UConn@COP23 Bonn Climate Change Conference Trip Description


COP 23 is the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and will be hosted this year by the small Pacific island state, Fiji, and held in Bonn, Germany from November 6 th to November 17th, 2017. The event will bring together diplomats, business executives, heads of government and other delegates to discuss action on climate change. COP 23 will highlight the voices of countries most vulnerable to climate change, and will focus on action.

In the words of Fiji Prime Minister and Chair of COP 23, Frank Bainimarama, he will be “guiding the deliberations of almost 200 countries as [they] gather in Bonn, Germany, in November to continue to seek a more decisive response on the part of the industrial nations….And to set aside funds to enable developing countries such as Fiji to adapt to the changes to their way of life that have been caused through no fault of [their] own.”

The University of Connecticut will be providing full funding, excluding meals other than breakfast, for a select group of undergraduate students to travel to Bonn from November 12th – November 18th to attend events associated with the conference. Airfare, housing, and city transportation will be provided. In addition, students will have the opportunity to experience the beautiful city of Bonn, Germany.

UConn@COP22 Fellows

Christen BellucciChristen Bellucci

Christen Bellucci is a junior majoring in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Human Health. She grew up on Long Island, New York, where she first developed a strong interest in the sciences. At UConn, Christen is Co-President of the EcoHusky student group and a sustainability intern at the Office of Environmental Policy, where her roles include organizing the annual Earth Day Spring Fling event and editing the OEP blogs and newsletters. Christen aspires to be a middle or high school science educator, and hopes to extend her experiences at UConn and COP22 to her future students.

Ben BreslauBen Breslau

Ben Breslau is a junior, pursuing a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Wildlife Conservation. He is an intern at the Office of Environmental Policy, where he works as the lead intern on the annual EcoMadness competition and the 2016 Environmental Leadership Awards Ceremony. He also serves as Vice President of ECOalition, and actively participates in organizations such as EcoHusky, the UConn Scouting Association, and Maimonides. Ben greatly enjoys the outdoors, and loves to go biking and camping whenever possible.

Kristin BurnhamKristin Burnham

Kristin Burnham is pursuing a B.S. in Pathobiology and B.S. Molecular and Cell Biology. In 2015 she graduated from The Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School. Currently, she co-leads an incredible team of undergraduate engineers from the UCONN chapter of Engineers Without Borders. The undergraduate engineers are working with professors from Ethiopia, UCONN faculty and Professional Engineers to develop a sustainable irrigation system for small rural farming community in Woreta Zuria, Ethiopia. Kristin’s work on this project sparked her interest in the impact climate change has on food security and health. Her other passions include running during thunderstorms, wilderness medicine and infectious diseases.

Hannah CaseyHannah Casey

Hannah Casey is a junior at UConn and is from Higganum, CT. She is currently an intern at the Office of Environmental Policy where she works on getting grants for the Campus Sustainability Fund, assists with Green Game Day, and helped with planning the COP22 trip. She has previously interned at Dominion Power Station Environmental Laboratory and will be living in Clarksburg, West Virginia this upcoming summer to intern at Dominion Hope Gas. Hannah is also vice-president of EcoHusky and has always had an interest in the environment. She wants to extend that interest to her career, so she is currently pursuing her B.A. in Environmental Studies while simultaneously working on her master’s degree in Public Policy. She wants to create environmental policies and eventually go into Environmental Law. Aside from the environment, Hannah enjoys kayaking, hiking, painting, and her cat Chester. This will be Hannah’s first time travelling outside of the United States and she is extremely excited to represent UConn at COP22!

Steph HubliStephanie Hubli

Stephanie is a Senior majoring in Environmental Engineering. She works on campus as an engineering tutor, has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant, and captains the UConn Women's Ultimate Frisbee Team. Stephanie spent her Sophomore summer researching trace metal removal capacity of a constructed stormwater treatment wetland system. She currently works as a water resource design engineering intern at a Civil/Environmental Engineering firm. She chose the engineering track, in particular, because she wants to stress the application of these engineering principles in order to improve and preserve environmental quality. As an Environmental Engineer, she hopes to apply the knowledge she gains at the conference by incorporating sustainability in her profession through every facet of design.

Eddie McInerneyEddie McInerney

Eddie McInerney is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Political Science at the University of Connecticut, with a minor in Environmental Studies. Last spring, he studied the equity implications of national plans for carbon emissions reductions, and analyzed submissions to COP21 by different members of the G20, which includes some of the most economically powerful countries in the world. He is also a member of EcoHusky on campus, and has had a general interest in the implications of global climate change on international discourse from a young age (mostly due to a dad and sister who couldn't stop talking about it).

Wyatt MillionWyatt Million

Wyatt Million’s friend once said, "I wished I loved something as much as Wyatt loves plants." Even though Wyatt planned to go to graduate school for marine biology and not botany, he is proud to be seen in this way. His love for all things natural started during his childhood and has only grown throughout the years. Wyatt became a biological science major so he could conserve the things that are such an important part of his life. While he still has far to go, he believes that he is on the right path to achieve this goal. Now as a senior, Wyatt is working on his Honors Thesis dealing with symbiotic green algae under the advisement of Dr. Louise Lewis. In addition to academics, he is a member of the Division I cross country and track and field team here at UConn as well as a representative in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In the off season, he hits the Northeast's raging rivers with his fellow boaters in UConn Whitewater Kayaking Club. He has plans to enter graduate school to earn a PhD in marine science, a field where understanding the effects of a warming climate is hot topic, pun intended.

Genevieve NuttallGenevieve Nuttall

Genevieve Nuttall is studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology while working on a combined Master's degree in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. She plans on working in avian conservation, but is interested in all environmental fields! She is looking forward to the chance to learn more about climate change in Morocco which is a country she has always wanted to visit.

Usra QureshiUsra Qureshi

Usra Qureshi is currently a sophomore student double majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Human Rights. She is a full time activist, spending her time assisting displaced and resettled refugees, as well as engaging in meaningful dialogue on international social and political issues with the intention of invoking change. Her interests in both the sciences and humanities spearhead her desire to practice medicine in underrepresented and impoverished settings. With this career goal in mind, she makes an effort to diversify her frame of thinking through programs and activities inclusive of the world perspective. In her free time, Usra enjoys photography/videography as well as other forms of art, often collaborating with her friends on projects meant to "capture the moment".

Klara ReischKlara Reisch

Klara Reisch is a molecular and cell biology major and chemistry minor, and is a Senior Resident Assistant in the NextGen Hall for EcoHouse. She is in the honors program and a STEM Scholar. During her freshman year, she received the Holster Grant to do research over the summer in the MCB department doing wet lab research on microbes. Klara is the president and founder of a student-lead organization on campus called Honors in STEM and am a team leader for an alternative break on campus. She was born in Germany and enjoy traveling and learning new languages and cultures.

Brook SiegelBrook Siegel

Brooke Siegel is a junior undergraduate student studying Environmental Studies and Urban and Community Studies. She has a career goal of working in the field of sustainability with an eye towards urban planning and environmental design. Brooke is the President of Pencils of Promise, a club on campus that raises money to build schools in Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos. In addition, she is a Solar Ambassador Intern in which she participates in crowd funding and community outreach programs to educate the Mansfield community on solar energy. The goal of her fundraising is to bring a nonprofit in Windham, CT solar power by the Summer of 2017. Brooke hopes that after COP22 UConn will take a big step towards lessening their carbon footprint.

Margaux VAMargaux Verlaque-Amara

Margaux Verlaque-Amara is an honors Molecular & Cell Biology major and a Chemistry minor. She is deeply passionate about health equity, particularly interested in the link between an individual's environment and their health. She hopes to make strides in areas such as environmental racism and environmental justice in her future. In her free time loves to dance, paint, and play with her cat, Oscar.

UConn@COP22 Faculty

Oksan BayulgenDr. Oksan Bayulgen

Dr. Oksan Bayulgen is associate professor in the Department of Political Science and faculty director for the UConn Global House first year learning community. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. She teaches a range of comparative politics courses, including introduction to comparative politics, politics of Russia and the former Soviet Union, comparative democratization, foreign policy of Russia, politics of oil, introduction to non-western politics and sustainable energy. Her research focuses on the political economy of energy and democratization in the post-Soviet and the Middle East regions. She has conducted extensive field-work in Azerbaijan, Russia, Norway, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. She is currently working on a project analyzing the politics of renewable energy development in Turkey.

Richard Miller 2Rich Miller, Esq.

