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Institute for Energy and the Environment

Research Team

IEE Fellows



Senior Global Energy Fellow

Roma received his first law degree (Bachelor’s and Master’s with highest honors) in the Russian Federation from Irkutsk State University in 1999. Upon graduation, Roma joined an American non-profit organization as an in-house counsel where he specialized in corporate, labor and tax matters. After relocating to the United States, Roma continued his legal career as a paralegal, law clerk and foreign attorney in Chicago, IL and Phoenix, AZ. Roma received a JD degree, magna cum laude, from Vermont Law School in 2008. In law school, Roma concentrated on environmental and energy law and served as an editorial staff member at Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Upon graduation, Roma joined Gravel and Shea, a law firm based in Burlington, Vermont. At Gravel and Shea, Roma focused on a variety of transactional matters, including energy-related financing, permitting, tax and real estate issues. Roma also helped to organize the firm's energy practice. Currently, Roma is a Senior Global Energy Fellow at the Institute for Energy and the Environment of Vermont Law School. He is also pursuing an LLM in environmental law degree there. Additionally, Roma teaches law at Marlboro College Graduate School’s Managing for Sustainability MBA program. Roma is involved in exploring a variety of legal and policy issues related to development of environmentally sustainable energy systems. He focuses his research on legal and policy issues surrounding transition to a low-fossil fuel economy and Arctic offshore oil and gas development with a special emphasis on the Russian Federation.
Download Roman (Roma) Sidortsov's Resume (PDF).



JD 2011
Senior Global Energy Fellow

Benjamin R. Jones brings a wide range of experience to the IEE, including graduate studies in philosophy in Belgium, a career as a bush pilot in northern Canada, and five years working as an administrator on an Indian Reserve in British Columbia.  Benjamin obtained his JD from Vermont Law School and an MPhil in Environmental Policy from Cambridge University.  He is currently working on his PhD at Cambridge.  His dissertation focuses on international investment law and the constraints it places on the development of domestic public policy, with specific attention to energy issues.


Global Energy LLM Fellow
LLB, LLM in Environmental Law
LLM in American Studies Candidate 2014

Jeannie is a New Zealand qualified lawyer and recently completed the LLM in Environmental Law at Vermont Law School. She is currently studying towards the LLM in American Legal Studies and plans to sit the bar in the United States in 2014. After graduating from the University of Auckland, Jeannie served as a judge's clerk at the New Zealand Court of Appeal; as legal counsel for the New Zealand Commerce Commission (New Zealand's anti-trust agency); and, most recently, as a solicitor at a boutique corporate law firm in Auckland, advising clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters, including forestry and geothermal projects. Jeannie's research at the Institute for Energy and the Environment focuses on renewable energy projects, with an emphasis on solar energy.


Global Energy LLM Fellow
JD, LLM in Environmental Law
LLM in Energy Law Candidate 2015

Carla Santos received her law degree and specialization degree in Brazilian Environmental Law from Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Upon graduation, Carla joined a Brazilian law firm as junior attorney, where she specialized in contracts and intellectual property matters. While pursuing her specialization degree she started working as a legal counsel in the State Attorney State´s Office inside the Environmental Protection Agency of Rio de Janeiro. While there Carla was responsible for drafting state environmental regulations, and analyzing environmental licensees, appeals on environmental administrative penalties, environmental impact statements, and environmental adjustment terms of conduct. Carla received her LLM in Environmental Law, cum lade, from Vermont Law School in 2012. In law school, Carla concentrated on environmental, climate change, and energy law, with a special interest in their intersection with sustainable development. Upon graduation, Carla spent a semester working at the legal department of Greenpeace East Asia (Beijing, China), where she focused on climate change international protocols and energy policies. Currently, Carla is a Global Energy Fellow at the Institute for Energy and the Environment of Vermont Law School. She is also pursuing a LLM in Energy Law degree there. Carla is involved in exploring environmentally sustainable energy sources.


Research Associates



MELP Candidate 2014
Mindy graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT, where she specialized in Sustainable Community Planning and Buddhist Studies. During her undergraduate career, she collaborated with the college administration and Board of Trustees to develop a Socially Responsible Investing policy. This policy was one of the main components in the college being named the "Greenest School" in the nation by the Sierra Club magazine. Mindy also played an active role in the Student Campus Greening Fund where she reviewed grant applications, awarded grants to students, and assisted students in completing sustainability projects on campus. After the completion of her undergraduate degree, she interned with the Shelburne Planning Commission in Shelburne, VT, where she organized a community development forum and wrote a town forest management plan for two forest properties. Mindy has worked extensively on environmental research projects internationally in Brazil, India, Thailand, and Panama. Her professional interests are smart grid implementation, sustainable community planning, international climate change policy, and agricultural policy.


