do this). My interest in the environment is twofold: (i) I can’t sit cooped up behind a desk all day; and (ii) I’m interested in understanding how my home of Appalachia has had its people’s labor and natural resources exploited for the benefit of coastal elites. I spend most of my time outside of class on my behavioral genetics research or community initiatives, but I love decompressing by drawing, painting, sewing, or exercising. I also picked up reading for the first time since middle school—feel free to ask me what I’ve been reading!

Floreana Cordova – Curriculum and Mentoring Consultant

I’m a sophomore at Duke University, studying Environmental Science with a focus on Ecology and a minor in Biology. I am interested in conservation work and am working towards gaining greater knowledge in sustainability. I am ecstatic to be a part of this program as it works to include everyone in the path towards environmental conservation and sustainability. Floreana Cordova, along with several other students from backgrounds traditional underrepresented in environmental fields worked to vet the CAIRNS Program curriculum and mentor training.

Sydney Reede – Curriculum and Mentoring Consultant

Sydney Reede is a sophomore designing a Program II called Fashioning Society: A Reassessment. On campus, Sydney serves as the creative director and stylist of Khaya Magazine; the Outreach Chair of Black Student Alliance; and a member of FORM Magazine’s Style team. She is interested in how sustainability is practiced within the fashion industry and the impacts it has on society. Sydney is excited to contribute to NSOE CAIRNS Program!