Staff Bios

Annie Bennett

Annie Bennett

Annie Bennett is an Associate Director for the Adaptation Program with the Georgetown Climate Center. Annie's work includes a variety of support for state, regional, and local adaptation policy. Annie also works more directly on policy issues relating to resilience in the transportation sector, cross-jurisdictional adaptation and governance, and equitable natural solutions to build resilience in communities. She is currently serving on the Transportation Research Board's Standing Committee on Extreme Weather and Climate Change Adaptation.

Prior to joining the Center, Annie worked on legal and policy questions related to urban heat adaptation as part of the Harrison Institute for Public Law's policy clinic. She also interned at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, working on Fifth Amendment takings cases. Annie holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law and an A.B. in Chemistry and Neuroscience from Dartmouth College.

 

James Bradbury

James Bradbury

James Bradbury is the Mitigation Program Director for the Georgetown Climate Center. He oversees the Climate Center’s work on reducing emissions from all sectors. This includes the Climate Center’s work on the power sector, supporting state leadership and also coordinated engagement with the federal government through facilitation, convening, and analysis. James also manages the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration among 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

James has over 12 years of experience working with a broad range of stakeholders to help advance climate and clean energy policies at the federal and state levels. Prior to joining the Climate Center, he served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate, Environment and Efficiency in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Previously, James worked as a Senior Associate in the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute and as a Senior Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives.

James holds a PhD in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a MS in Hydrology from the University of New Hampshire and a BA in Geology from Colorado College.

 

Emma Cross

Emma Cross

Emma Cross is a Climate Fellow for the Mitigation Program at the Georgetown Climate Center. Her work focuses on the implementation of equitable climate policies at the federal and state level within the transportation and power sectors. Previously, Emma had internships with the Federal Highway Administration, the Automotive Recyclers Association, and was a student attorney with the Environmental Law Clinic at Maryland Carey Law. She earned a J.D. from The University of Maryland Carey School of Law with a certificate in environmental law and a B.S. in environmental resources management from Virginia Tech.
 

 

Caren Fitzgerald

Caren Fitzgerald

Caren Fitzgerald is the Communications Associate for the Georgetown Climate Center. She is an environment and policy communicator specializing in climate action and resilient communities. She facilitates media, stakeholder, and partner engagement for the Center and its initiatives. She previously worked as the Community Relations Officer for the State of Delaware Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy, developing and executing targeted outreach for clean transportation initiatives, energy efficiency incentives, climate change adaptation and mitigation education, and stakeholder engagement in regulatory development processes. Caren received a Bachelor’s Degree with Distinction from the University of Delaware with a double major in environmental law and policy and English. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Emergency and Disaster Management at Georgetown University.

 

Matthew Goetz

Matthew Goetz

Matthew Goetz is an Associate Director, Mitigation Program, at the Georgetown Climate Center. He develops legal and policy resources to advance state and federal climate policy, including white papers and analytical tools to support the strategic and equitable development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Matthew also facilitates regional and multi-state policy development, including the Transportation and Climate Initiative--a collaboration of the 13 northeast and mid-Atlantic states and DC. 

Prior to joining the Climate Center, Matthew worked at the AES Corporation and completed legal clerkships at the U.S. EPA Office of Enforcement and U.S. EPA Office of Water. Matthew earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in political science from Wake Forest University.

 

Joe Kruger

Joe Kruger

Joe Kruger is the Director for Research and Strategy at the Georgetown Climate Center. Previously, Joe was a consultant to companies, non-profits, and state governments on climate policy and sustainability issues. From 2005-2014, he was a director at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the National Commission on Energy Policy (BPC’s predecessor), where he led initiatives on power sector regulations, climate policy, and electric grid modernization and cybersecurity. In 2009, he took a leave of absence from BPC to serve as Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Earlier in his career, Joe worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he managed groups working on acid rain, climate policy, and technical assistance to foreign governments on air pollution and greenhouse gas reduction programs. Joe has also been a Visiting Fellow at Resources for the Future and an Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) analyst at the Investor Responsibility Research Center. Joe was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, and he has written numerous publications on climate, energy, and environmental topics. He has an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. in government and economics from Cornell.

 

Ryan Levandowski

Ryan Levandowski

Ryan Levandowski is an Institute Associate at the Georgetown Climate Center. His work focuses on tracking and analysis of clean vehicles and climate change mitigation policy at the nexus of federal and state government. Previously, Ryan has worked with the U.S. EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and NYU Law’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center. He earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University with a B.A. in English.

 

 

Jennifer Li

Jennifer Li

Jennifer Li is a Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor at the Harrison Institute for Public Law, where she supervises law students enrolled in the Policy Clinic and also provides legal and policy analysis for the Climate Center. Her work focuses on state and local adaptation policy and centering equity in adaptation strategies. Prior to coming to Georgetown, Jennifer was a Fulbright scholar in India, where she researched climate policy and taught international human rights at Jindal Global Law School. She received her LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. from Fordham Law School, and B.A. from NYU.

