2024 ELP Cohort

Meet the 24-student cohort in iSEE’s Environmental Leadership Program (ELP)!

Adam Berg

Adam Berg

My name is Adam. At age 32 and a high school dropout, it is an anomaly that I am here writing this bio at all. I am currently a senior in the School of Architecture, with plans on continuing to my masters. I hope in the future to work abroad in Europe, mainly around Germany. I speak fluent English and basic German.

Before I became an architect, I spent years as a musician. From being in a band with my old high school friends, to composing, producing and publishing my own music, I have been on a wild series of experiences through music. I still play guitar, piano, and drums regularly, as well as sing and compose — I just don’t try to use it as my career path any longer. I love all genres of music, and have a strong passion for metal.

I love creative writing and storytelling, which not only helps me connect with others in architecture, but helps me connect with others in fun.

Mia Bonds

Mia Bonds

My name is Mia Bonds, and I’m a freshman majoring in Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy. I’m from the south side of Chicago. On campus, I’m on the education team of Lego Club, the treasurer of Salongo, and a member of ActGreen. Some of my hobbies include art, reading, and nature. I love painting and drawing, especially fashion sketches. I also like taking walks around campus and in forest preserves. One of my goals is to visit more national parks. Career-wise, I’m interested in urban agriculture, environmental health, and sustainable business.

Jack Casey

Jack Casey

Hi! My name is Jack Casey, and I’m a sophomore majoring in environmental engineering. On campus, I’m also involved in the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Academic Buzzer Team. Outside of that, I love playing basketball and discovering new movies. As far as this program is concerned, I’m excited to hopefully play a part shaping our state’s approach to global warming.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-casey-32819b257/

Luis Eguiguren

Luis Eguiguren

My name is Luis Eguiguren, and I am a senior from Chicago studying Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. I’m looking forward to participating in the Environmental Leadership Program because I believe that the ability to speak and write effectively is important — especially in STEM. I currently plan on going to grad school for Civil and Environmental Engineering, but I am also interested in clean energy policy and might pivot to environmental law in the future.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luis-eguiguren-ab8112204/

Hayden Gaskins

Hayden Gaskins

Hi! My name is Hayden Gaskins, and I am a senior in Agriculture and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Public Policy and Law. I have minors in Political Science, Environmental Economics and Law, and Legal Studies. I am from Harrisburg, Ill., a small town in southern Illinois. I am on the pre-law track here on campus, intending to become an environmental and agricultural attorney. I am interested in environmental justice and sustainable agriculture practices in the face of climate change. I am on the executive board of Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Fraternity and an ACE Ambassador.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/hayden-gaskins-b70b1a221

Toby George

Toby George

My name is Toby George, and I am majoring in Information Sciences with minors in Political Science and History. On campus, I am the Project Manager at Illinois Enactus, leading the sustainable paper-making initiative, Monarch, and a voting member on the Subcommittee on Undergraduate Student Conduct. I have researched a variety of legal subjects under Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson at the College of Law and was the Lead Law & Dialogue Ambassador for the Tolerance Means Dialogue. During my time at the Tolerance Means Dialogue, I learned how the law can be a powerful and positive tool for change. After graduating in the spring of 2024, I plan on attending law school in hopes of utilizing the law as a tool for change within my community.

Michael Gergeni

Michael Gergeni

Hi! My name is Michael Gergeni, I am a sophomore studying Sociology on a pre-law track. I’m an active member with Students for Environmental Concerns, a contributor and editor to The Green Observer, and a member of the editorial staff for the Illinois Undergraduate Law Review. I have a strong passion for global environmental issues and climate litigation, especially as it relates to human rights protections. My interests center on pursuing environmental justice through a socio-legal lens, and I am very interested in movement lawyering and impact litigation. In my free time, I look up baseball statistics!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gergeni/

Daniela Guzman

Daniela Guzman

Hello, my name is Daniela Melero Guzman, and I’m a junior in Natural Resources and Environmental Science with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife Conservation Biology and a minor in Latino/a Studies. My studies and involvements highlight my desire to be sustainable while also giving back to my community. This year, I’ve worked as the Richard Chavez Ambassador Student Lead Coordinator at La Casa Cultural Latina and have been actively involved in multiple Latino student organizations. My goal is to bridge the gap between science and policy through effective communication. I also want to work in including underrepresented groups in environmental conversations, as I believe their involvement is not only rightful but crucial to sustainable resource management. I’m honored and beyond excited to further develop the skills needed to accomplish these goals through the ELP.

Di Lan Johnson

Di Lan Johnson

My name is Di Lan Johnson. I am a first-year student majoring in Global Studies. My future career goal relates to foreign affairs or international law. Currently, I am involved in Model UN, the Association of Minorities in Political Science, the Central Residence Funding Board, and more. I aim to connect my interest in foreign affairs with current environmental issues to promote sustainable development. In my free time, I enjoy watercolor painting and playing badminton.

Aly Kolbus

Aly Kolbus

Hi! My name is Alyson Kolbus and I am a junior majoring in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability with minors in Spanish and Business. On campus I am involved in the Society of Women in Public Affairs, Illinois Solar Decathlon, and Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. Following my time at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I plan on attending law school to become an environmental lawyer in an attempt to support a more sustainable future. I am extremely passionate about sustainability and hope to contribute to the creation of a safe, reliable, and more environmentally conscious planet. In my free time, I enjoy going on runs, reading, film photography, and spending time with my family and friends.

Lilly Kooyenga

Lilly Kooyenga

Hello! My name is Lilly, and I’m a sophomore majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences concentrating in Human Dimensions of the Environment and minoring in Legal Studies. On campus I am an NRES student ambassador, member of the pre-law honors society, and I am a campus tour guide. I am passionate about environmental issues, and I plan to go to law school to become an environmental attorney to help the environment and people. I am excited to get more experience in this field for my future career.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lillian-kooyenga-7b718027b/

Rudy LaFave

Rudy LaFave

Hello, my name is Rudy LaFave, and I am a junior studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a concentration in environmental economics and policy. I love to be involved with campus sustainability through being co-vice president of Students for Environmental Concerns and being the Environmental Action Director for the Illini Democrats. I’m a long-distance runner who enjoys the solitude in my head as I exercise daily. I strongly believe that we can make a positive difference from the top down, and I’m excited to be in the ELP!

Aaliya Lokhandwala

Aaliya Lokhandwala

Hello! I am a senior pursuing Engineering Technology and Management in Agricultural Systems with a concentration in Energy and the Environment. With this degree I hope to combine my interests and passions in sustainability and business and help fight climate change. On campus I am a departmental ambassador for Agricultural and Biological Engineering, an undergraduate researcher for Animal Science Lab, and the Social/Marketing chair for a sustainable business RSO called ActGreen. Outside of school I am an avid thrifter, cat lover, and a Gusher enthusiast.

Ehrevkah Martin

Ehrevkah Martin

Hi, I’m Ehrevkah! I’m a sophomore majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Economics and minoring in Ecology and Conservation Biology. I am pre-law and a member of the Kappa Alpha Pi professional fraternity. I am really interested in environmental law and hope to pursue a career in the field. I enjoy hiking, volleyball, and being active. I also cook a ton and crochet. I am excited about the opportunity to learn more about public policy and how it influences and can be used to address environmental concerns.

Sophie Meade

Sophie Meade

Hello! My name is Sophie Meade, and I am a freshman majoring in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability. I am passionate about environmental justice, seeking experience in the policy sector to work with and advocate for the communities disproportionately impacted by climate change. I am also involved in Students for Environmental Concerns and UIUC’s Design for America, where I serve as the Chair of Membership and Professional Development. In my free time, I enjoy being active outdoors.

Erin Minor

Erin Minor

Hello! I’m Erin Minor, a senior from Urbana, Ill. I am double majoring in Political Science and Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability and pursuing iSEE’s Certificate in Environmental Writing. On campus, I am currently student editor of Q Magazine, iSEE’s student environmental publication. I also work as a communications intern at iSEE to make information about sustainability research accessible to the general public, something that I am very interested in pursuing after graduation. In my free time I enjoy running, reading, and hiking.

