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Meet the Current NREP Students

Raysan Alhamoud

Education: Petroleum Engineering (B.S.) and Minor in Mathematics, University of Houston, 2018

Interests: Energy Transition, Circular Economics, Sustainability, and Net-Zero Emission.

Career Goals: I would like to have a professional career that enables an economic transition into a prosperous future in energy and sustainability

Work Experience: Reservoir Engineer in the Unconventional Resources Development Strategy & Reserves Division in Saudi Aramco

Personal interests: Movies, music, comedy, cooking, traveling and home improvement

Ella Baldwin

Education: Brigham Young University, B.A., Middle East Studies & Arabic,  2022.

Interests:I am interested in building localized strategies for water security and energy transition in the Middle East and North Africa. I will also add a Resource Commodity Analytics Certificate to build my quantitative credentials.

Career Goals: I am open-minded about my career goals but would ultimately like to work internationally on high-impact solutions to pressing global issues. My “dream jobs” currently include consulting, analysis, and diplomacy.

Work Experience: I have worked as an Arabic instructor, international volunteer, research assistant, pastry chef, and talent acquisition specialist.

Personal interests: I enjoy traveling (both domestically and abroad), cooking, camping, skiing, and spending time with my family

Kayla Benson

Education: Environmental Engineering (B.S.) and Minor in Public Affairs, Colorado School of Mines.

Interests: environmental Justice; environmental protection and stewardship; corporate sustainability and accountability; the transition into renewable energy.

Career Goals: incorporating my technical engineering background with a policy degree to make meaningful advancements towards a more sustainable future. Whether that be as a government official, a consultant, or a lawyer is still yet to be determined!

Work Experience: Environmental Department Intern at Kansas City Southern Railway in Kansas City, MO; Natural Resources Intern at CORE Consultants in Englewood, CO.

Personal interests:Traveling, film, hiking, music

Weston DiBlasi

Education: Secondary Education with an emphasis in Social Sciences (B.S.), University of Missouri: Columbia, 2022.

Interests: Renewable energy, economic development, environmental and energy policy, and environmental preservation/protection.

Career Goals: I would like to have a career in environmental and/or energy policy where I can use my degree and work with peers, as well as stakeholders, to develop more efficient and sustainable ways to utilize natural resources.

Personal interests: Wrestling, hiking, adventures with my dog, rock climbing, spending quality time with friends and family.

Christian Cerne

Education: Geosciences (B.S.), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2023)

Interest: Renewable Energy Policy, International Energy Policy, Energy Regionalism, Equitable Energy, International Law

Career Goals: To work within the political sphere in government or international organizations. Whether that would be as a policy analyst, staffer, or within policy creation and implementation, I want to contribute to the development of meaningful policies on equitable energy solutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Hobbies: Backpacking, Traveling, Cultural Exploration, Soccer, Wildlife Photography, Rehoming stray cats

Majok Deng

Undergraduate Education and Degree:  Pepperdine University, B.S. in Economics 2023

Academic and Professional Interests: My professional interests are immigration law and understanding energy policies and geopolitics

Work Experience: I’ve worked in Retail, Athletics Game Day Operations, and The Sudreau Global Justice Institute. 

Career Goals:  I want to work with youth in East Africa and provide them with opportunities for a better education and learning environment. Also, I would love to work at The United Nations and be part of the policy process that deals with refugees. 

Hobbies: I love basketball (I am currently on the Mines Basketball Team), reading, playing saxophone, and acting (although I don’t like do it!). 

James Floyd

Education: Environmental Engineering (B.S.), Colorado School of Mines (2023)

Interests: Advancing Environmental Justice, Sustainability, Corporate Accountability, Environmental and Energy Policy/Decision Making

Career Goals: I would like to work in the government either creating or assessing environmental policy to further the goal of environmental justice. If I could choose a “dream job” it would be as a Criminal Investigator with the EPA, investigating environmental crimes.

Personal Interests: Hiking/Backpacking, Reading, Boardgames, Snowboarding, Photography and Golf

Samuel Freedman

Undergraduate Degree and Major:  Sewanee–The University of the South, B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Biodiversity and Ecology, 2022

Academic and Professional Interests:  My interests include becoming proficient with GIS, learning how to create and understand the policy process, and having a strong grasp of current environmental challenges and opportunities.

Career Goals:  Want to pursue a career with the government or companies/NGOs with a commitment to environmental protection and regulation.

 Personal hobbies: Hiking, meditation, biking, and rock-hounding.

Melissa Funsten

Education: Psychology (B.S) and Minor in Environmental Studies, Davidson College, 2016.

Interests: Renewable Energy, Natural Resource Management, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy, Sustainable Development, Human Rights.

Career Goals: My career has always been, and will continue to be, fueled by a passion for the environment. My goal is to use the academic knowledge gained with NREP to combat climate change and protect the earth for future generations. 

