2024 COBALT Fellows

The AMAZING COBALT Fellows of 2024

Our COBALT Fellows are a global cohort of motivated and diverse individuals with wide ranging experience including environmental sciences, geographic information systems software, public health, sustainability and social sciences. They will be completing their fellowship from January to December 2024.

Jon Betz

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Jon Diving will be acting as the Team Zostera Dive Safety Officer. He has participated in 17 marine science/conservation expeditions, filming, diving and living aboard vessels in diverse and remote habitats around the world. Jon has certifications in advanced open water, advanced nitrox, CCR, rescue diver, divemaster, oxygen delivery and first aid/CPR. Jon owns a small zodiac which will act as the primary vessel for Team Zostera operations. Jon will be a co-convener in the Working Group #3: Marine Operations and Dive Safety.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
Diving and boating operations in Maine and around the world are an integral part of my work and lifestyle. I am thrilled to help convene the Dive Operations Working Group as well as act as the Team Zostera Dive Safety Officer. I have been diving for 14 years and have worked as an expedition team member for National Geographic Pristine Seas since 2016.

Mark Bomster

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Mark is a long-time public-policy journalist with experience as a writer and editor in subjects including politics, public education, and legal affairs, along with a wide-ranging interest in culture and the arts. He is experienced in working across teams and leading and participating in collaborative projects. Mark has the ability to identify the core elements of a complex discussion and synthesize them in a way that moves the group forward for action under deadline. Mark’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
As a New Englander by background, this region best fits my familiarity and knowledge of the issues, culture, and specific local challenges, as well as previous work on COBALT’ summer 2023 event. The Bioregional Systems Storytelling working group best fits my abilities and experience as a writer, editor, communicator, and facilitator with an interest in both public policy and the intersection of arts and culture. I feel a deep affinity with the subject and a call to apply my talents in a way that connects specialists with the public at large and communities in need of restoration and transformation.

Sam Buckton

Bioregion: Tayside Bioregion, Scotland

Sam did his undergraduate degree in Biological Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management from the University of York and is currently working on her PhD. He is also a Research Associate with Global Assessment for a New Economics, and was previously a Research Assistant with FixOurFood. Sam’s role will be to work with the COBALT Leadership Team on Developmental Evaluation of the COBALT Fellows Program aligned with WG #1 Systems Storytelling.

What makes you excited to work with COBALT on Developmental Evaluation? I’m fundamentally a system thinker. In recent years this has been in the context of food systems and economics, but for longer than that I’ve been an ecologist and nature conservationist. I’m dismayed at the lack of systemic and bioregional awareness in today’s societies and can think of few things more important for supporting regenerative futures than attempting to bring people into a more ecological worldview. I’ve also come to realize the power of stories in cohering and communicating complex ideas and would be keen to develop my practical knowledge of applying system storytelling techniques.

Cameron Cooke

Bioregion: Tayside Bioregion, Scotland
 
Cameron is a UK-based graduate who is passionate about sustainable place-making in the built and living environment. He studies at the University of Scotland and is interested in how our relationship to buildings tells stories of our connection to local places and landscapes. Cameron is looking to help understand what a specific bioregional building culture would look like in practice. He has experience in housing, urban development, and sustainability, as well as stakeholder and community engagement. Cameron’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I would be particularly interested in working on the Tayside Bioregion in Scotland, or the bioregional project in Snowdonia in Wales. As a writer, historian and urban place-maker, I have a strong belief in the power of narrative and story-telling. I am really excited by the opportunity to explore the role that storytelling can play in framing our understanding of place through a bioregional narrative perspective, and the power this has in creating sustainable systems transformation. As I grew up on a working farm and having a keen interest in sustainable food systems, I am particularly keen to be involved in this working groups focus on understanding the narratives surrounding bioregional food systems.

Hannah Day

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Hannah is a curator, artist and co-director of Gallery space 82Parris, in Portland Maine. She grew up on the islands of Casco Bay, and now lives in Portland. I would say my super power is being observant, I love to watch and take things in! Hannah has experience in topics of climate change as well as sustainability and art and curation. Hannah’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling, while also assisting with Working Group #2: Arts and Culture of Seagrass meadows.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I grew up on the islands of Casco Bay and am passionate about sustaining the local ecology of the Bay. I am a visual artist and curator inspired by local ecologies and climate shift in the Gulf Of Maine. I often work with site-specificity to create paintings and installations. I selected the “story-telling” group because I felt the two go hand and hand, but admittedly I have much less formal background in that department.

Tobias Fechner

Bioregion: Tayside Bioregion, Scotland
 
Tobias has been traveling for 18+ months through various learning neighborhoods: DAOs and Token Engineering, Community Land Trusts, Regenerative Design and Development with Regenesis, Living Systems Science, Narrative-based Cultural Evolution with Culture Hack Labs, and a few living/ learning centers. He previously had worked in Formula 1 as a software quality assurance engineer, an early-stage renewable energy startup in London doing grid analytics, and Europe’s largest renewable energy retailer in Berlin, also doing analytics. He also just recently moved to Barcelona. Tobias’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I will be based in North Wales for the majority if not all the duration of the fellowship. I know a fellow regenerative practitioner who is based in Scotland who I’ll be collaborating with during 2024 and I’d be excited to build upon that connection. Data, experience and story are what the vast majority of my creative impulse is drawn toward. Currently, I’m finding that holding space for questions related to the design of ethical digital systems applied to/ for place-sourced work is one of my highest responsibilities. I’m finding there is a depth in this space that invokes in me a very strong sense for the need to develop the representation of bioregional systems as responsibly as possible. I’m interested in the working group as a space to explore greater ecological perspective.

Signe R Ferguson

Bioregion: Valle de Zaquencipá, Colombia
 
Singe has strong communication skills, as well as her ability to story tell. Singe has many visualization skills (analogue and digital), experience with creating maps and 3d models, a background in visual art, and a large emphasis in their work on experience design. Currently, her work is shifting towards an interest in coastlines, waterways, and a better understanding of the impact of presence, building, and maintenance. Singe’s primary working group will be Working Group #2: Arts and Culture of Seagrass meadows with a major focus on Interpreting the “Phases of Transformation” and apply this with the Six COBALT Bioregions.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
The condition of the Valley/River is of immense interest to me. Recently, as I am currently living in CDMX, I have come into connection with a few architects and community leaders from Colombia – leading me to believe that there may be a bridge beginning to form in communication. Colombia also ranks as 18th in the world for climate risk – so this endeavor seems especially important. My background is in architecture, sculpture, art, biomaterials. I think that by participating in the diving/marine life group I have the most potential to offer a ‘different’ perspective compared to others that may join the work. I’d love to further integrate into a community that feels just as perturbed and filled with heaviness in the heart for our lands and shared skin.

Haley Fitzpatrick

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Haley was trained as an architect and worked at Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genova, Italy from 2016-2020. At the same time, she also started volunteering at the MonViso Institute in Italy. She now is working on her PhD at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway. Her research includes exploring how a reflexive practice of systemic design can be used to broaden awareness and participation in co-designing regenerative futures of rural mountain communities. Haley works to facilitate and bring people together to share stories and critically reflect on the systems in which they are a part of. Haley’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development and her role as “Special Advisor for COBALT Bioregional Learning Journeys.”


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
This area of Maine is close to home for me – I used to spend summers up and down the coast. While all the working groups sound fantastic, I am quite interested in Working Group #5- Bioregional Digital Twin Development and also believe this would fit well with my experience. I’ve been working at a bioregional scale with my PhD research in Systemic Design these past few years and see great potential in such a project like a digital twin. I believe I could contribute to the WG through both my experience as an architect and in my transdisciplinary research in place-based sustainability transformations and systemic design. I would be happy to see how my transdisciplinary experience might be able to help contribute to such an exciting project as a bioregional digital twin!

Allison Fogg

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA

Allison Fogg is a current graduate student at the University of Southern Maine, working in Dr. Lasley-Rasher’s Marine Ecology lab. She studies population dynamics and life history characteristics of the mysid, Neomysis americana, in the Damariscotta River Estuary. She’s interested in multiple forms of marine science like local regenerative seaweed farms and sustainable aquaculture. Allison’s primary working group will be Working Group #3: Marine Operations and Dive Safety.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? I love marine science and scuba diving. My interests involve seaweed ecology, zooplankton population dynamics, regenerative kelp farms, and overall conservation efforts in the Gulf of Maine. I have experience doing field work in Casco Bay and I completed the AAUS scientific diving course in 2022.

Shaun Gill

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Shaun is a heart-centered technical resource for helping you get in, on, and under water. He is also seen as people-oriented, taking great care to provide support of people and processes in order to arrive at stakeholder-centered solutions. Shaun enjoys uncovering informational and relational subtleties that lead to root-cause problem solving. He has experience working with scientists, artists, engineers, and manufacturers, and is currently affiliated with Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Shaun’s primary working group will be Working Group #3: Marine Operations and Dive Safety.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
Having a long history of marine operations, I am deeply committed to sharing my knowledge to connect people with the information, technology, and skills needed to help them study and explore the ocean. I’m interested Casco Bay because it is my home area. However, I am also curious about Westfjords, Iceland.

Lawrence Grodeska

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Lawrence brings people together to strategize, create and celebrate for the benefit of all beings. He has studied ecology, spent time at local environmental agencies and social good startups, and founded CivicMakers, a leading civic design firm. He is also a seasoned executive, deft strategist, master facilitator, and trusted project manager, as well as an Eagle Scout, a loving husband and father, and musician. Lawrence’s primary working group will be Working Group #6: Friendraising/Fundraising & Development as well as Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I see the establishment of a Bay Delta Bioregional Trust as primarily a stakeholder engagement and relationship building process. This has been a big focus of my career over the past 20 years, and I am especially interested in learning about how others are doing this work within a bioregional context. I have less experience in finance and fundraising, and wish to develop my skill in this area. In the new year, I will be kicking off a crowdsourced asset mapping process for the Bay Delta in order to gather insight into the bioregion’s existing human capital, natural capital, critical infrastructure, existing ecological restoration and regenerative projects, related data sets and more. Ultimately, I see an opportunity to compile a open bioregional information commons that can support more effective sense making and decision making about the future of our home, which I believe aligns with some of the Digital Twin work.

Jack Hughes

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Jack is currently studying GCSEs in the UK including geography, agriculture and computer science. He interests include finding sustainable ways of living and regenerative practices. Jack’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I’m interested in bioregional digital twins and would like to help with the work Zedaxis is doing. I am also interested in visiting this bioregion specifically. I have an interest and some experience in creating 3D interactive environments. My goal is to integrate this with learning more about bioregions and working on a bioregional digital twin.

Veer Kumar

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA

Veer is a current graduate student at Tufts University. He has a wide range of experience in Data Science, including data storytelling. He is currently working on a digital twins’ project, to try to understand the impact of excessive fertilizer usage on the growth of seagrass in the Casco Bay. Veer’s primary working group is Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I am an individual with a strong passion for environmental sustainability and a desire to contribute to the understanding and preservation of ecosystems, such as Casco Bay. The group’s focus on bioregional systems, including food systems, waste management, and coastal ecosystems, aligns with my commitment to long lasting environmental well-being.

Daniel Kwaning

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA

Daniel is a current graduate student, with knowledge in world analytics and stakeholder and community engagement. Daniel’s primary working group is Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling, while also working with Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? From the workshop in January on seagrass in Casco with the use of R and GIS. I have fallen in love with the scope and would like to enroll further to learn more.

Hayden Libbey

Bioregion: Tayside Bioregion, Scotland
 
Hayden studied Environmental Sciences and Management at UC Davis, graduating recently. He has spent a year and half teaching youth science and leading outdoor education in the SF Bay Area and currently lives in Berkeley, California where he is affiliated with Sports Basement. Hayden found GIS and data sciences to be the most intriguing of the many disciplines he learned during his time at UC Davis. Hayden’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling as well as assisting with Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I’m a passionate outdoorsman, naturalist, and educator living in Berkeley, CA in the SF Bay Area. I would love to learn about a bioregion entirely different from the bioregion I inhabit.

Kent Libbey

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Kent is based in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where he has raised a family and worked in high-tech for over two decades. He has worked a lot in marketing and product management in the context of digital media within companies large and small. Kent is currently managing a globally distributed team of software designers and developers in the creation of software that uses Artificial Intelligence technology to make it easy to identify, search and share key segments of videos. Kent’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I’m open to focusing on any bioregion that can benefit from my skills (in digital media, software, AI and analytics). Much of my career has been in high-tech marketing and product development–mostly in the context of digital media. While that work has been in for-profit companies, marketing has strong story-telling function and my extensive work in media distribution tools/systems might help to get the story out more broadly.

Kristina Loring

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Christina is an independent story editor, audio producer, and sound artist. She blends documentary-style interviews, field recordings, and fiction writing to foster connection, intimacy, and new emotional realms for listeners to explore. She spent four years as the Head of Audio for Dipsea. She was invited to the 2021 Sound Scene Festival to showcase her piece “Message in a Bottle,” (2021). She also created Ghost Arroyos for the Market Street Prototyping Festival in San Francisco, an installation where she collaborated with a landscape architect providing an auditory sanctuary amidst the hectic ambient city sounds of Market Street. Kristina’s primary working group will be Working Group #2: Arts and Culture of Seagrass meadows.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
My family has been working on the water for generations, whether building boats on Peaks Island, captaining or being a deck hand on the Casco Bayline ferries, working the Portland fire boat, or building ships during WW2 on the wharf. Now as a storyteller and sound artist, I want to continue to pay homage to and amplify the symbiotic relationship we can have with the ecology and natural world in the bodies of water of Portland through deep listening and creativity.

Matice Maino

Bioregion: Westfjords, Iceland

Matice is a 24-year-old musician and film maker with a deep love for the outdoors. He is a freelancer, but affiliates with Posey Moulton’s art world. Matice’s primary working group will be Working Group #2: Arts and Culture of Seagrass meadows.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? I am relatively open to working in whichever group I am most needed. Being from the casco bay bioregion I am open to learning of a new place and ecosystem of time and place and have always been fascinating by the raw natural beauty of Iceland. I’ve always been fascinated by the interconnection between the arts and the unfolding of society, and in the case of bioregional elements, the story telling, and empathetic element are crucial in the growth and healing of these precious entities.

Denise Meslin

Bioregion: Valle de Zaquencipá, Colombia

Denise is a 43-year-old Mexican French person. Today she works as Commercial Director in Cybersecurity for Latin America. She is working with Juliana on this project that involves the spiritual part that comes from her ancestors. Her primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? I want to be part of this fellowship to learn more of this and all the territories. I am Mexican but I am focusing in Fractal Regeneration Project from Colombia as my social environmental practice and service. My entire professional career has been in technology, my passion is nature and everything it offers us, I find it very interesting to be able to combine both things and discover how we can do it.

Maria Nieto

Bioregion: Valle de Zaquencipá, Colombia

Maria is an industrial designer. She lives in Villa de Leyva and has known the territory since a child. Maria has experience in design, art, and education, and is excited to learn more about her chosen bioregion. Maria’s primary working group will be Working Group #2: Arts and Culture of Seagrass meadows.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? My interest is to learn and know the bio region of Zaquencipa in environmental and cultural aspects from an environmental and social point of view.

Gabby Ravin

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Gabby an environmental science undergraduate at the University of Southern Maine. She has taken several classes on using ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online, which included creating a story map for a final project. She has done two other internships related to sustainable transportation and environmental concerns within utility companies. Gabby’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I currently live near Portland, Maine, so this bioregion would make the most sense for me to work at! Because I have some growing experience in using ArcGIS and creating story maps, this working group will help continue my experience in ArcGIS. I’m excited to learn more about effects on seagrass meadows and am very interested in creating a story map in relation to the meadows.

Milena Rojas

Bioregion: Valle de Zaquencipá, Colombia

Milena is a mother who heads the family and comes from the countryside. She has been working with Juliana on Fractal Regeneration projects for more than 7 years and has learned to cultivate her leadership. Milena’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I’m excited to learn from global processes and contribute to the local project. I also work with storytelling in the region so I think is where I can add more during my time with COBALT.

An Siwinski

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA

An holds a BS in marine vertebrate biology from Stony Brook University in New York. An previously worked in a phytoplankton laboratory where we collected seawater samples to test for chlorophyll and harmful algal blooms. They currently hold both an NAUI Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certifications, as well as a New York Boater’s Safety License. They also have an expired AAUS Scientific Diver Certification. An’s primary working group will be Working Group #3: Marine Operations and Dive Safety.

