Meet Our 2020 Interns

Jul 2, 2020

by Claire Brantley, Cole Jones, and Katie Jackson

Clean Air Carolina is excited to introduce our 2020 summer interns! Claire Brantley, Cole Jones, and Katie Jackson will be working with us remotely all summer long on a variety of big projects and campaigns. Priority projects include developing a lending library for our air sensors, creating a StoryMap on North Carolina’s wood pellet industry, reviewing funding opportunities from the E.O. 80 report, and developing other education, training, and communication resources.

Get to know our 2020 interns:

Claire Brantley

My interest in the environment stems from my family’s relationship with nature, and from the trips to national and state parks that have shaped my upbringing. I am a rising senior at Davidson College pursuing a double major in Music and Global Public Policy. I’m interested in the intersection of political science and environmental studies, and the ways in which environmental policy impacts disadvantaged communities.

I am working with Clean Air Carolina this summer through Davidson’s Sustainability Scholars internship program. I am inspired by the passion that Clean Air Carolina’s staff and interns have for bettering the environment and aiding marginalized communities that are impacted by poor air quality.

Although I am working with Clean Air Carolina remotely, I’m excited to learn more about the Charlotte area and delve deeper into the needs of local communities! I am very interested in Clean Air Carolina’s work drawing relationships between historically redlined neighborhoods and air quality, and I’m looking forward to diving deeper into the research on this topic.

Cole Jones

Growing up in the rural town of Louisburg, North Carolina I quickly developed a deep-seated appreciation for nature and healthy air thanks to several factors. I was always surrounded by soaring trees, beautiful landscapes, and a zoological scape that seemingly rivaled the Amazon. Nature was indelible to the place and therefore to the people as well. I also had severe bouts of asthmatic complications that not only led to a severe lack of athletic prowess, but also a tricky relationship with the air around me. I constantly had to ask myself: ‘Can I do this activity without an inhaler?’ or ‘Will I be able to breathe if I go outside today?’ I was forced to be aware of the state of the air and my own breathing — things that others seem to easily overlook.

It’s for this reason that I’m at Clean Air Carolina this summer — I want to work on behalf of other people who are in my situation and whose access to clean air is not just a luxury, but an absolute necessity. A high standard of air quality is a human right that we cannot afford to overlook. As interns we’re working on addressing air quality problems, and the ways in which the burdens of environmental catastrophe are disproportionately carried by low-income, Black/brown communities. In doing this work I hope to benefit the people of this state that I hold so close, and to learn more about environmental injustices that plague our region and country.

I am a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte studying economics, psychology, and environmental studies. I am a part of the Levine Scholars Program — UNC Charlotte’s top merit scholarship which covers the full funding of four years and four summer experiences. Last summer I expanded my love and understanding of the environment by completing a National Outdoor Leadership School course in the Wind River Mountain Range of Wyoming. I enjoy hiking, reading, running with my dog, and exploring new coffee shops. I am thrilled at the opportunity to be here this summer and to expand my experience with community science and environmental advocacy.

Katie Jackson

I study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I am a rising sophomore pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Economics. I was born and raised in Charlotte, where I now work remotely for Clean Air Carolina as a Citizen Science Innovation Associate.

I come from a family of civil servants, which spurred my interest in community participation and improvement. I approach the betterment of my community by working towards a cleaner environment for my city, my state, and the world. As a student of Honors Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have had the opportunity to network in London and connect with professionals in Chapel Hill and across North Carolina.

Through my involvement with Clean Air Carolina, I hope to learn more about environmental justice in the historical context of my hometown and what we can do about it today. I aim to use this knowledge to connect with community members and to collaborate on solutions they would like to see in their home districts.