JD, MEM Candidate 2015
Abi received her BA from Kenyon College in International Studies with a minor in Chinese and concentration in Environmental Studies. Following graduation, Abi worked in the environmental unit of a plaintiffs' firm in Manhattan and was a lead paralegal on the TVA Ash Spill litigation. While there, she also performed environmental public health research and devoted a portion of her time to assessing the feasibility of litigation involving phthalate exposure. In the summer before law school, Abi interned at the non-profit environmental publication, chinadialogue, where she published several articles on contemporary environmental issues. Abi began Mandarin studies in college and later studied abroad in China with the Middlebury language program. While in China, Abi worked with environmental organizations and helped run a project in Beijing titled TreeBirds, which raised money from local businesses to offset deforestation. Abi is a Joint Research Fellow with the Vermont Law U.S.-China Partnership and a Staff Editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. This past summer, Abi worked as a research assistant with the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington DC.


JD Candidate 2015
Rob graduated from The George Washington University in 2010, with a major in International Affairs and a minor in History. During undergrad, Rob held a verity of different jobs including garbage man, wildland firefighter, and waiter. Before coming to law school Rob lived in Shanghai for two years where he taught English and interned at a small business, which connected Chinese lawyers with Western small and medium sized businesses. This past summer Rob worked at the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.


MERL Candidate 2014
Heather was born and raised on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a state uniquely associated with the United States through a Covenant agreement. Heather received her Bachelor's in Political Science from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa with honors. She worked in the State House and State Senate of Hawai'i before attending Vermont Law School (VLS). She is currently pursuing her Masters in Energy Regulation and Law and is a Research Associate at the Institute for Energy and the Environment. Most recently she was a member of the VLS observer delegation to the UNFCCC Conference Of Parties 19 in Warsaw, Poland,  where she collaborated with the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Environmental Defense Fund on energy and climate change issues.


JD Candidate 2015
After graduating from the University of Scranton with a BS in Political Science in 2010, Chris went on to earn a Master of Arts in Public Policy, with a concentration in environmental policy and energy policy, from Monmouth University in 2012. While attending graduate school, Christopher worked for the New Jersey Law Revision Commission, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and New Jersey Future, a nonprofit smart-growth organization in New Jersey.  In the Summer of 2013, Christopher Cavaiola worked as a legal intern with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office in Trenton, NJ.  At the Attorney General's Office, Christopher worked for the Environmental Permitting and Counseling Section.  As a Research Associate at the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Chris works on the Community Energy Team.  Christopher is also a member of the Vermont Law Review and was elected to the position of Articles Editor earlier this year.


JD Candidate 2013
After graduating from Villanova with a BA in political science, Jim was hired as a paralegal at Winston & Strawn, LLP in its New York office. While there he worked in the firm's complex commercial litigation department on many high profile cases. He later transferred to Winston & Strawn's DC office where he was a Senior Paralegal assigned to many of the firm's patent litigations. He also attended Senate Subcommittee meetings on food aid policy, and reported to attorneys on the effects that proposed policies would have on clients' interests. Under attorney supervision, Jim also wrote a maritime environmental crimes blog that was featured on the firm's website. In addition to his work with the Energy Institute, Jim is a Managing Editor of the Vermont Law Review and President of the Moot Court Advisory Board. In his summers away from Vermont Law School, he was a Legal Intern at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and was most recently a Summer Law Clerk in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.



JD/Energy Certificate Candidate 2015
Taylor graduated summa cum laude from Davis and Elkins College with a double major in Political Science and History and a minor in Psychology. During this time she worked on Clean Water Act implementation by helping to enact legislation that strengthened the tier regulations for water bodies in West Virginia. As a Washington Center Fellow she worked for a nonpartisan lobbying firm, gaining knowledge about the intricacies of the legislative process. After graduation Taylor started a proposal management company, where she provided technical assistance to companies applying for state and federal government contracts. In 2012 she graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School with a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy. Most recently, Taylor interned with Focus the Nation where she researched and helped compose The Watt? An Energy 101 Primer, an interactive user's guide to combat energy illiteracy. Through her work with and environmental education with fifth graders, Taylor promotes outreach and education by encouraging participation in democratic processes. Taylor plans to use her degree to advocate for sustainable and ethical energy initiatives necessary to mitigate climate change and minimize social justice concerns.


