Staff

Our organization is staffed by a core team of professionals supported by a number of dedicated volunteer experts. We often work on projects with other organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally through our extensive worldwide network of ecocity practitioners.

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Kirstin Miller, Executive Director
Kirstin Miller leads the organization’s program development, global initiatives and activities. She works locally and internationally to help cities access ecocity knowledge.  Kirstin works closely in the development of the organization’s “toolbox” of strategies, such as car-free by contract housing, environmental restoration transfer of development rights, centers oriented development, ecological demonstration projects and ecological zoning overlay mapping. Kirstin specializes in integrating city-based experiences from a diverse range of perspectives. She is an international speaker and presenter on ecocity design, technology, development and citizen participation. Kirstin is also a Board Member of the International Ecocity Conference Series Committee and a jurist for the Katerva Awards.

ed-kimEd Kim, Assistant to the Executive Director
Ed is a tireless force in keeping our internal ecosystem at a healthy equilibrium. Aside from assisting Executive Director Kirstin Miller in diverse tasks ranging from behind-the-scenes organization of our Ecocity World Summit series to keeping the Ecocity CoLab running smoothly, he is also in charge of managing our growing internship program. Making sure that word of our many projects and endeavors are amply broadcast, Ed is also involved in the production of our monthly newsletter. When he’s not helping us build ecocities, Ed is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley. He is passionate about environmental sustainability and technology and has interests in transhumanism and design.

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Sydney Moss, Urbinsight Project Director
As the Project Director for our Latin American Urbinsight projects, Sydney is the key liaison in helping our academic partners implement the EcoCompass curriculum into their course work and orchestrate data collection demos with local communities. Most recently, Sydney has been instrumental in setting up our pilot programs in Medellín, Cusco, and Lima. Utilizing her deep reservoir of teaching and community-building skills, she has been able to facilitate successful participatory action research outcomes that include a vast collection of neighborhood datasets and a citizenry newly invigorated to co-create a more sustainable environment for themselves. Sydney honed her whole systems chops while studying tropical ecology in Costa Rica, working as a community organizer for the 2008 Campaign for Change, and teaching in the field of environmental education. A Green Roof Certification course at Yestermorrow Design/Build School whet Sydney’s appetite for environmental design, inspiring her to enroll in UC Berkeley’s [IN]Land Landscape Architecture Program. There, she worked with Walter Hood on many exciting landscape designs and art installations such as Center Street Plaza in Berkeley (a Hood Design/Ecocity Builders collaboration), before going on to become Project & Operations Director at Hypae Design.

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Ashoka Finley, Urbinsight Platform Strategic Advisor
Ashoka is a creative and dynamic project leader with diverse project management experience and media expertise in developing online presence and visibility through social media platforms. He is successful at innovative technological approaches to community driven engagement related to sustainability and implementation at the local level. He is involved with Urban Tilth as a co-project manager and works with schools and community-based organizations to build a more sustainable, healthy and just food system. Ashoka has a degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Sven Eberlein, Communications Director
Sven is a writer and whole systems thinker whose work has been published in YES! Magazine, The Nature of Cities, Shareable, Mother Earth News, Planetizen, and many others. He has been intimately involved in the advancement of ecologically healthy cities and car-free living since his first tricycle ride down the middle of a city street in his native Germany. When he’s not cooking up new stories or performing web wizardry for a range of causes, Sven can be found wandering around his multicultural San Francisco neighborhood in search of new murals, tasty street food, and unicyclists in leotards.

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Marco Vangelisti, Ecocity Economics
Marco studied theoretical math (algebra, logic and topology) and applied math (statistics, operations research and theory of programming language design) at the University of Padova in Italy. He obtained an MBA from the school “Enrico Mattei” in Milan. He was a Fulbright scholar in mathematics and economics at the University of California in Berkeley. Marco worked for 11 years at BARRA in Berkeley – a think tank developing statistical risk models for equity and fixed income markets around the world. He worked as visual artist on a full-time basis for 5 years. Marco obtained a MFA focusing on the intersection between public art and ecology. He later worked for 6 years managing investment equity portfolios primarily on behalf of large foundations and endowments. Marco left the corporate world in April 2009 and is currently studying permaculture design and system theory. He is a Soil Trust Advisor and founding member of Slow Money.

