University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Welcome 2014-2015 IonE Leaders


Mallory Thomas

IMG_8697Mallory is a sophomore in the College of Biological Sciences studying Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior paired with a Sustainability Studies minor. Her areas of scholastic interest include using research of ecological interactions to develop sustainable resource usage at an industry level and sustainable lifestyles at a social level. Mallory is a member of the CBS Student Board, serves on the CBS Learning Technologies Committee, and contributes to research in the Snell-Rood laboratory. She also enjoys presenting her experience of sustainability in Denmark. In the future Mallory hopes to pursue a PhD in some area of ecosystem ecology, communicate science better to the public, and learn Spanish (because Latin didn’t really pan out so well!) Some of Mallory’s favorite things outside of school are her 4 younger brothers, Birch Lake, ranting about social justice, and brunch.

Justin Halverson

10321043_668372029885468_4447028577018635986_o-2Justin Halverson is a musician, organizer, poet, and senior at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities. He majors in Music, which he ties into his interest in the intersection of social, environmental and economic assets that benefit communities in creative ways. He is currently a leader of the West Bank Community Garden and is working with local activists and organizations to draft state legislation that funds the growth community rain gardens. Other experience includes working with multiple equity and sustainability organizations across the U of M campus, as well as Face Forward, Spark-Y Youth Action Labs, Project Sweetie Pie, and the St. Paul School of Rock. Justin collaborates with local spoken word artists, plays bass in a varying number of bands, and leads his own. He envisions bringing people together around the intersection of art, nature, and change that will transition us into a world that feels softer, smells like the seasons, and that moves just a little bit slower.

Justin has worked with the Minnesota Student Association,  Fossil Free Minnesota, Students for Sustainability, MPIRG, and the UMN Sustainability Coalition, advocating for sustainability and equity.  His experience growing food in North Minneapolis inspired him to collaborate with Students for Sustainability in the creation the West Bank Community Garden – the first community garden on UMN-TC campus. His latest environmental equity initiative is working with local activists and organizations to draft state legislation that funds the creation of rain gardens and native planting habitats in communities across the state.  His vision is direct state funding to employ former convicts, students, and people who are interested in growing rain gardens in their own communities as a method to grow their community’s social, environmental, and economic assets.
Justin collaborates with spoken word artists, plays bass in a funk band, plays timbau in the UMN-TC’c Brazilian Ensemble, and leads his own band of three to ten musicians who play anything from reggae and soul to R’n’B and hard rock.
In his free time, Justin enjoys dancing and learning from others. He envisions bringing people together around the intersection of art, nature, and change that will transition us into a world that “feels softer, smells of the seasons, and that moves a little bit slower.”


Kyle Samejima

BioPic (1)Kyle is a non-traditional student working on her Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Environmental Communication with concentrations in Sustainability, Communication Studies and Mass Communication. She plans to work in a non-profit or government position, creating environmental advocacy campaigns that excite, engage and empower citizens to make the systemic and personal changes necessary in the age of climate change and the Anthropocene. She is interested in the tension between climate change mitigation and adaptation and the role of our economic system in destroying or preserving our planet.
Kyle will travel to Italy in May 2015 for the Sustainable Food Systems of Italy study abroad program.
Kyle’s favorite things are her three daughters, weather, being a good environmental steward, friends, making jewelry and the awe and excitement of learning about our natural world. Her favorite books right now are Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, This Changes Everything, Climate Change vs Capitalism by Naomi Klein, and Active Hope, How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.

Jessica Eckerstorfer 

10708761_766662613396916_6529248120744650139_oJessica Eckerstorfer is a senior English and Philosophy double major with aconcentration in civic life and ethics. She is currently working with Free Arts Minnesota, through the Art Connection Grant to bring local youth artwork to various venues in the Twin Cities community. Her research focuses on environmental ethics, and the links between the humanities and the environment, as well as consumer language and ecofeminism. In her spare time (which there’s never enough of!), Jessica continues to grow her mounting book collection, play the piano, be an amateur photographer and bike around the Twin Cities.


Moriah Maternoski 

picture of meMoriah is a second year student pursuing her undergraduate degree in Food Systems. She wants to make a difference in the food system through gathering people from all backgrounds and giving them the ability to know how to cook nutritious and healthy foods, as well as grow them. Additionally, she wants to increase the amount of locally sourced food in her city through building communities and local economies. She is currently a member of the Real Food Challenge leadership team, a team working to get more local, fair, sustainable and humane food on campus. One of her favorite pastimes is running and racing and she also loves to cook while perusing the internet for new recipes.

Tyler Redden

163350_3974412123788_1560481346_nTyler Redden maintains office operations and publication orders for the Publications Office at the Institute on Community Integration, as well as general office and administrative support. Since October 2012 Redden has worked in offices at the University, including, the Carlson School of Management (IDSc/SME), School of Social Work, Center for Transportation Studies, Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences, and the Health Natural Sciences Libraries (with two years of prior experience working in retail banking). Redden is a Biology, Society and the Environment (BSE) major with a concentration on the environment. Also, Redden is a double minor in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Studies and Sustainability Studies, pursuing an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting certification. Through the GLBTA Programs Office Redden is listed as a staff and student resource due to his work in the GLBT Mentoring program in academic year 2012-2013 and in the present.

