Arlie Schardt Memorial Fellowship

Arlie Schardt Memorial Fellowship

Our Fellowship program is designed to increase the long-term effectiveness of FOE and the environmental movement by operating an inspiring and fulfilling fellowship program that builds skills and relevant job experience for people of color and members of underrepresented communities.

Our vision of the Arlie Schardt Memorial (ASM) Fellowship program is to create career experience, pathways, and opportunities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color in underrepresented communities who are interested in environmental advocacy. Arlie W. Schardt was a pioneering voice for the environment and witness to some of the most seminal events in American history as a Time magazine correspondent traveling with Martin Luther King while covering the civil rights movement. Throughout his peripatetic 50-year career, Schardt reported on and acted on behalf of social justice. Al Gore states, “Through his remarkably diverse career, Arlie Schardt lived a life of purpose and impact,” said the former Vice President. “He was a champion for civil rights and an early pioneer of the environmental movement. I valued greatly his commitment to public service and will always be grateful for the invaluable roles he played on my Presidential campaign.” Schardt joined Friends of the Earth (FOE), serving as Chairman of the Board from 2009 until June 2019 when he was named chair emeritus in honor of his service. According to Erich Pica, president of FOE, “Arlie was instrumental in tripling the size of the organization and broadening its mandate to combine his concerns for social and racial justice with environmentalism.”

Meet our 2021 Fellows

Briana Carbajal, Legislative and Political Fellow

Briana is your go-to for everything happening in Congress and the executive administration. She lobbies Congress to support bills that include environmental justice initiatives and keeps fossil fuels in the ground. Previously, Briana worked with Eric Garcetti’s Sustainability Office to advocate for youth leadership in local climate policy. Additionally, she was an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion fellow with the City of Fort Collins, working towards a just transition to a green economy. Briana is from South Los Angeles. 

She will graduate from UCLA in 2021, having double majored in Geography/Environmental Studies and Political Science. On her days off, Briana likes to explore the outdoors by hiking in National Parks around the United States. 


Katie Chicojay Moore, Oceans and Vessels Fellow

At Friends of the Earth Katie will be working on the annual Cruise Ship Report Card, reducing pollution from shipping and promoting environmental justice in near-port communities, and supporting the campaign to prevent industrialization of the ocean. Her past research has focused on fisheries management and stakeholder engagement, and she was a 2020 NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives where she worked on marine and natural resource policy. 

Katie has a B.A. in Environmental Science from Colby College and a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. When not working, she enjoys hiking, baking, and exploring different D.C. neighborhoods.


Nikka De Mesa, Communications Fellow

Nikka De Mesa is the Communications Fellow at Friends of the Earth. She works with the digital communications team to manage social media, assist with press needs, and update the Friends of the Earth website. Prior to this fellowship, Nikka interned at the National Audubon Society creating communication materials for state-level climate campaigns. She also worked for the Climate Museum in New York City, where she supported Climate Speaks – an inaugural youth poetry event held at the historic Apollo Theater. 

Nikka holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Political Science and Communication from Manhattan College. Outside of work, you can find her volunteering with Surfrider DC as its Social Media Coordinator. She also loves taking long walks around DC, watching crime documentaries, and doing crossword puzzles.


Aidan Maese-Czeropski, Climate and Energy Fellow

Aidan is the Climate & Energy ASM Fellow with Friends of the Earth. He works with the energy and politics teams to advocate against Arctic oil drilling and to fight false climate solutions like biofuel and natural gas. Prior to joining FOE, he organized for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in Virginia and Pennsylvania and spearheaded the Todos con Biden program to mobilize Latino voters. He previously interned for Senator Dianne Feinstein and worked in a lab studying desert ecosystems. 

Aidan grew up in California and received a B.S. in Society & Environment from UC Berkeley.

 Outside of the workplace he enjoys hiking, lounging on the beach, and playing with his cats. 


Valeria Paredes, Food and Agriculture Fellow

Valeria supports the Food & Agriculture team by supporting in pollinator and pesticides research, policy advocacy and organizational efforts to promote a just, sustainable and regenerative food system. 

As an undergraduate she was a program coordinator for the People of Color Sustainability Collective. Our mission was to center the voices of Black, Indigenous and other people of color in the environmental movement through educational workshops, community events, research and promotion of sustainable campus policies. Additionally, Valeria was a teaching assistant in Environmental Economics and Policy where she addressed the relationship between environmental policy design and racial injustice. 

Valeria is a recent graduate with a dual degree in Environmental Studies and Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA and takes pride in her SoCal community. She enjoys hiking, drinking lattes and eating fruit under the sun. 

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