2015 Breakthrough Generation Fellows Arrive

Top Young Scholars to Conduct Research on Global Challenges

A rollercoaster enthusiast who traveled to India to study tribal women’s empowerment; an energy analyst interested in the impacts of innovation on geopolitics; an engineer who has worked on alternative transportation and urban development; and a former scholar of the Victorian era who now writes on energy technologies and risk perception. These are among the seven outstanding thinkers who will join the Breakthrough Institute this summer for research fellowships focused on crafting pragmatic, new solutions to major environmental challenges.

Breakthrough Generation Fellows work closely with research staff in small teams as they seek to deepen our understanding of trends in energy, conservation, and innovation.

This summer, fellows will conduct substantive research in service of clear-eyed assessments of energy for human development, international energy investments, and what rising technological complexity tells us about the role of the state in innovation.

Now in its eighth year, the Breakthrough Generation Fellowship Program has helped send more than 50 alumni on to exciting careers in policy, academia, government service, the private sector, and advocacy.

This year’s cohort brings fellows from top graduate and undergraduate institutions in the United States, Canada, and China, with backgrounds in such subjects as environmental policy, strategic policy making, mechanical engineering, and communication studies. Fellows distinguished themselves from their peers by excelling in research and scholarship as well as professional endeavors at think tanks, nonprofit organizations, and government and multilateral institutions.

The Breakthrough Institute is proud to welcome the 2015 Breakthrough Generation Fellows and looks forward to a summer of engaging discussion and cutting-edge research.

Nora Ankrum

Nora Ankrum is pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin, where she focuses on energy and environmental policy. She is also a European Studies Fellow with a concentration in Czech and a focus on governance in the European Union. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Czech from the University of Texas, Austin. Before coming to LBJ, she was an associate news editor at The Austin Chronicle, where she covered local politics and policy making, with an emphasis on energy, the environment, and urban development. She also worked as a research assistant for journalist Lawrence Wright on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. @NoraAnkrum

Shaiyra Devi

Shaiyra Devi graduated from Amherst College in 2015 with degrees in environmental studies and French. In her senior year, she travelled to Kerala, India, to collect data for her honors thesis exploring tribal women’s empowerment through participatory conservation regimes. She grew up in New Delhi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Singapore, and spent a semester studying in Paris. Shaiyra has worked with the Singapore Economic Board, identifying Singapore’s value proposition to its ASEAN neighbors, and with Carbon Conservation, identifying clients for an REDD+ project based in the Congo. She is interested in finding durable, pragmatic solutions to environmental conservation simultaneously with economic development. She enjoys creative writing, yoga, movies, and rollercoasters.

Matthew MacCaughey

Matthew grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts, and recently completed his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology with two minors in renewable energy at the University of Maine. His passion is nuclear power, and he would like to go into the energy sector, and eventually energy policy, to help support the deployment of the next-generation of reactors to deal with climate change. He loves camping, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and anything to do with the outdoors. @MWilkes45

Canaan Reeverts

Canaan graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a minor in science, technology, engineering, and policy. Before becoming a Breakthrough Generation Fellow, Canaan worked on a range of projects as an engineer, including alternative transportation systems, community infrastructure plans, and sustainable urban development. He is especially interested in crafting effective energy policy by way of social considerations. Canaan is a Colorado native, and when he isn’t reading or writing, he enjoys running, hiking, and traveling. @C_Reeverts

Jack Shaked

Jack Shaked is a recent graduate of Pitzer College in Los Angeles, California. Jack has always had a keen interest in understanding the far-reaching impacts of today's innovations and current events on foreign policy, political organization, and strategic policy making. While at the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, he studied the fast-paced world of energy technology and its influence on geopolitics, and wrote an article analyzing the effect of the shale gas revolution in the foreign policy arena. Jack is excited to work with the Breakthrough Institute on bringing the future of energy to America. @JSShaked

Suzanne Waldman

Suzanne Waldman is currently a doctoral candidate in communication studies at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. Her research interests include risk communication about energy technologies, the social construction and social amplification of risk, and collaborative risk analysis processes involving the public. She has authored research papers on how to optimize public and stakeholder dialogues about risk and how to help the public discriminate about risk information on the Internet. She is particularly focused on the challenges of publicly communicating the benefits and risks of nuclear power and especially its trade-offs vis-a-vis other energy sources in the environmental contexts of global climate change and declining biodiversity. Her writings on nuclear risk and communication have been featured in the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences, The Energy Collective, and on her blog. Prior to her work in communication studies, she was a scholar of the Victorian period, another era of disconcerting technological change and dawning environmental awareness. When she's not initiating freewheeling Twitter conversations about energy and risk issues, she likes jogging and swamp-tromping with her young son. @SuzanneWaldman

Crystal Yeh

Crystal recently graduated from Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Chinese, and a certificate in environmental policy. She has previous experience interning for the Carbon Trust, World Resources Institute, Sealed, and New York Public Interest Research Group. Her primary fields of interest include clean energy and climate change policy, but she's also passionate about China, economic development, and scientific literacy. She has studied abroad in China with the Princeton in Beijing program as well as at Nanjing University under a Boren Scholarship. She was also a PPIA Junior Fellow at Princeton University in 2014, where she co-wrote a report on social impact bonds, a new financing tool. You can find her on the weekends exploring museums, volunteering, or getting her weekly dose of chlorine at a swimming pool. @Linette_Crystal