CLIMate Correction








Debating the reality of climate change is history.

Take a look back at VoLo Foundation and the University of Central Florida’s inaugural Climate Correction Conference and Expo. Together with industry experts and our community of change agents, we dove into answers and discussed the data, economics, and best practices for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Watch to learn what is being done and what steps you can take now.

Don’t miss out on Climate Correction 2021. Get your tickets today!

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8:00AM – 9:00AM

8:00AM – 9:00AM

Registration and Breakfast

We invite speakers, media guests, and all attendees to check-in for the conference. If you purchased a student or educator ticket, have your school ID in hand. After registration, grab some delicious breakfast and decide which breakout sessions you will attend in the afternoon. Be sure to sign-up early for the sessions of your choosing because some convenings have limited capacity.

9:35AM – 10:05AM​

9:35AM – 10:05AM​

Are We Experiencing A New Normal With Extreme Weather?

With every hurricane or heatwave, an inevitable question looms about whether it was “caused” by climate change. Using the lens of recent events, Dr. Shepherd will explore a contemporary understanding of linkages between climate change and extreme weather. During his synopsis of what is known in the climate science community as attribution, he will also suggest a better way to frame questions connecting climate change and extreme weather.

10:05AM – 10:30AM

10:05AM – 10:30AM

Implications of Environmental Policy

Environmental economists and researchers have seen their data translated into the rough-and-tumble policy world for the last two decades. Policy decisions control whether we have clean water, breathable air, and a sustainable climate. This session will cover recent research at MIT into the human consequences of some of those decisions, from local air quality to the cross-state air pollution rule and international climate policy.


10:30AM – 10:45AM​

10:30AM – 10:45AM​


10:45AM – 11:45AM​

10:45AM – 11:45AM​

Farm-to-Atmosphere: Visions of Zero Hunger and Climate Action

Right now, agriculture generates an estimated 25% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the WRI. That quarter percent combines food production and the land-use changes associated with farming, such as clearing vegetation and plowing. If current trends continue, but agricultural productivity does not increase beyond 2010 levels, what will happen to humanity and the growing price of healthy food? These experts share visions of a world where food scarcity does not exist, and meat production is no longer a leading cause of deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.


11:45AM – 12:45PM

11:45AM – 12:45PM

Buffet Lunch

We are committed to making environmentally- and socially-responsible decisions in all aspects of our event and catering services. We are pleased to offer a delicious vegetarian lunch menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients. We’ve also accounted for vegan and gluten-sensitive needs.

  • Arthur's Catering

12:15PM – 12:45PM

12:15PM – 12:45PM

VoLo VISTA Award Presentation (lunch session)

The first annual VoLo VISTA Award is specifically for students who display exemplary leadership, along with Vision, Innovation, Sustainability, Technology, and Adaptation in climate solutions within the State of Florida. VoLo invited five finalists to present their ideas today to all of you. Audience members will assist VoLo’s Founders in determining the project that best drives positive change in climate solutions.

12:55PM – 1:00PM

12:55PM – 1:00PM

Afternoon Session Announcements

1:00PM – 6:00PM

1:00PM – 6:00PM

Climate Correction Engagement and Art Expo Opens

Want to get involved in climate solutions, but don’t know where to start? The Climate Correction (CC) Engagement and Art Expo is your answer. Join us at the CC2019 Expo, where you can engage in current conversations and resolutions with leading organizers, researchers, and businesses. Discover where your skills are needed and sign up to participate and accelerate real-world climate solutions. All this while finding inspiration for a sustainable future among the works of local artists.

1:15PM – 2:15PM

1:15PM – 2:15PM

Breakout Session A

See details below.

2:15PM – 2:45PM​

2:15PM – 2:45PM​


2:45PM – 3:45PM

2:45PM – 3:45PM

Breakout Session B

See details below.

3:45PM – 4:15PM​

3:45PM – 4:15PM​


4:15PM – 4:25PM

4:15PM – 4:25PM

Set Your Goals

VoLo Foundation Trustee and Co-founder, Thais Lopez Vogel, gives a compelling insight into how empowerment and actionable steps to set goals can achieve measurable and meaningful results.


4:30PM – 5:00PM

4:30PM – 5:00PM

Keynote - Climate Change and the Global Community

Journalists have a huge responsibility to inform the communities accurately and rigorously what is happening to our planet. Join Emmy award-winning journalist and director of “Planeta Tierra” from Noticias Telemundo Vanessa Hauc, as she shares the state of our changing planet and why today more than ever it’s vital that each of us contributes to the creation of a sustainable future, regardless of the place where we work. Vanessa will share her experiences covering the impacts of climate change around the world, as well as the solutions that have been implemented today to solve the climate crisis.



