Featured Intern Alumni

Mohamad A. Chakaki (2006 M.E.M.) grew up playing and learning in the sand and surf on both sides of the Arabian Peninsula, and then on the edges of eastern forests and city streets in and around Washington, D.C. His interests lie where the lines blur between East/West, city/nature, art/science, theory/practice, and so on...

As a PhD student at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, Mohamad’s research explores the connections and disconnections across campus planning and curriculum design in the new campuses being developed as partnerships between American universities and host countries in the Arab Middle East. Mohamad holds a Masters of Environmental Management with a focus on Urban Ecology and Environmental Design from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and undergraduate degrees in Religion and Biological Sciences from The George Washington University.

Mohamad’s passion for nature and for people led him to several years of professional training (and personal development) in parks and gardens across the US, with the Peace Corps in Central Africa, and with the United Nations in Syria. Before starting at MIT, Mohamad spent three years consulting on environment and community development projects in both the US and the Arab Middle East. Mohamad was a co-founder of DC Green Muslims and is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Greg McLaughlin (2002 M.E.M.) lives in Ellensburg Washington, where he is the Eastern Washington Project Manager for Washington Water Trust.  He enjoys the short commute to some out of the way playgrounds in the Cascades, the wealth of good local breweries, his three boys, and the small town atmosphere.  His job is to work primarily in North Central Washington with tribes, irrigation districts, agencies, local governments, and landowners to develop market-based incentives for flow restoration in salmon-dependent tributaries.  The approach is to work collaboratively with local communities, establish rapport with landowners, and develop incentive-based projects that restore salmon flows while improving the economic standing of local agricultural producers.  The focus on local partners driving project development is very related to the approaches used at URI, and the focus on such "win-win" outcomes is quickly becoming the most popular in long-term conservation efforts.

Abigail Adams (2010 M.E.M.) was an intern in 2009-2010, helping URI to further measure the impact of the program on youth interns. She now works for the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), a land trust in Palo Alto, CA, where she is a Conservation Project Manager managing both the conservation easement and land volunteer programs.


Erica Schroeder (2004 M.E.M.) is an attorney at Keyes & Fox, LLP in Oakland, CA (view her profile). Her legal practice is focused on the intersection between energy and environmental law with a particular focus on policy implementation, compliance and permitting. She represents the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in proceedings before state public utilities commissions seeking to develop sustainable markets for renewable energy. In addition, she is involved in IREC's broader efforts to facilitate community renewables programs and projects around the United States. For example, she has advocated for community solar policies in Colorado and Delaware.

Erica graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law in 2010. She also holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she focused on environmental economics and policy, as well as a B.A. from Yale in Ethics, Politics & Economics. While at the Forestry School, Erica was the Newsletter Editor for URI. 

In her free time, Erica enjoys yoga and running. She most recently ran a half marathon in Santa Cruz, CA. She also enjoys cooking and baking, and is the co-author of a baking blog. 

Andrew Breck (2011 M.F.) came to F&ES and URI with a background in environmental education, and he is now a recent graduate of the master of forestry program at Yale F&ES.  He is currently working in the forest crew in the Yale School Forests and plans to find forestry work in or around the Boston area beginning in the fall. 


Jennifer Kefer (1998 M.E.M., 2001 J.D.) is an environmental consultant with a decade experience providing legal and political expertise, strategic analysis, and advice to non-profits, corporations and cities on a range of projects related to climate, energy and other environmental issues.  Jennifer is Project Manager at David Gardiner & Associates, where she manages a diverse coalition of labor, contractor associations, businesses and environmental groups to advance manufacturing competitiveness through the use of combined heat and power and recycled energy.  To that end, she coordinates education, advocacy and field events; cultivates stakeholder relationships; staffs Hill visits and weekly strategy calls; and drafts materials for legislative, regulatory and media outreach.  Jennifer also works with a wide array of environmental and efficiency groups to identify opportunities for energy efficiency to serve as a compliance mechanism under the Clean Air Act.  Other recent clients include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where Jennifer served as a Senior Climate Advisor.  In that capacity, she worked with a network of organizations on coalition building, education, outreach, and policy analysis to reduce the effects of climate legislation on low-income households. 

