Our Community

Faculty / Staff

Gerald Torres
Professor of Environmental Justice
Faculty Director; Yale Center for Environmental Justice
Yale School of the Environment

A pioneer in the field of environmental law, Torres has spent his career examining the intrinsic connections between the environment, agricultural and food systems, and social justice. His research into how race and ethnicity impact environmental policy has been influential in the emergence and evolution of the field of environmental justice. His work also includes the study of conflicts over resource management between Native American tribes, states, and the federal government.

Kristin Barendregt-Ludwig
Program Manager
Yale Center for Environmental Justice
Yale School of the Environment

As the Yale Center for Environmental Justice Program Manager, Kristin oversees the advancement and growth of YCEJ’s programs, cultivating partnerships and collaboration among Yale faculty, staff, students, and local partners to promote engaged research and experiential learning. She also develops tools and coordinates convenings for network development including the annual Global Environmental Justice Conference. In addition, Kristin develops, manages, and implements the Environmental Justice Community Fellows Program and Community Resource Lab in collaboration with affiliated faculty and local partners.  

Affiliated Faculty / Staff

Kenneth Gillingham
Professor of Environmental & Energy Economics
Yale School of the Environment

Professor Gillingham’s research and teaching interests focus on energy and transportation.  He specializes in using the tools of economics and statistics, along with expertise in energy and systems engineering, to rigorously analyze policies to address the great energy challenges facing the world.  His work covers the intersection of energy efficiency, new energy technologies, and sustainable transportation.  Recent publications have focused on the adoption of solar photovoltaic technology, market failures in household energy efficiency, and alternative fuels for transportation.  On-going r

Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Fellow of Practice and a Visiting Resident Fellow, Distinguished Simpson-Hewett Lecturer
Yale Center of Environmental Justice
Yale School of the Environment

Pat Gonzales-Rogers is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Yale Center for Environmental Justice and Lecturer at the Yale School of the Environment as well as a Fellow of Practice and a Visiting Resident Fellow and the Distinguished Simpson-Hewett Lecturer for the Yale School of Divinity. Pat supervises the staff and the direction of the tribal land management plans for the Bears Ears Monument, which the Biden White House has called as its most important conservation accomplishment to date.

Students

MEM Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

Nisreen is pursuing a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). Her studies focus on food systems and small farmer livelihoods. Before coming to YSE, Nisreen worked as a project manager for a nonprofit organization, where she led a collaborative, multistakeholder, and place-based regenerative agriculture initiative. Upon graduating from Wellesley College in 2018, Nisreen embarked on an international independent study—as a Thomas Watson Fellow—to explore how small farmers creatively develop innovative agricultural techniques.

Helia Bidad
Research Assistant
Yale Law School, J.D. '22
Yale Law School

Helia Bidad is a 3L at Yale Law School. Her research interests include law and policy related to environmental justice, food systems, and federal Indian law. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Society & Environment and a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology. She is a Wyss Scholar and Kerry Fellow and co-founded the Environmental Justice Project and the Race & Environment reading group at Yale Law School.

Communications and Events Associate
MEM Candidate 2022
Yale School of the Environment

Zander De Jesus (he/him) is a Master’s of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. He grew up in the Boston metro area, and living on the coast made him highly fascinated in marine ecology, and the impact of industrialized pollution on local environments and communities. He graduated from Yale College with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and American Studies. Through this double major, Zander synthesized Environmental Health, Political Ecology, and the History of Decolonization Movements to form a multidisciplinary Environmental Justice lens.

B.S. + MEM Candidate 2022
Yale School of the Environment
Zander De Jesus (he/him) recently graduated as a Master’s of Environmental Management
student at the Yale School of the Environment. He grew up in the Boston metro area, and living
on the coast made him highly fascinated in marine ecology, and the impact of industrialized
pollution on local environments and communities. He graduated from Yale College with a B.S.
in Environmental Studies and American Studies. Through this double major, Zander synthesized
Teaching Fellow, Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic, MESc Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment
Joshua Friedlein (he/him) is an enrolled citizen of the ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ (Cherokee Nation), and a Master of Forestry candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. Joshua is studying wildfire mitigation, transboundary land management, and indigenous land stewardship through an anticolonial and decolonized framework. At YCEJ, Joshua is working to create lasting partnerships between YSE and Tribal Nations and intertribal organizations.
Environmental Justice Community Fellow
MEM Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

Phoebe Hering is a first-year MEM candidate in the School of the Environment. Originally from a rural area of southern Pennsylvania, Phoebe spent her childhood on farms that were increasingly being jeopardized and swallowed by unplanned development projects. Following her graduation from Cornell University, where she studied religious philosophy, comparative literature, and French literature, Phoebe headed West to New Mexico, working as a full-time ranch hand.  Following her time ranching, Phoebe earned a master’s of research from the Erasmus Mundus Joint degree program, earning degrees from France, Spain, and Italy in cultural studies and modern languages. Her dissertation work, drawing on her agricultural experiences, focused upon the value systems of and systemic problems affecting working landscapes and their communities. Phoebe is applying her background in agriculture, land trust, and social justice work to help construct a land justice initiative for a Connecticut-based land trust. Together, they are  working to create pathways to land ownership for farmers of color and immigrant farmers. 

