The Dickinson College COP20 Delegation included 14 students from a variety of majors and class years, plus 2 instructors. The delegates were Jacqueline Geisler, Keziah Groth-Tuft, Maeve Hogel, Brady Hummel, William Kochtitzky, Neil Leary, Jack Marcus, Justin McCarty, Heather Morrison, Jeff Niemitz, Elizabeth Plascencia, Joseph Riley, Rehana Rohman, Cora Swanson and Briana Zagami.
Neil Leary (Instructor), Director, Center for Sustainability Education
I’m an economist by training and my first involvement in climate change research was on carbon taxes, emission permit trading and economic impacts of climate change in the US while working at the US EPA in the early 1990s. Since then my work has evolved to be more interdisciplinary and has focused on vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, mostly in the developing world. I spent several years working at START, directing climate change assessment and capacity building programs that engaged over 300 scientists from 50+ countries. I have also participated in the 3rd, 4th and 5th science assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). During my 20+ year career, the advances in the scientific understanding of climate change have been sobering. Countering the gloomy science, I am heartened by the passion of students with whom I have worked. COP20 will be the third COP that I will attend with students. I fully expect that the experience for this group, as for the previous groups, will be transformative and will provide them with knowledge, skills and desires to create needed changes in the world.
Jeff Niemitz (Instructor), Professor, Earth Sciences
One of the things I appreciate the most about a liberal arts education is that you never stop learning. I have had so many recent opportunities to learn more over an above being part of the Sustainability movement at Dickinson. In the last three years I have been to Africa twice and China twice to see first hand the environmental difficulties that these cultures face in very different ways. Clearly Africa will be the victims of climate change and China is continuing to be a major perpetrator of climate change through massive development. This will be my second UNFCCC conference. 2011 COP 17 in Durban, So. Africa was an eye-opener from the point of view of how the politics of climate change negotiation really works (or doesn’t). In some senses we saw the worst of humanities inability to compromise in the face of undeniable science and in helping at an AIDs orphanage we saw the best of what humanity could offer in sacrifice to these kids most affected the AIDs epidemic. I am somewhat more optimistic about Lima. Recent changes in attitudes from the Chinese and Obama’s notion of moving forward without the consent of Congress may be the opening that leads to a breakthrough in Paris in 2015. These are exciting (and scary) times. But we must do the best we can to mitigate climate change as well as help those who must adapt to it in the short term.
Jackie Geisler ’17, Undeclared
My name is Jackie Geisler and I am a sophomore at Dickinson College coming down all the way from Londonderry, New Hampshire. I have yet to declare a major but will most likely be declaring Environmental Studies. Athletics has always played a huge roll in my life and continues to do so here at Dickinson where I play on both the soccer and lacrosse teams. In addition to sports, I am an Eco-Rep in my residence hall, do community service work with the Neighbors to Neighbors program, and participated in the Emerging Leaders Retreat this past winter for first-year students. I am extremely excited to be part of the Climate Change Mosaic and the incredible opportunities that come with it. Venturing to Lima, Peru and working closely with this group throughout the semester will be an opportunity that I may never have again and for that I am truly blessed.
Keziah Groth-Tuft ’17, International Studies
I am Keziah Groth-Tuft, a sophomore at Dickinson and majoring in International Studies with a focus in Globalization and Sustainability as well as learning Arabic and Spanish. I’m from Lambertville, NJ, a small town on the river where you are a “stone’s throw” from Pennsylvania. At Dickinson I live in the Treehouse and am involved in SISA (students interested in sustainable agriculture), SSA (Students for Social Action), and Montgomery Service Leaders where I intern at a community organization in Carlisle. I cannot wait to go to Peru for COP 20. The parts of international studies that most interest me are studying the collision of cultures when solving global problems like climate change and improving the cooperation between nations in the face of global climate change. COP 20 will be a great way for me to experience these elements in action and to get my hands dirty.
My name is Maeve Hogel and I am a senior Economics major with Spanish and Anthropology minors. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Pittsburgh, it seems appropriate that I find myself in central PA for college. Like many Dickinsonians, I chose Dickinson with big hopes and dreams of studying abroad. I just returned from a year in Argentina and it was everything I could have imagined and so much more. It solidified my interest in international economic and social development and pushed me to take part in this mosaic to discover more about the environmental side of development, something my major and minors have taught me little about. I am very excited to learn more about the discussion of global climate change at the international level and of course for the chance to return to South America once again.