Jennifer previously served as the Climate and Energy Program Coordinator for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, where she helped educate and mobilize the Jewish community around climate change, building diverse coalitions both within the Jewish community and across faiths.  Prior to her work for the Jewish community, Jennifer worked as an environmental attorney, representing national environmental organizations in lawsuits to defend the broad scope of federal environmental laws.  She also clerked for Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in the Northern District of California.

Jennifer earned a B.A. in environmental studies at Brandeis University, a Masters of Environmental Studies at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a J.D. at the Yale Law School.

Yi-Wen Lin (2008 M.E.M.) worked as an intern at URI from summer 2007 to November 2008, and started her interests in Urban Forestry and Community Development.  In December 2008, she became a Forester for NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and manages street tree planting contracts as part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative.  In the beginning of 2011, a new position opened up in her office for a special community-involved project in Western Queens, and she was hired as the Western Queens Greening Coordinator in April 2011.  She is very excited about this 3-year sustainable project that encompasses community-led planning, extensive tree planting, and tree stewardship training.and volunteer program.

Georgia Silvera Seamans graduated from F&ES in 2001.  After graduation, Georgia worked as a community forester with Urban Resources Initiative in the Newhallville neighborhood followed by a three-year tenure as the Boston Park Department’s urban forester.  Georgia moved to Berkeley in 2004 to pursue a doctoral degree in environmental planning; she received her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2010.  While living in Berkeley, Georgia was a board member of the Berkeley Partners for Parks and volunteered with the California Habitats Indigenous Activists to plant native vegetation along a section of the rails-to-trails Ohlone Greenway.  Georgia moved again in 2009, this time to New York City where she is a stay at home mother to a curious and delightful toddler and edits localecology.org when her son naps.

Dr. Soni Pradhanang is a Watershed Hydrologist and Modeler. She joined CUNY-Institute for Sustainable Cities/Dept. of Geography, Hunter College in 2009 as a Research Associate. She earned her Ph.D. in watershed hydrology and modeling from SUNY-ESF and a Master of Environmental Science with a focus in forest ecology and management from Yale University. She worked as an Urban Community Forest Intern at Urban Resources Initiative, soon after she graduated from Yale F&ES (2003 M.E.Sc.).

Her current research project is to evaluate climate change impacts on New York City Water Supply. Her research goals are to understand how hydrologic processes influence water quantity and movement of sediments and nutrients through watersheds through combined effort of monitoring and modeling, aiding in the development of policies and management practices to protect water and soil.  Dr. Pradhanang works primarily with the Prof. Allan Frei at CUNY, Hunter College, and with scientists in New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) and Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University. She is applying and developing models to evaluate the effects of watershed management practices and climate change on the New York City water supply. The generation, transformation and transport of sediments and nutrients within the watershed are the major focus of her research. As part of this effort, she is currently using different water quality models, one of which is a recent development from Cornell University called Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT-WB) (water balance) which captures the complexity intrinsic to saturation excess runoff. Her research also focuses on trend and uncertainty analysis of measured data and modeled results. Future research in this area will build and expand on identifying and quantifying processes controlling biogeochemical processes in the landscape, especially those most relevant to anticipated environmental changes associated with climate change. Besides her research in the northeastern U.S., she also is involved in geo-statistical analysis of meteorological variables and hydro-climatological studies for her home country, Nepal, in collaboration with Cornell University.

Wendy Francesconi is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida, U.S.A., and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Her doctoral research was focused on evaluating different agricultural practices for their potential to increase functional connectivity, and her professional interests include the application of sustainable agriculture and the design of rural landscapes for biodiversity conservation purposes.