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Richard Smith, Project Associate, Researcher
Rick is an assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work where he teaches community building and development and social policy. He does research on poverty, inequality, migration, and the impact of sustainable community development initiatives. The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration awarded him the 2013 Emerging Scholar Award. Prior to his involvement with Ecocity Builders, he served as a Presidential Management Intern at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and US Agency for International Development. Smith also served in Peace Corps Mongolia, managed the Spring Institute English Language Center and consulted with the World Bank, UNDP and UNICEF. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.

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Scott Allen, GISP, GIS Specialist
Scott brings over seven years of combined experience managing projects, developing enterprise geographic information systems and producing maps for government agencies and NGOs. His works have been published by the American Geophysical Union, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, and the Journal of Archaeological Science. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Scott has supported the Ecocitizen World Map Project by helping design and manage the enterprise geographic information system which houses geospatial data provided by municipalities and collected in the field. He has also been involved with creating webmaps to display this data in an open, online environment.

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Steven Poe, Virtual Reality Education Advisor
Steven is a creative director and visual media entrepreneur with twenty years experience in 360 virtual reality media production, commercial photography, and visual media development. Steven has held senior creative positions in San Francisco, Brussels, and Bangalore. He currently develops interactive stereo 360 virtual reality strategies with immersive experiences to solve complex communication objectives. Combining undergraduate work in photographic science, with post graduate education in sustainable business development, technology education, and twenty years in VR media production, Steven brings a unique experience and passion to helping people develop innovative VR applications and immersive platforms.

Board of Directors

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Steven Bercu, Esq., Board President and Secretary
Mr Bercu is a practicing attorney and CEO of Lime, llc., lawyers for interactive media. He is a Director of the Helen and William Mazer Foundation and a former Director for Business and Legal Affairs for Atari, Inc. Steve is an enthusiastic bicyclist and does pro bono legal work through Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Creative Capital specializing in intellectual property rights. His foundation has been important in supporting Ecocity Builders’ major San Francisco 7th International Ecocity Conference, redesign of Berkeley’s major downtown street link from the regional transit system to the University of California and the Ecocity Builders’ International Framework and Standards currently in development for assessing and helping guide cities’ progress toward higher levels of accomplishment in the quest for urban sustainability, health and cultural vitality.

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Rick Pruetz, FAICP, Vice President
Mr Pruetz is former Planning Director of Burbank, California. He is the foremost national expert on transfer of development rights (TDR) and is a planning consultant specializing in TDR and author of The TDR Handbook: Designing and Implementing Transfer of Development Rights Programs (Island Press 2012). Background for his new book, Lasting Value – Open Space Planning and Preservation’s Successes and motivation for his efforts to transform the cities and rural areas he works with is to prevent what he calls “country-cide,” as more than one million acres of United States rural land is paved and built upon for development. His website at www.SmartPreservation.net dedicated to open space preservation news is a respected source in the field.

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Kirstin Miller
Kirstin is Executive Director for Ecocity Builders, where she leads the organization’s program development, global initiatives and activities. She is an international speaker and presenter on ecocity design, technology, development and citizen participation. Kirstin is a Board Member of the International Ecocity Conference Series Committee and a jurist for the Katerva Awards. Her specialties include international project design and development, speaking, teaching, facilitation, organization, concept development, and innovation.

