Environmental Science & Policy Board

Email: executiveboard.esp@gmail.com

Current Board Members
MPA-ESP Board members are elected for 2-year terms. The next election will be held in Fall 2020.

Tess Arzu – Vice President

Tess Arzu, MPA-ESP alumna of 2016, is the Principal Environmental Initiatives Specialist for The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. She coordinated the First Annual Earth Day Volunteer Clean-Up at Brooklyn-Port Authority Marine Terminal, Port Newark, and Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal. In addition to planting flora in public spaces, the Clean-Up resulted in the collection of 137 bags of waste which totaled more than 2 tons. In her prior experience, she served as a Policy Analyst in the Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington D.C. She received her undergraduate degree with a concentration in Environmental Science from Seton Hall University and is proficient in Spanish.

Joseph Daniel – Washington D.C. Network Officer
Joseph Daniel, MPA ESP 2012 alum, is a senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He leads UCS’s research and advocacy efforts to shape electricity markets and policies to develop a more flexible and modern electric grid that can accommodate high levels of renewable energy, demand-side resources, and electric vehicles while reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Mr. Daniel joined UCS in 2018 with over 12 years of experience in the energy industry. He began his career as an engineer working to reduce the environmental impact of industrial facilities and oil refineries. He formerly served as an electric sector analyst with the Sierra Club, where he focused on federal policy, fossil fuel economics, and regional energy markets. Prior to that experience, he served as an analyst for Synapse Energy Economics.

Danny Giddings – Washington D.C. Network Officer
Danny Giddings, MPA-ESP 2016 alum, is a program analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Water. His primary duties include working with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to formulate the annual budget and strategic framework to measure program performance. Giddings founded DC Trash Cycle, a grassroots organization which empowers bike commuters and others to take ownership in the trails they take everyday by ‘adopting’ a portion of their commute for trash pickup. Danny enjoys camping and hiking with his wife, Jamexis, and dog, Ridge, making home improvements, and hunting deer and turkey on their family’s farms in Missouri and Virginia.

Pearl Gray – New York Network Officer

Pearl Gray is a 2012 alumna of the MPA-ESP program. She works as an energy policy analyst at the Pace Energy & Climate Center focusing on developing policy to increase integration of distributed energy resources and technology in order to create a more sustainable, resilient, and secure electrical grid. Prior to ESP, Pearl was a professional mariner serving as a ship’s engineer and navigator on merchant ships. She graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2005. She is married with 2 kids living in charming Nyack, NY.

Venkat Iyer – President

Venkat Iyer is an alum of the MPA-ESP Class of 2016. He currently works as an economist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, creating market-based approaches to conservation such as sustainable fisheries models and business plans for tropical forests. Prior to ESP, he graduated with a BS in Applied Economics from Cornell University and traveled on the world tour playing professional tennis. He enjoys spending his time outside work either training for marathons, photographing wildlife (especially birds!), and hiking mountains.


Lauren Wolahan – New York Network Officer
Lauren Wolahan is an alumna of the MPA-ESP Class of 2016. She currently manages the food program at Climate Nexus, focusing on ways to incorporate diet, food systems, and agriculture into the climate change conversation. Prior to joining Climate Nexus, Lauren worked with the Earth Institute’s Agriculture and Food Security Center on soil nutrient data and with the Reducetarian Foundation on communications strategy. She has also volunteered with various non-profits including No Kid Hungry and Randall’s Island Park Alliance to increase access to healthy food, nutrition, and environmental education.