Member Bios

Alexandra Van Pernis
Alexandra Van Pernis – Sustainability Associate, Park County, City of Livingston
Alexandra attended Brown University, where she majored in Environmental Science with a focus on Conservation Science and Policy. She previously worked as a research analyst for the Hawaii House Finance Committee covering the environment, energy, and education. Her responsibility as Sustainability Associate is to work with Park County and the City of Livingston to figure out the most cost-effective ways to access renewable energy in the community, especially through solarization and electric vehicle initiatives.


AllisonKane
Allison Kane – Energy and Climate Educator, Climate Smart, St. Patrick’s Hospital
Allison recently completed a Master of Science in Climate Change from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark where she specialized in community resilience building through the co-production of combined mitigation and adaptation efforts. A New York native, she has worked locally in the public sector for five years performing outreach and education regarding community-centered events and sustainability initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of Delaware and is passionate about combining natural and social sciences to develop innovative and sustainable climate action! As Energy and Climate Educator in Missoula, she will be serving conjointly with Climate Smart Missoula and Providence St. Patrick’s Hospital. This partnership offers a unique opportunity to address climate solutions internally through the hospital’s sustainability program as well as externally implementing the City’s Climate Action Plan.


Casey Brandon
Casey Brandon – Energy Conservation Coordinator, City of Missoula
Casey graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Climate Change Studies, as well as with a certificate in Sustainable Business. He has held seats on various campus committees and interned with ASUM Sustainability and the Missoula Downtown Association. During his service, Casey will be assisting in projects related to the City of Missoula’s goal to be zero waste by 2050, coined ZeroByFifty.


Claire Marshall
Claire Marshall – Education Coordinator, Bike Walk Montana
Claire graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Biological Sciences after having participated on two exchange programs: one with University of Montana, and another with Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Since graduating, and up until her start with Bike Walk Montana, she has been a seasonal intern at Mote Marine Laboratory working for their Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. During her term, Claire will be serving as the Education Coordinator at Bike Walk Montana which will allow her to further develop the organization’s current community outreach and education programs, as well as organize and train Montanans on bike and pedestrian safety and laws.


Claudia Hewston
Claudia Hewston – Education and Outreach Assistant, National Wildlife Federation
Claudia Claudia is a born and raised Montana native. She graduated from the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana in the spring of 2018. While she holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology concentrated in Wildlife, Claudia has held a number of jobs ranging from field technician to head cook at the Rocking Z Guest Ranch. However, since graduation, Claudia has taken up a keen interest in educating the youth and working with various communities on a number of environmental topics, how these topics affect a community, and what actions can be taken in our everyday lives to make this beautiful state we call home a better place. Claudia will be rejoining the Energy Corps team after serving as the Montana SMART Schools Coordinator this past year. As Education and Outreach Assistant, she will be assisting with promoting environmental stewardship and engaging communities, schools, and other partners in opportunities that help develop and connect community stewards, support environmental education, and restore/protect wildlife habitat. She looks forward to serving a second term with the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula.


George Gehrig
George Gehrig – Education and Outreach Assistant, Clark Fork Coalition
George obtained a B.S. in Microbiology from Northwestern State University and then an M.L.I.S. from Louisiana State University. He has completed numerous GIS courses through ESRI, and a variety of citizen science certifications. He retired after working for nearly thirty years in an academic health science center, and is now pursuing his life-long passion of watershed education. As the Education and Outreach Assistant, George will be acting as a field leader and delivering curriculum, coordinating classroom visits and field trips as part of a variety of environmental programs, and will be managing communication between partners, educators, and volunteers.


Hillary Sward
Hillary Sward – Zero Waste Ambassador, Home ReSource
Hillary has a Master’s in Geography and a certificate in Environmental Education, which is a change from her previous work as a Music Educator. During her term, Hillary will be serving in Missoula with Home ReSource’s Zero Waste Ambassadors Program (ZWAP), a program working with Missoula’s fifth graders about waste, sustainability, and making simple changes to reduce impact.


Jazzmyn Mullen
Jazzmyn Mullen – S.M.A.R.T. Schools Educator, Department of Environmental Quality
Jazzmyn recently graduated from the University of Montana Western with a Bachelor’s in Ecology. Before she went to college, she was a preschool teacher for three years. She worked two field seasons for the Forest Service monitoring plants and she is exited to delve into a new avenue of work. Jazzmyn will assist DEQ members with outreach for the SMART Schools Program. This program encourages schools across Montana to increase energy efficiency, decrease garbage, and improve environmental health.


Jennifer Walter
Jennifer Walter – Community Sustainability and Climate Resilience Planner, Opportunity Link
Jennifer graduated in 2017 from Cornell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Sustainability and Civic Engagement. She has previously worked on community projects that dealt with food security, habitat restoration/development, water quality monitoring, and biodiversity/ecological research. During her service, Jennifer will assist in increasing energy awareness through education and outreach efforts to those groups most affected by energy and climate fluctuations.


Jeremiah Eaton
Jeremiah Eaton – Sustainability Educator, Glacier National Park
Jeremiah has a bachelor’s degree in Zoology with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Michigan State University. He has been part of several research projects related to wildlife and hopes to bring his skillset to the field of sustainability. Jeremiah will serve to create a sustainable culture in Glacier National Park. His position will provide education and outreach to the public while improving green systems and reducing our carbon footprint.


