Harvard C-CHANGE taps into the collective knowledge of student leaders at the Harvard Chan School, through our C-CHANGE Student Ambassador Program.

The program selects students from each department at Harvard Chan School to act as liaisons between Harvard C-CHANGE and their departments. During this year-long program, the students are challenged to think critically about climate change and the potential impacts on their fields of study, while collaboratively highlighting the important research and science on climate, health, and equity that is being conducted at Harvard and beyond.

The program supports each Student Ambassadors’ professional goals by providing them with programming to support climate leadership. For more information, contact Skye Flanigan.

Class of Fall 2019-Spring 2020

Department of Environmental Health

Jessica Schiff is a first year Master of Public Health student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Boston University in 2017. Jessica is interested in the intersection between climate and health and is excited to learn more about the direct, and indirect, impacts of global climate change on human health. She is looking forward to being exposed to climate related research being carried out in her department and at C-CHANGE, as well as across the T.H. Chan school. Her current interests include the impacts of natural disasters/weather on disease transmission, ecosystem transformation and health, and forced migration and conflict related to climate change. In her free time, Jessica enjoys baking, traveling, and reading.

Department of Nutrition

Will Koh is an MPH student in Nutrition and Planetary Health. His research investigates public health nutrition in the context of anthropogenic environmental change to inform concepts of sustainable food futures. Will previously graduated from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), where he analyzed the environmental impacts of industrial animal agriculture and its role in the American food system. Outside of academia, he worked with his hands as a whole-animal butcher and managed a predator conservation organization. In his free time, he loves cooking, films, and enjoying the sun.

Department of Biostatistics

Rolando J. Acosta is a third year PhD student in Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health working in the lab of Dr. Rafael Irizarry at the Department of Data Science located at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. His current projects involve (1) the development of robust methods to estimate health outcomes caused directly or indirectly by natural disasters and (2) the development of methods to estimate human migration using mobile data. Generally, he is interested in the intersection of Causal Inference and Machine Learning, and its application to fields within public health and medicine.

Department of Environmental Health

Melissa Fiffer is a doctoral student in environmental epidemiology who brings 11 years of experience working for the federal government, primarily in the US EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs. Her research interests broadly include air pollution and health, and the impact of contextual factors such as greenness and walkability. She is also on the board of the student environmental justice organization. In her free time, she enjoys running and hiking around New England with her dog.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Amanda Jurczak is a Master of Public Health Candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. By serving as a liaison between the SBS department and C-CHANGE, she is eager to better understand and link the impacts of climate change to the department’s areas of focus. In addition to pursuing her degree, Amanda also works as a research assistant at Ariadne Labs, a joint health system innovation center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She holds a BA in Psychology from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Department of Health Policy

Saamon Legoski is a MPH-45 candidate in health policy who aspires to influence policy as a future Environmental Justice Attorney. He’s served in the U.S. Army Reserve since 2008 and has deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait to “heal wounds that don’t bleed” like post-traumatic stress. Between deployments, Saamon graduated from Stanford University and was an Executive Fellow in California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. He loves talking about his wife, Eboni, with whom he celebrated their 3-month anniversary. They have one “dog-daughter” together named Mia, a Maltipoo who often visits the C-CHANGE Office.

Department of Epidemiology

Neil Thivalapill is an M.S. student in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to his time at HSPH, Neil worked with U.N. Human Rights where he analyzed the epidemiologic burden of climate change on children and contributed to the Analytical Study on Climate Change and Children’s Rights. Today, his research primarily investigates cluster detection and response, the validity of clinical trials, and patterns of morbidity and mortality in the HIV setting. Currently, Neil is completing his thesis work with Dr. Roger Shapiro where he explores survival among HIV-Exposed Uninfected children. Neil holds a B.A. in Biology and Human Rights from Columbia University.

Department of Global Health and Population

Kaela Connors is a first year Master of Science Student in the Global Health and Population Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan school. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Economics and Policy. In between, she spent a year as a Princeton in Latin America fellow at the UN World Food Programme in Panama and two years working at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico City, Mexico. She is interested in the intersection of climate change and health and looking specifically at how climate change affects food systems and security.