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Student Associates

The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health (CCCH) Student Associates are graduate, professional, and undergraduate students from a range of academic disciplines, who all share a passion for understanding the interface between climate change and health. The CCCH Student Associates program provides a venue for students across Yale University to discuss ideas in an interdisciplinary environment, learn from experts in the field, and engage with research and novel interventions in the climate and health field. Applications open each fall, and all Yale students are eligible to apply. YCCCH has partnered with several professionals working in the field of climate change and health to offer mentoring opportunities. Student Associates can get more information on YCCCH's Mentor Program page.

Guests at previous CCCH Student Associate seminars have included: Dr. Daniel Costa, former National Program Director for the Air Climate & Energy Research Program U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice; and Dr. Anthony Costello, co-chair of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change.

  • Daviana Berkowitz-Sklar

    Daviana is a rising junior in Yale College studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She has worked on several community-based wildlife conservation and sustainable development projects in both urban and rural communities in Latin America and the United States. She is currently researching the future impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems in Panama. She is particularly interested in learning more about the intersection of ecosystem-based adaptation and public health and how ecosystem management activities can increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people and the environment to climate change. On campus, Daviana works for the Yale Office of Sustainability, plays tennis on the Yale Club Tennis Team and leads First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOT).

  • Vivian Bi is a MESc student at the Yale School of the Environment. She is a social ecologist studying the underpinnings of knowledge, power, and ideology in our governance of the environment and people. At the intersection of health and climate change, she is interested in understanding how health as a metric of success and non-western medicinal knowledges can help us move from a symptoms to systems framework of climate action.

  • Kendall Billig

    Kendall is a first-year MPH candidate in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. She is interested in the effects of climate change on vector-borne and zoonotic disease patterns, particularly as they relate to changing land use trends. Kendall previously attended the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health.

  • Courtney Bliler is a first-year M.A. student at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. She is interested in the impacts of climate change on the health and security of vulnerable and marginalized populations, particularly refugees and internally displaced persons. Courtney graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

  • Evan Chen
    Evan is a first year medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. He is working on a retrospective study that evaluates the efficacy of intra-arterial in liver cancer patients. The long-term goal of this study is to help inform future clinical decisions and improve outcomes of patients with liver cancer.
  • Mary Chen

    Mary is a junior in Yale College, majoring in Political Science and Earth & Planetary Sciences (formerly called Geology & Geophysics) with a certificate in Energy Studies. The odd combination highlights her desire for an interdisciplinary approach to climate change policy with an emphasis on racial justice and energy equity in vulnerable populations. Mary has been researching energy equity in the Metro-Atlanta area and the Arctic region, effects of natural disasters on low-income communities of color, and how large agricultural corporations affect public health in rural communities. On campus, she’s an editor for Yale Daily News, coaches parliamentary debate for the New Haven Urban Debate League, works with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and promotes political participation in the Chinese American community with Yale CASA.

  • Deja Curtis

    Deja Curtis is a second-year Master of Environmental Science student at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). Her research focus is on the relationship between climatic variables and dispersal syndromes of tropical tree species within Panama. Her interests exist at the nexus of engineering and community-driven ecological restoration; specifically, how the integration of both practices can be used to revitalize degraded and polluted land into resources that can be utilized by the local community. Prior to attending YSE, she worked with local non-profit organizations – The Sustainable Living Project and a Keep America Beautiful affiliate – where her work centered on urban agriculture and program development. She previously obtained her Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering at the University of Central Florida.

  • Christina is a second-year MPH candidate in the Department of Health Policy. She is interested in the role interdisciplinary community collaboration and collective action play in shaping climate change policy most impacting health. Particularly, her interests lie in the role of policy reform and implementation in combating the growing influence climate change has had on exacerbating health inequities.

