Learn about this year’s outstanding cohort of Ted Smith Conservation Interns and the meaningful projects they are working on this summer!
Alaska Climate Change Policy Advocate
Cora grew up in Sitka, Alaska, and will be moving from Sitka High School to Bowdoin College in the fall. Growing up in the largest temperate rain forest in the world, Cora didn’t have any second thoughts when getting involved in local conservation efforts. Now she is excited to help protect the region she calls home, starting from the ground up with the youth sustainability group she co-founded. Working for and in the beautiful Tongass National Forest is a dream come true. In her free time, Cora can be found wandering around Sitka’s trails or reading books with her chickens.
Environmental and Community Health Researcher/Advocate
Tristan is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in the Yale School of Public Health’s Environmental Health Sciences department. He is also a recent graduate of Yale College who majored in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Human Health and the Environment. His interest in environmental health began while surfing the coast of his birthplace, Oregon, and seeing how the oceans circulate different pollutants that can affect human health. Tristan, who now lives in Alaska on Dena’ina land, is interested in how perinatal exposure to pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxins play a role in the developmental origins of disease. He hopes to one day merge his environmental health interests with medicine at the completion of medical school.
Zoe Belle Cramer
Climate and Wild Salmon Intern
Zoe is an Alaskan-grown Homersapien. She is attending college at the Kachemak Bay Campus and plans to graduate with an AA in the spring of 2021. Afterward, her goal is to transfer to the University of Pittsburgh and achieve a BS in Natural Science with a minor in Public Organization. In her spare time, she plays piano, guitar, ukulele, sings, and produces music. She loves to volunteer in her community whether that be cleaning up miscellaneous objects out of place (MOOP), increasing non-partisan voter education and awareness, or helping organize strikes and rallies. Zoe has been volunteering with Cook Inletkeeper since 2017 and is excited about the opportunities this summertime internship will open up for her. She hopes to one day start or empower a local nonprofit that helps rural communities adopt sustainability practices such as renewable energy, composting, and subsistence farming.
Development & Outreach Intern
Sophia is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in law and public policy. Sophia grew up in Juneau, Alaska exploring the Tongass and Inside Passage with her family, often fly fishing and camping at their cabin. In college, Sophia continued to pursue her passion for outdoor recreation by leading backpacking and rafting trips on weekends and helping run summer outdoor programs for university students. Sophia also worked as the Events Coordinator for Gonzaga’s outdoor recreation program, where she focused on event planning, volunteer coordination, and community engagement. The combination of her youth experiences in Southeast AK, exploration of the Pacific Northwest in college, event coordination focus, and educational background, led Sophia to pursue this internship opportunity with SEACC. She hopes to gain more experience in environmental advocacy and community organizing through her work with the Development and Outreach team at SEACC.
Public Lands and Climate Change Intern
Lindsey is a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin majoring in psychology with minors in Environmental Studies and American Indian Studies. She is 20 years old and was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin spending much of her time on the Lac Du Flambeau Indian Reservation, where her family is from. Growing up Ojibwe, Lindsey has always had a special interest in and relationship to the environment. After multiple trips to Alaska to visit her aunt, Lindsey’s passion for the environment and conservation only grew. When she’s not advocating for environmental justice and conservation efforts, she can most likely be found sewing, hiking, reading in a hammock, biking, or walking with her dog.
Alternative Propulsion System Intern
After graduating from Haines High School in Alaska, Chandler studied physics at Cornell University and completed a minor in sustainable energy systems. Chandler then worked as a research assistant at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power before going on to complete a master’s degree in Energy Resource Engineering at Stanford University. After publishing his thesis Chandler returned to Alaska and founded Kempy Energetics: a sole proprietorship dedicated to advancing sustainable energy transitions. Through Kempy Energetics, Chandler partnered with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association to measure, model, and improve energy efficiency in the local fishing fleet. That work established a quantitative model of the energy consumed by typical loads on Alaskan fishing vessels that are now used to evaluate energy efficiency retrofits for grant applications and private investment. As an ACF intern, Chandler is looking forward to expanding on that work to investigate the opportunities and challenges surrounding hybrid and all-electric fishing vessels. In addition to his fishing vessel efficiency work, Chandler has provided energy efficiency assessments for residential and commercial buildings, evaluated natural gas leak mitigation programs, and developed a machine-learning algorithm to classify salmon otoliths. Chandler also serves as a research associate to the Sustainable Energy Development Lab at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. When he is not working, Chandler loves to be outside running, paddling, or backpacking. Chandler now lives in Juneau.
Policy and Advocacy Intern
Ariel is a rising junior at Harvard College studying Social Studies and Environmental Science & Public Policy. Originally from Boston, this is Ariel’s first time in Alaska. She is excited to learn more about the Homer community and participate in Cook Inletkeeper’s climate change and conservation projects. Ariel developed a passion for the environmental justice movement in high school when she first learned about the systemic challenges facing our economy, political system, and climate. Since then, she has done a variety of climate change advocacy and research to inform others about these systemic issues and the need for widespread change. Ariel hopes to pursue a career in environmental and public interest law after college. Outside of school, Ariel is a member of the Harvard Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team and a first-year outdoor program leader. She enjoys playing guitar, hiking, and going on long morning runs.
Stream Watch Intern
Cameron has grown up in Soldotna, Alaska where she spends her time hiking, running, Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, and taking her two Labrador retrievers on walks! She has just graduated from Soldotna High School and plans to attend Boise State University in the fall where she will major in health science. Having lived in Alaska her whole life, she loves the outdoors and wants to encourage others to enjoy its’ beauty as much as she does!