Work Experience: I am currently working as a contractor for Stellar Renewable Power – a solar development startup. Prior to grad school, I worked as an Environmental Project Management Specialist with RTI International, an Agroforestry Extension Agent in Senegal with the Peace Corps, and an English Teacher in Thailand with Teach Thailand Corps. 

Personal interests: Field hockey, climbing, skiing, running, adventures with my pup, cooking, traveling, reading.

Tinzar Htun

Education: Social Science (Sustainable Development) (B.A.), Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, 2014; Japanese (B.A.), Mandalay University of Foreign Languages (2010)

Interests: Energy-extractive Nexus; Resource federalism; Public Policy

Career Goals: I would like to have a career either in the private or public sector working on mining governance.

Work Experience: Consultant at The World Bank (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative); Researcher at Urbanize: Urban and Regional Planning (China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, Constitution); Research Officer at Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation (Constitution, Decentralization and Federalism)

Personal interests: Reading, Travelling, Dogs, Anime.

Bobby Iseley

Education: Electrical Engineering (B.S.) University of Florida 2021
Interests: Equitable Energy Transition, Clean Energy Development, Grid Hardening, Microgrids, Energy Policy
Career Goals: I would like to analyze effective policies and technologies that promote an equitable clean energy transition.
Personal Interests: Fishing, hiking, boating, climbing, cooking

Oliver Miller

Education: Environmental Science (B.S.) and minor in GIS, SUNY University at Albany, 2021.

Interests: Renewable energy, conservation, political policy related to the environment and renewables.

Career Goals: I would like to have a career where I can use my knowledge of environmental science and renewable energy to promote and instill policies related to the global switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.

Personal Interests: Hiking, Movies, Writing, Following Politics.

Henry Novicki

Education: B.S. Environmental Engineering from Bucknell University, May of 2023

Interests: Play varsity baseball in an amazing setting while pursuing a great degree 

Career Goals: To have an opportunity where I can make an impact on the environment in order to conserve it for future generations

Work Experience: 7 years of laying tile in construction during the summers and winters for my father’s business

Personal Interests: Archery, hunting, fishing, hiking, German Shepherds

Conner O’Reilly

Education: Geosciences (B.A.) and Minor in Government, Hamilton College, 2022

Interests: Sustainable mining, water policy and economics, science communication

Career Goals: I would like to have a career as a regulatory analyst, focusing either on mining operations or water quality.

Work Experience: Operations and R&D intern at Advanced Instruments LLC (Norwood, MA)

Personal interests: Travelling, hiking

Eric Payne

Education: Genetics & Microbiology (B.S.), Purdue University, 2003.  MBA, Regis University, 2011. Registration to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office, 2005.

Interests: Renewable energy, economic development, energy policy, CCUS, impact investing, public-private partnerships (Bayh-Dole Act).

Career Goals: I would like to have a career in which I may leverage the power of energy policy to magnify and accelerate public investments in scientific research and development to promote energy transitions to sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy.

Personal interests: Road and mountain biking, Colorado history, hiking with my family.

Fitrah Pratama

Education: Geological Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology, 2012

Interests: Critical metals and minerals, sustainable mining practices, mining governance, resource nationalism, ESG, state-captured corruption, green corruption, oligarchy government

Career Goals: I would like to have a career as a policy analyst focusing on the mining and energy fields and be part of the government, academic communities, and civil society groups to transform the groups into solid political power advocating sustainable mineral development amid various interests influencing policymaking.

Personal interests: Rock climbing, trail running, jump roping, adventure with my cat

Ryan Pratama

Education: Mining Engineering (B.S.), Bandung Institute of Technology, 2018

Interests: Learn how to assess the risk of the interaction between geopolitics and renewable energy policy

Career Goals: Mining expert who provides valuable insight on renewable energy transition policy

Work Experience: Experienced Mine Engineer with 5+ years of working in surface and underground mines.

Personal Interests: Magic, Games, Movies, Traveling

Maria Saavedra

Education: University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2015-2019. B.A. in Political Sciences. Concentration: Global Affairs

Interests: The intersection of renewable energies, sustainable development, and environmental policy. I am particularly interested in how these fields can be used to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Work Experience: Energy Research Specialist for the private sector focusing on Renewable Energy and Natural Resources investments based on international trends, regulations, and macroeconomics.

Career Goals: After I finish my studies, I intend to contribute to carrying out projects on renewable energies both from the private and public sectors. In the private sector, I would like to contribute as a driver of projects for reducing carbon emissions and developing renewable energies that are compatible with the local realities of different countries. In the public sector, I would like to work with national or local governments in designing the regulations and incentives necessary to comply with the commitments that Latin American countries have made in international forums.

Personal interests: I love to spend my free time reading, cooking, riding my bike, and spending time with my family and friends in the outdoors. On a typical weekend, I might start my morning by drinking mate and reading the news. Then, I might go for a bike ride with my husband. In the afternoon, I might cook dinner for my family and friends. And in the evening, we might watch a movie together or read. My hobbies help me to relax, stay active, and connect with the people I care about.