Alisha Graves is President of Venture Strategies for Health and Development (VSHD), a California-based nonprofit organization. VSHD aims to help stabilize global population by securing women’s freedom to choose their family size. Alisha is passionate about population stabilization being achievable within a human-rights framework and as an imperative for global sustainability. She believes that girls’ education and voluntary family planning are triple wins for women, development, and our planet.
Alisha is also Co-founder of the OASIS Initiative and lectures internationally on population and food security in the Sahel. OASIS is a project of the University of California, Berkeley and stands for Organizing to Advance Solutions in the Sahel. Its mission is to build the evidence base and local leadership necessary to help overcome the most serious development challenges in the Sahel region of Africa. OASIS is focused on three “pillars” critical for the region: 1) educate and empower adolescent girls, 2) expand access to voluntary family planning, and 3) adapt agricultural practices to climate change.
Previously, Alisha worked for six years as Senior Program Manager for a nonprofit organization to improve access to misoprostol – a generic, essential medicine. In this role, she worked on policy initiatives, drug registration, and operations research across seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The aim of that work was to save women’s lives through preventing postpartum hemorrhage and unsafe abortion. Alisha completed her MPH in International Maternal and Child Health at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health in 2006, and received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from The College of William and Mary.
João Pedro Gouveia is an environmental engineer with a PhD in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies focused on Sustainable Energy Systems, from NOVA School of Science and Technology of NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal. He also works there as a Research Associate at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research (CENSE) targeting energy transitions, low carbon energy systems and related economic and policy analysis; on smart cities, energy efficiency topics, energy poverty and thermal comfort mapping and smart meters data mining.
He has worked in 5 European Union-funded research projects, and 9 nationally funded by Portuguese public and private authorities on various topics such as climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, sustainable city districts, energy efficiency measures in public buildings; national and cities’ energy systems' transitions toward low carbon economies; and integrated infrastructure project for CO2 transport and storage. João has also worked on policy support studies for the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Economy on climate change, low carbon pathways, and renewable energy technology assessment.
João is author of more than 20 peer-reviewed publications (h-index of 10) and international conference presentations. Prior to his PhD, he completed his master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology at NOVA University of Lisbon, where he also completed his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering Sciences.
Anna Goldstein is a science policy researcher with a passion for advancing clean energy technology. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She is a member of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy group, studying public funding and management of energy technology research and development.
Beyond her research, Anna seeks to advance public understanding of and participation in science. She co-founded a program called Letters to a Pre-Scientist that connects underprivileged middle school students with scientists as pen pals. In 2014, she taught a course titled “Solar Energy: Technology, Policy & Impact” at Mount Holyoke College.
Anna received her Ph.D. in 2014 in Chemistry with an emphasis in Nanoscale Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked to understand and improve nanomaterials for use in artificial photosynthesis and electrochemical energy storage. Her research shed new light on the crystal structures and formation mechanisms of various complex metal oxides and porous materials. She has an M.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Urmila Malvadkar does research and modeling in the environmental sciences with an emphasis on water, conservation, and international development. Her passion is social and environmental justice: how to meet human needs as well as ecosystem needs. As an applied mathematician with a strong interest in effective social programs, she uses data analysis and modeling and to determine best practices, improve operations, and predict sustainability.
Urmila’s PhD work focused on ecological modeling, and since then her research has covered many environmental issues, including placement of dams and water intakes, managing populations under disturbance, water issues in the developing world, and the size of effective protected areas. She received her PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics, with a focus on Mathematical Biology, from Princeton University. She also received her master's in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Princeton University, and received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Environmental Science from Vanderbilt University.
Priyanka deSouza works as a consultant for the Division of Early Warning Assessment of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. She serves as part of the Air Quality Team, and is working on establishing an air quality monitoring network in Nairobi. Priyanka is also curating the development of an SDGIO (Sustainable Development Goals Interface Ontology) to clearly represent terminological information related to the Sustainable Development Goals, and supports the team putting UNEP’s GEO-6 report together by creating maps on ArcGIS for the different regional assessments.
Before working at UNEP, Priyanka worked with the energy consultancy Encraft, setting up a community-service energy company in the midlands of the UK. Priyanka also worked on a-Si solar cells at the University of Cambridge. She wrote her master’s thesis on photoelectrochemical cells, and has published articles and presented this work, as well as research on molecular thermoelectrics and the hydrocarbon sector of India.