 James Butler

biopicJames Butler is a freshman studying Environmental Engineering and member of the Institute on the Environment Undergraduate Leadership Program.  He is from Vermillion, South Dakota, and has been passionate about the environment ever since his time as a Boy Scout.  He is an Eagle Scout and has been on backpacking trips in Wyoming and New Mexico along with numerous summers at Camp Geiger in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  His Eagle Scout project included the planning, management, and building of two footbridges for a local youth soccer club.

He is very interested in addressing the detrimental effects of climate change with sustainable engineering solutions and being able to communicate these solutions in an effective manner.  He enjoys working in a team of diverse individuals to solve real-world issues dealing with sustainable systems, energy, and infrastructure.  Outside of academics, he plays trumpet in the University’s marching band, the “Pride of Minnesota” and loves all things Gopher Sports.

 2013-2014 Leaders

Samantha Ehrenberg

Samantha Ehrenberg is excited to be a part of the first cross-disciplinary IonE Undergraduate Leaders team. A junior studying Mechanical Engineering, she is interested in sustainable power generation, storage, and use. She is currently the president of Engineers Without Borders-USA University of Minnesota Student Chapter. Through EWB-USA UMN she supports four student-led sustainable development projects in partnership with international communities lacking reliable water access. She has previously worked to design and implement improvements to a Guatemalan school’s rainwater harvesting filtration system as a part of EWB-USA UMN

Maaso Kalema

Maaso Kalema is an IonE Undergraduate Leader for 2012-2013. Native of Blaine, MN, she is currently a 3rd year student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities pursuing a degree in Individualized Studies with concentrations in Environmental Science, Political Science, and Sustainability Studies with an intent to progress onto graduate school to obtain her Master’s degree. Through her studies she is striving to bring a social context to environmental issues in order to lessen the disparities felt by underrepresented communities. On campus, she is currently the co-vice president of a student organization called Black Motivated Women or BMW. Outside of school and extra-curricular activities, she enjoys spending time with my family and friends, dance, art, and reading.

 Gaurav Kandlikar

Gaurav is an undergraduate student of Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Plant Biology. He is interested in various aspects of tropical forest ecology (biodiversity generation and maintenance, nutrient cycling, conservation biology). He is also interested in applying basic ecology to the engineering of alternative energy sources. He has previously worked in Dr. Bo Hu’s lab, where he investigated the chemical cause of foaming in swine manure storage pits, and is currently pursuing his interest in tropical ecology as a student in Dr. George Weiblen’s lab. When he is not in classes or in lab, Gaurav is generally organizing, participating in, or writing for academic competitions for the University’s Quizbowl team. He blogs at

Phillip Kelly

Phillip Kelly is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Global Studies, with an emphasis on Environment & Sustainable Development.  His passion for sustainability blossomed out of a service-learning research internship with Campus Beyond Coal and he quickly moved from there to become a student leader on campus.  He has been a key actor in the on-campus sustainability demonstration project called the Bike Pasture and currently serves in many capacities for the undergraduate student government – the Minnesota Student Association.  He is a co-director for MSA’s Facilities, Housing, and Transit Committee, undergraduate representative to the Minneapolis campuses’ surrounding neighborhood alliance (the University District Alliance) as well as the City Council, and he is the undergraduate representative to the UMN-TC Sustainability Committee.  He also currently serves on the Student Unions & Activities Board of Governors and is building a coalition to create a student grocery store.

Eric Sannerud

Eric Sannerud is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Sustainability, Applied Business, and Social Justice and is a 2012 Udall Scholar. His entrepreneurial energy has led him to create the first undergraduate student food issues group, U Students Like Good Food, and lead U of M Food Day 2012. Because of his passion for a more just food system he founded his own Community Supported Agriculture farm, the Sunny Brothers farm, last season at his great-grandparents farm in Ham Lake, MN. He sold to 8 shareholders including President Kaler’s family. Eric is interested in engaging and empowering other undergraduates through innovative curriculum, student groups, and leadership development programs as well as advancing the dialogue around societies greatest challenges past the “us vs. them” dichotomies to pragmatic, solutions focused action.

Chelsey Shoup

Chelsey Shoup is a senior pursuing a Biomedical Engineering major and a Management minor.  Although her studies lie in the medical sciences, she is thoroughly involved with sustainability and energy efficiency.  Chelsey was able to combine her love of renewable energy with her love of leadership and mentorship through her vice-presidency role in the Active Energy Club.  She continues to promote sustainability and conservation with her role as Coordinator for the Energy Efficiency Student Alliance.  In the future, Chelsey hopes to fuse her medical interests with her passion for the environment by starting a biomedical company that promotes overall wellness and sustainability to its employees and customers.

Emma Wright

Emma Wright is an undergraduate senior in the Inter-College Program focusing on the intersections between Political Science, Carlson School of Management, and Sustainability. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has developed a passion for public service and advocates for sustainable community development as chair of the state Board of Directors for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.  Emma has also become an expert “trash talker” after several years working as a recycling coordinator for the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emma loves to travel, bake, dance, and speak Brazilian Portuguese.

 Questions? Contact us at:

The Sustainability Education website is administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

The University of Minnesota offers sustainability courses in most of its colleges and campuses around the state. These courses encompass biophysical sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, design, engineering, business, and health. The Sustainability Studies minor is one of several interdisciplinary programs through which such diverse courses come together.