LLM - Environmental Law Candidate 2014
Alisha earned her JD from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law in May 2013. After deciding her passion was for environmental law, Alisha decided to pursue this practice at Vermont Law School. Alisha has also received her MA in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her BA from the University of Michigan. Alisha's article, The Living are Getting Rarer: The Causes and Consequences of the International Trade in White Rhinoceros Horns Under the Conventions on International Trade in Endangered Species, was recently published in the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs. Alisha is very excited to be working on the Biomass Team for the IEE.


MELP, Energy Certificate Candidate 2014
Stephanie graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2010 with a BA in Environmental Studies. During her undergraduate career she led the Sustainable Living Center, an on-campus residence for 20 students, and laid the groundwork for Dartmouth's $1 million Green Revolving Loan Fund which finances energy-saving upgrades. Following graduation, Stephanie was a fellow at a land trust in northern Virginia and then an intern on an organic farm in western Colorado. In 2011 she moved to Seattle and worked for two years as a paralegal at a plaintiff's firm in their complex litigation group, researching consumer product liability issues in the class action context.


MERL Candidate 2014
Jonathan Hart currently serves as a research associate on the Smart Grid research project. He has prior research experience in the solar panel and inverter industries, as well as statistical analyses for research. Jonathan has prior experience working with human rights organizations at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and with energy efficiency projects for Siena, Italy's Provincial Agency for Energy and the Environment. Jonathan is currently receiving his Masters of Energy Regulation and Law.


JD, MELP Candidate, 2015
Matt earned a BBA with a focus on Finance at the University of Cincinnati. While an undergraduate he was active in several campus and community organizations and worked with a large financial firm. Matt then spent two years in Kyrgyzstan as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. There, he designed and taught courses, including English and economics at a local university. He also completed projects with the U.S. Democracy Commission and the Open Society Foundation. Prior to law school, Matt spent six years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, WA. During his time there, he managed a grant making team with the Global Development Program and specialized in Agricultural Development investments serving sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Matt has a strong interest in analyzing complex development issues related to energy and the environment.


MERL 2014
Arne earned a BS in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Maryland, College Park, with focused study in biodiverisity, ecological anthropology, and government & politics. While at Maryland, he received an academic citation from Civicus, a living and learning program based on a mixed curriculum of community building coursework and volunteer service learning projects. Arne also worked extensively for the Maryland Fund for Excellence. During the Spring and Summer of 2013, Arne worked as a field research assistant, collecting and organizing forest biomass data in the State of Maryland for verification in a LiDAR study housed in the University of Maryland's Department of Geographical Sciences. Currently, Arne is earning a Master's of Energy Regulation and working for the Institute's Woody Biomass research team.


JD, MELP, Energy Certificate Candidate 2015
Dan earned his BA from the University of Delaware in both Political Science and Environmental Studies, with a minor in Philosophy. During that time, he constructed a fully functional 2 kW solar PV array with battery backup, independently learning and performing all of the engineering, soldering and wiring. Prior to enrolling in VLS, he also interned with D&R International, an energy efficiency contractor in Washington D.C., where he worked on administration of EPA, DOE and non-profit efficiency and awareness projects such as EnergyStar, Lighting Facts, and the Design Lights Consortium. During the summer of 2013, Dan worked as a Clean Energy Intern at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, working on legal and policy research regarding net metering, Vermont Yankee litigation, and more.


JD, MELP Candidate 2015
Thea graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Norwegian and a BS in Biology. As an undergraduate, she was a founding member of the youth-run think tank called Our American Generation, which produced a comprehensive survey of the environmental justice issues in Washington State. In 2009, she attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen as Policy and Strategy Lead for the Cascade Climate Network delegation, a group made up of representatives from youth environmental groups throughout Oregon and Washington. Also as an undergraduate, she was an active member of PowerShift and the Energy Action Coalition, gathering information, analyzing it, and making it usable for other college students. A stint working with the Regulatory Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sparked an interest in the governing framework that defines current environmental policy. She is particularly interested in how the Scandinavian values of stewardship are instituted in the Arctic, and hopes that her abilities in spoken and written Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic may allow her to tap into research that has not come out internationally.


