Fellows and Volunteers

Fellows and Volunteers

Meet our team of volunteers and former Small Planet interns who continue to tackle big questions about democracy, food, hunger, and the environment. We are thrilled to hear about and report on their accomplishments, as we continue to expand our network of resources.

Ria Knapp

Ria Knapp currently supports the graphic design initiatives of Small Planet. She has worked in a variety of sustainability-centered positions including Environmental Coordinator at Patagonia Inc. and Campaign Coordinator at Climate Counts. From Paris, France to Portland, Oregon, she has worked and traveled in a number of diverse locations, which has deepened her understanding of global environmental and human issues. After returning to the east coast, Ria ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and recently earned a Master’s from Harvard University, where she studied food systems, sustainable development, and alternative transportation.

Jacob Kraybill

Jacob Kraybill joined the Small Planet Institute as an intern in early 2012 and initially focused on website & social media development, user experience & outreach, and content creation. He solidified the online presence of the Small Planet Institute and helped to increase web traffic from search and other sources. In addition, he assisted Frances with copy-editing, research, and fact-checking.

Jacob graduated from Lesley University in May 2012 with a degree in global studies, with minors in sociology and environmental studies. He currently is traveling in Central America and immersing himself in intensive language study.

Derek Smallwood

Derek graduated from Lesley University in 2011 with a degree in Global Studies and a minor in history, with a focus on the Middle East. His primary interest lies in cross cultural relations and fostering cultural awareness. Derek recently returned from volunteering in Hebron, Palestine, where he taught English and focused on societal development through language education, workforce training and cultural exchange. He believes strongly in the ethos of the Small Planet Institute and is excited to help contribute to its mission as a Research and Program Assistant.

Nicole Crescimanno

Nicole joined the Small Planet Institute in early 2009 as a research intern to assist Frances on Liberation Ecology and Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want. She also collected information to be used in Small Planet outreach material, such as speeches and articles. Some of her favorite topics include sustainability in Gussing, Austria and the Green Revolution in India. She credits her internship at Small Planet as the experience where she gained a better perspective of the root causes of some of the ills that plague our world as well as how she discovered new hope, energy and insight on how best to address them.

Nicole holds a BA from Stonehill College, and a Master’s degree in Climate and Society through Columbia University's Earth and Environmental Science Department. During her Master's candidacy, she held a new internship at The Earth Institute's Tropical Agriculture Program, where she reviewed and developed sustainability and resilience metrics for a global agricultural and food systems network. Currently she is Environmental Development Associate at BrightFarms, a start-up that finances, builds, and operates hydroponic greenhouses on top of supermarkets, in order to grow ultra-local and sustainable food.

Danya Rumore, M.S.

Danya Rumore was the Small Planet Institute’s Special Projects Coordinator. Located in the Cambridge office, she was responsible for developing and managing Small Planet initiatives, as well as providing writing and editing support and assisting with outreach and communications. A 2007-2008 US Fulbright Fellow to New Zealand, Danya holds an M.S. in Environmental Management and Economic Geography from the University of Auckland and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Economics from Oregon State University. With over 5 years of experience in environmental outreach, community engagement, and sustainability research, she has worked with a broad range of organizations including the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities, the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and the Oregon State University Community Service Center. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Policy and Planning at MIT.

Freya Sargent

With a background in democratic education and the performing arts, Freya is very excited to be working as an intern at Small Planet where she will be fostering her interest in non-profit work, environmental sustainability, and community engagement. When not at Small Planet, Freya can be found working on Veggie Ninjas – a collective exploring new ways of guerrilla gardening, practicing Bikram Yoga, and cooking up new delights in her kitchen.

Katy McDonald

Katy joined the Small Planet team as a research intern in 2009. For the past three summers, she has assisted Frances with research for EcoMind and articles in The Huffington Post, The Nation, and other publications. Katy has also engaged in academic outreach and participated in several Small Planet events.

Currently, Katy is a senior at Colgate University, where she majors in English and Environmental Studies. Her experience at Small Planet has inspired her to pursue a career in food security or environmental policy.

Alexandra Tung

Alexandra joined the Small Planet Institute in May 2009 as a research intern to assist Frances on Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want and what became EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want. She also maintained the Small Planet website and created outreach materials on the connection between agriculture and climate change. Originally from Hong Kong, she credits the rural setting of Ithaca, NY, where she completed her undergraduate degree, for sparking her interest in agriculture and environmental justice. She has worked on numerous publications, including a Food Policy and Sustainability advisory document for Slow Food International's Terra Madre 2010, Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet and Vital Signs 2011. She is currently assisting Raj Patel on Generation Food, a transmedia project that looks at sustainable solutions to feed the world.
Alexandra holds a M.S. in Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University.

Emma Puka-Beals

Emma, a graduate from Mount Holyoke College with a major in Environmental Studies, became involved with Small Planet after returning from the Rio+20 international environmental summit on sustainable development where she was conducting research for a political anthropology study. As a long-time fan of Frances Moore Lappe's work, she's still involved with the Institute and most recently hosted a Developing Your EcoMind workshop at her alma mater. She now works as the 2014 Conference Manager for The New Economics Institute.

Bryson Cowan

Bryson joined the Small Planet institute in June 2011 as a research and outreach intern, and worked with Frances on publicity and outreach for EcoMind and research projects such as the “40 Years of the Food Movement”.

Bryson is currently a senior at Connecticut College, where she is pursuing degrees in Government and Applied Economic and Environmental Analysis. Drawing largely on her experience at Small Planet, this year she is undertaking a research project to explore globalized markets and food security issues among fishing communities in Tanzania.