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Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Nicholas Institute Alumni Directory
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Nicholas Institute Alumni Directory

The Nicholas Institute takes great pride in its breadth of current and former students and employees. Institute alumni have gone on to work across federal, state, and local government, education, nonprofits, and private enterprise. This directory provides current and prospective students, as well as fellow alumni, a sample of the range of career options and employers where our alumni are represented. It also serves as a way to connect with peers working in the environmental policy field.

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Cameron Adams

After graduating from Duke, Cameron took on several professional roles ranging from work with a consulting company on California wildfire adaptation to a position with the resilience team at the U.S. Climate Alliance. Currently, Cameron is serving as a NOAA Knauss Marine Policy Fellow for Senator Chris Coons, where he is responsible for a wide range of environmental policy topics affecting Delaware and the entire Unites States. Coming from a background in Earth and Oceanographic Science, Cameron worked two environmental state agencies in Maine for four years before beginning his Master of Environmental Management Degree at the Nicholas School of the Environment. His work for the state of Maine focused on coastal resilience and natural resource protection.


As a Research Analyst with the Ecosystem Services Program, I supported a regional coastal vulnerability assessment for 6 Atlantic coast states. My work focused on identifying and preparing the necessary data to run advanced GIS models to help highlight vulnerable sections of each state's coastline.

Alex Aines

I work in Monterey, CA for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Marine Scientist. The project I work on specifically is called the Fisheries Analytics Project. I assist in assessing the status of California's marine recreational finfish fisheries by statistically analyzing and evaluating fishery data and estimates. Before working for the Department and going to Duke, I received my B.S. from Santa Clara University, worked for Moss Landing Marine Lab, Bimini Biological Field Station, a couple of non-profits in the DC area, and did my Master's research with NOAA on tiger shark diet. I graduated from Duke with my MEM (CEM) degree in 2017.


Worked as an Ocean and Coastal Policy Program Assistant. Researched and created literature reviews on topics such as tuna fisheries in the Pacific, Chinese fisheries, global status of tuna stocks in each ocean, and policies on small-scale fisheries in coastal nations.

Maria Jose Alarcon

International attorney with a multicultural profile; licensed to practice law in Spain and Ecuador, and candidate for the New York Bar; experienced in transnational litigation, international arbitration and transactional work. Interested in environmental law and global financial structures; trained in legal analysis and the management and execution of transnational operations. Extensive communication, persuasion, and negotiation skills; excellent oral and written skills in English, Spanish, and French. Results-oriented, disciplined, and works with precision. Excellent interpersonal skills.


Assessed the status of coastal habitats; Researched international, state and federal policies related to protecting and restoring coastal habitats

Maddie Atkins

Maddie is an Analyst for Moody's San Francisco Local Governments Rating Team covering credits in California including cities, counties, municipal utilities, and school districts. Prior to joining Moody's, Maddie was a Financial Consultant with Carollo Engineers.


I worked as a water finance graduate research assistant though the Nicholas School.

Chelsea Baldino

As a Researcher on the ICCT Fuels team, I advise and conduct technical analyses for policymakers and other interested stakeholders to help reduce the greenhouse gas impact of liquid and gaseous fuels in Europe and Indonesia.


I analyzed NEPA documents for benefit-relevant indicators for alignment with Federal Resource Management using Ecosystem Services guidelines with Dr. Lydia Olander.

Jack Beuttell


I was a student blogger.

Pradnya Bhandari

Pradnya has a varied environmental science background, with special emphasis in EJ, science communications, sustainability, and corporate strategy. Currently she works as a special assistant in the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at the U.S. EPA where she coordinates with senior leadership on Administration priorities, briefings, and maintaining awareness of ORD's vast research portfolio. Other positions she's held at the EPA include working in the communications space to highlight the impact of ORD's research to key stakeholders and the general public.


I worked to develop scenarios of offsetting traditional milk with a novel cultured milk technology and then modeled the environmental impact of these scenarios. This was part of a larger project with PATH to determine how cultured milk can be used in the future as a food aid product.

Britta Bradshaw

Britta Bradshaw is a Principal Analyst in PG&E's Structured Transactions group, focused on commercial strategy and contract structuring to procure energy to supply PG&E's 16 million customers, with a focus on clean energy and energy storage. Britta has been at PG&E for 7 years and held many roles, including in corporate sustainability and customer- and utility-scale renewable energy strategy and planning. Prior to PG&E, Britta received her MEM in Environmental Economics and Policy with a focus on energy from Duke, interned at the United Nations, and received a Bachelor's degree from Princeton.


Research assistant to Brian Murray on environmental economics and policy, focusing on opportunities for wetland carbon stores.

Eric Brawner

At Duke, I studied business and the environment, entrepreneurialism, data analysis, and environmental science. My work has taken me from the Costa Rican jungle, to the Channel Islands National Park, to the rivers and streams of California and Oregon. My latest work has been helping with scientific research to reduce greenhouse gas and water pollution caused by fertilizer in agriculture.


I assisted with research for natural resource policy work. I also helped with scientific research to reduce pollution from fertilizer in agriculture.

