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Mission Statement

We believe in the power of students to influence and unite the world on climate change.

IPECC stands for International Peer Education on Climate Change. We exist to educate youth about the basic science of climate change and its imminent and devastating consequences. We advocate for immediate radical action to reverse climate destabilization, and we believe in the importance of conscious decision-making, global unification, and environmental stewardship.


Peer education is key to our mission. Students are powerful influencers, especially among their peers. By joining IPECC, students will gain the leadership skills and scientific knowledge to have a positive influence on their peers and on the world.



The ones who took off with the vision of IPECC and made it a reality! Without these four, IPECC would not be where it is today.

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Keaton Nara
Founder and Executive Director

Having spent her youth in the lush, green forests of the Puget Sound, Keaton has developed a passion for preserving our planet. Previously serving as a peer-educator for ASPEN (AIDS Student Peer Educating at Newport High School), she continues leading and inspiring change in her community at Georgetown University. Keaton has also witnessed the great influence students have on their peers, and believes in utilizing this power to engage more students in the movement against climate change. Her objective is to empower and link different bodies of students with the knowledge and tools needed to unite in this ongoing fight.

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Thomas Fenedick
Financial Coordinator & Curriculum Developer

Thomas, currently a Sophomore at Gonzaga, initially became interested in climate change because he wanted to know more about the natural disasters that he saw occurring around the world. He studied climate change in a University of Washington climate change course and now wants to use his knowledge to educate others. Thomas joined IPECC to help fix the problem of climate change, and build on his leadership skills. He hopes that educating more students will lead our planet to a better future. 

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Kavya Varkey
Co-Founder and WA State Administrator

Kavya is a Junior at Stanford University who aspires to follow a path in Climatology, with a focus on Environmental Policy. She is most concerned about the impact climate change has on not only the environment, but also the global community. She is excited to be a part of IPECC’s mission to educate and unite students to be empowered world citizens.


Kavya was first inspired to become an environmental activist when she took a University of Washington climate change course at her high school. She taught a lesson on the chemistry of ocean acidification to middle school students and hopes to continue educating students with IPECC. In her free time, Kavya loves to cook and run cross country on scenic trails.

Nika Nara
Executive Director

Nika has worn many hats at IPECC, from Media & Content Manager to Curriculum Developer to Executive Director. With a BA in Politics and emphasis in Environmental Policy and Chinese Language, Nika is a strong advocate for global environmental issues. They spent their youth hiking and biking through Washington forests, and they are nostalgic for the days when honey bees filled the lavender bushes in their backyard. They firmly believe in IPECC’s mission to empower students to make a difference in the world.

Academic Mentors

Founders & Academic Mentors

These experts help keep the spirit of IPECC alive through their hard work and crucial guidance.

Lisa Neshyba 
Founder & IPECC Mentor

Lisa is a dedicated teacher and mentor to students of all ages. Her long career in education has changed lives and opened up many minds to the science of climate change and environmental policy. Her project-based approach teaches students to think creatively and solve real world problems. Her skills in project management enable her to tackle big tasks like running an annual STEM Fair with 500+ attendees. The STEM fair has captured the attention of industry professionals and academics alike, and encourages students to pursue crucial fields of study in today's world. Lisa has also connected her students with experts in the field, through organizing panels or field trips to local colleges and universities.

Carol Bogezi
Founder & IPECC Mentor
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Dr. Carol Bogezi performs interdisciplinary research on wildlife conservation issues, particularly human-carnivore coexistence in Washington State. Born and raised on a farm in Uganda, Dr. Bogezi is intimately aware of the needs of humans and wildlife competing for natural resources. Her work in this field has never been more relevant, as conflicts over resources increase as climate change diminishes the future of such resources. Juxtaposed with the reality of humanity needing a healthy vibrant population of other species for its own existence, Dr. Bogezi works to create a world of coexistence for all. Dr. Bogezi has been awarded the 10th annual leadership award by the Bullitt Foundation, and has been named one of the ‘Top 40 Women Under 40’ by the Sunday Monitor in Uganda. Dr. Bogezi holds a special place in our organization and in our hearts, as it was her participation in a local STEM Career Fair for high school and middle school students which sparked a conversation, with the fair’s creator and student leaders, which ultimately led to the founding of IPECC. Dr. Bogezi will bring her creative energy, scientific knowledge of biodiversity that includes the human species, and passion for a healthy world to our work.

Student Developer Team

This rotating cast of rockstars continues to lead IPECC each new school year.

Chelsea Xian
Expansion Intern
Armita Arian 
Program Developer

Chelsea is a senior at Newport High School. She is interested in all things business: marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and more. She is deeply involved with her community, from organizing large community service events, like the Newport Ski Swap, Jingle Bell Run and school-wide food drives, to partnering with local businesses to fund student passion projects through the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). Chelsea also spends much of her time teaching hip-hop, violin and Spanish through equitable-minded organizations and self-started programs. In her free time, she loves to hike in the PNW, bake new recipes, and meet new people.