Brady Hummel is a sophomore at Dickinson College, majoring in Economics. Brady was born and raised in Hershey, PA, the “Sweetest Place on Earth.” He’s involved in the Idea Fund, Student Senate, Circle K International, and the Liberty Caps Society, and is passionate about finding sustainable and viable solutions to recurring global issues of poverty, opportunity, and infrastructural deficiencies in distressed communities and areas. He’s excited to learn about how global climate change affects those living in poverty, and how adaptation efforts can be tailored specifically to benefit these at-risk populations. Brady interns at the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) as the Sustainability Analyst, and is continuing to work on better quantifying sustainability efforts on campus and working to maximize their effectiveness and efficacy. He also likes to play guitar, read, hike, and play racquetball.
Will Kochtitzky ’16, Earth & Environmental Science
Before becoming a member of the Dickinson class of 2016 and majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences I attended the Outdoor Academy. This semester away program for tenth grade students changed my life and ignited my passion for understanding climate change. After choosing to attend Dickinson College, I have become involved with campus organizations working for a sustainable Dickinson such as the Center for Sustainable Living (Treehouse), the College Farm, EarthNow, the Presidential Commission on Environmental Sustainability, and Reinvest Dickinson. My passion also originated from my love of the outdoors, hiking and all things adventurous. The Outing Club has allowed me to share this passion with others, helping students engage with our gorgeous central Pennsylvanian surroundings whenever we have a spare moment. Taking Spanish throughout grade school and my travels in Latin America have led me to appreciate the life style and culture of Central and South America. I am excited to return to Peru to experience the culture, learn about global climate politics, and enjoy the city of Lima!
Justin McCarty ’15, Environmental Studies
Hello! I am Justin McCarty, a senior Environmental Studies major. I currently can call San Clemente, CA my hometown as my parents live there, but I grew up in Youngstown, OH and cherish the experiences and lessons I learned there. I am extremely excited and thankful to be participating in this years Climate Change Mosaic. I wrote in my application that I have spent the past few years studying climate change issues, analyzing the current societal system that promotes unsustainable behavior, and am now ready to travel to the meeting where the top-down decisions are discussed.
My desire to help make our society more sustainable has led me to choose within my major the focus of Sustainable Development and Design. After I graduate in this coming Spring I plan to venture forth to architecture school, where I hope to develop the ability to craft functional buildings that fit their local culture, aesthetic, and natural environment. In this mosaic, I plan to further explore the impact buildings, cities, and transportation have on the environment, society, and the climate change discussion.
Jack Marcus ’17, Environmental Studies
My name is Jack Marcus and I am a sophomore at Dickinson College. I study Environmental Studies focusing in global development. I am from Ventura, in southern California. I have been involved in outdoor education my whole life. This quickly led me to learning about environmental issues and becoming passionate about them. After I graduated high school, I took a gap year and went to Patagonia. There I participated in a NOLS course (National Outdoor Leadership school). After NOLS I stayed in Patagonia working at a local guide company/boutique hotel. While there I learned about the local politics and became involved in the Sin Represas campaign. This was a movement by the local Patagonians to keep large hydroelectric companies from damming the large rivers. After Chile I spent time on an ecological reserve at an animal sanctuary in the Peruvian rainforest where I learned about how deforestation was affecting the local wildlife. My real passion however lies in outdoor education, and I work at a summer camp as the Outdoor Coordinator, after college I hope to return to Chile and continue my work in the outdoor field.
Heather Morrison ’15, Environmental Archeology
My name is Heather Morrison and I am a senior at Dickinson College. I live in the small town of Concord, Massachusetts, where history was at my doorstep. At an early age, I acquired an appreciation for anthropological studies, which has led me to become an Environmental Archaeology major. At Dickinson, I am involved in the Peddler, Outdoor Club, C.A.R.E.S and Intramural Floor Hockey. Also, my interests include photography, the outdoors, painting and roller blading. Recently, I decided to minor in Earth Science, which was how I heard about the Climate Change Mosaic Program. I am extremely excited to be a part of such a unique opportunity and to witness a pivotal point in history!