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Dr. Sahar Attia
Dr. Sahar Attia is a Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Cairo University. She has been the Head of the Department of Architecture at The Faculty of Engineering since August 2013. Sahar has 35 years of experience in academia and practice. She has coordinated national projects with Egyptian authorities as well as international partners. She is, or has been a member in 15 national and international committees and boards. She was recently elected as chair of the Research and Academia Constituent group in the general Assembly of Partners for Habitat III (GAP . She is also chairing the steering committee for the Universities Network Initiatiive (UNI), and is a member in the Standing committee of the World Urban Campaign. Her research interests includes participatory approaches in urban development, sustainable urban strategies, community development, urban regeneration, upgrading informal areas, and governance. She has a strong professional and social network in both the public and private sector.

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Dr. Costis Toregas
Dr. Toregas is one of the leading voices regarding the wise use and impact of technology in government. He led the non-profit local government research organization Public Technology Inc. for more than 35 years, advocating the creation and deployment of new innovative technologies for local governments in partnership with the private sector, and lectures extensively about the impact of the digital age on government. Dr. Toregas is the Associate Director of the GW Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute, as well as the IT advisor for the Montgomery County MD County Council, where he provides analysis support for more than $200 million annual investments in technology services. His research interests include cyber security curriculum and work force development and cyber competitions, the intersect of policy and technology in the public sector, and aspects of Social Equity and sustainability in public administration. Dr. Toregas holds PhD and MS Civil Engineering degrees in Environmental Systems Engineering and a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, all from Cornell University.

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Jeff Stein, AIA
Mr Stein is former Dean of Architecture at the Boston Architecture College and before that a professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He also taught at Technicum Winterthur, Zurich, and Ecole d’Architecture Languedoc-Rousillon, Montpellier, France. Mr. Stein is currently President of the Cosanti Foundation, building Arcosanti, Arizona, and keeper of Paolo Soleri’s architectural and philosophical legacy. Mr. Stein lectures internationally and presents on special invitations such as Keynote at the 100th Anniversary Conference celebrating the founding of Tel-Aviv, Israel. Jeff lives and works at Arcosanti.

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Professor Simon Joss
Professor Joss is a researcher in the Department of Politics & International Relations. He co-directs the International Eco-Cities Initiative with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC, USA). Simon gained a PhD from Imperial College (University of London) in the field of science and technology studies. He joined the University of Westminster in 1997 as Research Fellow. From 2003 to 2009 he was Head of Department (Centre for the Study of Democracy, then Department of Politics and International Relations); and from 2008 to 2013 he acted as Director of Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. He was appointed Reader in 2007, and Professor in 2008.

Founder

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Richard Register, Founder and Emissary of Ecocity Builders
Mr. Register is one of the world’s great theorists and authors in ecological city design and planning. He is also a practitioner with four decades of experience activating local projects, pushing establishment buttons and working with environmentalists and developers to get a better city built and running. Among his many “firsts,” he convened the first of the Ecocity International Conference Series in Berkeley, California, and was the founding president of Urban Ecology (1975) and Ecocity Builders (1992-2014). Mr. Register illustrates his own writing, and his books are considered as pleasurable for his imaginative drawings as profound in their ecological urban philosophies and visions. He is the author of Ecocity Berkeley: Building cities for a healthy future (1987), Ecocities: Building cities in balance with nature (2002), and most recently, The Ecocity Coloring Book (2015) and World Rescue – An Economics Built on What We Build (2016).

Pilot City Teams

Cusco, Peru

santos-meraSantos Mera, Geographical Engineer, Department of Environmental Engineering, Universidad Alas Peruanas Filial Cusco
Santos Mera is an international consultant and trainer whose professional experience includes Digital Cartography, Cadastral & Base Modeling Spatial Data, GIS and Satellite Image Management, Systematization of Cartographic Information For Business Use, and Cartographic Modeling for Final Presentations. He has taught Geomatics in the Surveying Profession and other courses at the Higher Technical School, the National Training Service for the Construction Industry, and the Zonal Management (SENCICO CUSCO) in Cusco, and in the Academic Department of Geography at the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco (UNSAAC CUSCO) to. He currently works at the Department of Environmental Engineering at Alas Peruanas University in Cusco.