Willa Brooks

Willa works as a Fisheries Analyst at Global Fishing Watch analyzing fish carrier vessel AIS data in efforts to bring transparency to transshipment activities on the high seas. Previously, Willa worked at Duke University on the Illuminating Hidden Harvests project; a collaboration with Duke, the FAO and WorldFish seeking to provide a global perspective on the contributions and impacts of small-scale fishing. Willa received her Master's in Environmental Management with a certificate in Geospatial Analysis from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment in 2019. For her masters research, Willa worked with World Wildlife Fund to develop and employ an evidence map protocol aimed at systematically reviewing existing literature evaluating social and/or ecological impacts of conservation interventions in mangrove ecosystems or near by human populations. Prior to attending Duke, Willa worked at sea as a fishery observer.


At the Nicholas Institute I supported research investigating how/if transport shipping could be considered a "keystone actor" in the marine ecosystem. I also supported a literature review on aquaculture with Xavier Basurto and Abagail Bennett.

Molly Bruce

I work with a team of attorneys, economists, ecologists, and geohydrologists to develop and support the proliferation of innovative groundwater recharge efforts in California.


I worked with Amy Pickle, Rachel Karasik, and a handful of other students on state-level coastal and marine issues. Specifically, our project tracked the policies that influence key coastal ecosystems and the scientific literature that captures the status of these ecosystems.

Aaron Bryant

I have worked as Energy Markets and Regulatory Analyst for White & Case LLP, a leading international law firm, in the five years following my graduation from Duke. At White & Case, I lead various business development and thought leadership initiatives, write articles for external and internal publication, and research a broad range of legal and regulatory matters for clients in the utilities, power, and renewables market segments.


Under the direction of Amy Pickle, I developed a comprehensive database of state-level laws and policies governing the practice of hydraulic fracturing. I researched a number of strategies that legislatures and regulatory bodies deployed in their respective oil and gas sectors.

Noah Chesnin

I'm the Associate Director for the NY Seascape Program, the conservation program of the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium.


Nichola Clark

Nichola Clark is a Principal Associate on the Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas team at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she follows the negotiations for an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). Nichola is also a PhD student at the University of Wollongong’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) where her research focuses on institutional arrangements for the BBNJ agreement. Prior to ANCORS and Pew, Nichola was a Knauss Fellow and International Program Analyst working on international fisheries issues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and also worked as a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, focused on deep-sea and high-seas issues. Nichola holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.


I worked on international ocean governance issues generally and evaluating the transparency of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in particular.

Adrien Comte

Adrien Comte is an ecological economist, interested in topics at the interface of science and policy. With an interdisciplinary approach, his research focuses on sustainability, ecosystems accounting, and the impacts of global environmental change on social-ecological systems. He is currently working as a nature-based solutions manager expert on development of methods and tools on blue carbon & natural capital accounting. Previously, he conducted research on coral reefs, where solution-oriented research can help understand the impacts of climate change on the populations dependent on these ecosystems and how to prepare the adaptation of societies to these changes.


I worked on the economics of climate change under the supervision of Brian Murray. I designed a course on the economics of climate change adaptation, specifically looking at sea level rise. I also drafted a paper on the linking of California and Quebec cap-and-trade systems.

Kim Corcoran

After graduating from Duke, Kim moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to work remotely for the Office of Protected Resources in the Permits and Conservation Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service. In this role she works as a Marine Mammal Protection Act Analyst processing Incidental Take Authorization requests. Her Master's Project at Duke analyzed coral reef permits under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, specifically focusing on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Other previous experiences include working as a marine mammal and aquatic research intern for the Walt Disney Company and participating in research projects on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.


During my first semester working with John Virdin in the Nic Institute, I had the pleasure to team up with Underwater Reefs and collect data and review manuscripts for their 50 Reefs Project. I also worked with a great team to establish Oceans@Duke and develop the Oceans@Duke webinar series.

Sam Cunningham

Economic and social science analyst for the Federal fisheries off Alaska. Based in Anchorage, AK.


Research on environmental mitigation credit markets

Marta Darby

Since graduating from law school and graduate school, Marta has litigated environmental and energy cases as an attorney with Earthjustice and Sierra Club. The primary focus of her work is on shutting down coal and gas plants, accelerating the clean energy transition, improving air quality in disproportionately burdened communities, and protecting public lands from resource extraction.


I helped gather the data that went into a model evaluating economic tradeoffs of water use in the Nam Ngum River Basin, Lao PDR, and developed methodologies/models related to that data. Final paper: "Analyzing Economic Tradeoffs of Water Use in the Nam Ngum River Basin, Lao PDR"

Jill Derwin

After graduating from Duke's MEM program, I worked at the Woods Hole Research Center supporting MRV activities for the Mexico REDD+ program. I left WHRC to pursue my PhD at Virginia Tech. My research has focused on tree canopy cover. We've utilized harmonic regression coefficients from time-series Landsat imagery to improve estimates of TCC for the 2016 NLCD TCC product. We have also studied whether crowd workers can successfully interpret TCC from NAIP imagery and different sampling schemes for continuous variable validation. I am currently funded under an ORISE fellowship working working under the USFS and hope to continue working through this program as a post-doctoral researcher after completing my degree.


I worked as a part-time research assistant with Dr. Lydia Olander to determine the eligibility of parcels in North Carolina for participation in existing voluntary carbon markets using elevation and GIS data

John Doyle

I am a Senior Attorney in the Airports and Environmental Law Section of the FAA's Office of the Chief Counsel. In this role, I provide advice to the agency on how to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and a number of other applicable environmental statutes. In addition, I support the Department of Justice when it defends the agency's decisions against lawsuits brought by affected parties.


I conducted research and drafted memoranda on emerging climate and energy issues. I was fortunate to co-author an article that was ultimately published in the Environmental Law Reporter.