Parks and Public Lands Intern, Emily Piontek: Emily graduated from Washington University in 2012 with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science. As an avid proponent of healthy, easy-to-access public lands, she hopes to encourage more Missourians to explore our beautiful parks this summer by writing about different parks,by interviewing people who use or care for the public lands, and by exploring the ways in which communities across the state benefit from their existence. Check out her pieces on the parks blog here.
Super Volunteer, David Behrens: David first became involved with MCE in the late 1970s circulating an MCE petition in St. Louis and Kansas City against of the Callaway Nuclear power plant. He returned to MCE in 2014 to work on several projects: reviewing MSD’s semi-annual reports on their compliance with the Consent Decree and working on MCE’s comments on the US Park Service’s revised management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. David is a veteran of the United States Army and holds a BA in International Relations from American University in Washington, D.C. and an AS in Bio-Medical Engineering from Forest Park. Since his retirement in 2014, he has been volunteering one day each week in the MCE office working on everything from research to assistance with clerical work. He also heads up many of MCE's tabling efforts at community events. He is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, has lived in Saint Louis for over four decades with his wife. He has two children and two grandchildren. He and his wife enjoy doing Laughter Yoga.
Spring 2017 Interns
Democracy in Action, Rebecca Dowd: Rebecca followed her passion for environmental awareness, protection and justice by becoming a Democracy in Action Intern at Missouri Coalition for the Environment. She earned a Bachelors in Journalism and a minor in Environmental Studies and Dance from the University of Kansas. While there, she was a reporter and editor for the student newspaper, The University Daily Kansan, to write about issues she felt passionate to share with others such as fracking, factory farming, and clean water. Before starting her internship, she backpacked through Scandinavia and spent time in Costa Rica and Spain. She enjoys writing (especially about her travels) as well as hiking, biking, dancing, and yoga.Clean Water Policy, Ava Rollins: In 2016, Ava received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Political Science from Texas Christian University. There, Ava was enlightened through her course work about the global fight for natural resources, climate change, waste pollution, environmental racism, and food injustice. As a former environment and sustainability intern at two nationally-recognized Botanic Gardens, Ava has developed an unique skill set for developing green missions and has garnered a passion for being a part of the paramount movement of environmental stewardship. It is that passion and concern for the environment that led Ava to MCE. Some of her hobbies include: photography, hiking, personal training, and traveling. In total Ava has traveled to 5 countries, and looks forward to adding Thailand to the list in June 2017.
Food Access, Claudia Noto: Claudia is a junior attending Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Global Health with minors in Political Science and Design. As MCE's Food Access intern, she is working on research and outreach to other cities that have made strides in improving access to nutritious foods in food deserts. She will also be reaching out to St. Louis neighborhood communities to learn more about their needs and experiences as well as contacting grocery stores and markets. The focus of this work is to improve access to healthy food and increasing public transit in St. Louis neighborhoods with low food access.
West Lake Landfill, Xandi Barrett: Xandi is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Environmental Earth Science and African and African American Studies. She has been involved in environmental and racial justice activism on her campus through her work with Green Action and Students in Solidarity. She is a member of the 2017 cohort of Civic Scholars at Washington University, and her participation in that program brought her to her internship at MCE. She is excited to be able to work with community members on their efforts to clean up the radioactive, smoldering West Lake Landfill and fight St. Louis's nuclear waste legacy. In her free time, she likes to bake, take photos, and go camping.
Food and Farm GIS Intern, Sandy Perez: Sandy is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working towards a Bachelor of Sciences in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability. She also works on food access with Claudia as a GIS intern under Melissa Vatterott. Her work specifically centers on developing interactive geographical representations of food deserts and their many variables to be used as public education and leveraging tools in our work towards a more equitable food system. Outside of work, she enjoys running, travelling, talking about social justice, and dance. You can find her in Champaign working for her University's YMCA and taking classes through Wednesday, and in St Louis with MCE the rest of the week.