State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Meet the 2019 Environmental Science and Policy Student Government Organization

By Rachel Patterson

Last week, the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) Class of 2019 held elections for the Student Government Organization (SGO) that will guide the MPA-ESP student body for the next year. With a yearlong program that begins in the summer rather than fall semester, the SGO plays a critical role in connecting the cohort to each other, the larger MPA-ESP alumni network, and School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). In past years, the SGO has developed student programming including but not limited to a Women’s Speaker Series, alumni panels for careers in the public and private sectors, spring break volunteer and camping trips, and formal end of year celebrations.

The results of the election were released at the end of last week announcing William Hsu as president, Maria Chavez as vice president, Jake Higdon as treasurer, and Olivia Taylor as secretary.

The Class of 2019 SGO elected board includes William Hsu, President (right), Maria Chavez, Vice President (left center), Jake Higdon, Treasurer (left), and Olivia Taylor, Secretary (right center).

William Hsu has experience in urban planning for the City of Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in Environmental Social Science from Arizona State University. As SGO president, William strives to build community and collaboration within the class.

Maria Chavez has experience working in Peru and New Hampshire on avian ecology conservation research, and has a B.S. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As vice president, Maria strives to be an ambassador for ESP within the larger SIPA community.

Jake Higdon has worked as a data analyst and as a policy assistant at the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change. Jake holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Olivia Taylor has experience as a climate change and energy intern for VT Agency of Transportation, and in scholastics as a tutor and academic coach. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of Vermont.

We are looking forward to the exciting events and activities that SGO will coordinate this year.

Follow the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Rachel Patterson is an alum of the MPA-ESP Class of 2018 and currently a research assistant for the Earth Institute. Rachel has a background in environmental science and public policy with a particular focus on environmental justice. 

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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