Breakthrough Welcomes 2021 Generation Fellows

Each summer, the Breakthrough Institute welcomes a new class of Breakthrough Generation fellows to join our research team for 10 weeks. Generation fellows work to advance the ecomodern project by deepening our understanding in the fields of energy, environment, technology, and human development.

Breakthrough Generation has proven crucial to the work we do here. Past fellows' research has contributed to some of our most impactful publications, including Where Good Technologies Come From, Beyond Boom & Bust, How to Make Nuclear Cheap, Lighting Electricity Steel, and Nature Unbound.

Introducing the class of 2021:

Dorothy Lsoto is a Ph.D. student in Environment and Resources at UW-Madison. She recently graduated with a Masters in Environment and Resources with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy from UW-Madison. Her current research looks at the cost of air quality on respiratory health management in Kampala, Uganda, where she is originally from. Prior to graduate school, she worked with off-grid rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, introducing them to renewable energy technologies. Dorothy enjoys working with people. Her best moments have been seeing a simple technology like biogas completely change a whole community by replacing their carbon-intensive wood stoves with a biogas stove and diesel-run chillers to biogas chillers. She believes that transitioning everyone on the energy ladder with a focus on carbon-free technologies will take an interdisciplinary approach with a lot more work in supporting policies.

Waverly Eichhorst is USDA New Food Systems Technology Fellow in the CU Boulder Environmental Studies Ph.D. Program. She is motivated by a passion to build sustainable and equitable food systems, with a specific interest in conducting research investigating the social, economic, and political considerations of a just transition to alternative protein sources. Waverly carries a B.A. in Biology from Grinnell College and has previously conducted research developing decellularized plant tissues as cultivated meat scaffolds and identifying cross-disciplinary research opportunities to advance the development of alternative protein products. She seeks to apply her technical knowledge of the alternative protein field to identify opportunities for the production and distribution of alternative proteins to support the resiliency of global food systems.

Isaac Ongu is Executive Director of the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE), a nonprofit organization that advocates for science-based policies that can help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. He graduated with a B.S. from Makerere University in Uganda, majoring in Agricultural Extension and Communications and later. He then went on to train smallholder farmers in agronomic practices and the use of productivity-enhancing technologies. It was through this work that he became aware of the contradictory nature of public policy implementation — a realization that drove him to work in science communications and public policy advocacy.

Isaac later completed his postgraduate studies in Public Policy & Governance from Uganda Management Institute. Now at the PlantLink research initiative, which is based at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Isaac is finalizing a research paper that discusses the convergence and divergence of biosafety regulatory policy regimes in Europe and those of three selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on New Breeding Techniques.

Jack Smith is a Research Assistant at the Property and Environment Research Center, a nonprofit research institute in Bozeman Montana that explores market-based solutions to environmental problems. His recent work has focused on rethinking the future of federal conservation funding, which is largely reliant on energy resource development on federal lands and waters. Jack graduated from Harvard University in 2019 with an A.B. in Environmental Science and Public Policy.

Mikenna Montgomery recently graduated from UC San Diego with a Masters in International Environmental Policy, focusing on climate and energy. Her work converges on a range of topics, from geoengineering the Earth’s climate to critical mineral supply chains in conflict regions. Prior to UCSD, she worked as a researcher at the University of Chile, investigating Chile’s convergent tectonic plate boundary. After completing a B.S. in Environmental Earth Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Mikenna became interested in climate action and strives to direct her career towards solving global climate issues at the nexus of the social and physical sciences.

Kashimana Ivo is a doctoral candidate in Geoscience specializing in Agricultural and Ecological Economics at the Center for Earth Systems Science Research and Sustainability, Universität Hamburg. Her research analyzes trade-offs, synergies, and co-benefits derivable from adaptation and mitigation options in agricultural and forestry land-use systems in Nigeria. She provides insights into development objectives, particularly social securities in Nigeria. With an interdisciplinary background, Miss Ivo integrates qualitative and quantitative research tools using transdisciplinary methods to address development issues. Miss Ivo aims at influencing policies that will jointly improve livelihoods and the environment.

Jonah Messinger recently graduated with a Master of Engineering in Energy Systems and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Most recently, he was a research assistant at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy. At the center, Jonah worked on Energizing America, a policy roadmap to triple U.S. federal clean energy research, development, and demonstration funding by 2025. At Illinois, Jonah led a net-zero energy home project for Habitat for Humanity and worked on next-generation perovskite solar cell technology at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.