 

Damian Shapes Padilla

Damian Shapes Padilla

Damian Shapes Padilla is a Justice Fellow at the Georgetown Climate Center. His work includes research, writing, legal policy and analysis related to GCC’s federal, state, and local resilience work. He engages with government practitioners, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to provide climate-informed planning and policymaking. During this process, he will also be reaching out to Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations, working to identify and provide resources related to tribal-led climate adaptation practices. Prior to joining GCC, Shapes earned his B.A. in Political Science at the University of New Mexico. He then received his Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, graduating with a certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. Shapes is a Tribal member of the Pueblo of Isleta, located just south of Albuquerque along the Rio Grande River.

 

Pete Rafle

Pete Rafle

Pete Rafle is the Communications Director for the Georgetown Climate Center. Pete came to the Climate Center from Spitfire Strategies, where he provided communications and campaign planning counsel to the nation’s leading non-profits and foundations on issues ranging from climate change and agricultural policy to health care and criminal justice reform. He served as Communications Director for the Environment and Public Works Committee from 2007 to 2011, providing strategic counsel to Senator Barbara Boxer during her first two Congresses as Chairman of the Committee. In addition to acting as primary media strategist for the Committee’s legislative docket – including comprehensive climate change legislation, clean air and water bills, and transportation policy – he worked extensively with the Senator’s in-state staff on California environmental and infrastructure issues. Prior to his Senate service, he was Director of Advocacy Communications at The Wilderness Society and Communications Director for Trout Unlimited, where he also served as editor and publisher of Trout Magazine. Pete earned his B.A. in English at Yale.

 

Mark Rupp

Mark Rupp

Mark Rupp is GCC's Adaptation Program Director, leading the adaptation team, and providing strategic direction for its work in support of resilience, equity, and community-based solutions at the local, state, and federal levels. Mark previously served as the Director of State-Federal Policy & Affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Prior to EDF, Mark held a distinguished career in public service, including positions as Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Health and Human Services Policy Advisor and Director, Washington D.C. Office to former Washington Governor Gregoire; and Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Cantwell as well as the Washington State Legislature.

Representing Washington state at the time, Mark served on the initial advisory board of state officials that helped establish the Climate Center to elevate state voices in the development of federal climate and energy policy and legislation. Mark holds a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, where he focused on Public Interest Law and Environmental Law, and a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Assessment from Western Washington University’s College of the Environment.

 

Kimberly Smith

Kimberly Smith

Kimberly Smith is GCC’s Director of Business Operations, responsible for managing the Climate Center’s financial, administrative, grants management, and human resources activities. A key member of the Climate Center’s leadership team, Kim comes to GCC with three decades of experience in research, education and scientific program management, including more than 15 years in higher education, managing federally funded programs. Most recently, Kim served as Assistant Director of the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M), an award-winning interdisciplinary academic research and workforce development center at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Kim earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology and microbiology at Howard, and she has taught biology at Howard and plant pathology at Virginia Tech.

 

Kathryn (Kate) Zyla

Kathryn (Kate) Zyla

Kathryn Zyla is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, where she oversees the Center’s work at the nexus of climate and energy policy, supervising staff and student work on climate mitigation and adaptation at the state and federal level. She is also a senior lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center and faculty advisor for the student Georgetown Energy Law Group. 

Zyla served as Deputy Director and Director of Research and Policy Analysis for the Climate Center from 2009-2018. Prior roles include Program Director, Northeast Policy, at Energy Foundation; Senior Associate in the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute; and Senior Research Fellow for Domestic Policy at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. She has a BS in engineering from Swarthmore College, a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment, and a JD, cum laude, from Georgetown Law. Zyla has served as a Commissioner on the District of Columbia’s Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency since 2017, and was a member of the Engineering Advisory Council for Swarthmore College from 2013-2018. In 2016, she received the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Law and Finance Award, given by the Department of Energy, MIT Energy Initiative, and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.

 

Vicki Arroyo, Founding Executive Director

Vicki Arroyo, Founding Executive Director

From December 2008 until January 2021, Vicki Arroyo was the Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law. On January 20, 2021, Arroyo joined the Biden-Harris Administration as Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As GCC’s founding Executive Director, Professor Arroyo oversaw the Center’s work at the nexus of climate and energy policy, supervising staff and student work on climate mitigation and adaptation at the state and federal level. She served as Special Advisor to the President of Georgetown University, and was previously Assistant Dean of Centers and Institutes. She was also a member of the faculty steering committee for the Georgetown Environment Initiative, a cross-campus effort to advance the interdisciplinary study of the environment in relation to society, scientific understanding, and sound policy.