Commission Senior Fellows
Rosa Méndez is the Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In this role, she advances the environmental justice concerns of communities including ensuring meaningful participation in the agency’s permitting process, reducing disproportionate environmental impacts in overburdened communities, and consulting and cooperating with the Indian Nations sharing common geographic borders with New York State on environmental and cultural resource concerns. In addition, Rosa facilitates the agency’s participation with New York’s Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group with the goal of focusing the opportunities generated through the growing clean energy economy through a lens of climate justice and energy equity. Prior to joining the DEC, Rosa was with the New York Department of State’s Coastal Management Program where she analyzed federal proposals in coastal areas to ensure consistency with state policies with a focus on energy projects. Rosa hails from Brooklyn, NY and enjoys bird watching and hiking.
Director, Office of Environmental Justice, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
(Capital District NY '16)
Claire van Zuiden is an Associate Partner at California Strategies & Advocacy, a state-wide governmental affairs consulting firm, where she is focused environment and energy policy. On behalf of clean technology clients, van Zuiden advocates and develops strategies to facilitate progressive alternative transportation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency policies and programs in order to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. In addition to permitting, policy and regulation, van Zuiden has extensive experience in securing public funding and incentives for key projects in California, and since joining the firm in 2009 has helped achieve unparalleled levels of grant awards to accelerate zero-emission transportation, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. Prior to joining California Strategies, van Zuiden managed the CPV Consortium, a global, non-profit Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) industry organization. She continues support the solar association as the Executive Director, orchestrating full-day educational workshops and media events in conjunction with worldwide solar conferences and speaking on behalf of the CPV industry at many conferences around the world. Van Zuiden earned a Master of Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University where she was the President of her graduate program and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from University of California Davis where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She is the Co-Director for New Leaders Council Sacramento and has been a Community Tree Planting Leader for the Sacramento Tree Foundation.
Claire van Zuiden
California Strategies & Advocacy
Katie Morrice is currently a PhD student studying environmental science and engineering at Oregon Health & Science University where she uses computational modeling techniques to understand migratory pathways and estuarine residence of juvenile salmon in the Columbia River estuary. Prior to starting her PhD, she worked as a California Sea Grant State Fellow at the Delta Science Program, a state agency that provides scientific information for water and environmental decision-making in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. While there, she assisted the Independent Science Board with their review of scientific programs that support adaptive management of the Delta and wrote a synthesis paper on climate change impacts to water supply reliability and ecosystem health in the Delta. Before delving into the environmental policy world, she worked as a National Marine Fisheries Service Groundfish observer in the Bering Sea onboard commercial fishing vessels where she collected biological data and monitored levels of compliance with fisheries regulations. While in school to get her MS, she worked onboard a research vessel in the South Atlantic as part of the Climate and Ocean: Variability, Predictability and Change Program (CLIVAR) where she assisted with instrument deployment, and data collection and documentation. She currently serves as a board member on the New Leaders Council-Portland chapter, Ecology in Classrooms & Outdoors (ECO), and Cascadia Wild, and volunteers with Hack Oregon on their Housing Affordability project. She received her MS in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and her BA in biology from Smith College.
Doctoral Student, Oregon Health & Science University
Laura Bozzi, PhD, leads the Climate Change Program at the Rhode Island Department of Health. In that role, Laura helps Rhode Islanders prepare for the health effects of climate change and create resilient communities through policy change, public education, research and date collection, and strategic partnerships. She is a chapter lead for the Governor- commissioned Statewide Climate Resiliency Action Strategy. Over her career, Laura has worked across the United State -- from Oregon and West Virginia to Washington, DC and Rhode Island – in environmental protection, food systems, and fisheries. Laura has been appointed as a member to the State of Rhode Island's Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) Advisory Board and the Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission. She also serves as Co-Director of the New Leaders Council of RI. Laura earned PhD and master’s degrees from Yale University in Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, also from Yale University.
Climate Change Program Manager,
Rhode Island Department of Health
(Rhode Island '16)
Commission Senior Advisors
Katharine Bond is Senior Director, Public Policy and State & Local Affairs at Dominion Energy and Executive Director of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. She spent eleven years in various financial planning roles ranging from mergers and acquisition analysis to budget consolidation and forecasting for multiple business units before resuming her current role with Dominion in 2014. Katharine serves as a Board member on the Longwood University Board of Visitors and the Solar and Energy Storage Development Authority of Virginia. She represents Dominion Energy on the Virginia Manufacturers Association energy committee, as a Board member of the Southeastern Wind Association, and on the Edison Electric International external affairs advisory council. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and on the Leadership Committee for the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Sustainable Energy Committee. Katharine served on the College Building Authority of Virginia and as vice-chair of the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition. Katharine served on the Dominion Energy Diversity Council for seven years, including as its chairperson. She is an active community volunteer serving on the Board of Directors for The Maymont Foundation, Voices for Virginia’s Children, the Virginia Oral Health Coalition and the Hanover County Education Foundation. She has also volunteered for Junior Achievement’s Empowering through Ethics and Finance Park programs and as a mentor through the Richmond City Middle School Renaissance program. Katharine has a Bachelor’s degree from the Longwood University and a Master’s Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the 2016 class of LEAD Virginia. Katharine resides in Hanover, Virginia with her husband Mark and their four children.
Senior Director, Public Policy and State & Local Affairs, Dominion Energy
Climate Change & Energy
Kyle Gracey uses his scientific, policy and communications experience to advance climate change and energy issues. As the Natural Resources Lead for PreScouter, he helps companies find sustainability technologies to better their products and services. As an independent digital and strategy consultant, Kyle supports sustainability organizations like the U.S. Climate Action Network and U.S. Society for Ecological Economics. His other positions have included: Research Scientist, Science Coordinator and Interim Communications Manager at natural resources accounting nonprofit Global Footprint Network; Energy & Climate Fellow at Worldwatch Institute; Executive Director at youth environmental justice nonprofit SustainUS; Environmental Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Transportation; and Science & Environment Consultant at Gade Environmental Group. He has significant international policy experience, having participated in numerous sustainability negotiations in the United Nations and other global meetings around the world. He has participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for ten years and was a part of the Paris Agreement negotiations, working with Climate Action Network – International. Kyle also co-founded the youth constituency at the UN climate change negotiations. Kyle serves as Chair of the Board of Directors at Engineers for a Sustainable World and Chair of the Board of Directors at SustainUS. He was as a Millennial Compact author with New Leaders Council, writing about demographic diversity in clean energy job creation. Kyle holds degrees in ecological economics, biochemistry & biophysics, and geophysical sciences & public policy. He is earning his PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.
Board Chair, Engineers for a Sustainable World
Chief Program Officer, Natural Resources Defense Council
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz is NRDC’s Chief Program Officer. She coordinates NRDC’s programmatic work across the institution focusing on achieving NRDC’s core priorities of curbing climate change and advancing clean energy, protecting nature and fostering healthy people and thriving communities in the United States and with partners around the world. Susan helps lead NRDC’s institutional work to defend environmental safeguards while advancing environmental protections wherever possible. Susan joined NRDC in 2000 as director of NRDC’s work in Canada, starting and leading the tar sands and Keystone XL campaigns. She then led NRDC’s International Program and coordinated NRDC’s international work across the institution including our work with partners on the ground in China, India, Canada, Latin America and Europe as well as our global work on climate, energy, toxics, oceans and wildlife. As director of NRDC’s programs, Susan also led our Clean Power Plan Initiative. Prior to joining NRDC, Susan directed the Central and Eastern European program at the Environmental Law Institute and worked in Germany at the IUCN Environmental Law Center on developing country conservation treaty implementation. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990 and a BA from the University of Virginia in 1986 in Latin American Studies.
Legislative Director, Climate and Energy, Earthjustice
Jessica Ennis is Earthjustice's Legislative Director for Climate & Energy, based in Washington, D.C. Jessica works to promote the expansion of clean energy at the federal and state levels and works to protect people, public lands, and our environment from fossil fuel development. Since she came to Earthjustice in 2008, Jessica has advocated on the hill, in the administration and in state capitals on a wide variety of energy issues. She has worked with impacted communities to advocate for necessary improvements to regulations governing oil and gas drilling, including the Bureau of Land Management’s fracking and waste prevention rules and the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane pollution standard. During the Maryland General Assembly’s 2015 session, Jessica led a successful effort to pass a community solar bill. The legislation was signed into law in May of that year and expands solar energy access to all residents in the state. After graduating from the University of Maryland, Jessica started her career at a newspaper and as an organizer. In her free time, she can be found cheering on the Terps, riding her bike, participating in triathlons, hiking or sailing.
Associate Legislative Director, Lands and Wildlife, Sierra Club
Kirin Kennedy is the Associate Director of Legislative and Administrative Advocacy, Lands, and Wildlife at the Sierra Club. In 2012, Kirin served as a Regional Vote Director for the Obama for American campaign where she organized a city and county-wide efforts to aid in turning out African-American and Black voters in Columbus, Ohio. Following her short stint in Ohio, Kirin joined the Sierra Club in 2013 to serve as their Youth Vote Manager in a targeted Gubernatorial Race in Virginia working with 10 Colleges and Universities turning out over 40,000 students state-wide for Governor Terry McAuliffe under the Sierra Clubs "Too Extreme Ken Campaign." After the campaign, Kirin also worked for two-years as a legislative aide to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC) where she worked on local district events, veterans issues, environment, social security to insure that district residents received the best possible services from the Congress. Mrs. Kennedy is an avid volunteer, civic participant and advocates for both civic participation and the environment. Mrs. Kennedy who returned to the club in 2016, spends her time at the Sierra Club working to protect our bedrock environmental laws, including Issues along American’s Southern Border, National Forest, and Wildlife issues. As Kirin believes that the entry into protecting human rights is protecting the environment from harm and degradation. Each person has the right to eat, play, pray, and sleep in a healthy and just environment. When Kirin isn’t working on Capitol Hill she spends as much time as she can outdoors with her husband Andrew Lee and her awesome 3-year-old Ava, exploring nature and using the outdoors as a classroom. Kirin’s greatest passion is helping women learn to use their voice in advocacy and running for office.