What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group? I am interested in focusing on the Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion as that is where I live. I am familiar with mapping the City of Portland and would like to contribute to the local science scene. I have R and GIS knowledge and like to map data. Gathering data to help the local ecosystem has always been a dream for me. I like collaborating with others and am interested in working with other Working Groups!

Izzy Stocks

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Izzy has lived in Maine for most of her life and has so much love for the state. She is in her final year studying media and communications at the University of Roehampton London and wants to use her media and communication skills to help tell the story of Maine’s coast and assist in the work COBALT is doing. Izzy’s primary working group will be Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I’ve lived in Maine for most of my life and have such an appreciation for this gorgeous state! Maine, specifically the beaches and ocean, is my happy place and I really want to give back. I worked on the seagrass story map for Cobalt this past summer and really enjoyed the work I took part in. I’m really looking forward to getting involved again!

Peter J. Stocks

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Peter has been working with Team Zostera for 9 months and has formal training is in law and economics. In past years he practiced in the corporate bankruptcy arena and taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Massachusetts. Recently Peter’s been involved in creating and managing ocean-born businesses including rope grown mussels and scallop aquaculture farms since 2009. He has also done some consulting for the World Wildlife Fund in the shellfish aquaculture space. Peter’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
While working as a paid consultant with the World Wildlife Fund, on a shellfish project in Casco Bay, I was directly involved in gathering data, creating outcome goals and using GIS mapping to locate a non- commercial science / research shellfish lease. The process and the end use of that tool was very interesting. I grew up in Maine and returned to the Casco Bay area approximately 18 years ago with my family. I’m very excited about the work COBALT and Team Zostera are undertaking and hope to make a contribution.

Minot Weld

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Minot lives and works on the coast of Maine and has a keen interest in the revitalization of living systems. He works as a project finance consultant with Wivern Management, LLC. Minot has experience in private sector consulting, as well as economic development, sustainable agriculture, stakeholder and community engagement, industry and innovation, and more. Minot’s primary working group will be Working Group #6: Friendraising/Fundraising & Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I work in project finance, and I am well networked in the region. This is where I live and work and where I have spent countless hours on the water.

Tiffany Wu

Bioregion: Greater Portland & Casco Bay Bioregion, Gulf of Maine, USA
 
Tiffany is a second-year graduate student in Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. She grew up in coastal California and studied animal science and environmental sustainability at Cornell University for her undergrad. Her academic interests include geospatial analysis, remote sensing and sustainable development. Tiffany’s graduate thesis is on predicting the distribution of seagrass in Casco Bay using a combination of predictive modeling in ArcGIS and remote sensing analysis. Tiffany’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
I am interested in the Casco Bay bioregion because of its distinctive marine environment, which includes complex bathymetry and numerous inlets and islands, and rich maritime history. I am interested in joining Working Group #5 because I believe building a “digital twin” of the Casco Bay bioregion would be an incredibly exciting endeavor. I know of a classmate who worked on this initiative at Tufts University’s Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC) last spring. It would be great to continue their work and understand whether it is possible to utilize networked devices (IoT) to gain a near-real time understanding of the environmental processes in the region and how they may affect specific species, such as seagrass.

Max Zahniser

Bioregion: Westfjords, Iceland
 
Max’s core process is leans towards, “seeing how systems could work, and demonstrating that” as well as also noticing the connective tissue or places, cultures, society, and communities. Max is an amateur ecologist, a recovering architect, an unplanned educator, and is currently working to develop innovative approaches to “re-villaging” society through new technique and project development, many related to the built environment. Part of his work includes holding social justice within its integrity. Max’s primary working group will be Working Group #5: Bioregional Digital Twin Development.


What makes you excited to work in your chosen working group?
Other than my time with COBALT earlier this year, my strongest relationships are in Iceland, and I’m currently planning Regenerative EduTourism programs there, connected well with the university, as well as wilderness guides and experts. As a long time aspiring regenerative thinker and practitioner, I’ve been striving to re-integrate our fragmented societies back towards healthy villages. For many years I have included in that a belief, that so called IT / computer science / technological cybernetics may be a destined contribution of humanity. So I’ve been working in various ways on projects and products that are incredibly complimentary to the COBALT digital twin efforts, and could in fact merge, or at least become a symbiotic set of efforts.

Want to learn more about becoming a COBALT Fellow? Contact us to find out more!