Who We Are

headshotEmily Pechar, Teaching Assistant

Emily is a third year PhD student in the Environmental Policy program at Duke.  Her research focuses on international and domestic climate change policy and the political psychology of climate change. Emily was part of the Duke delegation to COP-19 in Warsaw in 2013, was a teaching assistant for the 2014 Practicum that went to COP-20 in Lima, and looks forward to keeping Duke connected to the UNFCCC climate negotiations this year.



Siqi HanSiqi Han, Teaching Assistant

Siqi is a second year Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School of the Environment concentrating in Environmental Economics and Policy. She was also a member of the Duke Delegation to COP-20 in Lima. Prior to joining Duke, Siqi worked as a research intern at China Environment Forum at the Wilson Center and a freelance infographic designer specifically on environment issues. She is interested in international development, environmental policy, and corporate social responsibility in developing countries.

20150724_171923Ewan Kingston

Ewan Kingston is a 2nd year philosophy Phd student at Duke, beginning to study the “new harms”: those caused by a multitude of seemingly insignificant actions. His Master’s project looked the ideally just allocation of the burden of climate change.  This led to publications on the right principle to distribute the burden caused by historical emissions (spoiler: ability-to-pay) and whether we need radically new ethical approaches to understand climate change (spoiler: we don’t).


IMG_6263Talia Sechley

Talia is a second year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) candidate in the Global Environmental Change program. Prior to coming to Duke, she received her Master of Science degree, where she studied the ecological effects of climate change. Her interests include ecosystem-based solutions to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as issues at the intersection of disaster risk management and coastal adaptation



Tommy Caggiano

Tommy Caggiano is a third-year dual Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry candidate at Duke. His interests lie in the connection between forest resource management and international climate policy, as well as federal land management in the United States. Through his internships while at Duke, Tommy has worked in both climate change mitigation and adaptation for the US Federal Government and an environmental non-profit, respectively. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Ursinus College.



COP Option 2Mukta Batra

Mukta is a Master of Laws (LL.M.) student concentrating in environmental law and policy at Duke. A lawyer by training, Mukta has worked briefly with the Energy and Wetlands Research Group at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to analyze India’s environmental laws and policies. She is interested in understanding compensatory afforestation and multi-stakeholder responsibility for timely climate action.


930803050Chaoyi Jiang

Chaoyi Jiang is a SJD student of Duke University School of Law, majoring in public international law. She received her LL.B and Master of International Law from Tsinghua University School of Law in Beijing, China and her LL.M with a specialization in International Legal Studies from the NYU School of Law in 2013. Before coming to Duke, she worked for two years at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of NYU as a research scholar. Chaoyi is interested in China’s normative initiatives in the UNFCCC regime, especially China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions recently submitted to the Paris Conference.


sethSeth Brown

Seth Brown is a first year dual Masters of Public Policy and Masters of Business Administration (MPP/MBA) candidate. Born in Atlanta, Seth grew up in South Florida and graduated from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering in 2009 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. After graduation, Seth was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served as a platoon leader in Fort Carson, CO. During that time, he deployed to Afghanistan, serving as a convoy commander in the Southern and Western regions. Upon returning to Colorado, he was selected to be the Aide-De-Camp to the Deputy Commanding General-Maneuver of the 4th Infantry Division gaining valuable experience in foreign policy and military strategy. Seth was promoted to Captain and spent his last year in the Army working at the John F. Kennedy Special Operations Center and School in Fort Bragg, NC where he graduated from the Army Special Operations Career Course. After leaving the Army, Seth purchased a 1986 VW Vanagon and spent 4 months traveling the nation, focusing on national parks, music venues, breweries, and baseball. Seth’s policy interests include U.S. foreign policy, economic policy, and environmental policy.


thumb_IMG_0066_1024Theodore Koboski

Theo Koboski is a 2nd year second year Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School of the Environment specializing in environmental economics and policy.  He has an interest in politics and American government and is exploring how the political atmospheres of individual nations (particularly the United States) will affect local implementation of any international climate agreement forged in Paris.  This past summer, Theo worked in the office of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) as a member of the senator’s environmental advisory team.  He received his bachelor’s degree in marine biology and oceanography from the University of Maine.


kaitKait Siegel

Kait is a second year Master of Environmental Management candidate in the Global Environmental Change concentration.  Prior to coming to Duke, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Siena College (go Saints!).  Throughout her undergraduate degree she worked as an Interpretive Ranger at Fire Island National Seashore and enjoys teaching others about environmental issues.  Her interests include sustainability and climate change mitigation.



photoXie He

Xie is a second-year Master of Environmental Management Candidate concentrating in environmental economics and policy. Prior to Duke, Xie received her BS in Mathematics and Environmental Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interested in ecosystem service  valuation, emission trading schemes, planetary health, and social entrepreneurship.


blairBlair Lanier

Blair plans to use her Duke MBA-MPP to drive innovative solutions to problems facing businesses and communities, especially in the energy and agriculture sectors. Blair proudly hails from Cincinnati, Ohio and attended Yale University.


niverWill Niver

Will is a native North Carolinian and a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He taught seventh grade English with Teach For America in rural eastern North Carolina before moving to Washington, D.C. to work with environmental groups promoting home weatherization and green roofs. He is interested in the myriad environmental issues facing North Carolina and the future of energy policy in the United States. He loves canoe-camping, bluegrass festivals, and all things seafood.


Blogging Picture (1)Jessica McDonald

Jess is a second year Masters of Environmental Management student at Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment concentrating in Energy and the Environment. Her interests lie at the connection between energy access and development. She attended COP 20 in Lima, Peru as a representative of the American Chemical Society (ACS) where she worked on expanding climate literacy among college and university students.This past summer Jess worked at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) in Geneva, Switzerland on issues related to the role of trade in multilateral negotiations.

2 thoughts on “Who We Are

  • December 4, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Wanted you to know that all my classes at CB West are following what you are all doing at COP21. Keep it up! It would be great to have you visit and talk to West students about your experiences. Email me if you can Jess. It’s great to see you doing wonderful things!
    Mr. Licopoli

    • December 15, 2015 at 8:20 am

      @Mr. Licopoli,

      It’s great to hear from you! I oftentimes refer to your class when people ask me about my interests in this field. Yes, I would be happy to speak with students about my COP21 experiences! I’ll send an email to you shortly. I return back to the states this weekend.


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