JD/MELP 2014
Nick began his working career as a computer technician in the Technology Department at Mt. Lebanon School District outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and over thirteen years progressed to the Student Information Systems Specialist. While working for Mt. Lebanon, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Computer Science and a related area of Mathematics. While in law school he has been the Summer Intern for the Green Mountain Club in Waterbury, Vermont and the Legal Intern for BCM Environmental & Land Law in Concord, New Hampshire. Nick has been enjoying working with the SunShot team for the Energy Institute which researches ways to lower regulatory and permeating hurdles for rooftop solar installations. He also assisted the Smart Grid team by editing a portion of the forthcoming book A Smarter Greener Grid. Nick and his fiancé, Arwen Gaddis, are looking forward to spending next year in Dillingham, Alaska; a bush town off the Alaska road system.


MERL Candidate 2014
Achyut Shrestha is currently a Master's candidate for Energy Regulation and Law at Vermont Law School (VLS). His field of interest lies in understanding energy markets, smart grids and expanding energy access in the developing world. As a Research Associate at the Institute of Energy and the Environment at VLS, Achyut is comparing the Smart Grid systems in Europe and in the US. During his previous work at the World Resource Institute (WRI), Achyut worked on a project that assessed ratepayer funded industrial energy efficiency programs. Achyut graduated from Hampshire College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and Sustainability.




MERL Candidate 2014

Taylor graduated summa cum laude from Trinity Washington University in Washington D.C.. She is the proud graduate of a women's college, receiving her BA in International Affairs in May of 2013. During the summer of 2012, she made a volunteer trip to Gros Morne, Haiti, in the northern Artibonite province of the country. While there, she became interested in energy poverty issues when she observed that many Haitians were lacking access to modern energy services. Their use of firewood and charcoal for cooking also exacerbated the cycle of poverty, causing large scale deforestation. Since her trip, she has started to educate herself on the barriers to energy access in developing countries, and how to overcome them in a sustainable way. She also has a strong passion for women and gender issues associated with environment and development programs. To pursue this, Taylor traveled to COP19 in Warsaw, Poland with the VLS Observer Delegation and worked with the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC.  Taylor could not be more thrilled to be assigned to her specific research team, and to undoubtedly further her knowledge of what it will take to create a more equitable world for everyone, and a healthier planet.



MERL Candidate 2014
Jonathan Teller-Elsberg is a graduate of Colorado College (BA, English, 1993) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (MA, Economics, 2005). He has worked as a sales representative for a photovoltaic installer, a permaculture design consultant, and was an editor at Chelsea Green Publishing for four years. With Nancy Folbre and James Heintz, he is coauthor of Field Guide to the US Economy: A Compact and Irreverent Guide to Economic Life in America (Revised and Updated), New York: The New Press (2006).


Breanne Vander Naald graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Environmental Science. During her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to spend a summer studying ecology at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Northern Michigan and this experience solidified her commitment to environmental conservation. Following graduation, she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the Office of Water. As an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow, she worked on developing water quality monitoring training programs for Tribal Water Quality Programs that were utilizing federal funding. She then moved to Bismarck, North Dakota to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Ecological Services Field Office. While there, she conducted informal Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations and recommended mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts from federally conducted, funded, or permitted projects. Breanne's interest in energy was heavily influenced by the recent oil and gas boom in North Dakota and the interaction among levels of government in its regulation.


MERL 2015
Jeremy graduated from Georgia State University in 2010 with a B.A. in Journalism-Telecommunications and a BA in Political Science-Pre Law.  Before law school, he volunteered in several community-focused initiatives. At the Institute, he researches the legal framework of integrating solar projects into the electrical grid. He hopes to work in promoting urban electrical sustainability and renewability.


JD, MELP Candidate, 2015
Bridget received her BA in Political Science with an Environmental Studies Certificate from Siena College in Loudonville, NY. Immediately after graduating, Bridget completed a cross-country cycling trip with the affordable housing group Bike and Build. Assisting on building affordable housing in 9 states was Bridget's first insight into building codes and their effects on development plans. More recently, Bridget worked at Remlu, Inc., a NYC-based Emergency Preparedness Planning Firm. She managed a portfolio of buildings in Northern VA and metropolitan D.C., and was responsible for researching and developing Emergency Action Plans based on local ordinances as well as industry best practices. Bridget is interested in how regulations at the local, state, and national levels help or hinder cleaner energy development and technology implementation (e.g. private solar, and electric vehicle charging stations) and how they conflict or compliment each other. Bridget is currently pursuing her JD and Masters in Environmental Policy at VLS, where she serves as the Vice Justice of the law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta.