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Management Team

Student Energy’s staff are based in Canada, and work to deliver our core programs: coordinating our global Chapters network, leading the Leaders Fellowship and Greenpreneurs cohorts, building our Energy System Map, and building partnerships across organizations.

Management Team

Helen Watts

Executive Director

Helen Watts is Student Energy’s Executive Director, a Forbes 30 Under 30 lister, on the Corporate Knight’s 30 Under 30, and is a recognized young clean energy and intergenerational equity advocate.
Since 2017, Helen has worked with Student Energy to empower tens of thousands of young people around the world to work on solutions for a clean and equitable energy transition. She co-leads the Solutions Movement, a UN-Energy Compact designed to support 10,000 youth clean energy projects by 2030. She led the development of the first Global Youth Energy Outlook with twelve young energy leaders to gather 41,000 youth perspectives on the energy transition by 2030. Helen co-founded Greenpreneurs, a training and grantmaking mechanism that has mobilized over USD100,000 in funding to youth-led climate enterprises, and she is regularly engaged by the international community on the role of youth in the energy transition.
Helen approaches the urgent, complex nature of the climate crisis with the belief that equipping young people with the tools and pathways to act is one of our most effective strategies. Advocating for youth inclusion at every level of decision-making processes, she has built a network of 47 partners across the climate-energy-youth ecosystem committed to empowering young people.

Angela Paley

Senior Director of Impact and Operations

Angela is Data & Operations Manager at Student Energy, where she leads on project management, data management, and operations.

Angela has years of experience in the environmental non-profit sector, working across communications, engagement, and policy. Before joining Student Energy, she was the Program Coordinator and Communications Specialist for Renewable Cities, an international program that supports cities through the transition to 100% renewable energy and energy efficiency. Based out of Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, she was responsible for organizing public events, stakeholder dialogues, regular communications and student engagement. Other previous stops include SFU Public Square’s Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver and the Recycling Council of British Columbia. She is also the co-director of Repair Matters, where she organizes regular repair cafes in the Vancouver area. Angela holds a BA in International Relations from UBC.

She can usually be found on the local trails, making a mess in the kitchen, or dabbling in a variety of outdoor activities.

Shakti Ramkumar

Senior Director Of Global Programs

Shakti is responsible for leading Student Energy’s communications strategy and the 2020 update of Student Energy’s web platform and Energy System Map.

As an alumna of the Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition, Shakti is also part of the inaugural Climate Action Cohort, a two year program connecting local climate action to international climate policy. With the Cohort, she attended COP 25 in Madrid, with a focus on food systems and land use in relation to climate change. Shakti also served as the Director of Common Energy UBC, one of the university’s largest student sustainability organizations, where she worked with other student groups to successfully advocate for the university to include climate action and climate justice in its long-term strategic plan. Shakti holds a degree from the University of British Columbia, in Geography with an Environment & Sustainability concentration.

Abdullah Khair

Director of Global Partnerships

Abdullah is the Strategic & Global Partnerships Manager at Student Energy.

Abdullah is passionate about sustainable development, climate action plans in cities, the energy transition, circular economies, low-carbon fuels, community-led action, and intercultural affairs. With a background in Chemical Engineering, Abdullah is also passionate about collaborative models which aim to bridge technical concepts to social needs.

Claris Canta

Director of Programs

Prior to joining SE, Claris worked as a project coordinator for a renewable energy firm in the Philippines. She has experience working on solar, wind, and geothermal power projects in varying stages of development. Claris holds a Masters degree in Energy Systems from the University of Melbourne. Her passion for clean energy and climate justice started when she participated on a calamity assessment fieldwork in southern Philippines, and saw first-hand the devastation caused by more frequent and more intense typhoons and their associated flooding.
When not working, she is most likely watching a comedy series, or going for a walk just to bump into someone else’s puppy.

Kristan Aho

Director of Finance

Kristan Aho is an experienced accountant with a strong background in the field for over a decade. With a degree in Environmental Studies, Kristan brings a unique perspective to her work, combining her financial expertise with her passion for environmental sustainability and stewardship. As a CPA candidate, she recently took the CFE in May 2023, further solidifying her commitment to professional excellence in accounting.
Beyond professional pursuits, Kristan finds joy in various hobbies that fuel her creativity and well-being. Whether it’s nurturing a vibrant garden, exploring the great outdoors, or immersing herself in captivating storytelling, she strives to maintain a well-rounded lifestyle that enriches both her personal and professional growth.

