Shalini Gupta, Executive Director
Shalini Gupta has worked at numerous local, regional and national organizations on state/regional regulatory and legislative policy analysis and advocacy related to renewable energy and climate change issues. Her work has ranged from developing community-scale energy projects to international work in Kiel, Germany, and at Argonne National Laboratories where she analyzed sources of atmospheric organic pollutants from urban and industrial sites in China. Shalini was a 2006 National Environmental Leadership Fellow and a 2008 Archibald Bush Leadership Fellow. She also served on the technical working group of the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, was a Governor appointee to Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Board, and is a current appointee to the Minneapolis Environmental Advisory Commission. She conducts environmental and energy justice workshops with numerous grassroots groups, and served on the Board of Directors of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Ms. Gupta holds a B.S. in the geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in environmental management from Yale University.
Dr. Cecilia Martinez previous positions include Associate Research Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware, Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University and Research Director at the American Indian Policy Center. Dr. Martinez has led a variety of projects to address sustainable development at the local and international levels. Her research is focused on the development of energy and environmental strategies that promote equitable and sustainable policies. She currently serves on the Climate Action Planning Steering Committee for the City of Minneapolis. Dr. Martinez has also worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. Most recently she completed an analysis of coal-based energy and environmental justice communities, and a review of climate adaptation and public health for the National Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change. She has been appointed to several national advisory boards including, the National Advisory Committee to the EPA for the Council on Environmental Cooperation, and the Research Working Group for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. She is also on the leadership team for the national EJ and Science Initiative, and is leading the effort on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on environmental harms. She is working on a manuscript on environmental justice and climate change and among her other publications is the co-edited volume Environmental Justice: Discourses in International Political Economy which includes some of her work on North American Indigenous peoples and the challenge of forging a common agenda of indigenous rights, justice and sustainability. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, where she received the Ryden Prize for Best Dissertation in the Social Sciences.
Liza is a member of the United Confederation of Taino People, the Indigenous people of Boriken (Puerto Rico). She is an attorney and a member of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association. Liza’s professional experience includes working for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in the Investigations Unit and with Indigenous nation governments . She also most recently served more than two years as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Kathleen A. Mottl at the State of Minnesota Judicial Branch. Liza received her JD from William Mitchell Law School St.Paul, Minnesota in 2003. Liza served as a delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for the North American Preparatory region, and the Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change in Alaska in 2009. In Alaska, she participated in drafting “The Anchorage Declaration” submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). She continues this work with Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups to advance fundamental human and environmental rights.
Deborah Ramos, Urban Agriculture Liaison
Deborah is an artist and community activist. She was recently appointed to the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, where she will be representing both CEED and the Zenteotl Project. Deborah is founder of the Zenteotl Project, a community project dedicated to the recovery of our ancestral oral traditions, creativity, traditional dance, and gardening methods, for the promotion of community action on issues related to urban agriculture, equitable access to healthy food, and climate justice. Deborah received her B.F.A. degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and has exhibited work at various local and national venues.
Dr. Kristen Hughes, Policy Fellow
Dr. Kristen Hughes worked at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware where she held a fixed term faculty position. She also previously worked at the White House and held a government position in her home state of Texas. Dr. Hughes’ work at CEED is to continue to advance urban-based energy policy and practices through high quality research. Dr. Hughes’ research examines best practices in energy and climate policy particularly focusing on development of new local-scale utility structures, and linking energy and economic development. She has published a number of articles in the field including “Energizing Cities” in the 2007 Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World: Our Urban Future, which she collaborated on with Janet Sawin. Her research has also appeared in premier publications such as Energy Policy, the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, Renewable Energy World, Advances in Solar Energy: An Annual Review of Research and Development, and Urban Energy Transition. She recently was an invited contributor to the National Science Foundation’s Workshop on Clean Energy Education, to devise recommendations for federal action on energy literacy and workforce development. She earned her Ph.D. in Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, and her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Communications and Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Rose Brewer
Dr. Rose M. Brewer is a scholar and an activist. She is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, as well as past chair of the department. For over fifteen years she was a member of the board of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide. She has also served as a board member of United for a Fair Economy, and as a founding member of the Black Radical Congress. She is a board co-chair of Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota and a founding member of AfroEco. Professor Brewer received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Indiana University, and completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Chicago. She has written extensively on Black Families, race, class and gender, and political change, publishing over 50 refereed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly essays in these areas, including a number of critical articles on intersectionality. She is the editor with Lisa Albrecht of Bridges of Power: Women’s Multicultural Alliances. She is also co-editor of Is Academic Feminism Dead: Theory in Practice from New York University Press. Her most recent co-authored book is The Color of Wealth from the New Press, which received the 2006 Gustavus Meyer national book award for one of the 10 best books written on bigotry and human rights. She is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on the United States Social Forum. She serves on the board of Contemporary Sociology, Feminist Economics and is a member of the SSSP Gittler Award committee. She also served as the Distinguished Ada Comstock Lecturer at the University of Minnesota during the 2009 fall semester.
LeMoine LaPointe is Sicangu (Burnt Thigh) Lakota. His indigenous culture continues to nurture more than 35 years of engaging at-risk youth in culturally-specific and multi-cultural settings, from geographically isolated tribal communities to inner-city neighborhoods. His unique blend of adventure-base practice with conservation and environment reclaims the extraordinary in a field too often ordinary. His inspiring views on land, air, and water draw from experience. Formerly Director of the Healthy Nations Program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, he is currently a national youth work and experiential learning consultant. He is active within the Association for Experiential Education. He serves on several Boards of Directors including Nawayee Center School, the Tiwahe Foundation, and the American Indian OIC.
Dr. Nicky Sheats
Dr. Nicky Sheats is currently the director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison Sate College. The Center provides support for New Jersey’s environmental justice community. He is also a member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, the state’s only statewide environmental organization that focuses solely on environmental justice issues. Dr. Sheats works on particulate matter air pollution, climate change, cumulative risk and impacts, the siting of schools on contaminated land, and environmental justice law. Dr. Sheats received his Ph.D. from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. His field of study was biological oceanography and his specialty was stable isotope biogeochemistry. After graduating he worked for Environmental Defense as a science and law fellow, at the College of New Jersey as a visiting scholar and at the Earth Institute of Columbia University as a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Sheats also attended Harvard Law School and worked as a public interest attorney for almost eight years. He served as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, a landlord-tenant and housing attorney at Camden Regional Legal Services, a public defender in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and a legal instructor at a community legal education and college preparatory program in Harlem.