Meet the Team
We are proud to showcase the talent which fuels the IE Cleantech Program internship for the fall 2020 semester. This team brings a great sense of enthusiasm and ambition to create and share stories about cleantech innovation – all of which are driving economic impact in our region, throughout the Southeast and beyond. Our student interns turn their interests and ideas into blogs, podcasts, white papers, videos and webinars. And this workforce of the future engages directly with entrepreneurs, founders of startups and executives at global companies – the people who are innovating us all to a cleaner economy and world.
Our Fall 2020 Team
Emily Cory is a sophomore Environmental Studies and Pre-Business major from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is interested in the intersection between business and social impact, especially with regard to environmentalism and the future of clean technology. Emily is hoping to pursue a career in environmental consulting and she enjoys learning about how businesses can embrace sustainability and benefit from the use of innovative cleantech.
Grace Elliott is from Charlotte, NC and is a member of the Class of 2022. She is an environmental studies and public policy double major. Grace is interested in cleantech because of how innovative and exciting its development can be. She enjoys working on this team and interacting with professionals in the North Carolina region. It continues to have a great impactful on her future in environmentalism.
Natalie Gauger is a senior from Greensboro, North Carolina majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. During her time at Carolina, Natalie has held multiple internships focusing on urban sustainability policy, energy efficiency on campus, and public engagement with science. Natalie is interested in the intersectionality of justice, urban planning, and environmentalism. After graduation, she hopes to work for a start-up or non-profit focusing on increased sustainability efforts in urbanizing areas.
Lauren Hall is a sophomore Environmental Studies major from Charlotte, NC. She has been working with the Cleantech program since May of 2020; this past summer, she helped to identify and profile AgTech SMEs from across North Carolina in order to create content for the Cleantech Corner. Lauren enjoys working with Cleantech because she feels as if she is standing on the forefront of knowledge, and she enjoys learning about topics that she didn’t even know existed. After her graduation in 2023, Lauren hopes to go into the field of international sustainable development or environmental journalism.
Chloe Joseph is a UNC sophomore from Wilmington, NC, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in journalism and Hispanic studies. She returned to the Clean Tech Corner this fall after first joining as a media intern for the February 2020 Clean Tech Summit. After graduating in 2023, Chloe plans to pursue a Master’s degree in journalism and a career in science and environmental communications. She is especially interested in AgTech and the intersections of environmentalism and social equity.
Summer Lanier is a junior Environmental Studies major on the Sustainability track from Benson, NC. She is minoring in Information Systems and is passionate about the intersection of technology and the environment, and feels that cleantech will play a vital role in our future. She put this passion into practice in the summer of 2019 when she studied abroad in South Korea and China. She explored the link between industrial policy and economic strategy while using cleantech as a lens for gaining insight about how innovation advances in these nations. Postgrad, Summer hopes to continue exploring these passions and preserving our environment.
Vivian Le is a senior from Kernersville, North Carolina. She is studying how different cultures interact with their environment with a focus on sustainability. During her time at Carolina, she has had many environmental/sustainable internships and held many different positions within community organizations. Vivian is interested in transformative technology, food sustainability, community engagement, and environmental justice. After graduation in May 2021, she hopes to work for a company with strong environmental values.
Sascha Medina is a senior from Wilmington, NC, majoring in environmental science and minoring in media & journalism and geography. In the summer of 2019, she studied clean technology in China and South Korea sparking her interest in the subject. This global experience enhanced her understanding of the link between industrial policy and economic strategy while using clean tech as a lens for gaining insight about how innovation advances in these countries. In southeastern North Carolina, fostering clean technology initiatives will help the region reach its sustainability goals. Sascha is passionate about the intersection of environmental science, conservation, environmental justice, culture and social accountability. She is pushing toward a future where her work encourages environmental awareness, compassion, and action.
Nidhi Nair is a senior from Pune, India studying Environmental Studies with a minor in Geospatial Information Sciences. Over the course of her undergraduate career, she has held multiple research and internship positions, both in India and North Carolina. She hopes to harness her diverse experiences to bring a multicultural and interdisciplinary perspective to her role. After graduation, Nidhi is interested in pursuing a career at the nexus of business and sustainability, with a focus on the circular economy.
Lexi Parvin is a sophomore from Charlotte, NC studying Business Administration and minoring in Sustainability and Environmental Justice. She began interning in January when the Cleantech Corner hosted the annual Cleantech Summit, and continued working with the program as it expanded into the summer. Her passion for business and the environment matched well with the program’s vision and she worked to publish several cleantech focused articles and now manages the program’s social media. After graduating in 2023, Lexi is interested in pursuing a career in sustainable consulting or clean technology. Overall, she is thankful to be a part of this innovative and sustainable initiative and looks forward to contributing to a clean future.
Jessica Reid is part of the Environment and Science Communication program at UNC, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies – sustainability track (May 2022) and master’s degree in media and communication (summer 2023). She is also minoring in public policy and media and journalism. From Apex, North Carolina, she grew up seeing extensive human impact on the land in the quickly-growing Triangle region, showing her the importance of sustainability. She recognizes climate change is a major threat to people across the world, so she is passionate about clean tech. Reid is publishing a book at the end of summer 2020 called Planet Now: Effective Strategies for Communicating about the Environment, where she discusses ways to bring people together to work and advocate for a more sustainable world.
Brenda Palacios Rodriguez is a first-year student from Morganton, NC, majoring in Environmental Studies. She is passionate about educating others on new sustainable, and creative methods for building healthy communities. She joined the Cleantech team in August 2020 and is currently working with colleagues to produce episodes for the program’s podcast series called, Innovating to a Clean Economy. After graduating, she is hoping to pursue a career in environmental design or environmental journalism to help inspire others to undertake environmental stewardship around the globe.
Rachel Slover is a senior from Bethesda, MD majoring in Mathematics with minors in Poetry Writing & Environmental Science & Studies. She sees cleantech as an exciting embodiment of mathematics, creativity, & humanitarianism — an intersection with myriad potential built on cultivating hope for our future. Her past work has focused on both the modeling of environmental processes through nonlinear dynamics and environmental public health, and she is excited to apply her past research and passion for innovation to the scope of the burgeoning cleantech sector.
Norman Xie is a Freshman from Chapel Hill, NC, studying Neuroscience with Minors in Chemistry and Environmental Science and Studies. He has been interning for Cleantech since August 2020 and is currently working with fellow interns to produce episodes for the program’s podcast: Innovating to a Clean Economy. Norman is passionate about sustainability and its impact on public health and he sees cleantech innovation as key to a healthier and more sustainable future. He plans to pursue a career in medicine or public health after graduating in 2024.