Michael and Tiffany Wong, 1st Place
Michael and Tiffany Wong are a brother and sister duo from Oakland, CA. They are both students at the University of Pennsylvania in The Wharton School concentrating in Management, Marketing & Operations, and Finance. Michael is a Gates Millennium Scholar who grew up in Oakland learning about environmental sustainability in high school. Tiffany is an East Bay College Fund Scholar. They aspires to make positive impact in the world.
Their project, Instahub, facilities energy savings (e.g. with occupancy sensors) with lower financial and operational costs in their installation. InstaHub is helping facilities automate lights to combat energy waste from lights being left on unused with a "snap-on" motion sensor without wiring for existing light switches.
You can read their application here.
Kayla Soren, 2nd Place
Kayla, a Kentucky native, is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Student Environmental Coalition. For her climate leadership, she was named a Global Champion for Change by United Nations Women, a Local Pathways Fellow by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and one of North America's "30 Under 30" environmentalists. She is a junior at the University of Southern California studying International Relations and Environmental Studies.
Kayla's project details a plan to bring youth-led solar power initiative to school districts around the country. This is initiative will be led by the International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) is an international network of over 30 countries that provides resources and organizational power to help students anywhere in the world engage in the grassroots movement of climate justice. In 2017, they directly engaged over 18,000 young people in over 45 campaigns. They are working on launching a US-based initiative that helps states start their own youth coalitions that fight for climate justice based off the existing models in Kentucky, Virginia, and California
You can read Kayla's application here.
Katy Swiere, 3rd Place
Katy Marie Swiere is a second year student at Pomona College studying international environmental policy. She is from a small town called Orange, Texas, and is passionate about using diplomacy as well as individual actions to solve borderless issues like climate change. She is a dedicated volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby and enjoys ballroom dancing, reading, and learning new languages.
Katy's proposal uses existing policy infrastructure to create a financial incentive for U.S. public schools to serve meals based on a "Climate-Friendly" criteria. With the adoption of this policy, both youth and members of fossil-fuel dependent communities will find an outlet to engage in climate change mitigation efforts. This plan is estimated to reduce almost 50 million tons of CO2 equivalents by 2030 and over 177 million tons by 2050."
You can read Katy's application here.
Best of Category Winners
Tyler White - Public Policy
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Tyler White has deep passion for racial justice and equity, combined with his immense interest in the danger of environmental exploitation and climatic changes. White has made it his personal charge to devote himself to change the way in which people view, understand and perceive various social issues, in hopes of bringing them one step closer to actively combat these issues.
White is a current student at Swarthmore College, where he brings his background in community organizing, activism, blogging and social critique to engage in projects around sustainability, racial equity, and social justice. In his free time, White spends his time writing, running, taking photographs, trying new foods and enjoying time with friends.
The Callegory - Activism
We are the California Allegory Youth Fellowship, a group of California youth activists and artists on the frontlines of climate injustice. You can read The Callegory's application here.
Mey Lee is a community leader from San Francisco working on immigrant rights and food access, and is passionate about the intersections with climate and environmental work. Mey is also an artist and performer with Eth-Noh-Tec, a pan-asian storytelling group.
Manuel Saavedra is an indigenous youth leader living and working in Crescent City, California. He is working for immigrant rights, social justice and a healthy environment, and is guided by a love of his people.
Masud A. Kiburi-Cunningham, from Sacramento, is the Workforce & Programs Fellow for Grid Alternatives, providing environmental education in schools for a solar company. He is a musician and arts educator, and advocates passionate for the inclusion of Afro-American children in youth movements for environmental justice.
Mauro Salceda Pena was raised in East Oakland, California, experiencing pollution and environmental degradation while also learning of the strong legacy of communities of color fighting for environmental justice. As a student at UCSD Mauro was a director of the Student Sustainability Collective, contributing as an event organizer, spoken word poet, and artist.
