Volunteer Spotlight – Jessica Johnson ’98

By Treva Nolen
Communications Consultant, Princeton Project 55
November 6, 2007

Jessica Johnson '98
Jessica Johnson '98

Jessica Johnson ’98 joined the Princeton Project 55 community as an summer intern at the Community Media Workshop and then as a fellow at The Chicago Foundation for Education through the Public Interest Program (PIP) after graduating in 1998.

When she completed her fellowship, Jessica volunteered to mentor other PP55 fellows. Since then she has continued to be a solid source of support for the organization. Her experience came full circle this year when she joined Project 55’s Board of Directors, agreed to co-chair the PIP alumni annual campaign for the second year in a row, and also answered the call to become the next New York Area Coordinator for PP55’s Public Interest Program. And she does all this while working full time as the Development Officer at the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)!

Jessica will be carrying on the great work of Board member and former New York Coordinator, Chet Safian ’55, who has coordinated the New York program since 1989. Chet Safian has seen first hand the impact Jessica has had on this organization since her fellowship 9 years ago. As a member of the founding class of 1955, Safian is happy to see younger alumni fulfilling Project 55’s mission of engaging alumni in the public interest. “The future of PP55 is secure thanks to former fellows like Jessica. We are all justifiably proud of what she has accomplished and will continue to accomplish,” said Safian.

Jessica will serve as the alumni contact person for fellows, organizations, mentors, and Princeton Project 55 staff in the New York City region. Along with the members of the New York steering committee, Jessica will spend a great deal of time and effort helping to organize events, recruit applicants, and support fellows and partners throughout the fellowship year.

PIP Fellow Takes PP55 Message Internationally

By Kyle Meng
Project 55 Fellow, Environmental Defense, NY
February 1, 200

PP55 Fellow Kyle Meng
PP55 Fellow Kyle Meng

There could not be a more apt description of the issue that I work on than the title of this publication. Climate change is fundamentally a global issue; finding a solution to a problem of this magnitude and pervasiveness will undoubtedly require the shared efforts of not only the world’s governments, but also that of its industries, businesses, and individuals.

That characterization also describes my work thus far at my Project 55 fellowship with Environmental Defense, an environmental non-profit with a long history of climate change involvement. My responsibilities at Environmental Defense fall predominantly in our China program where I provide research support for our projects in that country. As an outgrowth of my climate change interests in China, I have also joined Environmental Defense’s international team, which works toward creating strong international agreements that will avoid the onset of dangerous climate change.

It was as a member of the international team that I attended last year’s United Nations climate negotiations held in Nairobi, Kenya. My week spent at this conference was both edifying and overwhelming. Every year, several thousand diplomats, researchers, and advocates from over 190 nations convene to advance the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, under which rests the Kyoto Protocol. The meeting, held at a different location every year, serves as a decision-making body to implement the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol and to negotiate future agreements. As the first of these meetings to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been predicted to suffer some of the worst effects of climate change, the motto at Nairobi was “harambee,” a Swahili word which means “pulling together.”

This notion of a shared effort is evident as well in my everyday work. One of the most rewarding aspects of being at Environmental Defense is the diversity of knowledge and background of its staff members. In my projects, I interact constantly with scientists, economists, engineers, and lawyers—talented and experienced individuals that bring with them different perspectives on how best to combat climate change. In my brief time thus far at Environmental Defense, I have come to believe that a problem as enormous and complicated as global climate change can only be adequately addressed through such a shared effort and commitment by experts from different disciplines. I am looking forward to more such enriching opportunities during the remainder of my Project 55 fellowship.