Rich Miller, Esq. is the Director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Office for the University of Connecticut, as well as the Vice Chair of AASHE's Board of Directors through 2017. He is responsible for developing policies and guidelines for protecting natural resources, reducing the University's ecological footprint, and ensuring accountability for "green" building and low-impact development in UConn's ongoing capital improvement program. Rich also oversees UConn's compliance with environmental regulations, with emphasis on environmental impact evaluations, and permits and approvals for construction and land use activities, air pollution control, water quality and site remediation projects. He received his B.A. from Penn State University and a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Sarah MunroSarah M.T. Munro

Sarah M.T. Munro is the Sustainability Program Coordinator for the Office of Environmental Policy (OEP). She is responsible for supervising student staff in the OEP's Sustainability Office, developing, planning, and administering sustainability initiatives and events across campus, chairing the EPAC Recycling Workgroup, maintaining the OEP's (EcoHusky) Website, and developing and publishing OEP newsletters and outreach materials. Sarah holds a B.A. (triple major) in Political Science, German, and International Studies: Europe, from Guilford College in N.C., an M.A. in International Relations (focused on EU environmental policy) from Central European University, and an M.A. in Political Science from UConn. She is currently a Ph.S. candidate in the department of Political Science at UConn.

Anji SethDr. Anji Seth

Dr. Anji Seth is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and an executive committee member for the UConn Atmospheric Sciences Group. Her research focuses on the physical climate system, in particular, how regional climates are likely to evolve in the larger setting of human initiated global warming. She works with large global and regional observational data sets and numerical climate models to understand regional processes involved in monsoon regions and mid-latitude climates. She received her B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1985) and her Ph.D from the University of Michigan (1995).

Lawrence Silbart on Sept. 19, 2013. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)Dr. Lawrence Silbart

Dr. Lawrence Silbart was appointed Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives in 2013. He is also a Professor of Allied Health Science in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). Dr. Silbart received his BGS, MPH and Ph.D. in Toxicology and Industrial Hygiene from the University of Michigan. His area of expertise is on mucosal vaccines, adjuvants, mucosal immunology and host-pathogen interactions. As Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Silbart oversees the Next Generation Connecticut Initiative--a 10-year, $1.7 billion dollar initiative spanning FY'15-FY'24. He also leads the development of the Tech Park and its cornerstone building, the Innovation Partnership Building (IPB), which is currently under construction and will become operational in Q3, 2017.

Mark UrbanDr. Mark C. Urban

Dr. Mark C. Urban is a biologist and associate professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His work focuses on the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape natural communities across multiple spatial scales. Mark C. Urban received his B.S. in Environmental Science and Political Science at Muhlenberg College in 1998 (summa cum laude). He received his M.E.Sc. from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2001 and his Ph.D. in 2006 from Yale University.

UConn@COP21 Fellows


In 2015, UConn sent 12 students (selected from 77 student applicants), four faculty members, and two OEP Sustainability Staff members to COP21 in Paris. This trip was just the first of what is hopefully many future UConn@COP trips. The COP21 Conference itself made history when 195 UN countries signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first ever legally-binding agreement to focus on combating climate change.

More Information on the COP21 Fellows


"Climate Action and Higher Education @COP22" Blog Series

By Eddie McInerney, Christen Bellucci, Stephanie Hubli, Usra Qureshi, Hannah Casey, and Ben Breslau
November 28, 2016          Source: UConn OEP WordPress Blog

"U.S. Election Casts Shadow Over Marrakech" Blog Series

By Mark Urban, Ben Breslau, Kristin Burnham, and Klara Reisch
November 22, 2016          Source: UConn OEP WordPress Blog

View from COP22 in Marrakech: "Normalize Climate Action"

By Anji Seth, Associate Professor, Geography and Chair Atmospheric Sciences Group
November 29, 2016          Source: UConn Climate Resource Exchange

View from COP22 in Marrakech: "The train has left the station"

By Anji Seth, Associate Professor, Geography and Chair Atmospheric Sciences Group
November 29, 2016          Source: UConn Climate Resource Exchange

View from COP22 in Marrakech: "No Comment"

By Scott Stephenson, Assistant Professor, Geography
November 10, 2016          Source: UConn Climate Resource Exchange

View from COP22 in Marrakech: US Election Results

By Scott Stephenson, Assistant Professor, Geography
November 9, 2016          Source: UConn Climate Resource Exchange

COP22 in Marrakech: Africa in Action

By Scott Stephenson, Assistant Professor, Geography
November 8, 2016          Source: UConn Climate Resource Exchange