Earth Hacks is run by a dedicated team of volunteers all committed to securing a livable future through community based innovation.
Dr. Colin McCormick
Dr. McCormick teaches AI policy and environmental sensing at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. He has a wide range of experience in data science, computer vision, energy technology, and science and technology policy. His research interests include (a) the applications of computer vision, artificial intelligence and remote sensing to a variety of transportation and environmental technologies, (b) policy challenges and needs in AI and autonomous systems (particularly driverless cars), and (c) technology and policy needs for the development of carbon dioxide utilization techniques and carbon dioxide removal technologies. Some of the organizations he's collaborated with include the World Resources Institute, the World Bank, the Energy Futures Initiative, the Global Green Growth Institute, the Earth Genome, and satellite imagery startup SpaceNinja.
During the Obama Administration, he served as Senior Technical Advisor at the US Department of Energy, where his portfolio included R&D strategy and coordination across the applied energy offices (renewables, efficiency, electric vehicles, fossil energy, nuclear energy, and the grid). Prior to this he worked as an energy and security analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, a staff member with the House Science and Technology Committee, and a AAAS Congressional Fellow in the Office of Rep. Ed Markey. He earned his PhD in atomic and optical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and did post-doctoral work in quantum optics at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Dr. Stephen Fong
Stephen Fong is a Professor in Chemical and Life Science Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked on community-based projects that include design and implementation of food systems for growth of local produce (at K-12 schools and VCU), identification of urban heat island effects by census block and correlation to public health, design and construction of green walls, and evaluation and deployment of an air pollution monitoring network in Richmond. Dr. Fong works in conjunction with various non-profit organizations, K-12 schools, and local government officials to develop and evaluate technological solutions to community-voiced problems and also co-leads a VCU initiative on Sustainable Food Access and is the Director for the Center for Integrative Life Sciences Education.
Nikhil is the Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Xeal. Nikhil’s mission in life is to help solve climate change without bothering people. He enjoys engineering products that reduce carbon emissions, are cost-competitive, and comfortable to adopt. He previously led the Transportation Innovation team at Schneider Electric ESS. He holds a degree in energy engineering from Penn State. More recently, he serves as the CTO at Xeal that makes Electric Vehicle chargers reservable for drivers and profitable for property managers.
Pattie Cook is the Founder and President of In Any Event, LLC., a boutique special events and organization development firm. She works with corporations and nonprofit organizations to produce events, create partnerships, secure sponsorships and design programs and projects that benefit lives and impact communities. Some of Pattie’s consulting commitments evolved into long -term leadership positions, such as Regional Director for US FIRST, Executive Director for VirginiaFIRST and Development Manager for REC Foundation. Pattie has spent over 15 years involved in the STEM education arena producing major robotics competitions and designing initiatives that provide k-12 youth with FIRST and VEX hands-on learning opportunities. She has developed partnerships with numerous universities, corporations and government agencies for their financial, volunteer and leadership support. Concerned about the climate crisis and the degradation of the environment, Pattie supports organizations and initiatives that will protect the environment and address global warming and climate change. She believes that education plays a key role for change which is why she joined Earth Hack’s board. Pattie has a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from Columbia School of Business. She lives on a farm in Virginia and enjoys being outdoors riding, biking and walking trails with her husband and dogs.
Melissa Lee is the Founder and CEO of The GREEN Program (TGP), an award-winning experiential education program for young leaders in sustainable development. For her work with TGP, Lee was recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners as the Environmental Advocate of the Year, Philadelphia magazine's Best of Philly® Expander of Frontiers, and the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Education. Lee has served as a U.S. Global Schools Ambassador for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and a Heinz Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh.
Lee is driven by a desire to reshape higher education curricula to include purposeful, hands-on experience for students. As CEO, Lee has expanded TGP beyond its roots as an experiential education program, partnering with the United Nations and leading universities to create a global, socially-conscious, public benefit company. TGP represents university students from 470 universities and 70 countries around the world, who are now employed at organizations such as General Electric, SpaceX, Tesla, Boeing, NASA, The Environmental Defense Fund, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and more.
Under Lee’s leadership, TGP has been ranked Best Education Abroad Provider by the Global Youth Travel Awards, #1 Summer Study Abroad Program by StudyAbroad101, Company of the Year by The Stevie Awards, Philadelphia’s Green Innovator of the Year by the Clean Air Council, Top Young Companies Driving Social Change at the United Nations Social Innovation Summit, and more. Lee also serves as a Board Member for various non-profits, and is a Mentor to Veterans who are transitioning into the civilian workforce.
A first-generation Chinese-American, Lee was born in Queens, NY. Today, she resides in Philadelphia, PA, where TGP is headquartered. As an enthusiast for our oceans and purposeful travel, Lee is passionate about the management and sustainability of these industries.
Dr. Barbara Martinez
Barbara Martinez is the Open Innovation Director for Conservation X Labs. She leads the Grand Challenges and Make for the Planet competitions, including the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge, the Microfiber Innovation Challenge, and the Blue Economy Challenge to re-engineer aquaculture. She was a science policy fellow in the Office of the Science Advisor and the Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she led the creation of a policy to streamline the implementation of citizen science projects for federal scientists. Previously, Barbara spent much of her time in a laboratory or remote field sites studying endocrine disruption in prairie voles, seed dispersal by lemurs, seed dispersal by hornbills and monkeys, and songbird behavior. Barbara has her PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota with a minor in Development Studies and Social Change and a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Kyle takes an interdisciplinary approach to advancing sustainability. His past positions have spanned private sector consulting, research and advocacy nonprofits, the federal government (civil service and White House) and the military. His academic training is a mix of social and natural sciences. Outside of his paid positions, Kyle serves or has served on nearly a dozen nonprofit boards of directors, often as the chair of the board. He has also founded or co-founded organizations that help young people advance progressive causes, including co-founding the youth constituency at the United Nations climate change negotiations. Kyle is a proud veteran of several computer science hackathons.
Steven is a Solar Project Engineer and leads development efforts at New Energy Equity. He is hell bent on solving climate change by 2050. Steven graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with Highest Honors in Engineering Physics. There, he spent many hours in the lab researching highly efficient electronic devices and developing his own solar cells, before realizing that technology was simply not the bottleneck in the fight against climate change – it’s the lack of business deployment and policy solutions. Steven has experience in leadership with other nonprofits such as Grid Alternatives, where he co-led a group of 20 students to buy and install solar panels for low-income households in the community. Always with an entrepreneurial mindset, he briefly Co-Founded and ran a Community Choice Aggregator in Portugal. More recently in Maryland, Steven joined a local grassroots environmental advocacy group, rallied the State’s many solar workers, and addressed an urgent call to action to Gov. Larry Hogan to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Maryland now has a legal mandate to reach 50% clean energy by 2030, with plans for 100% clean energy by 2040. Most recently, in true pandemic fashion, Steven started a podcast called The Renewable Generation: a show about climate and energy issues by young people, for all people.
He is passionate towards Environmental Justice, Political Economics, Physics, and decarbonizing the world’s 6 (or so) economic sectors. A stubborn optimist, Steven believes we can actually solve climate change and improve people’s quality of life. Steven now lives in DC, where he enjoys discussing big concepts with good people.