  • Yara El-Khatib

    Yara El-Khatib is a senior in Yale College studying Global Affairs and Global Health Studies. She is particularly interested in the health impacts of climate crises, especially on vulnerable populations, like refugees and the disabled. For example, she has researched the morbidity, mortality, and management of NCDs following natural disasters and hopes to gain more perspectives on these issues–and others in climate change and health–through the Student Associates program! Outside of academics, Yara sings a cappella, plays on the ultimate frisbee team, advocates for the representation of Middle Eastern and North African students on campus, and leads First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOT).

  • Isaac Freedman

    Isaac matriculated to Yale School of Medicine in 2017 as an MD student. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Physics. At Pitt, he was the chair of the Green Fund Advisory Board, a part of student government that provided support and funding to sustainable projects on- and off-campus. He went on to earn his MPH from Columbia University focusing on Health Policy & Management with a certificate in Comparative Effectiveness Outcomes Research and worked in consulting and healthcare administration in New York City. At Yale, Isaac's research interests span clinical and basic science and healthcare policy.

  • Rebecca is a first year student at YSPH, pursuing an MPH in Health Policy with a likely concentration in Climate Change and Health. Rebecca earned a BS in Public Health from the University of South Carolina Honors College in 2018. While in undergrad, she had formative international experiences studying sustainable food systems in Amsterdam, as well as throughout her semester at the University of Sydney. Following graduation, Rebecca served for 2 years as a Peace Corps Health Education Volunteer in Moldova, where she gained a passion for bettering the health of individuals and communities through sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. She is interested specifically in learning how to craft policy that effectively decreases anthropogenic harm to the environment while incentivizing better, more sustainable alternatives, such as with meat and dairy production, single-use plastics, and non-renewable energy sources. Rebecca aims to ultimately work in the field of international climate policy.

  • Natalie Henning

    Natalie is a first-year Master of Public Health student, at the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. She is interested in the role of sustainable food systems in improving both environmental and human health, as well as the potential role of carbon sequestration technologies to combat climate change. Natalie graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Human Health and has prior research experience focusing on women’s health. Eager to continue her involvement in women’s research, she is interested in investigating the role that female leaders play in global environmental justice.

  • Elizabeth is a student at Yale College majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Humanities. Her academic interests span food systems, geography, public health, and environmental storytelling. On campus, she writes for the Yale Daily News, leads pre-orientation backpacking trips with FOOT, and teaches sex education through Community Health Educators. Elizabeth hopes to pursue a career in medicine grounded in equity and social justice.

  • Mary Kate Lane

    Mary Kate Mitchell Lane is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering in Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to graduate school, Mary Kate gained experience in a diverse set of industry and research roles (from an intern in oil refining and natural gas distribution to a student researcher on ultracapacitor development, biofuel synthesis, and water treatment) while earning her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University that motivated her to pursue a research career focused on sustainability and the environment. Currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Mary Kate investigates the use of green solvents as process alternatives for the production of feature-controlled nanoparticles in Dr. Julie Zimmerman’s lab. Outside of YCCCH, Mary Kate is most involved in the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale and the Equity in the Job Search Symposium organizing committee.

  • Yicong Liu

    Yicong Liu is a first-year Master of Public Health student at the Yale School of Public Health. His interest in climate change lies in the relationship between climate change and infectious diseases, an area he found students and the public would like to know more about. Other interests include STDs and food and nutrition. He graduated from Shandong University with a Bachelor of Public Health.

  • Natalie Lomayesva-Seligman

    Natalie is in her final year of the M.D. program at the Yale School of Medicine. To supplement her medical education, she recently completed the Climate Change and Health Certificate from the Yale School of Public Health. She is interested in the health effects of climate change in vulnerable populations, changes in disease patterns due to climate change, adaptation strategies to the health effects of climate change, and effective communication techniques around these topics. She is especially interested in the mental health effects of climate change, as she plans to go into psychiatry. She looks forward to using what she learns as a Student Associate to better serve her patients and community.