Michelle Balderston

Assistant to the Executive Director

Michelle is Student Energy’s Assistant to the Executive Director.

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Theory and Production from Western University. Though her career began in the radio broadcasting industry, her passion for the planet and interest in living more sustainably encouraged her to pursue a certificate in Advanced Environmental Management from the University of Toronto.

Prior to joining the Student Energy team, Michelle has volunteered for a number of environmental non-profit organizations, assisting with communications, campaign development, and other administrative needs.

In her spare time, Michelle enjoys diving into a good book, learning new languages, and analyzing astrological birth charts!

Grace Young

Mentorship and Events Manager

Grace Young is a young settler-Canadian woman from traditional unceded territory in Mi’kma’ki, what is currently called Halifax, Nova Scotia. She recently completed her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Western University and sits on the Youth Advisory Board for REES Community. REES is a simple and secure online reporting platform for reporting sexual violence that can be tailored to the diverse needs of public spaces.

Grace is a proud Student Energy Alumna, and Student Energy’s Programs Ecosystem played an essential role in her graduate studies. Grace’s research analyzes how young Canadians are organizing to shift power away from fossil fuel production and participating in the climate movement more broadly. She is passionate about community building and interested in addressing the unique challenges facing young women entering the sector and finding their place within the energy transition.

Grace’s favourite place is the grocery store or the coast. She loves to be outside, cook, swim, and create!

Lindsay Bell-Etkin

Senior Partnerships Associate

Lindsay is the Senior Partnerships Associate for Student Energy. She has a decade of experience supporting environmental organizations and non-profits. She has worked with youth, refugees, NGOs, healthcare providers, corporations, and governments around the world. She is particularly interested in the intersection of climate change, health, and migration. Lindsay holds a Bachelor of International Economics from the University of British Columbia, where she completed her thesis on the impacts of environmental education on youth. She is currently completing a Master’s in International Migration & Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

When she’s not in the office, you’ll find her with her camera in hand, hiking up mountains or skiing down them.

Brett McMillan

Systems Project Manager

Originally from Treaty 6 Territory near Edmonton, Brett has worked in sustainable development and youth engagement with audiences across Canada for 10+ years. Brett loves working with teams to understand the impact they want to have and figuring out the best processes for moving that change forward. Education, collaboration and facilitation are cornerstones to his professional path. When he’s not talking about the Sustainable Development Goals, you can either find Brett hiking in the mountains, tending his balcony garden or playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Jasper Mallonga

Data and Information Systems Manager

Jasper works on Student Energy’s data and information systems, making sure that we take care of the data we work with and we are able to maximize it to deliver high-impact programming.

Jasper discovered his drive to push the just energy transition forward while pursuing his mechanical engineering degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman when he joined Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Renewable Energy Boot Camp. This ignited passion and his inclination towards data led him to his involvement as a Founding Board Member at Reboot Philippines and his current role at Student Energy.

Outside work, you’d find Jasper either with his camera, his computer, his telescope, his friends, or any combination of the four. Hand him a karaoke microphone for a surprise!

Vaughn-Xavier Jameer

Senior Chapters Associate

Vaughn is Student Energy’s Chapters Associate. Vaughn leads the coaching and mentoring of our Global Chapter community, resource development for participants and coordinates growth strategies for the program. He became part of the movement in 2017 at the International Student Energy Summit in Mérida, Mexico. Inspired by the event, Vaughn established his own Chapter at the University of the West Indies, and has remained deeply involved in the Student Energy community since.

Angelina Smolynec

Fellowship Manager

Angelina is the Manager for Student Energy’s Fellowship Program, a 10-month virtual program providing core energy systems education and leadership skills for young people to take action on the energy system.

Prior to joining Student Energy, Angelina worked on climate and biodiversity programs in both Canada and the UK. Angelina holds an MSc from the University of Edinburgh where she conducted research on the political and societal implications of increased renewable energy development.

Outside of work, Angelina enjoys spending time around trees, completing jigsaw puzzles, and reading fiction. Send book recommendations!

Danielle Kehler

SevenGen Manager

Danielle is a Plains Cree woman from the Kawacatoose First Nation on Treaty 4 territory and is in her 4th year of Business Management at Edwards. She is an Indigenous artist focused on the resiliency of Indigenous people healing from intergenerational trauma by deconstructing colonial structures and reclaiming an Indigenous narrative. Danielle shares stories through her art by showcasing the true beauty and meaning of Indigenous culture and people. Danielle is also the Graphic Designer for the Indigenous Business Students Society and the Vice-Chair of Delegate Relations for the SevenGen 2022 Indigenous Youth Energy Summit. She is also the “first” First Nations person to be a participant of the 2041 ClimateForce Antarctic Expedition becoming an Ambassador for the Antarctic, charged with making a stand in the fight against anthropogenic climate change.