 

stephanie weyerStephanie Weyer, Ecocity Design Advisor
Stephanie Weyer is a landscape architect currently working with the team in Cusco, Peru. Previously she served as a project manager with Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture in Boston, MA, focusing on parks, trails, and field technology. Stephanie specializes in geospatial- and context-driven site design. She has much experience in the areas of planning, conservation, and historic preservation with organizations as diverse as the National Park Service, Highstead Arboretum (CT), and Regional Plan Association (NYC). Stephanie is passionate about systems-focused thinking in pursuit of improved historic and environmental resource management, climate resilience and service to diverse human and animal populations.

 

indiraIndira Reyes, Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at UAP Alas Peruanas University, Cusco Branch
Aside from her work at UAP, Indira is the National Director of INGENIO VERDE CUSCO, an organization dedicated to conservation efforts by providing services in several locally and nationally recognized environmental areas. Using her knowledge and experience, she contributes to the growth of the organization and the improvement of the community as a whole. Indira has participated in various local, regional, and international events and courses on topics ranging from team management, leadership, organizational strategies, corporate sales, social networks, entrepreneurship, startups, culture and environment in regional seminars on water resources, climate change, and macro regional and South American environmental congresses.

 

Lima, Peru

sofia-castroSofia Castro, Instructor & Researcher at PUCP
Sofia is a Master in Human and Social Sciences with a focus in geography of emerging countries and development from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne. She also is a Master in Environmental Development from the Pontifica University of Peru at the level of undergrad and graduate, specializing in rural and human environmental development. Sofia is also a researcher and consultant in diverse socio-environmental subjects with an emphasis on sustainable methods, rural development and poverty. Currently, she is addressing the problems of cities, water resources and climate change. She was the country coordinator for the project “Lima: proactive climate city” in coordination with the University of Leeds (UK) and Regional Coordinator of programs of the Global Water Partnership: “Water, Climate and Development” that is implemented in the Subcuenca de Santa Eulalia.

 

diego-gallargo-sqDiego Gallardo, Urbinsight GIS Consultant
Diego Gallardo studied Geographical Engineering with mention in Geomatics and Territorial Order at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM). He has experience working in local goverment as specialist in the use of Geography Information System and cartography design. He leads a Project on the application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remote sensing for urban planning in Lima. He believes that the environment needs to be considered by all actors involved in the policy making process.

 

preview-full-alexander-montero-perezGeog. Alexander Montero Pérez, Data Engineer, Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM)
Alexander Montero Pérez has more than 15 years of professional experience in spatial analysis of environmental, territorial and land management. His specialties include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Geospatial Databases, and automated cartography, applied to economic and ecological zoning processes and the evaluation and monitoring of natural resources.

 

javier-cecilio-ramirez-moreGeog. Javier Ramirez More, GIS Director, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
Javier Ramírez More holds at BA in Geography and MA in Environmental Sciences at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM). He has over 20 years of experience as a specialist and project analyst in the use of GIS, satellite image processing (remote sensing), and spatial database management. He has also studied GIS for Remote Sensing and Cartography at Universidad Alcalá De Henares (Spain) and holds a degree in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Impact Assessment. A member of the Geographical Society of Lima, he is head of GIS and Remote Sensing at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru’s (PUCP) Center for Research in Applied Geography (CIGA). In addition to teaching a Cybernetic Cartography and GIS courses at PUCP, Ramírez More has guest lectured in GIS and Remote Sensing at the Cartesius Institute of the University of Twente (Netherlands), the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (Mexico), and IRD Bondy et Institut de Géographie (IRD-France).

 

Medellín, Colombia

Juliana GutiérrezJuliana Gutiérrez, Co-founder and Co-director, Low Carbon City
Juliana Gutierrez is co-founder and co-director of Low Carbon City, a citizen-led global movement working to tackle climate change in cities. She has focused her career in international cooperation for the development and sustainability, working, volunteering and leading different social and environmental causes in public, private and academic sector in organizations like UN-Habitat, UNDP, Amnesty International, AIESEC, La Ciudad Verde, among others. From an academic perspective, she has been researching about low carbon development and post-2020 climate change governance. After earning a BS in finance and international relations and post-graduate studies in political studies, she took international cooperation post-graduate studies in UOC- Catalunya, earned a MA in environmental studies from IIFA- Madrid, and a MA in international studies from Korea University.