She holds an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford, where her thesis examined land use change in India through the ecological indicator of Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity from 1700 to 2012. She has an MBA from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, as well as an MTech and BTech in Energy Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
Ariel Horowitz is an energy and sustainability analyst with a background in energy storage. She focuses on the use of technical knowledge and skills to inform decision-making in the global energy system, with an aim towards increasing access to clean, reliable, affordable energy. Ariel is currently a senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, where she conducts analytical and research work in the electricity sector on behalf of public-interest clients. Her projects have spanned resource planning, cost-benefit analyses, long-term electricity system modeling, and technical potential assessments, among others.
Ariel graduated in May 2015 with her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University, where she was the recipient of a Dean's Fellowship and of the Outstanding Academic Scholarship award. Ariel's thesis work was interdisciplinary, drawing on materials science, electrical engineering, and green chemistry. Her research topics have included sustainable materials and process development for energy storage and applications as well as environmental resource management. Ariel is first author of several peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations, having presented her work in venues such as Angewandte Chemie, Green Chemistry, and the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, where she won a speaker's award.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, she currently lives in Somerville, MA. Prior to her PhD, Ariel earned her BS in Engineering from Swarthmore College in 2010, where she also studied Chemistry and French.
Leonardo Covis believes that nothing will make a person happier than helping to make other people happy. To this end, he seeks to serve and promote thoughtful policy and business development whenever he can. Leonardo is currently co-creating a video game to develop reading skills in children with special education needs, working with cities and schools to promote safer bicycle infrastructure, and managing the international student and scholar database at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Leonardo has worked with the Center for Environmental Public Policy and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. In college, Leonardo volunteered for Conservation Volunteers International in Bathurst, Australia and the Inner City Law Center in Los Angeles. After spending a year abroad, he joined AmeriCorps and worked as a program coordinator at the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation in Oakland, California. There he ran a free tax preparation program that brought millions of dollars in refunds to low-income families.
Leonardo received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, where he discovered a fascination with economics and data analysis. He received a BA in History from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.
Delton Chen an Australian civil engineer whose career is focused on the development of models of groundwater flow, surface water interactions, mining projects, and environmental impacts. Delton has used his skills to analyze and model the feasibility of a 4.2-km-deep ‘hot rock' geothermal power plant that was proposed for outback Australia, near the town of Innamincka.
Delton's current passion is the development of an award-winning international policy, called ‘Global 4C Risk Mitigation’, which aims to strongly mitigate climate change. In 2013, Delton co-founded www.global4c.org with the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (USA) and EconoVision (Netherlands). Global 4C is a monetary policy for climate finance and global risk management, and is based on a new market hypothesis that combines classic economics with the physics of currency systems. Global 4C offers a roadmap for managing the economy with a parallel currency that can price systemic risks, protect ecosystems, and create opportunities for social cohesion.
Delton earned his Ph.D. from The University of Queensland for researching the geo-hydrology of Heron Island - a coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef. He also received his Bachelor's of Engineering degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from The University of Queensland.
Johnnie Chamberlin has ten years of experience working in environmental science, conservation, and research. While working for the National Audubon Society, he helped plan and implement a range of habitat and water-quality improvement projects that included reforestation, stream and wetland restoration, invasive species removal, and controlled burns. He has performed air and water quality monitoring and environmental data collection, analysis, and QA/QC at numerous environmental disaster sites around the country, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Kalamazoo River oil spill, Yellowstone River oil spill, train derailments, and more.
Johnnie has served on multiple city, university, and nonprofit boards and committees to advance the areas of volunteer computing, building community, smart growth, active transportation, and public health. He maintains a blog on trails and transportation and has published two trail guidebooks.
Johnnie recently completed a PhD in Environmental Dynamics and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Arkansas. His PhD research looked at using algae for wastewater treatment and biofuel production. He has a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University, where his research focused on using UV light and naturally-occurring microbial communities to degrade common Superfund site contaminants. Johnnie has a BA from UC Berkeley.
Jvani is a global health and development professional specializing in family planning sexual and reproductive health promotion. She currently works on emergency preparedness communication and planning in West Africa. Her academic and professional work centers around gender-equitable development solutions that promote normative change and sustainability. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Development Practice with an emphasis on global health from the University of California, Berkeley. Jvani is also currently a member of the Social and Behavior Change Communication Team in the Global Health Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In this role, Jvani provides technical support to health communications projects that aim to change behavior in the areas of adolescent sexual and reproductive health, family planning and reproductive health, infectious disease control and prevention, and maternal and child health.
Prior to joining USAID, Jvani was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, serving as the Local Government Capacity Builder who focused on district-level HIV/AIDS response. During this time, she supported the efforts of the Town Council, District Administration, District Health Management Team, and Gender Committee to address the most challenging social barriers to improving local health attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Jvani is working towards completing her master’s in Development Practice with a Global Health Certificate, and expects to graduate in 2016. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
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