Elijah Dietrich

Guided Projects Manager

Elijah is Student Energy’s Guided Projects Coordinator. He graduated from Western University with dual degrees in Integrated Engineering and Honours Business Administration. Elijah’s experience outside of the classroom spans from social finance to international climate policy and he is looking forward to applying his learnings from these spaces to support the Guided Projects program.

Elijah provided advice to Cabinet members while serving on the Prime Minister’s Youth Council from 2018 through 2020, and joined the Canadian delegation to COP24 in this capacity. He subsequently helped establish the Student Energy chapter at Western University and recently served as its President. Elijah has worked on ESG product strategy for TD Asset Management, designed an impact measurement system for VERGE Capital, has advised social enterprises at Impact Consulting, and is a ‘20 Cansbridge Fellow.

Elijah is passionate about finding, supporting and testing new, more sustainable ways of working, living and powering the world. Outside of work, you’ll find Elijah exploring the outdoors, on road trips with friends or at the nearest coffee shop.

Julie Boyce

Career Training Manager

Julie is a Coordinator for the SECT program, she is passionate about using her Social Work education to work towards energy justice. She believes that by supporting youth through enhancing their skills, raising critical awareness, and advocating for meaningful opportunities, that their lives and the lives of their communities can be positively impacted. In her practice she uses a client centered approach that uplifts youth as resourceful, resilient and experts on addressing the energy transition and related climate crises. When she is not working she is focused on creating safe spaces for community to process environmental grief and mental health due to the climate crises. She can also be found exploring the beautiful Rocky Mountains as she connects to nature through adventure.

Pauline Adalid

Communications Manager

Pauline works in the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

She oversees our external communications including handling social media and building our relationships within the media landscape. With training in journalism and nonfiction filmmaking, she joined Student Energy to advocate for equitable changes in the environmental sector through impact storytelling and content creation. In her spare time, Pauline likes freediving, hiking, and swimming in the ocean.

Jade Siewnarine

Research and Youth Engagement Manager

Jade is the Research and Youth Engagement Manager, currently leading projects under Student Energy’s newest portfolio which encompasses research projects and partnership-based youth engagement work with partner organizations.

Jade is passionate about climate communication in addition to exploring and advocating for human-centered, just, and equitable approaches to addressing the energy transition. She holds a Bachelor of Criminology and Environment and Health Geography from Western University where she completed her thesis on the environmental and social implications of the sustainable clothing industry.

Outside of work, Jade enjoys cooking, Power and Olympic lifting, biking around Toronto, and eating good food!

Nathan Kaye

SevenGen Operations Lead

Nathan is from Zagime Anishnabek nation in Treaty 4 territory, currently residing in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) of Treaty 7 territory. Helped organize the first ever Indigenous youth energy summit that brought over 200 Indigenous youth from every province and territory in Canada in 2019 to learn and discuss clean energy and environmental initiatives youth can explore. In recent years, Nathan has been actively reconnecting with traditional Indigenous ideologies of land based teachings along with his family and nation’s history to advocate for the importance of this knowledge. Currently finishing up a BBA for Finance, Nathan would like to pursue a career in project finance for environmental initiatives.

Covid-19 brought the opportunity to work on a food security project with Tsuut’ina Nation that consists of the community garden and the development of a geothermal greenhouse for year-round food production near their newly built highschool. Nathan has aspirations to work with Indigenous communities bringing green initiatives and projects to those communities while inspiring Indigenous youth to play a role in being stewards of the land.

Oluwadabira Abiola-Awe

Ventures & Capital Campaign Associate

Oluwadabira is Student Energy’s Ventures and Capital Campaign Associate designing the Ventures entrepreneurship program and working with our capital campaign team fundraising to support youth-led projects globally.

Before Student Energy, Oluwadabira was a part of the operations team at one of West Africa’s largest indigenous biofuel companies where she worked to support women and youth in Sub Saharan Africa start and scale businesses in clean energy.

Oluwadabira has represented her country at United Nations Environment Programs TUNZA where she joined other young people from across the world in high-level dialogues that shape the local environment and climate policies today. In 2020, she became an ambassador of UNESCO’s August Project in Nigeria.