  • Guinevere is a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. She is interested in how climate change affects the spread of disease. Specifically, she would like to study and model how changes in temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide content in the air, and other factors affect disease outbreaks globally. Guinevere received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State University.

  • Ian is a first-year MPH student in the department of Health Policy. He is interested in improving the health outcomes of climate refugees as climate change increases global geopolitical tensions and the incidence of civil conflict. Ian graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Biology and has previous research experience with vulnerable populations.

  • Peter is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. He is interested in using new technologies to monitor climate change, the impact of climate change on infectious diseases, and the implementation of climate change policy. Peter graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a BA in Biology and in Science, Technology, & Society.

  • Abdeali Saherwala

    Abdeali received his BA in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Urban & Regional Environments from York University (Toronto) in 2020. He graduated with honours and was awarded the Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Award, the most prestigious leadership award at York University. Aside from his academics, he worked as an Indigenous Law Researcher for the Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) project at Osgoode Hall Law School under Dr. Deborah McGregor. Additionally, he worked as a Student Researcher for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), where he assisted in the creation of policies related to recycling of electric vehicle batteries and photovoltaic batteries, under Dr. Mark Winfield. In 2020, he enrolled in YSE’s Masters in Environmental Management program with a specialization in Environmental Policy and Energy. He hopes to work as a researcher for various environmental policy, climate change, and human health projects, organizations and professors at Yale University.

  • Max is a rising senior in Yale College studying Environmental Studies and Political Science. Before his final year, Max will spend the fall term conducting ecological research in the Great Basin region, supporting the foundation of a faith-based agroforestry farm in Illinois, and advocating for a statewide environmental justice mapping tool in his capacity as an intern with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He is interested in applying climate science research to environmental justice policy work and is excited to examine this intersection through a public health lens with the YCCCH Student Associates Program.

  • Martin Tipton

    Martin is a senior in Yale College studying mechanical engineering. He wants to use his STEM background to build rigorous, data driven, climate change policies. He was able to begin doing this through a YCCCH clinic where he worked on a research project highlighting the importance of public health and equity in emission mitigation policies. He hopes to continue exploring the intersection of these topics at the YCCCH this year and after graduation.

  • Ryan is a senior at Yale College double majoring in East Asian Studies and Economics with a Certificate in Data Science. He is interested in the relationship between climate change and capitalism, especially in this current era of rapid globalization, unsustainable development, and extreme wealth inequality. After volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium throughout high school, he became more aware of the importance of conservation and sustainability related educational programming in order to promote actions that protect our natural environment and global health. Through the YCCCH, he hopes to develop a more interdisciplinary understanding of the climate crisis. On campus, he has previously served as a Sustainability Liaison for the Office of Sustainability, staff member at the Asian American Cultural Center, and host of Flipside, a WYBCx Yale Radio show.

  • Catherine is a junior at Yale College, majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration on Food and Agriculture. She is interested in the intersections between climate change and social justice as it manifests in our food systems. As the Native American Cultural Center and Yale Sustainable Food Project Seedkeeper and Programs Liaison, Catherine has had the opportunity to start conversations about the interconnectedness of environmental and cultural health from an indigenous perspective. Currently, on a leave of absence, Catherine is doing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at an environmental non-profit and farm as well as writing articles on sustainability for an impact investing firm.

  • Weixi is a first-year MPH student at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. She is very interested in climate change impacts on water quality and public health. She previously completed an internship at China Academy of Urban Planning and Design where she worked with the Water and Infrastructure team. Now she is eager to address the impacts of climate change on underrepresented groups. Weixi received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science at University of Manchester in the UK.

  • Tina is a first year Master of Science student in Epidemiology of Infectious Disease. She completed her undergraduate study in Public Health at University of Washington. She is interested in how global warming will result in contamination in water source, and how will that increase the transmission of diseases. She is also interested in topics among how different populations suffer disproportionately from climate change.