Closing Remarks



Climate Correction Engagement and Art Expo Closes


Breakout Sessions

Session A

1:15 PM

Climate Justice Beyond Global Carbon

Case Study – Sand Key – 220

What is one of the most effective solutions already implemented to improve climate change? The answer: Implementation of policies to reduce the production and use of CFCs and HFCs. China, India, and the US are some of the most abundant greenhouse gas emitters in the world, especially when it comes to these harmful refrigerants. Natural Resources Defense Council’s Senior Strategic Director for Climate & Clean Energy shares his accounts of the challenges and triumphs to do the world justice through legislation.

Presented by: David Doniger


H20 and the Economy

Panel – Garden Key – 221

Global economies are incredibly dependent on healthy coastal and ocean resources, as well as clean drinking water. One of every six jobs in the US is marine-related, and over 1/3rd of the annual U.S. Gross National Product originates in coastal areas – approximately $700 billion! Florida is one of the top five states in the nation where the ocean economy is a driving factor for economic success. Our Florida economy spans areas of tourism and recreation, transportation, construction, living resources, and more. As stated by Florida’s newly elected Governor, “Our water and natural resources are the foundation of our economy and our way of life in Florida.”

Presented by: Dr. Thomas Wahl

Featured Panelists:
Erin Rothman
Jon White
Dr. Lisa Chambers
Dr. Sandra Whitehouse


Activate Your Activism

Panel – Pegasus Ballroom

Now more than ever, it’s vital that we all be climate activists – doing everything we possibly can to effect positive change. Advocacy within and outside of existing system plays a crucial role in moving solutions forward. Learn from this panel of experts the different forms advocacy can take, and the skills needed to drive a movement forward.

Presented by: Rick Christie

Featured Panelists:
Anna V. Eskamani
Benjamin Backer
Elisabeth Soto
Solemi Hernandez


A High Impact Grey Infrastructure Solution

Tour – District Energy Plant IV

Grey infrastructure includes the pipes, pumps, ditches, and detention ponds engineered by people to manage stormwater. These systems require technical engineering, continual maintenance, and often need upgrading. Take a tour of the UCF’s new District Energy Plant to see how environmental-focused upgrades in grey infrastructure can play an essential role in water and energy management.

Presented by: Saul Santiago


Climate Connections

Workshop – Egmont Key – 224

This interactive workshop will allow you to experience climate action through the eyes of someone else. Assume a new identity as you step inside this classroom and find out how your unique skills and characteristics can bring positive change in the world.

Presented by: Caroline Lewis and Nicole Salzberg

Your Low-Carbon Lunch

Workshop – Memory Mall

So you are concerned about climate change? Well, now that you’ve changed your lightbulbs, it’s time to change your lunch! A fun cooking demonstration shows you can eat for your health and the health of the planet. ***Please note due to UCF food safety policy this session is for UCF students and employees only.

Presented by: Grace Ebner and Megan Case


Session B

2:45 PM

Climate Crisis in Florida, Prevention and Response

Case Study – Sand Key – 220

As the injection of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere continues unabated, Florida is already facing an accelerating climate crisis with economic and social consequences. A discussion of mitigation strategies and preparedness prioritization will follow a review of the top climate hazards facing Florida. This case study will showcase Florida-specific examples of prevention best practices.

Presented by: John Morales


Putting Your Education to Work

Panel – Garden Key – 221

The question of how to help the environment while building a career in what may seem like a non-ecofriendly field can confound even the most brilliant and educated minds. These career experts will share their journeys as well as recommendations and information for how to merge climate solutions into your career goals. Presented by: Chris Castro Featured Panelists: Josephine Balzac-Arroyo Luke Gray Dr. Peter Jacques Rachel D. Wilson

Presented by: Chris Castro

Featured Panelists:
Josephine Balzac-Arroyo
Luke Gray
Dr. Peter Jacques
Rachel D. Wilson


The Health Disparities of Climate Change

Panel – Pegasus Ballroom

Examine how social and health inequalities shape the health impacts of climate change around the world and here in Florida. Learn the facts about what the implications are for climate change adaptation and health care provision, while identifying how social justice plays a role.

Presented by: Dr. Lauren Padilla

Featured Panelists:

Andy Stevenson

Dr. Ava Holt

Dr. Cheryl Holder

Dr. Mark Dickie


Emissions vs. Hyper-local Agriculture

Tour – Arboretum

Did you know gardens can support the movement to eat locally and to grow food organically while mitigating our food footprint? Take a tour through the community garden at UCF’s Arboretum to learn how the university is reducing carbon emissions and building community partnerships for green solutions.

Presented by: Jennifer Elliott, Kelsie Johnson, and Zachary Prusak


The Economics of Nature-based Solutions

Workshop – Cedar Key – 223

Ever wonder about the economic value attributed to natural solutions? When applied strategically and equitably, nature-based solutions can not only safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems but also help people adapt to climate change. Gain insight into the merits of so-called ‘green’ solutions, including the restoration or rehabilitation and protection of natural habitats.

Presented by: Catherine Macdonald

Storytelling for Climate Change

Workshop – Egmont Key – 224

Investigate the influence of human values on beliefs and concerns around climate change. This workshop will guide participants through the basic steps of storytelling, while also deepening your understanding of how to engage your circle of influence and even strangers in climate change action.

Presented by: Carlos Zegarra


17 global goals

Sustainable Development Goals

Climate Correction aims to educate and arm the public, with data about climate change, and to empower each to take strides towards a more renewable, sustainable future. This year we expanded our aim to acknowledge and discuss how the solutions shared at Climate Correction tie into the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Throughout the conference, you will learn how current work compliments the SDGs as well as have a chance to dive deeper into the SDG(s) that speak to you by following the SDG key in our breakout session menu.

Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication.

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development.

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world.

Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity.

Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs.

Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.

To reduce inequalities policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

There needs to be a future in which cities provide opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

Responsible Production and Consumption. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to move towards more sustainable patterns by 2030.

Climate change is a global challenge that affects everyone everywhere.

Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

Access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


Speakers & Panelists

Andrew Stevenson

Environmental Advisor, VoLo Foundation

Andrew has worked as the Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst at JUST Capital and as a Macro Portfolio Manager at Citadel Asset Management's Global Fixed Income Fund. He has over twenty years of experience working for investment banks in London and Tokyo. Before that, Stevenson was a Portfolio Manager for Brevan Howard AM and JWP Partners, U.S. His experience also includes eight years as an advisor to and employee of, the National Resources Defense Council. He has served as an advisor to ClimateWorks on the topic of impact investing and speaks at Columbia Law School and Congressional Briefings on issues related to climate finance.

Ava Holt - DrPH, MS

Postdoctoral Scholar/Evaluation & Epidemiology Specialist, Florida State University/Florida BRACE

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Dr. Ava Holt is a Postdoctoral Scholar with Florida State University and serves as the Evaluation and Epidemiology Specialist on the Florida Building Resilience Against Climate Effects Program (FL BRACE). FL BRACE is a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported initiative across to promote public health preparedness and adaptation to the current and potential impacts of climate change. Ava evaluates the implementation process and health outcomes of climate adaptations and interventions of local health departments. She has a Doctorate in Public Health and a Master’s in Environmental Health. Ava’s research interest is at the intersection of health equity, climate change and environmental justice.

Caroline Lewis

Founder and Senior Advisor; Independent Consultant, The CLEO Institute; Caroline Lewis Consulting

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As an independent consultant for individuals and organizations, Lewis advances leadership, strategic plans, and program design. In 2010 she founded The CLEO Institute to promote climate literacy and urgent action. In 2002, Lewis, a science teacher & high school principal, created the Fairchild Challenge program, engaging thousands of students around the world. Her service roles include: the National Environmental Education Advisory Council; Miami-Dade Executive Board for Science Curriculum & Instruction; White House Summits on Climate & Energy and Women & the Environment. In 2013, Lewis was a recognized White House Climate Resilience Champion of Change.

Cheryl Holder - M.D.

Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action

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Dr. Cheryl L. Holder, Fellow of American College of Physicians, Associate Professor in Department of Humanities Health and Society at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine has devoted her career to caring for the underserved populations. She focuses on teaching the impact of social determinants of health on health outcomes, addressing diversity in health professions through pipeline programs, HIV prevention and health impact of climate change. Dr. Holder is Director of Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP™ Education and Pipeline She serves as President of the National Medical Assn. Florida State Medical Association,and Co-Chairs Florida Clinicians for Climate Action.

David Doniger

Senior Strategic Director, Natural Resources Defense Council

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David Doniger has been at the forefront of the battle against air pollution and global climate change since he joined NRDC in 1978. He helped formulate the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement designed to stop the depletion of the earth's ozone layer, as well as several essential amendments to the Clean Air Act. In 1993, he left NRDC to serve on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, followed by key posts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He rejoined NRDC in 2001 and has since been working to defend the Clean Air Act from assaults in Congress. He is based in Washington, D.C.