 

laura bernalLaura Bernal Del Rio, Director, Product Design Engineer, EAFIT University
A Product Design Engineer from EAFIT University in Medellín, Laura loves to develop and participate in urban projects with the objective of transforming places into kinder environments for people and planet. She is passionate about sustainability and likes to combine the design process with its social, economic and environmental branches. She has studied graphic design, sustainable cities, and green marketing, and is currently studying specialized Product Design Management. She believes in social innovation and in “Design Thinking” as a tool for problem solving. Among many other creative projects, Laura is the creator of the “Ecozona” project for “Low Carbon City” and the director of the creative sustainability campaign at La Ciudad Verde #EnBusMaSexy!

 

Liseth Andrea GarcíaLiseth Andrea García, Forestry Engineer, National University of Colombia
Liseth is a Forestry Engineer at the National University of Colombia with specialization in Environment and Geoinformatics at the University of Antioquia. Her experience has focused on supporting information management within the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, where she was Coordinator of the Development Plan for 2 years and has supported the consolidation of the Territorial Information System. She has also participated in processes for the generation of geographic and cartographic information in state entities such as the Agustín Codazzi Geographic Institute – IGAC, Corpourabá and the National University of Colombia.

 

SANTIAGO CADAVID ARBELAEZSantiago Cadavid Arbelaez, Architect, UPB University
Santiago is an architect at UPB University with a Master’s Degree in Urban and environmental Processes from EAFIT University. He is a professor at both universities, teaching architectural design and research methodology at UPB and sustainable development at EAFIT. He has experience as a consultant in architectural design and urban and environmental studies for public and private institutions, with a particular focus on urban metabolism, transport systems, monitoring urban process and impact evaluation of plans, programs and projects.

 

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

daritzaDaritza Nicodemo Santana, Director, Center for Urban and Regional Studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
Daritza Nicodemo Santana holds an architecture degree and a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Municipal Management from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. She is a UIM, Granada, Spain specialist in Territorial Governance and Local Competitiveness and currently a full time professor at PUCMM Santiago’s Department of Architecture. Since 2016 she has been the director at PUCMM’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Daritza is the co-author of the Urban Policy Guidelines for the cities of Cotuí and Hato Mayor del Rey and has participated as coordinator of the Project on Strategic Development Plans for Transboundary Municipalities under the auspices of the French cooperation agency Aide Et Action. She holds the first diploma in the country on Climate Change and Land Use Planning, and in 2015, presented a paper at the Seminar “Climate Change Adaptation and Population Dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for Policy Makers” developed by the Wilson Center in Washington, USA.

 

daritzaMarco Antonio Gómez, Executive Director and General Technical Coordinator, Office of Territorial Planning, Santiago
Marco Antonio Gómez is an architect and magister in Urban Planning and Municipal Management, specializing in Territorial Planning. For the last 11 years he has worked for the City Council of Santiago in the Office of Territorial Planning and currently serves as Executive Director and General Technical Coordinator for the Office of Territorial Planning in Santiago. He has done research for the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CEUR) at PUCMM in the areas of urban policy development guidelines and territorial planning. He is a founding member of the Dominican Society of Planners (SODOPLAN) and is a member of the Commission for Land Use Planning, Infrastructure and Land Use of the Santiago Strategic Plan, PES 2020. He also develops teaching materials as professor at PUCMM’s Department of Architecture and serves as senior consultant and private consultant for different private firms and some national and foreign institutions.

