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Delegate Bios

Expedition Copenhagen DelegatesMeet our newest Expedition Team!

The Expedition Copenhagen team consists of twelve Midwest youth who will travel to the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 5-19, 2009. The expedition will be led in part by internationally renowned polar explorer Will Steger, and designed in collaboration with youth climate partners across the region.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:48

Reed Aronow, Minnesota Delegate

Written by Reed Aronow - COP16 Delegate

Reed AronowSchool: Hamline University (alumnus)
Areas of Study: Environmental Justice and Anthropology

Reed’s interest in climate change began as an elementary school student, studying clouds and weather. At age 14 he and his family survived a tornado, which lifted their car off the road before placing it down again on all 4 wheels. As a student at Hamline University, Reed worked as a teaching assistant on climate modeling, studied Mayan archeology in Mexico, and traveled with Hamline University to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in New York. He also traveled to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the spring of 2006 to learn more about the social justice implications of the environmental disaster. Reed worked as a community organizer this spring on transit, community development and equity in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:48

Liana Balinsky-Baker, Illinois Delegate

Written by Liana B

Liana Balinsky-BakerSchool: Northwestern University
Area of Study: Journalism

Liana Balinsky-Baker attends Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and when she graduates, next year, hopes to cover energy and environmental policy as a reporter. She has interned at Canadian Geographic magazine in Ottawa and at Platts, a news service which covers energy policy in Washington, DC. She has also written about Mideast politics for The Media Line in Jerusalem and college sports for The Big Ten Network. She is originally from Montreal and spent last summer in Canada’s Yukon Territory studying the effects of climate change on the Yukon’s national parks. She joined youth climate leaders from Illinois at the Powershift conference in Washington DC this spring, and has worked with the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) across the state.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:48

Aurora Conley, Minnesota Delegate

Written by Aurora C

Aurora ConleySchool: LCO Ojibwe Community College and University of Minnesota Morris
Area of Study: Renewable Energy

Aurora is Ojibwe from the Bad River Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, and recently worked as Executive Assistant for Honor the Earth in White Earth, Minnesota, a non-profit leader in the Native environmental movement. Aurora has organized, campaigned, and advocated for environmental and climate justice throughout Indian Country across the Midwest, including extensive outreach to tribal communities on renewable energy and environmental justice facilitating solar installation and youth education. Aurora is a volunteer firefighter and first responder for the Bad River Volunteer Fire Department. She hopes to work more extensively with Midwest Native communities to build a more sustainable future. In her own words Aurora writes, ”We are the caretakers of Mother Earth, it is from her which nourishes human life, we are her children and we must ensure her health in return for our own”.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:48

Megan Constans, North Dakota Delegate

Written by Megan C

Megan ConstansSchool: North Dakota State University
Area of Study: Biochemistry

Megan was one of 70 students across the nation chosen to participate in the ‘Change It’ conference, an advocacy and non-violent action training hosted by Greenpeace in 2008. She also participated in the Powershift 2009 youth summit and is actively engaged in building a network of youth climate leadership across the Dakotas. She was instrumental in bringing recycling to the NDSU campus and most recently lobbied North Dakota U.S. Senators Conrad and Dorgan in support of renewable energy. She is working closely with students across the state to coordinate North Dakota Powershift, this fall, a statewide summit to encourage and develop youth climate leadership and collaboration across campuses.

YouTube Watch Megan's Interview
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:49

Maia Dedrick, Logistics Coordinator

Written by Maia D

Maia DedrickSchool: University of Michigan Ann Arbor (alumna)
Areas of Study: Anthropology, Classical Archaeology, and Cello Performance

Maia grew up in Minnesota and attended school in Michigan and considers herself Midwestern through and through. In the summers of 2007 and 2008, Maia performed thesis research in Mayan archaeology in Belize. Her experiences studying anthropology at home and in Central America helped shape her understanding of the volatile relationships between human societies and the environment in the past and today. This work inspired her search for solutions to climate change and environmental degradation that would also answer the social justice problems we face today. She is especially excited about the potential for the Midwest to transition to an economy that takes advantage of the agricultural, manufacturing, water, and wind resources we share in the Midwest. She has been a member of the National Council of the Student Environmental Action Coalition and helped to host statewide conferences and retreats through the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition. She has been a strong leader on campus, bringing social justice and environmental groups together around shared goals.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:49

Chris Detjen, Policy and Partnerships Coordinator

Written by Chris D
Chris DetjenSchool: University of Michigan- Ann Arbor (alumnus)
Areas of Study: Program in the Environment and Political Science