David S. Vogel

CEO/Chief Scientist, Voloridge Investment Management

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David Vogel is a world-renowned data mining and predictive modeling expert. Having won numerous data science awards, he has earned international recognition for his predictive modeling accuracy. He has been expertly quoted in Bloomberg, Barron's, ThinkTech, and others on charitable and financial topics and Vogel regularly presents research and data at conferences and institutes worldwide. He currently serves as Board Member to Environmental Defense Fund. JUST Capital, and Amplio. David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in Scientific Computing from New York University.

Elisabeth Soto

Digital Marketing and Communications Senior Manager, Climate Nexus

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Elisabeth Soto is a highly motivated, full-stack digital marketer with over eight years of experience and a startup marketing mind. She holds certifications in marketing automation, digital marketing, data analytics, and front-end web development and loves to stay on top of the latest digital trends. Elisabeth’s passion is exploring the intersection of climate and faith which led to her launching C4 | Christians Concerned About Climate Change, a non-partisan group engaging in environmental stewardship through prayer, discussion, and climate activism. Her experience in digital marketing and communications spans a variety of sectors including financial services and philanthropy.

Ernie Shea

President; Project Facilitator, Solutions from the Land; Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group

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Ernie Shea is the President of Solutions from the Land (SfL), a not-for-profit organization that incubates and supports farmer-led, multi-stakeholder platforms that inspire, educate, and equip agricultural partners to innovate and lead efforts to sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to local and global goals for sustainable development. SfL brings agricultural thought leaders to the forefront of conversations about the food system, the environment and the future. SfL embraces solutions and synergies and advocates for farmers being valued and rewarded for the full range of goods and services they deliver from the land.

Jack Beuttell

Co-founder & Board Member; COO, Kunoa; Indrio Brands

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Jack Beuttell is Co-founder of Kunoa, a vertically integrated Hawaii beef company. Jack was raised in Florida, where his family began farming citrus in the 1960s. After seven years in the real estate private equity space, Jack earned his MBA and Master of Environmental Management from Duke University, where he was awarded the CASE Seed Prize in social entrepreneurship and a fellowship sponsored by Burt’s Bees. Jack consulted impact investors before co-founding Kunoa. In 2017, he was named the HVCA’s Ag Entrepreneur of the Year, and Kunoa was named Best New Business by Pacific Edge Magazine. Jack relocated to Florida in 2019, taking a position as COO for Indrio Brands, a holding company with assets in the citrus arena.

Jennifer Elliott

Program Director, UCF Arboretum and Natural Resources Programs

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Jen Elliott completed both her B.S. and M.S. at UCF with a focus on marine turtle biology, ecology, and conservation. In 2009 she was hired as a field biologist at the UCF Arboretum where she is now Program Director overseeing the Arboretum and the Natural Resources programs. In this position she is responsible for all research and educational initiatives, experience-based learning, fostering an inclusive environment that supports human connections with ecosystems and landscapes, and developing sustainable urban environments. Jen is an instructor in the Biology Department where she teaches a class focused on designing and implementing relevant ecosystem-based research, and science communication.

Jonathan White - RADM (ret.)

President & CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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Jon White was instated as President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in January 2016, where he supervises and controls all of the business and affairs of the organization. Prior to this, he had a distinguished 32-year career as an oceanography and meteorology officer in the U.S. Navy and retired at the rank of Rear Admiral. White grew up along Florida’s Gulf coast. He earned a B.S. in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.   White had numerous assignments at sea and ashore during his Navy career, culminating in his assignment as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy from 2012 to 2015.

Kelsie Johnson

Coordinator, Arboretum

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Kelsie graduated from UCF in May of 2016 with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Environmental Science. Her main focus was biology related courses. Among her favorites were Intro to Marine Biology, Conservation Biology, Tropical Ecology, and Animal Behavior. Throughout her time as an undergrad, Kelsie worked with the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group (MTRG) in Melbourne Beach, FL on the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge during the summers from 2014-2016. In addition to biology, Kelsie is also very interested in communal and personal gardens as well as the natural systems in and around the UCF community. She hopes to further engage and educate students on the importance of the sustainable growth of food and natural systems.

Lee Perry

Chief Operations Officer, Fleet Farming

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Lee Perry is a Bachelor’s Degree alum from the University of Central Florida with a major in Environmental Science. Seasonally, she teaches children at an ecology camp at the Ed Yarborough Geneva Wilderness Area in Seminole County. For years, she worked on the board of the Native Plant Society while educating young students during an internship at the Environmental Science Center. Throughout her life, she was raised in the garden and plans on dedicating the future to her passion occupation as the Fleet Farming Director. With this position, she is immersing herself in various communities while spreading the mission of minimizing the ecological footprint of the agriculture industry by converting lawns into micro-farms.