Environmental Justice Community Fellow
Yale Law School J.D.'22
Yale Law School

Liz Jacob (she/her) is a passionate advocate for environmental justice and deeply committed in serving movements to equitably solve the climate crisis and build a healthier, more just world for all. Prior to starting law school, Liz worked for years to advance federal environmental policy, organize for immigration justice, and serve alongside her colleagues to organize a union and negotiate their first Collective Bargaining Agreement. Liz has also served directly alongside environmental justice leaders at the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, the Water Protector Legal Collective, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.  

  

Sophie Janeway
Teaching Fellow, Energy Justice Seminar
MEM Candidate 2022
Yale School of the Environment

Sophie Janeway is a second year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) student at the Yale School of the Environment where she specializes in Energy Policy and the Environment. Her research and coursework focuses on energy policy and economics, electric utility business models and regulation, electricity markets, clean transportation and energy justice. On campus, she is a co-leader of the energy student interest group, supports both CBEY’s Financing and Deploying the Clean Energy Certificate program and its partnership with AVANGRID.

Molly Johnson
Teaching Fellow, Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic, MEM Candidate 2023, Research Assistant
Yale School of the Environment
Molly Johnson (she/her) is a Yale School of Environment ‘23 Masters’ of Environmental Management Candidate. At YCEJ, Molly works as a Research Assistant to promote equitable climate change resilience planning in Connecticut. She is collaborating with Dr. Mark Mitchell, Professor Robert Klee, and Kristin Barendregt-Ludwig and a student team to develop a guide for municipal planners. As a graduate student, Molly also works as an Agroforestry Berms Manager for the Yale Farm and is a Student Associate for the Yale Center for Climate Change and Health.  Molly is passionate about promoting solutions that address climate change, environmental and climate justice issues and encourage healthy communities. 
Urban and community studies & environmental studies, UConn 2022

Gaston Neville (He/Him) recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in urban and community studies & environmental studies. Growing up in a shoreline community in New Haven, Gaston has been interested in climate change and environmental degradation in coastal cities from an early age.

 At UConn, Gaston was the director of the Sustainable Transportation Committee, where he created events like Community Ride Day that reimagined public space for micro-mobility use instead of cars to promote a more sustainable, human-centered environment.  

MPH Candidate, Research Assistant
Yale School of Public Health
Ian Reilly (he/him) is a graduate from the University of Vermont and is currently a second-year Master of Public Health candidate at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) studying Health Policy with a concentration in Climate Change and Health. Ian’s first opportunity to tackle environmental justice issues was during his summer internship with the CT Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) Equity and Environmental Justice Working Group. As a student intern, Ian worked to develop equity-centered planning guidelines for CT communities to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. In October 2021, Ian joined the Yale Center for Environmental Justice as a Research Assistant and continued his work on these guidelines with a small team. Each of them shared the same goal of amplifying historically marginalized voices. They hope to make these guidelines, titled Centering Equity in Climate Change Resilience Planning: A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities, available through the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website.
Community Resource Lab Fellow, Communications and Events Associate
MEM Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

From Miami, Florida, Gabriela Rodriguez (she/her/ella) is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of The Environment specializing in People, Equity, and the Environment. She is interested in how communities can best center social equity and advance procedural justice in their approaches to climate change, mainly through strategies for equitable engagement and participation in decision-making and development processes. As a Community Resource Lab Fellow at YCEJ, Gabriela is working with the City of New Haven’s City Plan Department to support their community engagement efforts by creating a comprehensive inventory of community-based organizations across New Haven that would inform City Plan’s strategic outreach for environmental and climate-related planning processes. As a Communications and Events Associate, she is also helping with the center’s many communications efforts and event planning and promotion. 

MEM Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

Raffa is a Master of Environmental (MEM) candidate at Yale’s School of the Environment, focusing on ecosystem health, environmental sociology and justice, and regenerative agriculture. He is passionate about understanding the way humans relate with nature, so that he may support pathways for environmental and sociological regeneration after centuries of exploitation, oppression, and extraction. As an important part of his philosophy, Raffa believes that any environmental movements must move in lockstep with strong land-back movements to restore stolen land to America’s First Nations.

Max Teirstein
Community Resource Lab Fellow
B.S. Candidate in Environmental Studies, Political Science
Yale College

Max Teirstein (he/him) is a Yale College senior studying environmental studies and political science. Max has spent much of the past two years exploring geospatial technologies as tools for guiding state and federal climate policy that serves communities hardest-hit by the climate crisis and environmental apartheid. His work has supported ongoing initiatives at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the EPA, and the Maryland Department of the Environment. At YCEJ, Max is working to retool environmental justice mapping to become a resource for community leaders to leverage in their advocacy and for community members to build power. 