Chris Detjen is excited to join Expedition Copenhagen as an advisor on policy, campaigns, and strategic partnerships. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor, where he helped found the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition. He currently works as Program Development Manager at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit, Michigan. At NextEnergy, Chris tracks and pursues public and private funding opportunities for renewable energy technology development. In addition to his funding development work, he serves as one of NextEnergy’s leads in analyzing and influencing energy policy. Previously, Chris interned at the German Energy Agency in Berlin, Germany and the Pew Environment Group in Washington, DC. He attended the COP 14 talks in Poznan, Poland last December through the SustainUS Agents of Change program.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:49

Jamie Horter, South Dakota Delegate

Written by Jame H

Jamie HorterSchool: Augustana College
Areas of Study: Art and Chemistry

Jamie is the president of Augie Green, the environmental student group on campus, and a member of the Augustana Coalition for Social Justice, the Sioux Falls Transportation Committee, and Trash Initiative Focus Group in Sioux Falls. She participated in both the Powershift 2009 youth summit and Change It 2008. Jamie’s interest in the arts, education, social justice, and the environment have taken her on travels across the globe, including Mexico, India, Sweden, and Peru, where stories of life, hardship, and hope further strengthened her passions to pursue solutions for hunger, poverty, and environmental and social injustice.

YouTube Watch Jamie's Interview
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:50

Holly Jones, Iowa Delegate

Written by Holly J

Holly JonesSchool: University of Iowa
Areas of Study: Environmental Studies and History

A life-long resident of Iowa, Holly has a strong background in student organizing. She has worked with many environmental organizations, most extensively with the Sierra Student Coalition, and has organized in Des Moines for the March to ReEnergize Iowa, acted as chair of the National Conservation Committee, and co-directed the Summer Environmental Leadership Training in Illinois. She is currently acting as Chair for the National Executive Committee of the Sierra Student Coalition, sitting on the Steering Committee for the Iowa Sustainability Alliance.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:50

Sarah Mullkoff, Michigan Delegate

Written by Sarah M

Sarah MullkoffSchool: Michigan State University, James Madison College (alumna)
Area of Study: International Relations with a specialization environmental policy

Sarah is currently working as the Michigan Campaigns Coordinator for Clean Water Action in Lansing. During her undergraduate program, Sarah played a leadership role in the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, served as a student assistant in the State Energy Office, and spent her last semester doing HIV/AIDS public health work in Northern Thailand. Sarah first joined Clean Water Action in the Summer of 2007 and worked on legislation to protect Michigan's waters and keep them in the hands of the public. She is a proud native of Michigan and is pleased to be working to protect our Great Lakes State, while extremely excited to be involved in the international youth movement.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:50

Chalie Nevárez, Wisconsin Delegate

Written by Chalie N

Chalie NavarezSchool: Marquette University
Area of Study: Masters in Environmental Engineering

Chalie received a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Marquette University and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree from Marquette, in Environmental Engineering. She is a Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and holds a long-standing internship at MillerCoors in the Sustainability, Environmental Health and Safety Department. Chalie’s academic and professional work focus primarily on water pollution and management, air pollution, and sustainable practices in construction. Native to Puerto Rico, she is bilingual Spanish and English and was the president of the Latin American Student Organization on campus from 2005-2006.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:51

Danielle Ostafinski, Michigan Delegate

Written by Danielle O

Danielle OstafinskiSchool: Grand Valley State University
Area of Study: Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Sustainable Community Development

After a summer working at Zion National Park, Danielle decided to combine her passion for the outdoors and for people by becoming a youth organizer on her campus and across the state of Michigan. She has coordinated student delegations to the Power Shift summits, worked with the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition to plan trainings, student retreats and state lobby days, and has held various leadership positions in the Student Environmental Coalition on campus working to engage students and faculty in sustainability related projects. She is also co-founder of the GVSU Community Garden, a one-acre parcel of land where students, faculty, staff and community members can come together to learn about the importance of consuming local and organic foods while learning about sustainable gardening.

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Jamie RainierSchool: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (alumna)
Areas of Study: Journalism and History

Jamie Racine, a South Milwaukee native, has served as a community and youth organizer across the state of Wisconsin since 2001. With her studies and two years of work with the Wisconsin Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA program, Jamie has dedicated her career to developing connections across educational institutions, public and private businesses and community organizations to build a community that values its assets and works cooperatively across the Southeastern Wisconsin community to address the challenges we face. Jamie has been honored for her work locally, as one of the first recipients of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Service-Learning Leadership Award in 2008; regionally, as the 2005 recipient of the Micheal H. Poe Leadership Award in recognition of her student volunteer leadership and service across the Upper Midwest; and nationally from the Corporation for National and Community Service as a 2008 Spirit of Service National Award finalist.

YouTube Watch Jamie's Interview
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