 

Interns

Spring 2017

yuchen-wangYuchen Wang
Yuchen is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley. Having backgrounds in Economics and Architecture, Yuchen has developed quantitative statistics analysis skills and qualitative methods in design and representation. As a designer, Yuchen focuses on social and cultural factors of architecture and urban design to create organic spaces and cities. Yuchen hopes to further explore areas such as international design, community engagement, and urban planning. Her goal is to create inclusive and vibrant living environments for a better quality of life. When not designing, Yuchen makes sense to the built environment by observing human relations and interactions in the city.

girlKaori Kuroda 

Kaori is a second year student majoring in Urban Studies at UC Berkeley, and intends to minor in Landscape Architecture. She is strongly interested in working alongside under-resourced communities from the bottom up towards a more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable city. Kaori is keen on utilizing analytical and graphical systems such as GIS to contribute to the mission towards a healthy built environment. She hopes to learn applicable skills as she continues her studies at the University. Outside of class, she enjoys cooking, appreciating flowers, and playing with cats.

photoIsabela Mesquita
Isabela is a third year at UC Berkeley, studying Architecture, and Conservation and Resources Studies. She is interested in sustainable initiatives and helping underdeveloped communities, as well as the protection and better management and use of earth’s natural resources. She is originally from Brazil, and is passionate about getting to know new cultures. She’s part of the Triathlon team at UC Berkeley, likes volunteering, and doing all kinds of art.

Max Freyberger PictureMax Freyberger
Max Freyberger is a sophomore student majoring in Architecture at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He is interested in humanitarian architecture, and the implementation of design practices that positively impact how development affects the natural environment. Max is originally from Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and likes to travel and explore new places around the world. In his free time, he enjoys painting, playing tennis, and going on road trips along the California coast.

gilGil Navarrete
A sunny So-Cal native majoring in Environmental Economics and Policy at UC Berkeley, I have had quite an interesting past few years. When we meet I can tell you all about them! I am a senior at UC Berkeley, and some of my interest in the academic field encompass climate change, sustainability, energy, policy, economics, and social dynamics of policy. Outside of school, I like to play music, listen to music, hike, camp, read, explore, exercise, play soccer, art, and several more things.

weihan-zhangWeihan Zhang
Weihan is a junior at University of California, Berkeley studying Environmental Science and Environmental Economics and Policy. As an undergraduate research assistant in the College of Natural Resources, he works in the Pallud’s Lab helping research about sustainably remediating arsenic soil contamination. And given his interests in GIS, Weihan also works in Kelly’s Lab helping California Vegetation Type Mapping Project in order to understand changes over a decadal scale. Born and raised in Shenzhen, China, Weihan is a currently a rower for the Cal Lightweight Crew and really enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.

sean-oneilSean O’Neill
Sean is a sophomore in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley studying environmental science and history. Sean is a member of our communications team, and on campus he is an organizer for Fossil Free Cal and a student mentor at Rosa Parks Elementary School. His primary academic interests are sustainable development, city planning, and landscape architecture, and his hobbies include skateboarding, surfing, soccer, and running. He also works with a magician as a balloonist.

nils-jepsonNils Jepson
Nils is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley. Nils has spent the majority of his young life growing up in the San Fernando Valley, which is located in the northernmost parts of Los Angeles, and now enjoys his time living (and hiking) in Berkeley. Nils can usually be found on a lawn somewhere in Berkeley reading about Robinson Crusoe or Marx. His interests lie in exploring city planning and government work through a sustainable approach and hopes to one day go into land use law and planning. While he still sometimes harbours dreams of writing the next Great American novel, Nils cannot wait to one day spend his time crafting zoning laws based on equity, racial, economic, and environmental justice.

JaySullivan_HeadshotJay Sullivan
Jay is a senior from UC Berkeley studying conservation and resource studies with a focus in watershed-based development and stewardship. Having grown up on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland, Jay has always had an appreciation of the outdoors and a desire to foster a connection with the environment. Jay views the analytical ability of GIS as a tool to create more equity and resiliency in the world’s city and rural communities. With an interest in environmental justice, ecology, and sustainable design, Jay sees city planning and development as a dialectical discourse between people and their environments. Jay is also passionate about teaching, hiking, sailing, and playing music.