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2017 Leadership Fellows

Alex Adams

Alex Adams currently works for the King County Department of Transportation Director’s Office as Climate Change and Energy Program Manager. Alex works with a wide variety of stakeholders to implement the greenhouse gas reduction strategies identified in the King County’s 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan. Prior to his work on climate and energy topics, Alex served as captain and crew on King County’s Water Taxi, where he developed the Marine Division’s environmental program. He is a licensed boat captain, having spent over a decade leading students of all ages on semester-long ocean education trips aboard tall sailing ships in the waters between Nova Scotia and Trinidad. He was also a fly fishing guide in Alaska. Alex has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where he grew up, and earned a Master’s in Marine Affairs from The University of Washington in 2011. Alex loves living in the Pacific Northwest and is committed to confronting the complex issue of climate change and to continuing his growth as a leader to inspire others to take action.


Connor Birkeland is a SolSmart Advisor for the City of Duluth and surrounding region.  As an advisor for the Department of Energy SolSmart program, Connor's role is to assist the city as it evaluates existing programs and processes to apply industry-leading best practices to create a solar friendly environment for local residents.  Prior to his current position, Connor has worked as educator, installer, manufacturer, associate director, and as an advocate for the decarbonization and modernization of our country's electrical grid. Connor received his BS from the Evergreen State College in Astrophysics and more recently, an MPA from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance in Renewable Energy Policy. Previously a Henry M. Jackson Fellow in Environmental Policy at the Evans School, Connor is dedicated in his own way to emulating the beliefs and excellence Senator Jackson showed repeatedly in his life as public servant.


Radha Friedman is the Director of Programs at the World Justice Project, where she leads a portfolio of 90 pilot programs in 61 countries to advance the rule of law. Prior to this, Radha was co-founder and Deputy Director of the Center for Women’s Land Rights at Landesa. Previously, she was Associate Director of SKS Foundation, the U.S. arm of the largest micro-credit organization in India, providing micro-loans to rural women to start their own businesses. Radha has conducted fieldwork in 13 countries and holds an M.A. in International Development Studies / M.S. in Public Service Administration from DePaul University, a B.A. in South Asian Studies from Antioch College, and a post-graduate certificate in Cross-Sector Partnerships from University of Cambridge. She serves on the board of Rangzen, a Tibetan rights organization founded by the Dalai Lama’s family, and Lotus Circle, advancing women’s rights in the Asia Pacific region. Radha also serves with EPIP (Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy) Seattle, and the NW Global Donors Exchange. In 2014, Radha was selected as an emerging leader by the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and in 2009, she was selected by the Global Women’s Leadership Network as one of 20 “Global Leaders for Justice.”


Nora Ferm Nickum is a Senior Associate at Cascadia Consulting Group, where she leads climate change and natural resource planning work for cities, tribes, and foundations. Working across the Pacific Northwest and internationally, her projects focus on stakeholder engagement, evaluation, and communications. Nora previously spent five years as a Senior Climate Adaptation Specialist at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she advised on the design of programs in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and was a negotiator on the US delegation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She also worked for the US Mission to the Organization of American States, organizing US government delegations to regional meetings on sustainable development and science and technology. Nora has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies from Carleton College. Nora grew up in the Seattle area, and is glad to be back in the region with her husband and baby daughter.


Alyssa Patrick is a communication and outreach specialist for Washington State University, based in Seattle. Her work specifically focuses on advancing WSU’s research portfolio, and communicating the many ways universities impact regional economies and global well-being. Alyssa’s history with WSU has instilled a passion for public education, and the important intersections between the public and private sector. Combining civic nerd tendencies with a love for in-depth journalism, Alyssa also recently helped the local non-profit news outlet, Crosscut, launch a Young Professionals Board. As co-president, she is looking forward to engaging more young people and diverse communities in civic discourse. For over a year Alyssa has served as a mentor through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, an enriching experience that has further inspired her desire to work in public service. Alyssa earned her bachelor’s in communication from WSU. She grew up in Yakima, went to college in Pullman, and has spent the last several years in Seattle - giving her a deep appreciation for the whole state of Washington.

Kiana Scott

Kiana Scott is Assistant Director for Advancement and Alumni Relations at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. She is also a doctoral candidate in political communication, studying contemporary American political discourse, and writing her dissertation about the 2016 presidential election. Kiana was appointed to the UW Board of Regents by Governor Jay Inslee from 2013-2014, and confirmed by the Washington State Senate. Kiana is active in higher education policy and advocacy efforts in Olympia and Washington, D.C. She currently chairs Graduate Washington, a non-partisan advocacy organization supporting public higher education in Washington, and is a board member of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington. Kiana worked on political campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and President Obama’s 2008 campaign, both in Washington and around the country. Prior to graduate school, she was the Campaign for America’s Wilderness’s Communication Fellow, and served as an executive appointee with the Obama administration in Washington, D.C. She earned her MA in communication in 2014, and her MPA from the Evans School in 2012, where she focused on legislative processes. Kiana graduated from Williams College in 2007 with degrees in art history and history with honors. Now a proud resident of Ballard, Kiana grew up on San Juan Island and returns to the island as frequently as possible.


Amarpreet Sethi, is a Principal at DLR Group where she leads the Building Performance Design Team nationally.  Amarpreet is an integral part of DLR Group's National Building Optimization Team. Driven by a passion to provide valuable contributions to clients' sustainability goals through building optimization services, Amarpreet has been performing energy modeling for over 15 years.  Amarpreet's focus on sustainable design first began while obtaining her Architecture degree in India. She went on to achieve a Master's in Energy and Climate and worked for a mechanical consulting firm prior to joining DLR Group. Amarpreet is a Certified Energy Manager, an ASHRAE certified Building Energy Modeling Professional, High Performance Building Design Professional, as well as a LEED and Well building accredited professional.  "What I find most thrilling about what I do, is that I get to take the guess work out of the design process. We have the expertise in the industry to help our clients make the most beneficial choices to take their first cost dollars even further."

Maggie Wykowski

Maggie Wykowski leads Seattle Foundation’s research and analysis efforts to support strategy development, learning and evaluation. Previously, Maggie served as lead policy analyst at Puget Sound Sage in Seattle and is a former Seattle Planning Commissioner. While at Sage, Maggie led their affordable housing research and advocacy program and specialized in policy analysis, regional planning, strategic research and racial equity policy assessment. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with Honors from Seattle University. Maggie enjoys arts, cooking and long-distance running with her wife and puppy dog.


Hans Zeiger began representing Pierce County residents in 2011, serving three terms in the state House of Representatives before 25th District voters elected him to the Washington State Senate in 2016. Hans serves as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. He is also a member of the budget-writing Senate Ways and Means Committee and serves as vice chair of the Senate State Government Committee.  For his work to complete Highway 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, the Associated General Contractors named Hans its 2013 Legislator of the Year.  Hans was named the co-recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Governance in 2015 for his efforts in promoting collaboration in the legislative process.  Hans' civic and volunteer activities include the boards of Puyallup Cares, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, the Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute, and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. Hans also leads the Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, and he is an officer in the Washington Air National Guard. Hans holds a BA from Hillsdale College and a Master's degree in Public Policy from Pepperdine University. Hans is married to Erin and has a daughter, Clara, and two stepsons, Cullen and Kannen.