Archive | Bios

Karen Carrillo

Karen joined the GPSEN board of directors in the summer of 2017. As the Education and Engagement Manager for the Oregon Environmental Council, she works on developing and implementing education and engagement strategies that build awareness of environmental problems and solutions; specifically around air quality and climate protection issues. She has worked on sustainability, youth violence prevention, and health issues with local and international organizations such as the MercyCorps, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and Self Enhancement Inc.

Karen grew up in the central mountains of Latin America’s Northwest, the highest of the three branches of the Colombian Andes. She was born to a family of coffee farmers, ranchers and soldiers. At the age of ten, she moved to Alaska. Both her life and work experiences have led her to working on critical issues relating to environmental justice, education, and culture. She is a graduate of the Center for Diversity and the Environment’s E42 program and has helped to lead racial equity assessments and policy development to help institutionalize equity work and mechanisms for accountability within the nonprofit sector.

She received her degree in International and Sustainable Urban Development from Portland State University, and a certificate of French language proficiency from CIEP for France’s Ministry of Education; she is fluent in French and Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys watching informative documentaries, kayaking Oregon’s popular and under-loved waterways, gardening while listening to podcasts, salsa dancing, and traveling many miles to spend time with her abuelo.

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Bruce Podobnik

Bruce Podobnik is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Lewis & Clark College.  He is author of the book ‘Global Energy Shifts,’ which examines transformations in energy industries such as coal, oil, natural gas, and renewables over the last two centuries.  His book argues that the contemporary world could shift relatively rapidly to a renewable-based energy system if the right political, commercial, and social conditions are brought about.  He is also conducting research into global patterns of protests carried out by people who want more to be done about global warming.  And he is also working on a psychedelic rock album with friends in the band Superluminous, because the world always needs more music and dancing!

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Lin Harmon-Walker

Lin obtained her JD degree from Lewis & Clark Law School with a specialization in environmental and natural resources law in 1991. Her career to date has included law practice, nonprofit executive directing (Friends of Trees and Oregon Mediation Association), and academia, where she served as an administrator and professor in top-ranked environmental law programs at Lewis & Clark and Pace University. During her academic career she taught and mentored international and US law students enrolled in JD, LLM, and SJD level programs. She also served as Co-Chair and Chair of the American Bar Association’s Endangered Species Committee.  

Lin brings an international perspective to GPSEN’s work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She co-taught Pace’s United Nations Environmental Diplomacy course with Ambassador Robert van Lierop, training students placed in the UN Headquarters Missions of small island developing states, and several of her students sat in on negotiations for the SDGs. Her course in Comparative Environmental Law from a Global Resources Perspective was the first of its kind in the US, and she is coauthoring a book on Global and Comparative Environmental and Natural Resources Law with colleagues. She has also taught Environmental Negotiation and Mediation in the US and Brazil. She led Pace’s academic delegation to the IUCN’s 2012 World Conservation Congress, has been a member scholar of IUCN’s Academy of Environmental Law for more than a decade, and twice served as Chair of the Jury for the international Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy.  

Upon returning to Portland from New York in 2014, Lin founded the Ethical Future Institute, an organization seeking to convene creative thinkers from all disciplines to envision and promote an ethical and sustainable future for life on Earth. She also joined the board of GPSEN, where she served as Governance Chair and President. She became Executive Director in September 2017, when GPSEN’s founder and previous President and Executive Director, Kim Smith, stepped down to take academic leave.  

Lin and her husband Conan, a network architect who has set records as a volunteer crew leader with Friends of Trees for more than 20 years, love exploring the many cultures and habitats of the Pacific Northwest.  

 

 

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Renzo Meza

Renzo works for Latino Network, a nonprofit organization striving to advance the educational and civic outcomes for communities of color. As the Youth Leadership Coordinator, Renzo leads leadership and professional enrichment initiatives for high school students in Multnomah County. Prior to joining Latino Network, Renzo taught at a dual language immersion program in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Renzo, a Maryland native, attended the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer, exploring Portland’s eclectic food scene, and hiking Oregon’s natural wonders.