Luke Gray

Engineer, MIT

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Master's student in mechanical engineering at MIT in the Precision Engineering Research Group under Prof. Alexander H. Slocum. Interested in machine design for climate restoration, renewable energy infrastructure, and a happier planet. SOScarbon is an effort to bring more efficient collection and disposal technologies for sargassum seaweed to the Caribbean. We aim to sequester millions of tons of equivalent CO2/yr by sequestering invasive sargassum seaweed in the deep ocean. Our system rids Caribbean coastline of rotting sargassum, improving tourism, human health, and coastal ecology.

Mamta Mehra - Ph.D.

Senior Fellow, Project Drawdown

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Mamta Mehra, PhD is the senior fellow at Project Drawdown, where she is working on the modelling of various landuse and food sector solutions. These solutions have many cascading benefits, besides their high potential for carbon sequestration and avoided emissions. She has more than ten years of professional experience working with national and international organizations in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation related to the agriculture and landuse sector. As part of her PhD research, she has developed a conceptual framework for the delineation and characterization of resource management domain for sustainable agriculture and resource use in the semi-arid region of India.

Marshall Shepherd - Ph.D.

Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and Director, Atmospheric Sciences Program, University of Georgia

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Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate and is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia. Dr. Shepherd was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s largest and oldest professional/science society in the atmospheric and related sciences. Dr. Shepherd serves as Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program and Full Professor in the Department of Geography where he is Associate Department Head. Dr. Shepherd is also the host of The Weather Channel’s Award-Winning Sunday talk show/podcast Weather Geeks and a contributor to Forbes magazine.

Nicole Salzberg

Programs/Communications Coordinator, VoLo Foundation

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Nicole serves the VoLo team as Communications and Program Coordinator. Nicole brings sustainability experience as a LEED Certified Green Associate and a decorated work history with several environmental and sustainability businesses and non-profits, including ReThink Energy Florida and The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Global Sustainability from the University of South Florida. As a mother, Nicole’s passion for helping secure a livable future for her children is paramount.

Rachel D. Wilson - MSSA

Senior Associate, Global Portfolio Manager, Graduate School of Public Service

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Rachel manages the portfolios of Echoing Green's Global Fellows, cultivating their leadership skills and serving as their purpose champion. She has over a decade of experience working in both the public and private sectors where she helped her clients to develop sustainable strategies to amplify their impact. She is former Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of Gambia’s and has worked across the continent of Africa building capacity through leadership development, education, health initiatives, and social enterprises. Rachel graduated with a Masters in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and is currently finishing her EMPA at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.

Sandra Whitehouse - Ph.D.

Senior Policy Advisor, Consultant, Ocean Conservancy

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Dr. Sandra Whitehouse is a consultant who is uses her marine science expertise to advise clients on ocean policies focused on how to advance ocean health and sustainably develop coastal and offshore projects. Her clients have included governments, companies and nonprofit organizations. Currently she serves as the Senior Policy Advisor to Ocean Conservancy, as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a member of the Ocean Collectiv. She is on the board of The National Council for Science and the Environment. Dr. Whitehouse holds a B.S. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

Solemi Hernandez

Southeast Regional Coordinator, Citizens' Climate Lobby

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Citizens' Climate Lobby Southeast Regional Coordinator, covering Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. She first learned about CCL in 2017, and she immediately signed up as a volunteer because she was inspired by CCL’s mission to create the political will for climate solutions. She is currently enrolled as a Political Science student at Florida Gulf Coast University and volunteers with several organizations advocating in Florida for the environment and the Everglades restoration. She has been a grassroots activist and community organizer for many years.

Thomas Wahl - Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida

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Thomas Wahl is an Assistant Professor for Coastal Risks and Engineering at UCF, where he is affiliated with the Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Department and the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research. He obtained his Diploma and Doctorate degrees at the University of Siegen, Germany, before taking a postdoc position at the University of South Florida. Before coming to UCF he was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow of the European Union at the University of Southampton, UK. Through his research he connects engineering and various science disciplines to better understand the vulnerability of coastal societies, and to support the development of sustainable and resilient adaptation strategies.