Katie Simpson-Johnson
Katie Simpson-Johnson – Sustainable Management Educator, National Center for Appropriate Technology
Katie attended Western Colorado University in Gunnison, CO where she earned her Bachelor of Science in biology, played on the NCAA women’s soccer team, and conduced botanical-based research. Since graduating in the winter of 2017, she bounced around Colorado and then Montana before landing in Butte and beginning this term of service. Katie will mainly assist the energy team at the National Center for Appropriate Technology in performing energy audit duties. She will also focus on educating the public about the projects the Energy Services department is working on.


Maia Madrid
Maia Madrid – Electric Vehicle Outreach Coordinator, Department of Environmental Quality
Maia received a B.S. in Geology with a minor in Geography from Calvin College. She has experience in everything from door-to-door environmental canvassing to dune geomorphology and lunar scientific research, but her passion is community-oriented sustainability. Maia will be conducting community outreach promoting electric vehicle charging stations as well as background research.


Maryssa Fenwick
Maryssa Fenwick – Community Sustainability and Resilience Educator, National Center for Appropriate Technology
Maryssa has a Bachelor of Science in Land Use Planning from the University of Wisconin-Stevens Point, with a focus on Conservation Biology. Her professional experience ranges from outdoor adventure guide, to Children’s Director for a church, and a representative for a Land Trust. She is very excited to add this position to her repertoire and to continue to grow professionally. Maryssa will be serving Montana communities to research, track, and implement sustainability-based systems. She will also aid in the development of resilient rural communities, focusing on local food, energy, and waste.


Olivia
Olivia Kersey-Bronec– grew up in Canby, Oregon on her family’s organic farm where she first began to develop a passion for sustainable agriculture. She attended college at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where she majored in Natural Science with an emphasis in Chemistry. She spent the last year serving as a Jesuit Volunteer Northwest/AmeriCorps member in Ashland, Montana at St. Labre Indian school as a teaching assistant in a kindergarten classroom. She will be working with Freedom Gardens in their new, exciting aquaponic greenhouse that is connected to the Frenchtown Elementary School outside of Missoula, MT. She will be providing eco-conscious educational programs regarding food scarcity and sustainability to the students of Frenchtown Elementary, as well as helping manage the aquaponic system and production. The greenhouse has yet to harvest a crop, but she will be helping with the evolution of this new project that will provide the schools with a sustainable food source and opportunities for cross-curriculum education.


Rachel Dodgen
Rachel Dodgen – Sustainability Educator, Yellowstone National Park
Rachel attended Appalachian State University for both her undergraduate degree in Sustainable Technology and her master’s degree in Building Science. In the first two years of her career, she has been working for a residential weatherization and building science consulting company performing energy audits and other residential home energy services. During her service, Rachel will be serving for the Office of Sustainability at Yellowstone National Park. She will be working towards gaining Dark Sky Park certification, improving facilities, and working towards reducing the park’s fossil fuel usage.


Robin Adams
Robin Adams – Sustainability Coordinator, City of Red Lodge
After graduating Placer High School as valedictorian, Robin attended the University of California, San Diego for three years and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human Cognition. In September 2018, Robin obtained a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults in Siem Reap, Cambodia. During college Robin worked part time as a server for UCSD catering, a wilderness guide for UCSD Outback Adventures, and a rental shop technician for UCSD Outback Adventures. Robin had three full time volunteer experiences within the past year, including being an ESL teacher in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, environmental educator at the Kuang Si Butterfly Park in Luang Prabang, Laos, and lastly was a chaperone for the Del Oro High School Southwest Trip. Robin will be serving in Red Lodge, Montana and will be engaging in hands-on energy assistance for various ongoing projects as well as energy education outreach for other projects, programs, and events.


Sammie McGowan
Samantha McGowan – Sustainability Educator, Whitefish School District
Samantha has an educational and professional background in business and marketing. More recently she has worked in the tourism industry, mainly in remote lodges in Alaska. Her experience as a hiking guide in Denali National Park fed into her passion for protecting the environment and wanting to work within a community to help them become more sustainable and eco-friendly. During her service, Samantha will be supporting the Whitefish School District’s Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (CSE) by creating curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade students and for adults on topics of sustainable agriculture, forestry, energy systems, and facilities.


Sierra Diemling
Sierra Diemling – Zero Waste Ambassador, City of Missoula
Sierra graduated from the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in International Development. She has been a Resident Assistant, campus outreach representative for the Wild Rockies Field Institute, and most recently a receptionist for a whitewater rafting company. Sierra will be implementing a Zero Waste Pledge program that she developed with her partner Casey Brandon. Her primary focus is to increase education and awareness on the Zero by FIFTY plan already adopted by the City of Missoula. Their service will involve outreach to business, conducting waste audits and waste reports, identifying how businesses can minimize their waste stream, communicating the best three tactics to minimize their waste stream within a year, and getting businesses to agree to make the Pledge. She is looking forward to serving directly in her field of interest on a project she cares deeply about.

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