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Letters, alumni notes and awards

Fall/Winter 2014


We welcome letters related to magazine content and enjoy hearing from you. Please submit letters to Letters may be edited for length or clarity, and may also be published online.

Roland Wang

I will be finishing my second AmeriCorps VISTA term this November in Roseburg, Oregon, as the educational program developer for Umpqua Watersheds, Inc., an environmental nonprofit organization. I started my VISTA term after competing the WRM program. Over the past two years, I developed an afterschool science program on Fridays for sixth grade students at an elementary school that dropped Friday from the school week due to budget cuts.

After my VISTA term ends, I’ll be teaching high school science in Houston, Texas, as a 2015 corps member for Teach For America, hopefully a segue into my anticipated career path towards education.

In October, I had a chance to meet Director Paul Robbins and other Nelson Institute alumni in Portland. It was great to hear what Nelson alumni, particularly those from WRM, have pursued with their degree.

If there are any Nelson alumni in Houston, feel free to contact me.

Roland Wang, M.S. WRM ‘12

Alumni notes

What's new in your career and life? Write us at or connect with us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn and share an update there.

Christina Anderson (M.S. WRM ‘13) has joined the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association as training and outreach program specialist, working with the State Inter-Agency Training Committee to develop and coordinate trainings for conservation staff.

Jill Baum (M.S. LR ‘01) is now program director for the Audubon Center of the North Woods, a private, nonprofit residential environmental learning center and conference and retreat center in Sandstone, Minnesota.

Kristin Charipar (M.S. CBSD, EAP ‘12) has joined GRID Alternatives as policy and regulatory coordinator, working to make renewable energy technology and training available to underserved communities.

Daisy Chung (EAP ‘14), a research analyst at Solar Electric Power Association, and Melissa Whited (M.S. ER, EAP ‘10), an associate at Synapse Economics, were among the recent graduates now working in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy policy sectors who spoke at a UW-Madison event in November on careers in clean energy policy and economics.

Daniel Einstein (M.S. LR ‘95) was behind a new online effort to spotlight artwork located in easy-to-access public spaces around the UW-Madison campus. From large-scale sculptures to murals, monuments and mixed media installations, the works reflect early and continued efforts to incorporate art both in the classroom and along the everyday paths of students. Take a virtual tour:

Micah Hahn (Ph.D. ER ‘13), now a postdoctoral fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Atmospheric Research, received the Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field ofEcoHealth award from the International Association for Ecology and Health. Hahn is working to predict human West Nile virus outbreaks in the United States using climate data. She is also teaching at Colorado State University.

Leela Hazzah (M.S. CBSD ‘07, Ph.D. ER ‘11) was named a 2014 Top 10 CNN Hero and honored during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” airing in December on the global CNN networks. Hazzah was recognized for her work transforminglion killers into lion guardians in East Africa. To view the CNN story:

Sonya Newenhouse (M.S. LR ‘92, Ph.D. LR ‘97) and her prototype NewenHouse in Viroqua, Wisconsin, were featured in September on the design blog Inhabit and the sustainability news site TreeHugger. The line of small, sustainable kit homes were designed to be at least 50 percent smaller than the average new American home and 90 percent more energy efficient.

Julie Reber (M.S. ER, EAP ‘11) is now partner development manager at Nest, a California-based company that reinvents home products such as the thermostat and smoke alarm to address home energy consumption and help keep people safe.

Jeff Ripp (M.S. WRM ‘98), deputy administrator of the Gas and Energy Division of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, has joined the Wisconsin Wetlands Association board of directors.

Nichol Swenson (M.S. LR ‘86) and her husband Craig recently celebrated the first anniversary of their Flyways Waterfowl Museum ( in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and were profiled by the Baraboo News Republic. The museum features mounts of more than 60 species of waterfowl and interactive educational displays, and will have a different featured exhibit each year; 2014 focused on tundra swans.

ES denotes environmental studies undergraduate major; ESC, environmental studies undergraduate certificate. Graduate programs: CBSD, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development; EAP, energy Analysis and Policy certificate; EM, environmental Monitoring (through 2005); ER, environment and Resources (after 2007); LR, Land Resources (through 2007); and WRM, water Resources Management.

Nominations sought for alumni awards

Nelson Institute annual alumni awards

Nearly 4,000 Nelson Institute alumni work in government, business and nonprofit organizations, applying their knowledge and skills to make the world a better and more sustainable place. Many also volunteer with environmentalor humanitarian causes. To spotlight some of their accomplishments and impacts, the institute is seeking nominations for two annual alumni awards.

The Early Career Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have graduated within the past ten years, having attained a notable degree of impact through their professional accomplishments and/or community service. The DistinguishedAlumni Award honors alumni who have demonstrated considerable professional achievement and impact, and/or community service, since graduating at least ten years ago. 

For 2015, the nomination deadline is Feb. 2. Winners will be selected by March 1, with awards presented at the annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference in April. For more information and to submit nominations:

WRM @ 50: Celebrating a Model of the Wisconsin Idea

Water Resources Management 50th anniversary

The Water Resources Management (WRM) program will mark its 50th anniversary in 2015 with three days of learning and celebration, Sept. 17-19. Mark your calendar for this gathering of alumni, partners, supporters and students who are a part of WRM’s rich history of professional training and real-world impact.

Social gatherings, presentations and panel discussions, a keynote lecture and field trips will provide reconnection, reminiscing and learning about the latest developments in water resources management.

WRM alumni are encouraged to share their ideas to help shape the events. Join the Facebook group to reconnect and start a discussion with fellow alumni: And view the celebration website:

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