Michael Gallagher is a published poet and artist whose work is informed by growing up in Stockton surrounded by toxic industry, poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence. Michael stands for the San Joaquin Delta and the health of all beings, and is also a touring musician and youth arts educator.
Tianna Arredondo is an Afro-Latina creative, strategist, and storyteller from Fresno, California. As the co-founder of the Indie Creative Network, Tianna works to educate socially-active artists in social entrepreneurship. As a graduate of the Frontlines to Power program, Tianna is a national leader in building a representative environmental justice movement.
Valeree Catangay is a Carbon Neutrality Fellow for the University of California system, engaging students in the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. She co-founded the Environmentalists of Color Collective to prioritize the narratives of communities affected by climate change. Valeree is Filipino-American and hails from a community in Long Beach that is shrouded by pollution from numerous fossil fuel infrastructures.
As a queer visual storytelling educator and coalition-builder, Orion Camero works at the nexus of social, ecological, and economic issues to advance transcendent justice. Orion is a core member of the Beehive Design Collective, a global arts activist collective that translate movement stories into pen-and-ink fable murals. Orion believes that what nurtures the heart of collective liberation are the ingredients of inter-identity solidarity, cross-cultural connection and exponential collaboration.
As a storyteller, climate activist, and educator, Morgan Curtis works at the intersection of community-building and political mobilization. She is Trainings Coordinator and a former UN Climate Talks Delegation Leader at SustainUS, as well as a resident of Canticle Farm. As Co-Coordinator of the California Allegory Youth Fellowship, Morgan is passionate about resourcing California youth activists with the love, shelter, skills training, and courage needed to take action on a scale commensurate with this crisis.
Eliana Marzullo and Alyah Kanso - Business Plan
Eliana's interest in environmental action stemmed from a fascination with the relationship between humans and the environment. At an early age, she participated in an NYC Department of Environmental Protection water conservation poetry contest and from then on was hooked on all things environmental. Eliana's experiences engaging with environmental action groups in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York and while in university in Baltimore, Maryland, taught her that there is a serious need for more inclusive storytelling in environmental activism. Since graduating, Eliana has moved back to Brooklyn to work on her book series of community-created environmental stories and pursue a career in environmental design and education. She has two cats, loves to dance, and spends her free time trying to learn more about plants. Eliana created Be More Books with Alyah Kanso.
Alyah's environmental journey has brought her to the intersection of humans and our relationship to the environment. She was blessed to grow up in Southern California, at an arms distance from a number of very different natural environments. After moving to the East Coast for school and then Belgium to study abroad, Alyah's passion for environmentalism grew exponentially. While studying in Belgium at the largest Catholic university in the world (KU Leuven), she worked as a volunteer during the opening year of the Green Office of Sustainability. It is there that she was able to embody the idea of environmental action and sustainability in her own unique way. Alyah has since moved back home to Orange, California to pursue her goals of creating a unique and representative space in children's literature. She also has plans to return to school and obtain a master's degree in sustainability or another related degree in the near future.
You can read their application here.
Ugo Angeletti - Urban and Land Use Planning
With roots in France, his life in the United States (Miami), and a love to travel, Ugo Angeletti has always held a passion for the environment around him. Angeletti is a freshman at FIU School of Business, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Agro-Ecology. With his three sisters, Angeletti started an environmental non-profit known as back2earth, with 1 mission: stop organic waste from reaching landfills. We do this by providing a free organic waste pick-up service, promoting the act of composting and most importantly educating kids and families on the benefits of composting.
You can read Ugo's application here.
Sanjana Paul - Science and Technology
Sanjana Paul is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, studying electrical engineering and physics. She is the co-founder and lead organizer of Earth Hacks, the first environmental hackathon in Virginia, and has previously worked as an NSF REU participant in extreme ultraviolet engineering in the Kapteyn-Murnane Lab in JILA, at the University of Colorado Boulder, and as a Conservation Innovation Fellow with Conservation X Labs. Her work focuses mainly on conservation technology, renewable energy, and sustainable development.
You can read Sanjana's application here.