Anchorage Sustainability Intern
Matthew Fouts is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Psychology and Earth Science. He is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, which instilled him with a passion for the outdoors that continues to drive his personal, academic, and professional pursuits. Matthew is especially interested in how psychology can inform sustainability and the drivers behind environmentally conscious decisions. He originally discovered his interest in this intersection of fields while studying waste management in Switzerland, where he was struck by the robust Swiss culture of sustainability and strict dedication to recycling. He is excited to expand on his interest in sustainable waste management as a Sustainability Intern with Solid Waste Services while being back in his hometown enjoying the Alaskan summer.
Micaela was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She grew up camping and appreciating the natural beauty and quirkiness of the state. She likes to continually challenge herself to go backpacking in the Alaskan wilderness and hike up mountains to enjoy amazing views. Micaela graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in Environment & Society with a concentration in Social Science. She has enjoyed working for the nonprofit The Alaska Center for three years to engage with Alaskans on issues related to democracy, renewable energy, and protection of salmon and healthy ecosystems and is passionate about protecting public lands, and ecosystems in Alaska that are most vulnerable to environmental degradation. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, drinking coffee at local cafes, or bothering her dog Hooligan. In the future, Micaela hopes to be able to travel to other places in the world that are still wild like Alaska. She plans to pursue a career in conservation advocacy whether it be with a nonprofit or a government agency. Later in life, she wants to earn a Master’s degree in Environmental Education to focus on incorporating conservation advocacy into education for young people. This summer Micaela is excited to be working as an intern for Defenders of Wildlife to protect some of the amazing species that call Alaska home.
Eliza is from Monterey, California, came to Alaska after working in Grand Teton National Park at Teton Science Schools this winter, and is so excited to contribute to the work performed by all of the staff at Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council this summer as the Science Intern. She recently graduated from Vassar College and holds a degree in Earth Science and Geography with minors in Sustainability and German studies. She has conducted geologic and hydrologic field research in the Hudson Valley and in the Adirondacks in New York as well as in Death Valley and Owens Valley in California. Her interest in Alaska was borne between her junior and senior years in college, when she worked on the Alaska Center’s Pebble Mine campaign doing canvassing and policy research, and it has been sustained since then throughout her last academic year in college (and beyond) when she wrote her thesis on the intersection of land rights, ecosystem health, and environmental governance in Alaska – in an effort to learn, engage, and contextualize her initial experience in Alaska to a greater degree. She’s looking forward to refining her data analysis, environmental entry, and scientific writing skills during her time at YRITWC and to working with the YRITWC team to help the organization reach its immediate and long term conservation goals – both in and out of the office in the field.
Youth Outdoor Educator Intern
Anna is a student at Linfield College, studying environmental policy, journalism, and economics. She grew up in Juneau, Alaska, where she learned to appreciate the intricate natural systems surrounding her and the importance of a sustainable future. Through her involvement with advocacy and education groups while in high school, she was inspired to pursue areas of study that will give her the tools to change the way people view the environment around them. One day, Anna hopes to either run for office, write for the New York Times, start a nonprofit–or do all three. Working for Discovery Southeast has been her dream because she can combine her passion for the outdoors and learning, by connecting with children in her community. Anna spends her free time hiking, writing for her school paper, volunteering, and working on her plant identification skills.
Glennie LeBaron grew up in Boston MA, and just completed her second year of undergrad at Brown University where she concentrates in Conservation Science and Policy. Glennie is Canadian-American and spent her first year of University at the University of Toronto. She hopes to one day work as an environmental lawyer. Glennie took a gap semester last fall to work as an education ranger for Acadia National Park, teaching middle school students Geology, Marine Biology, and Forestry. She was ecstatic to combine her passion for the environment and love of teaching as an outdoor educator. Glennie traveled to Ecuador on a field course in summer 2019 to study Tropical Ecology, Conservation Policy, and Environmental Economics. Her favorite parts were stargazing at Cotopaxi mountain and meeting indigenous groups across the country. At CACS she hopes to guide people in creating their own personal relationships with nature, inspired by her research on resiliency and outdoor experiences. In her spare time, Glennie takes her foster dogs’ hiking, travels to new places, and takes photos. She spends most of her time living in cities and is ecstatic to be spending this summer working with CACS and exploring Alaska.
Climate and Civic Engagement Intern
Kyle grew up in Wasilla AK; he is currently studying fisheries, and computer science at the Florida Institute of Technology. Growing up in Wasilla, he spent a lot of his time outside hiking, fishing, and socializing. Observing the impacts of climate change in his hometown inspired Kyle to become politically active in high school. Now, in college, Kyle hopes to continue his political activism to promote a just transition. He is honored to learn from and contribute to the Alaska Center.
Stream Watch Intern
Austen is a lifelong Alaskan, having grown up in the Soldotna area appreciating all that the Kenai Peninsula has to offer. He enjoys hiking and mountain biking in the summer, and backcountry skiing in the winter. He is going to be a third-year mechanical engineering student at Montana State University this fall. He is excited about the opportunity to work for the health of local watersheds this summer in the place he has always called home.
Elise was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska (traditionally Dena’ina land), and is excited to be interning with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. During the school year, Elise attends the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where she will be continuing her studies in political science and psychology as she enters into her third year. During her free time, Elise enjoys hiking, biking, holding her two adorable rabbits, and making jewelry out of broken shells and shards of sea glass. While she is unsure as to what the future holds, she hopes to continue to be involved in conservation-based work and will strive to do her share for the environment. She looks forward to working with and learning from everyone at the YRITWC this summer and being a part of an organization that aligns with her values.