Climate Leadership Certificate Cohort One 2021-2022

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The Climate Leadership Certificate provides the training and experience needed for students to apply a variety of skills to critical work in climate action and justice, as well as other vital areas of sustainability, including social justice, economic vitality, and well-being. Throughout the one-and-a-half year program, students engage in curriculum targeted at sustainability literacy, planning, and leadership, while also participating in hands-on practicum work with a variety of sustainability organizations in Whatcom County and the Methow Valley.

Previous-Cohort About the Certificate Donate Meet the 2022-2023 Cohort

The Climate Leadership Certificate’s cohort of students begins the program with a breadth of experience and variety of interests surrounding the critical issues of climate action, social justice, economic vitality, and well-being.



Avia Breiter

My interest in the sciences was sparked by experiences growing up that taught me to appreciate the environment and want to protect it. I have always been a water baby and the ocean in particular has been a significant part of my life. I have seen first hand how the ocean’s ecosystem has been impacted by climate change and in turn has impacted local communities who rely on it for subsistence.

Environmental science major and am currently planning on minoring in sustainable studies

Julia Downing

Hello, I am studying Energy Science with a minor in Economics. I’ve always loved learning about sustainability and more specifically about the global and local need for various energy resources. Implementing and improving technology in the energy sector is a key to mitigating climate disasters. Through this certificate program, I am looking forward to learning about climate action work being done throughout our local communities.


Energy Science with a minor in Economics

Sophie Manning

Hello I am a double major in Environmental Policy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Growing up, I was surrounded by stunning natural spaces, and as I learned the natural history of the land, I have simultaneously watched it burn due to growing forest fires and overuse. I am very excited to engage with my peers in this work, to find the vital intersection between climate action and social justice.

Major in Environmental Policy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Natalie Sacker

I am majoring in Business and Sustainability. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was surrounded with lush, beautiful ecosystems that I took for granted as a child. 
While my major and minor will give me knowledge on environmental and business issues, this program will give me the real experience and leadership skills I’ll need to make a successful career in climate work. I’m also looking forward to building relationships with other climate leaders.

Majoring in Business and Sustainability

Zoe Hemez

I use she and they pronouns. I’m double-majoring in mathematics and energy science. In high school, the connections between climate change and social injustice became increasingly obvious to me. Before long, I became a member and leader in several youth-led climate organizations I’m excited to be participating in the Climate Leadership Certificate program so that I can study how to be a leader and get connected with other young activists.

Double-majoring in mathematics and energy science

Libby Taylor-Manning

Hi there! I use she/her/hers pronouns. Majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry. I got involved with climate action and conservation work through my volunteering. One of the best things about the SCA was the fantastic community. I am so excited to be able to participate in the certificate cohort and be a part of another environmental community here at Western!

Majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry

Ella Brinkman

Hello, I am an Interdisciplinary Major with a concentration in Environmentalism. Through  Collaborative Relationships, and Leadership I see a future for all. Growing up in nature on the coast of Northern California is what inspired me to join the climate justice movement. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a local nonprofit in Bellingham and with my local community on climate justice issues.

Interdisciplinary Major with a concentration in Environmentalism

Solomon Duke

I use “He/Him” pronouns. I am majoring in Energy Science and Technology. I began thinking about climate issues at the age of eight while at Sunnyside Environmental School. There I learned about the causes, effects and possible solutions to climate change. I pursued it in high school through the Portland Youth Climate Council as a youth activist. I was lucky to be exposed to this issue by adults who cared and knew how to talk to young people.

Energy Science and Technology

Jessi Peterson

I am majoring in environmental studies. Growing up, I was first inspired to think about climate change when I would hear stories of my dad going to Alaska, and him seeing the glaciers melt. I hope this opportunity will allow me to better see my place in perpetuating social and climate injustices and allow me to direct my energy into fighting for a better world that cares about the earth and the people within it.


Majoring in environmental studies

Devan Gunther

My name is Devan Gunther  my pronouns they/them/theirs. I’m a 3rd year senior majoring in Political Science. Climate change has always been in the background of my life but it became a topic of focus for me in my senior year of high school due to my horticulture teacher. 

I’m looking forward to the certificate program because it’ll develop my knowledge of climate justice! As well as being excited to make more community connections!


Majoring in Political Science

Sarah Quen

I am an Environmental Policy major with a minor in Environmental Justice. In the third grade when my class had the assignment to research the arctic region and what inhabits it. This is where I was introduced to polar bears as part of an ecosystem as well as the dangers they faced.

I am excited to learn about prominent issues, and gain the knowledge and skill set required to work towards climate justice!



Environmental Policy major with a minor in Environmental Justice

Jennifer Gonzalez

I am majoring in Urban Planning and minoring in Disaster Risk Reduction. I was first inspired to think about climate justice when I became aware of inequalities being present in certain communities. Through this program, I hope to become a more skilled communicator through responsibly present the ideas and needs of those who remain unheard.


Urban Planning and minoring in Disaster Risk Reduction