Rachel Leisching Solar Roadmap Associate Optony Inc. At Optony Inc., Rachel’s work revolves around the American Solar Transformation Initiative (ASTI), a Department of Energy-funded project working to build capacity in the solar energy sector at the local and regional levels. Rachel provides technical support to California cities and counties to help them reach their clean energy goals. “It’s an exciting time to be working with California communities, many of whom are considering how solar can help realize environmental objectives and stimulate local economic development. I look forward to coordinating efforts between our participants to share best practices and resources,” says Rachel.
“Witnessing day-to-day efforts at Optony has made me realize that the expansion of renewable energy within the U.S. will be driven by financial and policy-based innovations,” Rachel reflects. In her future, Rachel is interested in scaling up access to renewable and appropriate energy technologies both in the U.S. and abroad, with an eye on responsible land and water resources use.
Nina Salvador Compost and Recycling Associate Alameda County General Services Agency Nina uses marketing skills to shift norms in waste disposal towards compost and recycling. Alameda County has prioritized reducing the environmental impact of its operations through a diverse range of measures, which include the goal of providing organics and recycling collection at all County operated buildings and workplaces.
“I'm in the process of rolling out expanded compost and recycling services at three Alameda County buildings. I'm also working on outreach campaigns to increase recycling rates at buildings with expanded services. I often get asked how I got stuck with the job of digging through dumpsters. I smile and tell them I like my job. But I had to order a stepstool because I'm shorter than anyone else who's regularly sent to look through dumpsters.”
Nina looks forward to revisiting buildings that have the expanded services and using community based social marketing tools to improve recycling rates and shift norms away from the landfill.
Erica Kubuya Resource Conservation Associate
San Mateo C/CAG Erica recently earned her bachelor of science in Environmental Management from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is currently partnered with the San Mateo County Energy Watch program where she is water benchmarking the public schools in the county.
So far, Energy Watch has had kick-off meetings with 14 school districts to help them prioritize their CA Proposition 39 allocation. Erica has been in contact with ten water agencies to benchmark schools' water data. “The main goal is to help the schools become more efficient in their water conservation efforts. Through usage trends and data analysis, I’ll be able to tell which schools are being water efficient.” Erica will couple her analysis with water conservation education in schools this spring.
CCBA News and Events
March Retreat: This 2-day mid-program event will be held on March 21-22 at the Nature Bridge Center in the Marin Headlands.
April (Earth Month) Skyline College Presentations: Fellows will don their academic hats and guest lecture to a class at Skyline College on a topic related to their fellowships.
End of Program Symposium: We are close to finalizing the details for this late July that will spotlight our Fellows to regional employers and climate professionals.
One step closer to low cost solar cells Scientists are now investigating solar cells based on organic materials that have electrodes both flexible and transparent, enabling the fabrication of these solar cells at a low cost.
Samir Dhebar Samir (CCBA '13) received his BA in Economics from DePaul University in Chicago in 2012. He then joined CCBA as San Mateo C/CAG's Energy Watch- Resource Conservation Intern. Samir is now working as an Associate for Generation Investment Management, an asset management firm specializing in integrated financial and sustainability research whose chairman is former Vice President Al Gore. "I'm helping to strengthen the field of sustainable investing by allocating capital to firms that infuse sustainability into standard business practices. I'm still quite a novice in the field of finance, so I'm just trying to act like a sponge and soak everything in I can! I'm looking forward to visiting the Bay Area soon and seeing some CCBA alums later this year!"