Zachary Prusak

Central Florida Program Manager/Florida Fire Manager, The Nature Conservancy

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Zach has worked for The Nature Conservancy since January 2005. In his roles, Zach supports the members of the Conservancy’s Florida Fire Team, which consist of the on-site fire leaders and crew stationed at TNC Preserves, and also supports the operations at the Disney Wilderness Preserve and Tiger Creek Preserve. Zach also works with state, federal, local and private conservation groups in order to lead and promote fire training opportunities, facilitate on-the-ground partnerships, collaborate with the Florida Governor and Cabinet on fire statutory issues while also serving as the Florida Conservancy liaison on national fire issues. Zach is a proud UCF alumni, graduating with a Masters in Biology.

Anna V. Eskamani - MPA, MNM

State House Representative (D-47), Florida House of Representatives

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Representative Anna V. Eskamani is an Orlando native and daughter of working-class immigrants from Iran who has committed her life to advocating in support of Florida’s hardworking families. On November 6, 2018 Anna was elected to serve the great people of House District 47 with a vote margin of 57% to 43%, flipping a legislative seat, and becoming the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida. Tough, authentic and unafraid, Anna is a progressive who has proven herself as a leader who works hard, delivers results, and gets things done.

Benjamin Backer

President and Founder, American Conservation Coalition

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Benji Backer is the President and Founder of the American Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit focused on free-market, limited-government environmental reforms. A junior at the University of Washington, Benji is a fellow at the Chapman Center in Seattle and on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum. He has written for CNBC, The Hill, Washington Examiner, and many other publications. He has been the recipient of RedAlert and GreenBiz's 30 Under 30, as well as the Grist 50. His home state is Wisconsin and is a proud Packers fan.

Carlos Zegarra

Executive Director, Sachamama

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Born in Perú and raised in Colombia, Carlos Zegarra is a biologist whose dedication and passion for the environment was recognized with two Northern California Emmy Awards. After working on several environmental projects and noticing the lack of information available to the Latinx community, he decided to move away from scientific research to help develop more effective ways to communicate the science of climate to the general public. Currently, he is the executive director of Sachamama, an environmental organization working to build support for a 100 percent clean energy economy and sustainable lifestyles within Latinx communities.

Catherine Macdonald - M.Sc.

North America Natural Climate Solutions Director, The Nature Conservancy

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Catherine Macdonald is the North America Natural Climate Solutions Director for The Nature Conservancy. In this role Catherine leads TNC’s efforts to mitigate climate through natural and working land strategies. Previously, Catherine was TNC’s Director of Science and Stewardship, Director of Conservation Programs and Director of External Affairs in Oregon where among other duties, she led the chapter's climate policy work. Catherine is Vice Chair of the Oregon Global Warming Commission. She holds a Masters of Science from Oregon State University. In 2005, Catherine received the Environmental Law Institutes National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration.

Chris Castro - LEED GA, CPB

Director of Sustainability & Resilience, City of Orlando

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Chris is a sustainability and clean energy professional and eco-entrepreneur with a passion to create smart, resilient, and sustainable cities. Chris is currently the Senior Advisor to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Director of Sustainability & Resilience, and Co-chair of Smart Cities for the City of Orlando, developing policies & programs to advance the City’s sustainability, clean energy, & climate action goals. Chris is best known for his work as the president and founder of IDEAS For Us, a global UN-accredited 501c3 nonprofit working to incubate and fund innovative projects that advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Chris is a UCF grad who studied Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Energy Systems.

David Norvell

Assistant Vice President, Sustainability Initiatives

Mr. David Norvell is charged with driving and implementing the university sustainability strategy, putting the UCF at the forefront of the sustainability movement. A 1993 Alumnus, David began his career at UCF in 2001 as the university Energy Manager. In the last decade, he has served as Director of the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management where he spearheaded the sustainability program, saving the university more than $14M in energy efficiency projects, before joining the administration. From 2011-2015, he served as the Assistant Vice President for Facilities tasked with the reconstruction of the university's largest department, the Department of Facilities Operations. In 2015, David was appointed Assistant Vice President of Sustainability Initiatives where his true passion lies.

Debra Reinhart - Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship, University of Central Florida

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Dr. Debra Reinhart is a Pegasus Professor and Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship at the University of Central Florida and a member of the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department. She holds a B.S. in Engineering from Florida Technological University, and an M.S. in Sanitary Engineering and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Reinhart’s research area is solid waste management, with a focus on optimized waste collection and sustainable operation of landfills. From 2011-2013, Dr. Reinhart was a program manager at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Reinhart is an Associate Editor for the Waste Management.

Erin Rothman

CEO, StormSensor Inc.