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Neeraja Havaligi

Neeraja Havaligi

Neeraja is a practicing agriculturist, educator, scientist and a life-long learner of the power of growing, cooking and sharing food. Neeraja has a doctorate in environmental science with research focus on urban water and food resilience and urban agrobiodiversity. She has two masters degrees, one in agronomy, another in plant physiology, and a bachelors in agriculture science. Her work experience includes consulting with United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for biodiversity conservation, sustainable land management, gender mainstreaming and climate change adaptation in countries from Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Europe and South American regions.

She has served non profits and sustainability start-ups as board member and advisor. Neeraja believes that home and community gardens and urban green spaces can serve as centers of individual and collective change drawing communities together in how we identify with our resources and how we use them, leading to diverse, resilient and giving-living-thriving communities. Details about Neeraja are at www.neeraja.net

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Serena Dressel

Serena Dressel

Serena is starting the fourth year of her undergraduate degree at Portland State University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Indigenous Nation Studies. Serena is inspired to work in a career related to environmental education and environmental justice, originally inspired by her time spent exploring Oregon’s beautiful outdoors while growing up. Serena works at Portland State University’s Student Sustainability Center as the Leadership Programs Coordinator.

Serena is connected to other sustainability college groups through the PSU Urban Honor College’s Sustainability Scholars, the Student Sustainability Leadership Council, the Sustainability Leaders Network and PSU Environmental Club. She has also completed a permaculture design certificate. Serena participates in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions Board. Serena enjoys hiking and travelling to new places, trying new foods and reading.

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Heather Spalding

Heather Spalding

Heather Spalding is the Coordinator of the Student Sustainability Center at PSU. She grew up in southern Oregon and has a strong appreciation for the natural systems that sustain our lives. Heather has a B.S. in General Science and a M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy with a specialization in Leadership for Sustainability Education, both from PSU.

She has also completed a permaculture and whole systems design certificate, is certified as a yoga instructor with emphasis on restorative techniques (RYT-200).
Heather participates in the AASHE advisory council, the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network Board, and is the NASPA Region V Sustainability Knowledge Community Representative. She enjoys cohousing, natural history and sciences, reading, creating art, hiking, and gardening.

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Briar Schoon

Briar Schoon

Briar is the Sustainability Manager for Portland Community College, with the focus of mainstreaming sustainability throughout all college practices district-wide. She also teaches sustainability courses at PCC. She holds a Masters Degree in Sustainability from Arizona State University, as well as a B.A. in Sustainability and a B.S. in Justice Studies. She is a LEED Green Associate and a Master Gardener volunteer.

In addition to sitting on the Board of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, she is active in a variety of community organizations including 350PDX and her community garden. Briar likes to spend her free time crafting, gardening, and playing with her kitty.

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Nick Pasquale

Nick Pasquale

In a career spanning nearly two decades Nick Pasquale has produced and production managed high profile television shows, documentaries, films, promotional campaigns and marketing content for many of the world’s leading brands, studios, artists and celebrities.

His clients include National Geographic, Red Bull, MTV, ABC, FuelTV, Comedy Central, Lifetime, TruTV, WeTV, and a variety of creative agencies, with shooting locations throughout the US, Central and South America, Australia, England, New Zealand, Israel, Fiji, Haiti and the Philippines.

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Kim Smith

Kim Smith

Kim received her Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University, specializing in environmental sociology and social movements. She has taught sociology at Portland Community College (PCC) since 1996 and is the Director of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN), acknowledged as a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by United Nations University in 2013. She represented the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) at the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit, in 2012, and currently serves on AASHE’s Board of Directors.

She also serves as an International Fellow with the U.S. Partnership for ESD and led the U.S. delegation to the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in 2014. She has served as PCC’s Service-Learning Coordinator, Teaching Learning Center Co-Director, and Training Coordinator for PCC’s Summer Sustainability Institute, and works closely with many non-profits. She is committed to offering hope for a sustainable future through education and civic engagement.

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