Nicolas Ramkumar

Nicolas Ramkumar

Hi, I’m Nic Ramkumar, and I am a senior from Champaign, Ill. I’m currently double majoring in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability and Economics. I’m also pursuing a minor through iSEE’s Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program. Outside of academics, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, and seeing wildlife. I got involved with the ELP to learn about advocacy and public policy.

Raphael Ranola

Raphael Ranola

Hi, I’m Raphael Ranola, a sophomore studying Economics, and I’m stoked to be a part of this cohort! I’m hoping to put my economics skills to the test when it comes to environmental policy analysis. My interest is in corporate sustainability — ESG investing and environmental markets are niche corners of finance that I’d love to explore, especially under the guidance of the pros. With the skills that I will accrue from this program, I’m hoping to make a difference. On campus, I’m the opinion editor at The Daily Illini, where I read interesting perspectives and write some, too!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raphaelranola/

Jocylin Sada

Jocylin Sada

Hello, my name is Jocylin Sada, and I am a senior pursuing a degree in Political Science with minors in Legal Studies and Latina/Latino studies. On campus, I am involved in Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Professional Fraternity and Pre-Law Honors Society, which have helped foster my passion for politics and the law. Following graduation, I hope to continue working within the legal field and start the process of applying to law school. I look forward to gaining hands-on experience in environmental policymaking and working alongside local political figures and experts.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jocylinsada

Lili Tadros

Lili Tadros

Hello, my name is Lili Tadros and I am a sophomore at studying Political Science with a minor in Business. I am thrilled to be a part of ELP’s spring 2024 cohort and to advocate for environmental sustainability and energy! I am currently working on exploring different fields of law and policy making because I intend to go into law school after receiving my undergraduate degree. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, listening to music, baking, and going on walks.

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/liligadallah

Linnea Turner

Linnea Turner

My name is Linnea Turner, and I am a junior in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES). I am also pursuing an urban planning minor and plan on pursuing a graduate degree in the urban planning and sustainability field. On campus, I’m involved in From the Ground Up and lead an initiative to restore a low-mow zone to native prairie. I also have been working as a research assistant in Dr. Chloe Wardropper’s lab focusing on social science research in natural resources. I’ve always been passionate about the environment, but my coursework in NRES and urban planning has really inspired me to explore the sociopolitical aspects of sustainability and environmental issues. I’m excited to further my understanding of environmental policy and sustainability through this program!

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/linnea-turner-841196222

Adrika Vats

Adrika Vats

Hi! My name is Adrika Vats. I’m a freshman majoring in Mechanical Engineering and hoping to minor in Sustainability. I have always enjoyed being an active voice in my community. While STEM is my passion, community service is a huge part of my personality. A little bit about me: I have a huge sweet tooth, and dogs are my first love. I am thrilled to be a part of this program as it will be a great way to come up with impactful and inclusive solutions!

Sakshi Vaya

Sakshi Vaya

I am Sakshi Vaya, a senior pursuing a degree in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability. My other commitments on campus include being part of the Global Leaders Program and serving as the co-chair of the International Student Advisory Board in LAS. I’m also the Founder Director of a waste management startup in Kota, India. My career focus primarily revolves around sustainable solid waste management, and my goal is to work towards creating cycles of waste such that nothing ends up in a landfill. I have been working towards this goal through multiple internships. Currently, I work as a Zero Waste Intern in Facilities & Services at the University. In my free time, I enjoy reading and writing Hindi and English poetry.

Michelle Weber

Michelle Weber

Hello! My name is Michelle Weber, and I am a senior from Arlington Heights, Ill., studying Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. On campus, I am involved in the LAS James Scholars Program, Tau Sigma Honor Society, Pre-Veterinary Club, Orientation Leaders, and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. After graduation, I plan to attend veterinary school to pursue a DVM and specialize in wildlife medicine. I am extremely passionate about conservation and sustainability, and I enjoy exploring how the environment and veterinary medicine are interrelated and what I can do to mitigate climate change. In my free time, I love running, traveling, drawing, spending time with my many pets, and listening to ’80s rock music.

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