Environmental Science Virtual Camp
Gabriela Baeza-Castañeda is an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Air and Radiation Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. In this role, she manages projects and grants within different programs including the Targeted Airshed Grants, Diesel Emission Reduction Act, Clean School Bus program, and Energy Star program. Prior to joining the Air and Radiation Division, Gabriela worked for the Water Division, also in Region 9, where she managed the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program, assisted in implementing the US-Mexico-Canada Act border appropriation to EPA, and provided program and grant oversight for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program and Disaster Relief Act. Her work at the EPA allows her to undertake a multidisciplinary approach in order to help protect human health and the environment. Before working at EPA, Gabriela worked at a multinational geotechnical engineering consulting firm as a Senior Soils Laboratory Technician where she performed soils sampling and testing, as well as groundwater sampling. She holds a B.A. in Physical Geography from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Yale University.
Haley is a climate researcher with a focus on justice and community climate action. She works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on just climate action, environmental education, and coordinating federal climate programs. She also works with local governments to conduct greenhouse gas inventories, vulnerability assessments, and climate action plans to better prepare governments and residents to address the climate crisis. She serves on the U.S. Action for Climate Empowerment Coalition coordinating team and has represented U.S. universities and organizations pushing for society-wide climate action at the UN Climate Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Haley is originally from Maryland and holds a B.S. in Ecology and Earth Systems from Bates College.
Sadia is an Environmental Geologist from the greater Detroit area. She worked in the environmental consulting industry for 3 years. During that time, she worked as a field geologist on various hazardous sites and was part of projects using different engineering techniques to remediate contaminated sites. She later transitioned to the role of geologic specialist with a focus in GIS (Geographic information systems). She created 2D maps and 3D models of environmental data which helped with the remedial efforts.
She has also been volunteering in her free time at the Clinton River watershed since 2018. She is part of the effort to monitor the stream health and water quality using simple techniques such as monitoring turbidity and flowrate of water.
She has been working as a Quality Control Engineer for the past two years for an auto supplier company that develops mapping software for autonomous cars.
Val is a research associate at Sylvatex. She focuses on characterization and synthesis of Lithium-ion batteries. Val has a B.S. in Chemistry from Loyola Marymount University and gained her interest in Chemistry when she was just 15 years old. She uses her experience in Chemistry to help characterize and make material, as well as how to improve material without making a negative impact on the environment.
She wishes to go back to school to get her PhD in Chemistry and continue studying Batteries or Material Science.
Esther Obonyo, Ph.D.
Esther Obonyo is the Executive Director of the Global Building Network and an associate professor of engineering design and architectural engineering. Under her tenure as Executive Director since 2019, the GBN has established more than 35 industry, non-profit, and higher education partnerships across North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia to collaboratively catalyze research and education to make buildings more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier for people. Dr. Obonyo is also the lead for an international, Penn State-led consortium funded by the Belmont Forum to improve infrastructure resiliency, sustainability, and public health in disaster-prone, low-income communities. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Obonyo brings more than two decades of globally-focused work experience on buildings, including working as a Jefferson Science Fellow and senior policy adviser for USAID, innovation analyst with Balfour Beatty, and construction engineer for an emergency retrofit project for the U.S. consulate in Nairobi, Kenya.
Yanying is a battery scientist with a specific interest and experience in battery material fabrication and cell evaluation. She has 10 years of battery experience and over 30 scientific publications. She holds a Ph.D. degree in chemistry. Before her current position, she worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for two years. Her research was mainly focused on developing low-cost materialsfor energy storage and conversion area. One of her innovative research projects has been
honored with a “2022 R&D 100 Award”.