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Erin K. Rothman, CEO and Founder of StormSensor Inc., has 15 years of stormwater and remediation consulting experience, working with cities across the United States. Recognizing a need for innovative data capture in the stormwater industry, Erin founded StormSensor with the objective of creating intelligent wastewater infrastructure using StormSensor’s patented sensors and real-time analytics. Erin assembled an incredible team of talented engineers with disciplines ranging from software development, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering to fulfill StormSensor’s goal of generating a massive data intelligence network for application in stormwater- and wastewater-focused infrastructure.

Grace Ebner

Accounts Manager, We Are Neutral

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Grace Ebner is a University of Florida alumna with undergraduate degrees in Sustainability Studies, Business Administration, and Environmental Science. During her time as an undergrad, Grace worked with the City of Gainesville's Natural Resource Committee to integrate sustainable practices into both the city's natural and built environments. She is passionate about environmental education and strives to further engage students with actionable ways to combat climate change. As the Accounts Manager for the environmental nonprofit, We Are Neutral, she connects local communities and leaders to meaningful carbon offset and reduction projects.

Jennifer Morris - Ph.D

Research Scientist, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

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Dr. Jennifer Morris is a Research Scientist at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Her research focuses on energy-economic modeling, environmental policy analysis, decision-making under uncertainty and linkages between human and natural systems. A key focus is investment planning for energy, water and coastal adaptation. Jennifer is also a key contributor to the development of the MIT Integrated Global System Model (IGSM), focusing on the human component, the Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model. With this modeling framework, she develops integrated economic and climate scenarios, explores technology and mitigation pathways, and examines multi-sector dynamics.

John Morales - CBM, CCM

Chief Meteorologist, WTVJ NBC6-TV

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John Morales is the longest tenured broadcast meteorologist in South Florida, serving as a reassuring television presence for nearly three decades. His tropical weather acumen and steadfast character guided South Florida viewers through hurricanes Andrew, Irene, Katrina, Wilma, and most recently Hurricane Irma. For his life-saving work during the 2017 season, Mr. Morales was recognized with the John Coleman Broadcast Award at the National Tropical Weather Conference. John Morales is one of very few weather presenters elected to be a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He is accredited by the AMS as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, and has won four Emmy Awards.

Josephine Balzac-Arroyo - Esq., LL.M.

Assistant Professor, Rollins College

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Josephine M. Balzac-Arroyo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Entrepreneurship. Professor Balzac-Arroyo is a licensed attorney admitted to practice in Florida and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida. She was the President of the Law Office of Josephine Balzac, P.A. from April, 2014 to June, 2018. In 2017, Ms. Balzac-Arroyo was appointed to serve on the City of Orlando, Mayor’s Green Works Task Force. Also, in 2017, she was recognized by U.S. Representative Darren Soto as a community leader as a part of Hispanic Heritage month. She also served her community as the former Vice President of the Board of Directors for IDEAS For Us and is now currently serving on the Advisory Board.

Lauren Padilla - Ph.D.

VoLo Data Science Fellow, Environmental Defense Fund

Lauren Padilla, Ph.D. is the VoLo Data Scientist working at the Environmental Defense Fund’s Office of the Chief Scientist and Health Program. She analyzes air pollution monitoring datasets to understand localized patterns of exposure and sources of emissions in the context of reducing emissions and improving human health. Her work involves development of scalable, automated tools that lower barriers to large data analysis for researchers. Committed to open and transparent data, she serves as a technical adviser to EDF’s Air Quality Data Commons. Lauren earned her B.E. at Dartmouth College and Ph.D. at Princeton University in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, co-advised in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program.

Lisa Chambers - Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida

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Lisa Chambers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at UCF with a secondary joint appointment in the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research. She obtained her Ph.D. in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida with a specialization in wetland biogeochemistry. Her research focuses on understanding the chemical cycles that occur in our natural environment, particularly the role of soils in storing and transforming carbon that could otherwise contribute to global climate change. Dr. Chambers’ research spans wetlands, rivers, and coastal ecosystems across Florida and Louisiana and has helped us understand how sea level rise is altering coastal carbon dynamics.

Maggie Monast

Senior Manager - Agricultural Sustainability, Environmental Defense Fund

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Maggie Monast works with farmers, food companies, agricultural organizations and others to create an agricultural system that drives climate stability, clean water, and food security. Maggie works to quantify the farm financial impacts of conservation practice adoption, collaborates with major corporations to develop sustainability initiatives, and develops innovative financial incentives to advance sustainable agriculture. Maggie has a Master's in Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.

Mark Dickie - Ph.D.