Outside work, Oluwadabira loves to organize special projects for youth in her community, spend time with family and listen to great gospel music.

Ailette Cordova

Design & Media Associate

Ailette Cordova is a Design & Media Associate at Student Energy. As part of the communications team, her responsibilities involve designing new web assets, analyzing web data to enhance website performance, contributing to social media campaigns, and effectively conveying Student Energy’s Theory of Change.

Her profession has developed in public institutions and private companies, growing her experience and knowledge in editorial, branding, data visualizations, photography, illustration, multimedia design and UX / UI and web development.

She graduated as a graphic designer and finished a master’s in Communication Design with a pathway in Information Design. She has collaborated with Climathon CDMX since 2017 till this day.

If you want to know more about Ailette’s work or profile, click the links below.

Piper Stump

Chapters Coordinator

Piper is the Chapters Coordinator, where she leads the on-boarding, coaching, and integration of global university chapters within Student Energy.

Piper graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation and a specialization in Global Perspectives, and currently resides on the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations traditional unceded territory (also known as Vancouver, British Columbia). She aims to empower youth from all backgrounds within the sustainable energy sector and is passionate about climate justice and environmentalism.

Outside of her work you can find Piper trail running, back-packing, or in search of delicious foods.

Natasha Gamontle

Chapters Coordinator

Natasha is the chapters coordinator, acts as a resourceful tool in helping students build sustainable projects for their communities. She is passionate about community building, growing up in Botswana where there is a resounding spirit of Ubuntu ” I am because we are” she decided to join the SE Chapters team because that is their main focus, unity.

When she is not working, you can find her, hands deep gardening, or on walks with her sidekick Pootie (Poots in boots)

Ailly Sheehama

Fellowship Associate

Ailly is Student Energy’s Leaders Fellowship Coordinator.

Ailly studied Law and holds a master’s in international oil and gas law and policy from the University of Dundee, Scotland. She has vast experience in the energy field, working with NGOs, international organisations, government and the private sector. She is also part of the Global Support Team of the SDG7 Youth Constituency of the Major Group for Children and Youth and is passionate about just energy transition related issues.

She enjoys traveling and reading in her free time.

Andrea Balcázar

Fellowship Coordinator

Andrea is a last year student in the bachelor of Sustainable Development Engineering at the university Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. She has been part of different organization and student groups related with the sustainable energy transition, sustainable development, environmental responsibility, women in engineering, and others. She received the Mujer Tec Award 2021 in the environmental category for her work in the sustainable energy transition in her community and the empowerment of youth.
She is passionate about social responsibility and corporate sustainability, and beliefs that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN, companies must find important the application of this worldwide initiatives. She also finds the access to education as a key factor to achieve the global sustainable transition.

Ryan Sojnocki

Fellowship Coordinator

As a Fellowship Coordinator, Ryan works with a range of teams to provide coaching and support during their time in the SE Fellowship program. Ryan’s passion for supporting solutions to environmental and social problems has followed him throughout his career and undergrad. During his time completing an undergraduate in Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ryan launched his first company and became heavily involved in the entrepreneurial incubators at the university. Ryan is very passionate about the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – and is looking to help accelerate the global transition to sustainability.

Ifeanyi Ohanyere

Career Training Associate

Ifeanyi Ohanyere is Student Energy’s Career Training Coordinator, where he helps participants of the program develop requisite skills and capabilities to successfully break into the energy industry.

Ifeanyi is passionate about clean energy and sustainability and actively advocates for a just and sustainable planet. He believes that youth empowerment is a strong enabler of climate action. Prior to Student Energy, Ifeanyi worked as a sustainability consultant, helping organisations to integrate sustainability into their business strategy and communicating their progress by reporting in line with global reporting standards.

Ifeanyi has made contributions to climate education through the Green Talk Series; a monthly conversation on the latest developments around climate change, energy and the environment. He has actively represented youth voices in high-level conferences, like the COP26, calling for increased youth participation in decision-making around energy and climate issues. Ifeanyi has a flair for capacity development and is a Student Energy Leaders Fellow, a UPG Sustainability Leader and a Climate Reality Leader.

Outside work hours, Ifeanyi loves to watch football, spend time with family and friends, read books and listen to good music and personal development podcasts.

Nina Seime Bot-Timothy

Career Training Coordinator

Nina is a lawyer specialised in renewable energy tech and policy. She currently works with Student Energy’s Career Training Program as a Project Coordinator managing the Practicum Projects portfolio of the program. She is very passionate about empowering young people with the skills and knowledge needed to enable them make inputs in the energy transition.
She enjoys building systems that last, and nurturing relationships/ partnerships with like-minded people who use their skill-sets to build projects, organisations and people.

