Our 2022 COBALT Fellows

Our COBALT Fellows

Our COBALT Fellows are a global cohort of motivated and diverse individuals with wide ranging experience from environmental sciences, geographic information systems software, public health, sustainability, to social sciences. The will be completing their fellowship from June to October 2022.

Yasmin Johnston

Based out of Nantes, France. Originally from Sydney, Australia.

Yasmin is a recent graduate from the University of Technology Sydney with a Bachelor of Social and Political Sciences. She has a wide range of experience in the social and humanitarian sector including with refugee organisations in Australia, Colombia, and France. Within the COBALT Network she provides technical and logistical assistance.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?
This COBALT Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for me to broaden my horizons personally and professionally with individuals, organisations, and initiatives that offer the opportunity for immense systems learning.

Lauren Hayden

Based out of Portland, Maine

Lauren is a master’s student in the School of Marine and Environmental Programs at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Lauren grew up on Peaks Island, Maine and has maintained a close connection to the sea. Her graduate research centers around mapping local eelgrass beds with a combination of remote sensing techniques including side scan sonar and aerial drones. 

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

I am very much looking forward to participating in this learning journey. I am excited to share what I know and to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this amazing place.

Sigrid Knag

Based out of As, Norway

Sigrid Knag is studying Data Science with a specialization in Geoinformatics at the Norwegian University of Life Science. She is passionate about bioregional mapping, is now using her studies to learn how one can monitor the health of the earth with geographical data.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

I am excited about the fellowship because I am looking forward to learn about bioregioning and the bioregion in order to understand how we can deal with climate change better. I also like their values and way of seeing into systems, reminding us to keep an open mind and being humble as we are visiting somebody elses home/place. 

Karie Crisp Vazquez

Based out of the San Francisco Bay area, California. Originally from Western North Carolina.

Karie spent a decade working on corporate sustainability initiatives in food, product supply chains, and women’s economic empowerment. In 2018, she began a learning journey to understand bioregionalism and began a PhD program at California Institute of Integral Studies to research the subject.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?
The cultural evolution of bioregionalism is of interest for my doctoral studies in addition to participatory action projects focused on pragmatic solutions. COBALT is a great opportunity to collaborate with others from around the world and come together for an amazing learning journey in beautiful Casco Bay.

Victoria Bowler

Based out of Portland, Maine

Victoria Bowler is a recent graduate from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Throughout her undergraduate career, she focused on Public Health and Wellness, specifically, holistic and accessible healthcare. Victoria is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician(EMT) in Maine and Massachusetts and she is using this healthcare experience to prepare her for a career as physician assistant(PA).

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

I am excited to do this fellowship because I will be surrounded by people who are enthusiastic about continuing learning throughout their lives for the betterment of the world around them!

Sam Matey

Based out of Paris, France. Originally from Greater Portland, Maine

Sam Matey holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, summa cum laude, from the University of Southern Maine. A Master of Geospatial Applied Information Systems and Technologies graduation from UCLA’s MAGIST program is expected June 2022. Since January 2020, he has been working at SustainaMetrix, where inter alia he served as co-lead writer in the strategic evaluation of the Oak Foundation Marine Conservation Sub-programme and co-authored the Ocean Foundation’s story maps on Blue Tech Clusters in America and across the North Atlantic.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

I’m excited to be a COBALT fellow because of the amazing interdisciplinary team that’s gathered around this concept, and the passion, knowledge, and excitement we’re bringing to the table!

Amanda Gagne

Based out of Portland, Maine

Amanda is a recent graduate of The University of New England. Her public health degree, and research conducted with SustainaMetrix, highlights the interconnected relationships of human health and environmental health. Her passion advocates for equitable policies and healthcare practices to create systems that sustain the ever-changing demands of today’s world and combat the inequitable realities it has created.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

To conduct meaningful collaborative work that empowers ‘good’ in the world across philanthropic sectors.

Ella Hubbard headshot

Ella Hubbard

Based out of Sheffield, UK

Ella is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. Her research uses participatory methods to explore how bioregioning is being used to reshape regional development. Her research interests include bioregioning, alternative economies and social movements.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

Being a COBALT fellow gives me the opportunity to connect with other people that are dedicated to systems change. It’s allowed me to build a global network for sharing ideas, collaboration and support, which has been so valuable for my research and my learning to affect change.

Mik Schulte

Based out of Portland, Maine. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina

Mik has worked in the water sector internationally for over a decade, including in South Africa, Chile, Australia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, the United States, and South Pacific island states. Mik strongly believes in water as a unifying force, and that economic and ecosystem prosperity can and should be mutually reinforcing. Mik is a second-year law student at Maine Law and a 2022 Cobalt Fellow.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?

I’m excited to be a COBALT Fellow because defending, supporting, and growing a bioregion requires a team with diverse experience committed to pragmatism.

Caroline Paras

Based out of Portland, Maine. Originally from Southern California

As a first generation American, Caroline has spent three decades helping people build their sense of place, first as an educator who helped teachers create service-learning opportunities for K-12 students; second, as a planner who engaged residents in economic and community development; and third, as a researcher helping natural-resource based industries create agritourism experiences to share their stories with residents and visitors.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?
I’ve had three great careers – as an educator, an economic developer, and now, an entrepreneur. As a systems thinker, I am excited to engage with experts in a variety of disciplines and to connect the dots to design solutions to complex problems right here in my backyard of Portland, Maine.

Erik Wilson

Based out of Portland, Maine.
Erik is a recent graduate of Tufts University department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning where he graduated with a master’s degree in food systems planning. Here his research focused on public-private to support food recovery and gleaning to reduce food waste and food insecurity. He has recently begun working as the gleaning coordinator for Androscoggin Gleaners based out of Lewiston, ME.

What makes you excited to be a COBALT Fellow?
The intersection of so many perspectives, knowledges, and works allows for this space to be not only inclusive, but more educational than anyone one on their own. By looking across the whole food system, and beyond, common themes and new ideas are able to surface and be supported by those working. On top of all this, the work is done in beautiful Portland!

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