Professor of Economics, UCF Department of Economics

Mark Dickie is Professor of Economics at the University of Central Florida. His major fields are environmental economics and health economics. His research focuses on estimating economic benefits of reducing environmental risks to human health; understanding how people perceive environmental health risks; and examining the determinants and effects of actions that people take that affect the risks they experience. His work has been funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Dickie served for six years on EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee.

Megan Case

Nutrition and Outreach Coordinator, Wellness and Health Promotion Services UCF

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Megan Case has a degree in Dietetics and Consumer Food Science from the University of Georgia. She works in the Wellness and Health Promotion Services Department at the University of Central Florida. As the Nutrition and Outreach Coordinator, Megan is involved in teaching life skills around nutrition and meal preparation to UCF students.

Peter Jacques - Ph.D.

Professor, University of Central Florida, School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs & National Center for Integrated Coastal Research

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Peter J. Jacques is Professor of Political Science and the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at the University of Central Florida. He is an Earth Systems Governance Senior Fellow, former Co-Director of the Florida Climate Institute at UCF, and the President of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences for 2018-2020. He has written five books on environmental politics and published many academic research articles. His book, Sustainability: the Basics (Routledge 2015) is being translated into Spanish and going into a second edition.

Rick Christie

Editorial Page Editor; Project Collaborator, The Palm Beach Post; The Invading Sea

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Rick Christie, the award-winning Editorial Page Editor of The Palm Beach Post since November 2013, supervises the Opinion section and Editorial Board for the Post and Over 37 years, Mr. Christie has had a varied newspaper career that has taken him from Beijing to Washington to West Palm Beach to Havana -- and back. He has covered everything from major financial stories to presidential campaigns to foreign conflicts before settling into his current role. His latest project, The Invading Sea, has won state and national awards for raising awareness about the threat of sea level rise to South Florida. The project is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between 3 newspapers from 3 separate companies.

Saul Santiago

Production Manager, UES-Chilled Water Production

Saul Santiago, 14 years with UCF in various positions. Currently responsible for the university's Chilled Water production plants. Came to UCF from the United States Air Force where he was in charge of Air Refueling flight simulation, C-141 and C-5 flight simulators. Saul is also a certified Mil Wright Instructor.

Sebastian Eastham - Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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For the past decade I have worked to better understand how our emissions affect the environment, using global-scale climate and air quality modeling. This has covered topics such as the effects of conventional and supersonic aircraft emissions on the ozone layer, the public health risks of geoengineering, and the side-effects of agricultural waste burning in rural India. Across all of these topics I have seen the need to consider pollution as more than just a local problem, and am committed to understanding the ways in which the actions of one individual, sector, or nation can affect other people's health and prospects.

Thais Lopez Vogel

Trustee, VoLo Foundation

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While in her native Venezuela, Thais worked for Petroleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anonima (PDVSA). a Venezuelan State oil company and the 39th largest company in the world. She leads Volo to expand awareness of environmental issues. Her focus is expansive to include childhood education and global health care. which she believes are core building blocks for a sustainable future. She is a member of the Tiffany Circle at the American Red Cross. a board member for Water People Theater in Chicago, and also participates in several local community-focused committee groups in the Palm Beach area. Thais attended school at Colegio Emil Friedman and received her law degree from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello.

Vanessa Hauc

Journalist and Senior Correspondent, Telemundo Network- Sachamama

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Vanessa Hauc is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and senior correspondent for Noticias Telemundo. From social, cultural and political events to natural disasters, Vanessa has been a valuable source of information for U.S. Hispanics. Today she is leading the investigative unit on environmental issues at Telemundo Network “Planeta Tierra”. Vanessa is the co-founder of Sachamama or “Mother Jungle,” a nonprofit organization that works to inspire, empower and educate the Latino community on climate issues. She has worked hand-in-hand with The Climate Reality project and Vice President Al Gore in his global initiative “24 Hours of Reality” for the past 8 years, she was name one of the ten Latinos leading on Climate by the HuffPost.


Conference Organizers

Abigail Axelrod

Program Director, VoLo Foundation

Abigail’s professional history is decorated with service to nonprofits across fields including education, healthcare, and the arts. Currently, she is Program Director at VoLo Foundation, Director of Climate Correction, and runs Useful Views, a platform aimed at developing philanthropy.

Yara Watson Colon

Sustainability Specialist II, UCF Sustainability Initiatives

Yara Watson drives the reporting, outreach, and marketing components of the office and supports the development of campus sustainability objectives. Yara’s primary focus is empowering the UCF community to integrate sustainability into both work and play, challenging every Knight to live as a healthy, happy, and productive steward of the Earth.

Conference Partners: