Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Fellows at UCSB

Samantha Ellman – Student Engagement Fellow

Samantha Ellman is a second year Environmental Science major looking to gain knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability as the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Ambassador. Prior to attending UCSB, Samantha was an intern with the Alliance for Climate Education in the Bay Area, where she educated the local constituents about environmental legislation regarding oil fracking and opportunities for them to implement solar power. Samantha is currently a volunteer at the Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF) where she educates school groups about marine life and ocean stewardship. Samantha seeks to spread awareness about the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative and promote student involvement in the initiative on UCSB’s campus.

Please feel free to contact if interested in collaborating or giving feedback on CNI.


Elizabeth Szulc – Carbon Offsets

Elizabeth will serve for a second year as a research Fellow. She spent the last year writing a guidebook to developing local carbon offset projects. She hopes to use her knowledge from this guidebook “to complete the year by registering an actual project at UCSB using grant funding to yield real carbon emission offset credits and make a verified difference to Carbon Neutrality by 2025.

Please feel free to contact if interested in collaborating or giving feedback on CNI.






Carolina WattsReducing Commuter Emissions for Staff and Faculty

Carolina Watts will serve for her first year as a Fellow focused on mitigation strategies for staff and faculty transportation emissions. During her time as a CNI Transportation Fellow, Carolina would like to endeavor past barriers that the staff and faculty of UC Santa Barbara face when integrating alternate transportation services into their lives. Carolina is excited by UCSB high undergraduate and graduate alternate transportation statistics and she hopes that soon the staff and faculty will be characterized by similar, high statistics as well. As a fourth year, Environmental Studies major, Carolina has become intimate familiar with carbon emission effects on environments as well as all of the exciting, modern technology that is available to limit such negative effects. With this position, Carolina is passionate about creating new, effective transportation alternatives that will cater specifically to Santa Barbara unique environment and esteemed staff and faculty.

An Nguyen – Resilience

An Nguyen is a fourth year Environmental Studies major, also double minoring in Art & Technology and Spatial Studies. As a Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow, An is eager to work on building campus resiliency in the face of increasing climate-related impacts. In recent years, the UCSB community has experienced extensive drought, fires, and mudslides, which have all greatly affected students, faculty, and staff. She hopes to conduct research that will lead to better mitigation and adaptation to these types of events. Her interest in sustainability and planning has grown immensely through her other experiences at UCSB. An has served as the Environmental Planning Coalition’s Co-President and is also the Outreach Coordinator for Associated Students Coastal Fund – a student initiative that provides funds to preserve, protect, and enhance the terrestrial and marine habitats associated with the shoreline of UCSB.

Faculty Involvement

Dr. David Lea – Global Climate Leadership Council Representative (GCSC)


Dr. Lea is the representative for UCSB on the GCLC. The GCLC is comprised of UC administrators, professors, staff, and outside experts, GCLC advises the UC system on the best practices, policies, and technologies that will help achieve their carbon neutrality goal. The council also provides guidance on how to integrate CNI and other sustainability goals into the UC system’s teaching, research, and public service mission. Dr. Lea received his undergrad in geology from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lea switched from geology to oceanography to focus on the chemistry of the ocean and the carbon cycle. He was also interested in reconstructing changes in ocean circulation and how they related to past climate change.



Learn more about faculty involvement here.


Research at the Bren School

UCSB has a wide range of researchers and interns including faculty, administration, and students, all working on achieving carbon neutrality. Below is a list of many different leaders on campus striving towards zero emissions.

  • TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project seeks to develop and deploy solutions to mitigate climate change by capitalizing on the vast resources and researchers within the University of California (UC) system. The goal is to support innovative, multidisciplinary research projects that will substantially accelerate the progress of the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative. David Auston, Principal Investigator, Lisa Leombruni
    •  Net-Zero Communication Strategy Working Group is developing a plan for strategic communications to help the University of California achieve its carbon neutrality goals. This involves identifying key UC decision-makers and values, conducting primary and secondary research on audiences throughout UC, and performing message testing to determine the most effective methods of engagement for different audiences. Jay McConagha, Celine Mol
    • Natural Gas Exit Strategies working group is evaluating options for eliminating natural gas as an energy source at University of California. This group is specifically investigating how energy efficiency, biomethane, and electrification can reduce and replace natural gas consumption at the University of California. Charlie Diamond, Evan Ritzinger
  • Carbon Zero UCSB Carbon Zero is a graduate student group thesis project from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management working with the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB to determine optimal technological, financial, and stakeholder engagement strategies to achieve the Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Carbon Zero is collaborating with Geography and Facilities Management to prioritize locations for onsite rooftop solar photovoltaic. They are researching possible funding mechanisms and developing a financial model to forecast potential greenhouse gas and cost savings if a green revolving fund were implemented on campus. After meeting with an array of campus decision-makers and students, they are developing communications tools and recommendations to provide different campus groups, including staff and students, tools to help further engage the wider campus community around the Carbon Neutrality Initiative.  Charlie Diamond, Evan Ritzinger, Lydia Rudnick, Dawnielle Tellez, Emily Waddington