Xavier Cruz
Program Developer

Xavier, currently working towards his undergraduate degree, has worked with the ACLU and held leadership positions throughout school. It wasn't until he took a class about climate change in high school that he became deeply invested in solving the issue. He joined IPECC because of the way it allows kids to not only learn about the real problems we as humans are facing but also teaches them to have competent conversations and a real understanding about why this issue matters and what we can do to change it. He is interested in the political and economic facets of the climate change problem. His weekends are spent hiking and exploring outdoors.

Jillian Techico
Program Developer
Sam Salitra
Program Developer

Sam is a student at BC.  He's grown his love for the outdoors through camping, skiing, and hiking, and feels connected to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. These outdoor activities helped spur his involvement in climate advocacy.  Sam is especially interested in studying the diverse symptoms that arise due to the interconnectedness of global ecosystems.  He brings to IPECC a solid foundation in science, and experience in climate change education at elementary and middle school levels.  Sam can be found teaching lessons to peers, advocating for youth climate awareness, and continuing his studies of environmental science.

Developer Team
Advisory Team

Advisory Team

Meyyammai (Maya) Subramanian

Retired Program Manager, Microsoft Corp and Member of the Board of Directors, The Sophia Way

Maya recently left her tech career to focus full time on building and nurturing communities that have a vision of abundance, are tireless in their caring and education of every member of the community, and relentless in their pursuit of greater good. She has been serving on the board of The Sophia Way, a direct service organization that aims to end homelessness in single women living on the eastside, since 2015. She is an advisor at Humanizing Homelessness, a non-profit group focused on educating the larger eastside community to embrace and support those who are experiencing homelessness. In her spare time, Maya loves teaching Math, Computer Programming, Money management, and anything that involves numbers, to willing adults and not-so-willing children (usually, her own). Her sense of responsibility and deep desire for social justice and her experience in the corporate and non-profit world make her great fit for IPECC.

Sam Charaf

Undergraduate Student at Georgetown University

An alumnus of the Bellevue School District, Sam is a current undergraduate at Georgetown University who shares IPECC's view on the potential of peer education and climate change. He understands the value of spreading IPECC's initiatives beyond K-12 education, and hopes to broaden IPECC's outreach within the realm of higher education. Currently, he serves as a liaison to connect and network with college students interested in contributing to IPECC. He envisions the future organization to include a passionate team of students from around the world - diverse, yet united by IPECC's mission.

Dr. Miriam Bertram

Assistant Director of Program Operations, Program on Climate Change University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Dr. Bertram holds a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. She has received distinguished staff awards from both the UW College of the Environment and UW College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences. Dr. Bertram has dedicated the bulk of her professional career toward efforts – from research to education and outreach – that address climate change. She currently oversees and helps direct operations for the Program on Climate Change at UW – a program that provides a framework for intense cross-disciplinary collaboration that furthers and supports research and education in climate science. Dr. Bertram will provide IPECC unparalleled experience in how a wide variety of organizations and individuals can work together to promote climate change awareness that is scientifically rich and accurate, and in an education/outreach setting.

​Dr. Dargan Frierson

Associate Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Dr. Dargan Frierson is an atmospheric scientist who studies how climate change can alter big, climatic features, like storm tracks, tropical rain bands, or deserts. He uses different types of models to investigate these features’ fundamental dynamics. At the University of Washington, Dr. Frierson has been recognized multiple times for his teaching excellence, and he has also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Faculty Early Career Development Award, one of NSF’s most prestigious awards for young faculty. Dr. Frierson is the University of Washington’s liaison for the UW in the High School climate change course (ATMs 111), and has thus broadened his experience in climate change education to the high school level. He is also the director of EarthGames ( and frequently helps with the UW Atmos Outreach YouTube channel. Dr. Frierson will serve IPECC as both a content expert and as an education consultant.​

Brenda Hodges-Howell

Humanities Teacher, Seattle Girls’ School, Seattle, WA

Passionate about promoting active and collaborative learning, Brenda brings forth a valuable perspective to our organization. Having earned a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in multicultural education, she has the focus and experience needed to guide forth our vision. Currently a sixth grade humanities teacher at the Seattle Girls’ School, Brenda believes in empowering today’s youth and encouraging multicultural collaboration. Brenda’s deeply-rooted passion for social and environmental justice, as well as international unity, makes her a meaningful addition to IPECC.

Julia Marks

Science Teacher, Meany Middle School, Seattle, WA

Julia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Oceanography and in Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. Currently teaching science in middle school, Julia has also worked  as Communications Assistant at the Northwest Climate Science Center since 2015. Julia brings additional experience working with youth internationally as a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas on public health, education and environmental projects. We are excited to have Julia on our advisory team, where she will bring her passion for the environment, especially as it pertains to youth education and empowerment to IPECC.

Dr. Penny Rowe

Atmospheric Physical Chemist, NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA

Dr. Rowe studies clouds in polar regions. Clouds can have both a warming and cooling effect, and clouds remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate models. In addition, the polar regions are particularly sensitive to climate change. Dr. Rowe is a Research Affiliate at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, and a Research Scientist at NorthWest Research Associates, and is currently collaborating on a project to incorporate polar data sets into undergraduate coursework across multiple universities. Dr. Rowe’s interest and concern for climate change informs her choices - from scope of global research to local decisions and activism. In addition to publications and national presentations on her work, Dr. Rowe has presented the science of climate change to community groups of non-scientists who are interested in making a difference.  

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