Meet Our 2019 Summer Interns!

Jun 25, 2019

by Kelby Welsh, Robert Wear, and Emma Frantz

Clean Air Carolina is excited to welcome our 2019 summer interns! Kelby Welsh and Robert Wear are joining us as Environmental Policy Associates, while Emma Frantz joins the Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (MAHA) program as an Environmental Health Associate.

Kelby, Rob, and Emma will be working with us at our Research Triangle Park offices all summer long on county-by-county environmental justice reports, 100% Renewable Resolutions for city and county governments, education and training resources for MAHA, and other important environmental policy and health campaigns.

Get to know our 2019 interns:

Kelby Welsh

I was born and raised in northeastern Oklahoma. I am a senior at Duke pursuing a bachelors’ degree in Environmental Science and Policy with minors in Global Health and History. I feel the most myself in the natural world, and as I’m finishing my undergraduate degree it has become clear to me that the complexity and vulnerability of our relationship with our planet will continue to drive my academic endeavors. Intrigued by the dynamics of this relationship, I am interested in pursuing sustainable development within the physical and social spheres, working towards solutions to the challenges that simultaneously threaten our survival and the survival of our planet.

Duke has allowed me to travel across the globe to witness the causes and social impacts of climate change and examine possibilities for local and global environmental justice; discuss the appropriate roles of the state, the private sector, grassroots social movements, professional civil society, and individuals in addressing this multifaceted global crisis; and examine the advances being made in the renewable energy sector. Seeing the economic, political, and social impacts of anthropogenic driven climate change firsthand has deepened my understanding of many environmental concepts—such as the lasting impact of colonization, the roles and responsibility of government, and resiliency after extreme weather events and climate disasters.

From the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, North Carolina has such a diverse and beautiful landscape. North Carolina is highly susceptible to climate change, and has seen the manifestations of climate change in the form of hurricanes, droughts, coastal erosion, and record heat days. In the face of this, our communities have shown resiliency time and time again. Clean Air Carolina provides tools for North Carolinians to advocate and protect themselves from pollution, so they can too be resilient. I am so excited for the opportunity to bring my passions to Clean Air Carolina this summer and be inspired by the passionate network of environmental allies working on policy and advocacy matters in North Carolina.


Robert Wear

I’m originally from Vail, Colorado where I grew up enjoying the outdoors and the mountains. In the winters you could find me on the ski mountain, and in the summer you could find me in the woods hiking or mountain biking or on the river fishing or kayaking. After high school, I went to Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California in the south Bay Area where I majored in English.

After I graduated in 2013, I traveled around the world for about a year, going through Europe, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Asia. After spending the next year in Denver, I decided to return to Asia to become an English teacher. I taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for about two and a half years where I taught students from a wide range of ages (from 3 years old up to 21) English as a second language. While there, I took the LSAT and applied to law school. I returned to the United States last July and started law school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in August.

After completing my first year of law school, I began my internship at Clean Air Carolina as a policy intern. I wanted to step out of the traditional legal field and see the other opportunities that a law degree could provide. I am thrilled to be a part of such an active and successful organization where I can make a difference at the legislative level. It is great to be involved in the law-making process and to see what needs to happen to achieve the environmental goals that sometimes seem so hard to reach. Clean Air Carolina has a very realistic approach to help combat climate change and its resulting health impacts, and I am excited to participate in the process.


Emma Frantz

I am a graduate student at Duke University, pursuing a dual-degree in Master of Environmental Management and Master of Public Policy. My focus in graduate school so far has been in policy related to energy and the environment but I hope to expand my knowledge and understanding of how environmental and climate issues impact human health, especially within the state of North Carolina.

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and in Spanish from UNC Charlotte in 2016. While in college, I was an intern for the City of Charlotte’s Sustainability Office, which served as an introduction to local environmental policy as I worked on the City’s Electric Vehicle initiatives, as well as LEED Building, recycling, and composting projects. I also served as an intern in the Planning Department of Centralina Council of Governments and the Advocacy and Development Department of the Latin American Coalition.

After graduation I worked in the shipping industry, which piqued my interest even more in transportation and energy. Further, I want to understand how our transportation methods and an increase in traffic congestion affect the health of citizens in our communities. I’m excited to work with Clean Air Carolina because of the vast knowledge base the organization has about air quality and environmental health impacts and to learn what we can do as advocates to ensure everyone has access to healthy air.