Before joining Student Energy, she worked with renewable energy companies as a policy and compliance professional, managing regulatory compliance, business practices and executing contractual obligations.
When she is not working, she loves to travel, listen to music and enjoy each day to the fullest!
Connect with her on LinkedIn

Cherise Gilfix

Finance Coordinator

Cherise is the Systems Assistant at Student Energy, where she provides critical support in the areas of administration and HR, keeping the organizational systems up-to-date and running smoothly. She is passionate about the development of sustainable energy systems and is currently working towards a Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Manitoba, where she majors in accounting. After graduation, she is planning to pursue her CPA designation.

Outside of work, Cherise loves to relax with a cup of tea, a lengthy book, and her dogs by her side. She is particularly fond of all things science fiction and outer space.

Rodala Aranya

Global Parternships Coordinator

Rodala is a settler from Treaty 6 territory which is the traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Métis nations – (Saskatoon) and currently resides on un-ceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory (Ottawa).

Rodala works as the Virtual Partnerships Assistant at Student Energy, where she provides additional support to the Partnerships portfolio. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Carleton University in Global and International Studies, Rodala is specializing in Global Development with a minor in Economics.

Rodala’s passion for climate advocacy and environmental justice began in 2018 when she was awarded a Leacross Foundation scholarship to embark on Student On Ice Foundation’s Arctic expedition. Following her trip, she has worked with Youth Climate Lab, a youth-led global NGO accelerating climate solutions, on their communications portfolio. In university, Rodala has served as Vice President of Communications and Media for her Student’s Society.

In addition, Rodala has gotten heavily involved with her university’s chapter of Engineers without Borders Canada, an international development nonprofit that seeks to address the crucial causes of poverty and inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa. She recently finished a presidential term for the 2020 – 2021 year. This summer, Rodala co-founded Kids4Climate, an inquiry-based virtual summer camp for kids in Ottawa hoping to equip future climate leaders with the basic skills and resources they need to create an equitable, sustainable, and resilient future.

In her free time, you can find Rodala repotting her plants, going on hour-long walks everyday or picking up a new book!

Gemma Patey

Research and Youth Engagement Coordinator

Gemma is a settler from the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe, Wendake, Haudenosaunee, Attiwonderonk, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (Georgetown, ON) and is currently living on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe territory (Ottawa).

Gemma has a background in progressive politics, student affairs, and political and environmental organizing. Climate justice, decolonization, and community care are always at the centre of her work. In 2021, Gemma co-founded a climate camp aimed at getting children involved in climate activism. One of her core beliefs is that young people are the root of all changes that will blossom in our society.

Gemma holds a bachelor of Global and International studies, with a specialization in Global Politics, from Carleton University. In her free time, she can be found with some hiking boots on, a paint brush in her hand, a protest sign above her head, and/or a coffee by her side.

Aidan Warlow

Communications Coordinator

Aidan joins Student Energy from a varied background in digital communications, online-community management, and graphic design/multimedia production. He earned both his BA and MA from the University of Western Ontario in Media Studies, has worked in a variety of organizations including ecological non-profits, video game development, and other human and community service roles, specializing in communications. Personally, Aidan is an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy, a collector of tattoos, and an accomplished visual artist. He contributes to Student Energy’s Communications team from his home in Toronto, Ontario.

A E

People & Culture Manager

Meredith Adler

Senior Advisory

Meredith Adler is Student Energy’s Senior Advisory. She oversees the strategy and operations of the organization as it continues to build a movement of students across the world committed to a sustainable energy future. Prior to taking over this role in 2015, Meredith acted as the Global Community Manager for Student Energy, where she developed the chapters model and managed online content and communities.

Meredith is passionate about community, energy, and strategy. She thrives in dynamic environments and loves to build bridges between solutions and people.

Prior to joining Student Energy, Meredith was Communications Coordinator for Clean Energy Canada where she project-managed the Tracking the Energy Revolution report series and kept all communications trains running on time. Before that, she could be found doing anything from running a youth trail construction crew in the Cascades, to coaching a campus tours team, to working on youth leadership programming in Latin America. A degree in Geography from The University of British Columbia kickstarted Meredith’s obsession with energy and environmental policy.

If you can’t find Meredith in the office, she’s probably off on a mountaintop or hanging off the edge of a rock face somewhere – with her trusty dog Yoshi in tow.

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