University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

DENIN Ambassadors


DENIN SPC members with YouDeeThe DENIN Ambassadors are a small group of specially selected volunteers from across the University of Delaware who assist DENIN in reaching out to students. Its members are charged with being

Promoters — helping to spread the word about DENIN activities and representing DENIN at campus-wide events
Focus Group — providing input about what UD students are interested in and concerned about
Event Planners — carrying out events for students that further the educational objectives of DENIN
Activists — helping to create a sustainable campus by communicating scientific information effectively

The DENIN Ambassadors are now accepting applications for new members on a rolling basis with new members selected at the end of each semester. Students at any level and from any major are invited to apply. Access our online application form here. Email our co-chairs Erica and Grace with any questions you have.

The DENIN Ambassadors group was launched during the 2011-2012 academic year. It is composed of 10-15 members who work with DENIN staff to plan and carry out educational events for their fellow students on campus. The group has included representatives from the Colleges of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Business and Economics, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Agricultural and Natural Resources.

Photo of I Scream for the Earth eventAmong their many activities, the group has conducted a Bottled Water Awareness Campaign on campus, collecting over 1,000 signatures on their petitions and proposing a successful StUDent Government Association resolution supporting their initiative to reduce one-time plastic bottle use. They have a general commitment to raising awareness about and working to reduce all types of waste on campus.

The ambassadors have also hosted a number of film screenings, special speakers, art projects and performers, including the 2014 appearance by spoken word artists Climbing PoeTree. They sponsor an annual student environmental video competition. In addition, members receive special invitations to meet and interact with the internationally known environmental speakers hosted by DENIN through its DENIN Dialogue Series and Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series.

Photo of DENIN Ambassadors at Coast DayThroughout the year, ambassadors represent DENIN at festivals and events such as Coast Day, Earth Week, and Ag Day. In the spring, they treat their fellow students to UDairy Creamery ice cream at their "Ice Cream/I Scream for the Earth" event on The Green. 




2016–17 Ambassadors

Photo of Erica TompkinsErica Tompkins
Erica is a junior pursuing a double major in environmental and resource economics and economics. She is also involved with the on campus initiate group Students for the Environment by working on projects such as Green the Green. She is a member of the UD Club Ultimate Frisbee team and is the team’s captain for their UDance team. Over the summer, Erica interned at the Philadelphia Zoo studying animal behavior and worked to educate the public about conservation and the importance of wildlife. She hopes to bridge business with sustainability by helping corporations transition into using sustainable practices.

Photo of Grace PedersonGrace Pederson
Grace is a junior pursuing a double major of environmental studies and sociology. In addition to her involvement in DENIN she also serves as the Student Government Academic Affairs Senator for the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. In the past she pioneered an initiative to install clotheslines in the dormitories as a sustainable alternative to electric dryers. She is currently working on a project to improve bike/pedestrian safety on campus.

Photo of Julie MilliskyJulie Millisky
Julie is a UD-loving senior pursuing a degree in public policy and a minor in environmental humanities.  She was president of her freshmen year living complex Green Team, and has been especially passionate about sustainability since a winter alternative break trip to Puerto Rico. In addition to being a DENIN ambassador, Julie is a proud participant of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, the public relations director of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and a peer mentor for the Freshmen Year Seminar program. She hopes to one day work for a non-profit organization that educates and inspires citizens to live more sustainably. 

Photo of Nathan HarlanNathan Harlan
Nathan is a first-year grad student pursuing pursuing research in plant science. He has previously served on the board of the Down to Earth food cooperative and spent three years working for Delaware Nature Society at Coverdale Farm Preserve learning techniques in small-scale sustainable agriculture. Currently he is assisting with corn breeding research on the Maize ATLAS program aiming to improve yields and genetic diversity within the US corn population for increased disease resistance. He hopes to pursue a career that combines plant genetics with reform of large scale agriculture.

Photo of Alison TregliaAlison Treglia
Alison is a senior pursuing a double degree in music and environmental engineering with a concentration in water resources and water quality. She is an Environmental Engineering Ambassador for the engineering program at UD and has also been a DENIN Environmental Scholar studying the purpose of carotenoid pigments in bacteria isolated from concrete. This summer she worked in Champaign, Illinois, for the Army Corps of Engineers researching the effectiveness of sporicidal enzymes for wide-area decontamination. Aside from scientific pursuits, Alison is heavily involved in campus ensembles such as the UD Symphony Orchestra, the UD Chamber Orchestra, and chamber music ensembles. Her goals are to earn a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and research how bacteria can be used as bio-indicators for different environments.

Natalie Criscenzo
Natalie is a junior pursuing a double major in energy and environmental policy and public policy with a minor in environmental humanities. She is also in the 4+1 program simultaneously completing her master of public administration. Outside of DENIN, Natalie is an intern with the Delaware Water Resources Center and also a Public Policy Fellow with the Institute for Public Administration. She is the vice president of the Student Government Association. Other involvements in campus include being a Blue Hen Ambassador and previously being the sustainability chair for the Central Complex Community Council. She recently created an RSO to support student success within the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy. After college, Natalie hopes to work for an environmentally based nonprofit organization.

Photo of Sophie PhillipsSophie Phillips
Sophie is a senior pursuing a degree in environmental science with a concentration in marine science and minoring in public policy. In addition to being a DENIN Ambassador, she is also the chair of the Students for the Environment Committee “Green the Green,” the social media chair for Blue Hen Birding, a student ambassador for the Title IX campaign “kNOw MORE,” and the president of the UD Cycling Club Team. She spent a month in New Zealand studying marine creatures and the geology of the north and south islands. She is very interested in coral reefs and the impact of climate change on the marine ecosystem. After completion of her undergraduate program, she hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in marine science and a J.D. in environmental law.

Photo of Kacie BrandenburgKacie Brandenburg
Kacie is a senior English major with minors in journalism, public policy, and environmental humanities. Kacie is involved on campus as a community fellow with the Blue Hen Leadership Program and as a Writing Center Peer Tutor. She has traveled to Puerto Rico twice for environmental service trips and is excited to explore Hawaii's myriad ecosystems and communities this winter during an environmental study abroad. She worked as a lifeguard in Walt Disney World in the spring of 2016, and hopes to work for Disney again after she graduates.