Who We Are
Adam Fischer (Teaching Assistant) is pursuing dual Master’s degrees in environmental management and public policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy. Prior to Duke, he spent five years as a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting efforts to commercialize high-risk, high-reward energy technologies at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Adam previously interned at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Center for International Resource and Environmental Policy at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, and EnerNOC. Adam graduated from Tufts University in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Ryan Callihan (Teaching Assistant) is a second year Masters of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School for the Environment concentrating in environmental economics and policy. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with degrees in Environmental Policy and Planning and Economics. Prior to starting at Duke, Ryan worked at RTI International doing economic policy analysis research for the EPA. He is interested in working on climate and energy issues after graduation.
Danielle Arostegui is a second-year Master of Environmental Management student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where she is studying climate mitigation policy solutions. She is primarily interested in assisting governments at all levels in developing comprehensive carbon mitigation strategies that contribute to the attainment of the goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Danielle has worked as a research assistant with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where she examined renewable energy pricing policies and electric vehicle emissions, and as an intern at the Congressional Research Service, where she co-authored a recent report on green building infrastructure and policy.
Rachel Brinks is a second-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment. She is concentrating in environmental economics and policy, with a particular focus on climate and energy policy. Rachel has worked as an intern developing energy storage and electric vehicle policies with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, as a research assistant at Duke University analyzing California’s climate policies, and as an environmental program manager at Auburn University. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geography.
Shani Cooke is currently in her third year at Duke University School of Law where she has focused her studies on environmental, energy and natural resource litigation. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Wellesley College, as well as a MSc in African Politics and a MSc in Middle East Politics from the London School of Oriental and African Studies. After graduating from college, Shani studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. From 2006 to 2007, Shani served as an assistant political affairs officer to the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Africa II Division. In 2009, she accepted the position of associate political affairs officer to the department. In 2010, she formed and served as president of International Pathways Consulting in Washington, D.C. and from 2010 to 2013, she worked as a conflict management and mitigation specialist for the United States Agency for International Development, Africa Bureau. Shani is proficient in Arabic with regional expertise in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sanjeev Dasgupta is a senior undergrad studying Political Science, with a concentration in Security, Peace and Conflict. His primary area of interests is human rights, especially focused on forced displacement. His work on forced displacement has included field research in Jordan with Syrian and Iraqi refugees, an internship with the UN Development Programme in India where he researched drought-caused migration among indigenous populations in rural India and an internship with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He is interested in human rights issues linked to climate change, especially climate change-caused displacement, and how developing countries can deal with such adaption challenges.
Jiaxin Guo is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate concentrating in Environmental Economics and Policy. Prior to Duke, she received Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Communication from the University of Southern California. Her interest lies in intergovernmental negotiations and international environmental policy. With her previous experience in environmental communication, she is also enthusiastic about digital diplomacy and climate advocacy.
Galen Hiltbrand is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment. Prior to Duke, Galen was the Assistant Organizing Director of PennEnvironment’s Climate Defender campaign, building grassroots support and lobbying for climate action in Pennsylvania. Before this role, she was the Citizen Outreach Director for PennEnvironment and Environment California working on numerous environmental campaigns. Galen graduated from Georgetown University in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Environmental Science. During her undergraduate career, she interned for the Carbon War Room, the National Park Service & Center for Climate Communication, and was a member of Georgetown Energy, a group that initiated solar projects on campus.
Tasfia Nayem is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment focusing on environmental economics and policy. Prior to Duke, she worked as a climate change communicator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In this role, she helped develop and implement strategies to promote climate science literacy and better engage the public in climate action. Tasfia has contributed to a number of projects related to climate change, including researching climate change effects on Lyme Disease in central New York, providing input on Washington, D.C.’s Solar for All initiative, and serving on the Binghamton University President’s committee to achieve campus carbon neutrality. Tasfia graduated from Binghamton University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies, B.A. in Biology, and minor in Chemistry.
Mike Penansky is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where he studies energy and environmental policy. Prior to studying at Duke, he served for three years in the Obama Administration, working at the U.S. Department of Energy, where he advanced innovative technologies in clean energy. Mike previously interned at the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Mike graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy.
Laurel Pegorsch is pursuing a Masters of International Development Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and a sustainable systems certificate at the Nicholas School of Environment. Currently in her final year of programming, she is focused on public and private sector partnerships in developing countries and the Global South’s prioritization strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). She is particularly interested in global value chains in the agriculture sector. She most recently worked with for the Environment Defense Fund to analyze key targets and inform strategy for their Corporate Partners division, to reduce deforestation as a result of soybean expansion and production in Brazil. Prior to her MA degree she served as a Food Security Volunteer in the US Peace Corps in Madagascar from 2013-2016, and coordinated activities between civil, private and local government actors to promote sustainable agriculture, alleviate local pressure on protected forests and promote female inclusion. She is also the president of a student-run consulting organization at Duke, and manages a start-up recycling business.
Sam Pickerill is a senior undergraduate at Duke University studying Environmental Science and Policy, with concentrations in Energy and Marine Science. Originally from Jupiter, Florida, Sam has worked in the Finance Center for World Resources Institute, as well as for environmental advocacy firms Plastic Pollution Coalition and NextGen Climate, and has conducted research at Duke’s Marine Laboratory.
Sarah Reinheimer is a second year MPP at Duke, focusing on transportation, energy and urban planning issues. This summer she was a summer associate in Deloitte’s federal consulting strategy and operations division. Before starting her graduate degree, she worked as the Deputy to the Chief Operating Officer at an international non-profit in NYC. Previous positions include a traineeship at the European Commission in Brussels, a fellowship at a non-profit in Berlin, and internships at the White House, California government offices and at the think-tank Center for a New American Security. Sarah graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in International Studies and speaks German and French.
Tim Singer is a first-year Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School of the Environment, with a concentration in Energy and Environment. He is studying the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors as they relate to energy access and climate change. After graduation, he is interested in working to help developing economies sustainably meet their energy needs. Tim received Associate’s degrees from Santa Barbara City College in Business Administration in Economics, and a B.S. in Aquatic Biology from U.C. Santa Barbara in 2010. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Fiji from 2011 to 2013, where he worked on environmental, infrastructure, and conservation issues with local stakeholders and the Fijian government. Following his Peace Corps service, Tim worked as a science instructor and divemaster at the Catalina Island Marine Institute, a nonprofit outdoor school on Catalina Island. From 2015 to 2017, Tim worked for the California Energy Commission, where he held project owners accountable for environmentally sustainable energy infrastructure development, implementation, and operation.