Alisa E. White
Community Resource Lab Fellow
J.D & MESc Candidate
Yale Law School

Alisa White (she/her) is a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Environmental Science candidate at Yale Law School and Yale School of the Environment. Alisa is passionate about climate and environmental justice in the United States and abroad. During law school, she has worked with Earthjustice on a community environmental pollution case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, assisted Kanji & Katzen with litigation to stop the Line 5 pipeline, supported Green New Deal legislation in Rhode Island, and drafted an amicus brief for the City of Baltimore’s climate change case against fossil fuel companies. For her master’s research, Alisa is focusing on community-led environmental protection and community land trusts. She is excited to be working with the Community Resource Lab to support community-led decision-making in New Haven. In her free time, Alisa enjoys playing guitar, biking on the Farmington Canal Trail, and walking along the Mill River.

Environmental Justice Community Fellow
MPH, MESc Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

Weixi, a joint-degree master student, is a second-year Master of Public Health candidate from the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in Yale School of Public Health and first-year Master of Environmental Science candidate in Yale School of Environment. She is in the Global Health concentration in YSPH and a student in Michelle Bell’s lab in YSE. She is interested in the effects of climate change, environmental pollution on human health, especially among vulnerable populations. She worked as Global North Fellow with Dejusticia on climate change litigation in the past summer.

MEM Candidate 2023, Research Assistant
Yale School of the Environment
Emma Zehner (she/her) is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment studying urban climate adaptation, coastal resilience, and environmental and climate justice in planning processes. At the Yale Center for Environmental Justice, she is working with a student team and advisors Dr. Mark Mitchell, Professor Robert Klee, and Kristin Barendregt-Ludwig to develop guidance and resources for Connecticut municipalities on centering equity and frontline communities in their climate resilience planning. This project started as a recommendation from the state’s Governor’s Council on Climate Change Equity and Environmental Justice Working group. She is also currently a student research assistant with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and an intern with the Regional Plan Association. 

EJ Research Fellows

Doctoral Candidate
Yale School of the Environment
Gabriel I. Gadsden is a second-year PhD Student in the Applied Wildlife Ecology Lab, led by Dr. Nyeema C. Harris. An energy justice scholar and ecologist by training his research now focuses on understanding how energy inefficient housing relates to the behavior of urban rodents and what that means for human health, human wildlife conflict, and urban wildlife coexistence.
MESc Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment
Amalta Gupta is a second year MESc candidate at the School of the Environment. She is interested in working on increasing access to clean energy at the household level in rural India. For her master’s thesis she is collaborating with her advisor, Dr Narasimha Rao, to conduct a pilot study to analyze the sustained use on Induction Cookstove in peri-urban Indian households.
 
Doctoral Candidate
Yale School of the Environment
Rory is a PhD Student at the Yale School of the Environment where he studies health disparities from air pollution exposure and climate change. Prior to Yale, he worked in roles including community organizing and policy development which spanned renewable energy, housing, transportation, and land conservation. Rory obtained his Bachelor of Psychology from Roosevelt University and his Master of Science in Environmental Health from Harvard University.
 
Rory is interested in bridging the gap between scientific research and policy outcomes regarding disparities in health burdens experienced by vulnerable populations. A specific area of interest is understanding current and future energy transitions and how policy tools can be used to shift exposure and disease burden away from historically marginalized groups. He hopes to use a range of epidemiologic methodology to provide a more complete picture of attributable air pollution mortality and morbidity experienced across social and demographic lines.
MESc Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment

Destiny Treloar is a Masters of Environmental Science (MESc) candidate at the Yale School of the Environment focusing on food justice and urban politics. She is working with Dr.Dorceta Taylor at the JEDSI lab. Destiny is very interested in studying the disparities found in food access among Latina/x/e women and developing multifaceted solutions to reduce and eliminate such inequalities. Destiny’s thesis lasers in on the emergency food network in environmental justice communities, concentrating on chronically food insecure Latina/x women’s access.

MEM Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment
Lauren Elizabeth Wiggins grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She spent part of her early childhood climbing
the Yoshino cherry tree in her front yard, observing the insects crawling along its bark, and plunging
her feet into the red clay soil. She traces her love of nature to those formative moments.
 
As a second year grad student at Yale School of the Environment, Lauren has a keen focus on infusing
ecosystem conservation with equitable urban design. She holds a BS from Tennessee State
MESc & MPH Candidate 2023
Yale School of the Environment
Weixi is a third-year MPH (Master of Public Health) and MESc (Master of Environmental Science) candidate in the joint degree program between Yale School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Yale School of Environment. She graduated with a BSc (Bachelor in Science) degree in Environmental Science from the University of Manchester in the UK in 2017.