Liz Plascencia ’16, Earth Science
My name is Elizabeth (Liz) Plascencia and I am a junior Earth Sciences major with a concentration in Environmental Geology. I am originally from Los Angeles, California. Growing up alongside the salty Pacific, I actively enjoy surfing, longboarding, and paddleboarding. On campus I am involved in Geology Club, The Peddler, WDCV 88.3, NSF-STEP, and Posse. I have been fortunate enough to have accompanied two professors in the Earth Sciences department on geologic field work trips in the past couple of years. I conducted Quaternary glacial history in the High Arctic of Baffin Island, Canada and volcanic research in Iceland and British Columbia. Additionally, I participated in the Spanish 231 globally integrated course to Cuba where we investigated sustainable practices in agriculture.
I find that I learn so much more about myself and the topic of investigation upon traveling. Therefore, I am very thankful to be a part of the 2014 Global Climate Change Mosaic team to Lima, Peru. I am looking forward to diving deep into global climate change governance. Cheers to this adventure.
Jessica Poteet ’15, Environmental Science
I’m Jess, a senior majoring in Environmental Science. On campus, I live in the Center for Sustainable Living (the Treehouse) and volunteer on the farm. I am a TA for an introductory environmental science class and for the second year I am working for the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM).
My major’s focus is marine ecology and conservation, which I have explored by spending my junior year abroad. I first studied at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and took several research trips to islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Last semester, I was living in the School for Field Studies research center in the Turks and Caicos Islands where I enjoyed and studied the beautiful Caribbean reefs around South Caicos.
When exploring the issues surrounding climate change, I am particularly interested in the effects on the world’s oceans and marine organisms. I am also interested in the social impact of climate change- particularly how climate change often disproportionately affects people in less affluent nations.
Joe Riley ’17, International Studies
My name is Joe Riley and I am from Irvington, New York. Presently, I am a sophomore at Dickinson College majoring on international studies with a focus in sustainability and globalization, and possibly minoring in computer science. I love music, traveling and the outdoors in general. On campus I am involved with the Math and Computer Science Club, which I helped found, Men Overcoming Restrictive Expectations (MORE), the Dickinson College radio station (WDCV) and this past summer I worked on the Dickinson College Farm. I am very excited to experience the history and culture of Peru and observe experience international environmental policy at work and learn about how it relates to our environment and our lives. This will be my first time traveling south of the Equator. I am thrilled to be participating in this mosaic program!
Rehana Rhoman ’16, Environmental Studies & Minor in Sociology
My name is Rehana Rohman and I am from Brooklyn, New York. Currently, I am starting my third year at Dickinson as a Posse Scholar majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Sociology.
On campus, I am a Residential Advisor, a mentor and executive member for L.E.A.D. -a youth mentorship and leadership program for youth and youth at risk, a board member of the Muslim Student Association, a member of the African American Society, a student worker at Phonathon and an Interlibrary Loan Assistant at the library.
Dickinson College has a strong emphasis on sustainability and the hands-on learning opportunities that it offers to students just amazes me. I took multiple classes at Dickinson regarding the environment that sparked my interest in Environmental Justice. Environmental justice has become a critical aspect of climate change as not all communities are being affected in the same way.
In the future, I intend to take my knowledge, research, and passion over to Bangladesh in order to better the environmental conditions there. Seeing what it is like there personally and watching it get worse and worse over the years really inspires me to stir change and make a difference. Attending COP20 is a wonderful opportunity that I am truly grateful for. Let the road to improvement begin and be paved!
I am a sophomore from the Bay Area, California. I have yet to declare a major, although I am considering environmental science or international studies with a sustainability emphasis. At Dickinson I work as a student farmer, a member of the feminist collective, Frisbee team and reinvestment group, in addition to several other clubs on campus. Growing up in a particularly beautiful and ecologically diverse area of the country I have always found joy in being outside in nature. Be it hiking, road riding, backpacking or running, the great outdoors is where I feel most at home. In this mosaic I am most excited to be able to study the policy and creative solutions of climate change in and out of the classroom.
Briana Zagami ’15, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies
My name is Briana Zagami and I am a senior majoring in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies with a focus on Sustainable Development. I am from Holmdel, New Jersey where I grew up to be athletic and adventurous. I played soccer for the Dickinson College Women’s team and enjoy practicing yoga, especially on the beach. I love to travel and learn about and experience different cultures and I have studied abroad in Spain and Costa Rica. Not only am I excited to travel to another foreign country, but also I am excited for the opportunity to continue my studies on the environment and how it affects us globally. I believe the best way to learn about something is to get out there and experience it yourself! Upon graduation in May 2015, I hope to continue traveling and exploring new places, while also applying and sharing my education on sustainability.
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