About us

Kazia Mermel

Outreach Manager

Kazia Mermel, a first year master’s student, brings a strong scientific background to Bren. As an undergraduate, she researched marine science through the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Sea Education Association, and Oregon State University. In the course of this research she analyzed marine fish habitat and lobster genetics, collected samples for pelagic food web studies, reviewed international marine policy, and evaluated bias in chemical oceanography sensors. She found this research fascinating, but felt something lacking in her career aspirations. When Kazia graduated from Carleton College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, she decided to take a step back from academia. During the course of a two-year stint at a national grocery chain, inspiration struck. The extent of industrial packaging waste that she saw every day frustrated Kazia, yet she saw enormous potential in her company’s commitment to plastic reduction. What could we achieve through simple waste-reduction actions taken on a vast scale? Kazia decided to attend Bren, leaving behind pure academic research to focus on crafting large-scale solutions to complex environmental problems. Her goal is to transform the industrial landscape from one of waste to one of reuse through corporate creativity and government regulation.

Anthony Luna

Data and Finance Manager

Anthony Luna, a first-year master’s student, is interested in the intersection of food systems, public health, and environmental health. Following graduation from the University of Kent in 2014 with a BSc in Mathematics, Anthony returned home to work at his family’s grocery store. This experience introduced him to the current state of food systems and how they can impact the health of lower-income communities. As a result, he was inspired join COPE Health Solutions as a unit volunteer. He became a program leader which allowed him to coordinate of quality of care assessments and support training intensives. Anthony was then promoted as a Data Analyst, where he worked with health systems in New York City to improve contracting strategy and manage inpatient costs. Anthony decided to leave this role to focus on other, more tangible aspects of patient health including community engagement, preventative care, and food access. He is now a Staff Researcher at the University of California Cooperative Extension supporting agriculture research. At the Bren School, Anthony is specializing in the Economics and Politics of the Environment. He hopes to develop processes and policies which incentivize food systems which are healthier for people and the planet.

Allison Bailey

Project Manager

Allison Bailey, a first-year master’s student, graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a Master of Science in Journalism. Prior to her graduate career, she served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer conducting city threat-assessments in Iraq and as a Military Police Officer shaping regional security in Afghanistan. Following graduate school, Allison went on to hold the position of National Program Manager for The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans to continue their service in their community. As the National Program Manager, she oversaw the design and strategy of a program that developed thousands of asset-based community leaders and volunteers to focus on making a community impact in public schools, under-resourced neighborhoods, national and public parks. Independent of her career, Allison volunteers her time lobbying, writing op-ed pieces, as well as hosting events to gather community support to address critical environmental issues affecting California. At the Bren School, Allison is specializing in Strategic Environmental Communication with a focus on Eco-Entrepreneurship. Her goal is to launch an environmentally-conscious media platform that concentrates on the intersectionality of her two passions: music and the environment.

Robert Heilmayr

Faculty Advisor

Robert is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist and an Assistant Professor in UCSB’s Environmental Studies Program and the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. In his research, Robert combines approaches from economics, geography and ecology to explore the way society uses and governs natural resources. Robert earned his Ph.D. from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program for Environment and Resources at Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Carlson Lab at the University of Hawaii. Robert’s nonacademic career has stretched from field botany in the Sierra Nevada to climate policy analysis and advocacy in Washington, DC. His curriculum vitae is available here, and his google scholar profile is available here.

Sinclair Vincent

External Advisor

As Standards Development Manager at Verra, Sinclair is leading the development of the Plastic Waste Reduction Program which aims to enable robust impact assessment of new or scaled-up waste recovery and recycling projects. Previously she worked on the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) developing a set of tools to help countries assess the impact of their climate policies and improve their chances of strengthening and achieving their national climate goals under the Paris Agreement. She also has experience in MRV at the project level having previously managed the review process for all VCS projects and the daily operation of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.

Prior to joining Verra, Sinclair worked at Enviance conducting scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) industry analyses and developing business strategies for GHG reporting.

Sinclair earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California Santa Barbara, where she focused on Pollution Prevention and Remediation and Corporate Environmental Management. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Florida.