Students in the CCS Masters program come from a variety of backgrounds and investigate the interface between climate change and society at different scales and in different forms. Half of them are full-time students and the other half are part-time.

Certificate Program students include recent graduates of Bachelor’s programs and a number of mid-career individuals from industry leaders such as the Weather Channel.

In their own words


Cam Baillie

Having grown up in Iowa, my experiences with intense storms and tornadoes sparked an interest in extreme weather at a young age. Over time, I discovered my passion for sharing the beauty of the natural world with students so I began my journey by earning a B.S. in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I studied Earth and Space Science. Until December 2019, I taught high school Earth Science, designed teacher professional development, and wrote science curriculum in northern Virginia, focusing primarily on communicating with students of other languages, cultures, and backgrounds. In February 2020, I joined the North Carolina State Climate Office as an Instrumentation Technician where I have been exposed to some of the best and brightest weather & climate scientists the world has to offer. I am particularly interested in intersectional climate justice and policy and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to pursue my goals within the Climate Change & Society program.

Max Cawley
I am an educator, researcher, evaluator, and science communicator with the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, NC. I’m a firm believer in participatory, democratic, and responsible science and dissemination, and I believe that anyone and everyone can, and should, contribute to our growing understanding of climate change and its myriad impacts. I’d like to help build better public understanding, public engagement, and public empowerment to take on pressing socioscientific issues that demand our attention and intervention, and I believe that building a more scientifically and climate-literate public is key to maintaining a healthy democracy into the future.

Susanne Cooper
For as long as I can remember, my life has centered around water and the woods. I grew up in Central Virginia, attending canoe camps and swimming competitively through my first year at William & Mary, where I majored in English.  My professional journey took me to Capitol Hill for two years as a legislative assistant to Congressman Hal Rogers (Ky), where I tracked legislation in education, agriculture, and housing. In Southeastern Kentucky, I saw first-hand the impact of coal mining on the environment and people. I earned an M Ed in Counseling from UVA and spent 13 years in Title 1 schools in Virginia and North Carolina.  I worked with children from rural and urban environments, migrant and military families, from wealth and from poverty. Most recently, I’ve been the head coach of a swim team. I’ve traveled with my family to other countries and have seen their approaches and attitudes toward climate change.  These experiences and an environmentally-oriented reading list have led to a desire to apply counseling theories to the conversations held between environmentalists, government officials, and local stakeholders in our communities.  I am looking forward to the Climate Change and Society program at NC State as a way of combining my various skills to address the challenges faced by our changing world.

Tracy DiTucci
My interest in climate change came about through a gradual realization that the natural and human systems I care about are degrading at a pace unparalleled in human history. I am excited to return to NC State as part of the Master’s in Climate Change & Society program so that I can play a more active, informed role in how society responds to our current climate reality. My education and work background centers around international sustainable development, human health and humanitarian response from a gender perspective. More specifically, I received my BA in International Cultural Studies from NC State in 2011 and hold an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University. I currently work as a Senior Program Manager for an international NGO implementing women’s health programs in West, Central and Lusophone Africa where I work at the intersection of research, policy and practice. Through the program I hope to round out my background by learning the science behind climate change and developing my skill set in geospatial analytics. Ultimately, I’d like to use what I learn to support development of climate adaptation strategies along the emergency response and sustainable development continuum.

Nicole Esch
I have always known I wanted to have a career in science. From collecting “tree stars” in the woods as a kid (Land Before Time anyone?), to majoring in Biology and Journalism in my undergrad career at UNC Chapel Hill, I have always taken steps to make that happen. Along the way I discovered a love for writing, photography, and communication as well as a desire to help close the gap between science and minority communities. Though I use my spare time to pursue slightly selfish hobbies like bodybuilding and cooking, I hope my career will allow me to serve the public. I believe that NC State will give me the necessary tools to make me an apt communicator and a well-informed scientist.

Ryan Eldridge
I have always been fascinated by the relationships that humans create for themselves; relationships with their environment, their situations, and with each other. I had the privilege of growing up in Asheville, North Carolina, a city very much in-tune with its natural surroundings yet also in conflict with them through the rapid growth the city is experiencing. My love of history and of stories brought me to North Carolina State University where I graduated with my BA in History last Spring. Studying this topic allowed me to see how the mistakes humans make have lasting consequences for the generations that follow. Climate change will likely play out similarly and will have dramatic effects on those human relationships listed above. That is why I decided to immediately continue my education in the CCS program, so that I could gain the knowledge necessary to work towards solutions to the problems that will be posed within this next chapter of human history. My ultimate goal is to work with cities, like my hometown, to prepare residents for what is to come in the hope that the relationships that already exist and that define these communities can be preserved.

Stephanie Kelly
As a North Carolina native, I was privileged to grow up exploring and enjoying the state’s rich biodiversity and landscapes, while dichotomously, witnessing its rapid transformation in the wake of population booms and urbanization.  This sparked my interest in sustainable design and decision to become a landscape architect.  Once in the workforce, I quickly discovered that sustainability was not widely understood or embraced, so I channeled my passion into creating professional sustainability initiatives and events.  In 2014, I married and moved to the coast, where I have experienced dangerous extreme weather anomalies every year since.  After learning about the Masters of Climate Change & Society and Post-Professional Masters of Landscape Architecture now offered at State, I felt compelled to return to school part-time to pursue a dual-masters, where I am focusing my studies on an interdisciplinary approach to ecosystem service and resilient site design strategies and policies, with an emphasis on coastal communities.  I am so excited to gain the climate change science and communication foundation the CCS program offers, and for the opportunity to redirect my career path, so that I can better serve the interdisciplinary effort in addressing this global crisis!

Kimberly Kirkhart
I have always been drawn to climate change science and especially the sustainability aspect of the environment. After finishing my undergraduate degree in business finance and working in accounting, I decided I wanted to pursue something more impactful. I’d like to incorporate my undergraduate experience and past professional experience with my passion for climate. Businesses and corporations hold a large responsibility to the environment and it is important to keep them accountable and ensure their commitment to best practices is known. This has motivated me to pursue the Climate Change and Society program to actively create a more sustainable future through holding corporations accountable for their environmental impact.

Philip Martin

The environment has always been a large part of my life. Growing up on a farm, I have always been connected to in some part to the environment, and it has allowed me to really see how even little changes in the climate can have large impacts especially in farming. I received my Bachelors of Science degree in STS from NC State. While in undergrad, I took some courses that were related to climate change that really sparked my interest to wish to pursue this field further than my undergrad degree could take me. I look forward to learning a lot about the science behind climate change data how to effectively communicate those findings with people.

Veronika Maynard-Simon
I grew up very close to nature through my family having a vineyard and a large vegetable garden. After I moved to the US, I earned a Bachelor degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures with the concentration of Central European Studies. My husband and I started our first vegetable garden ten years ago and I learned so much about the amazing benefits of gardening on climate change including permaculture, companion planting, and pollinating gardens. Additionally, our no till and hugelkultur practices, also composting and cover crop practices are increasing carbon sequestration, trapping CO2 in the soil. . I also began educating my co-workers at NC State Transportation by planning and leading an Earth Month Challenge for the full month of April in 2019.  As a result, collectively as a department, we reduced our electricity usage and participants became more environmentally conscious in their habits. I continued my sustainability initiatives, which resulted in a surprising NC State Sustainability Award this February. This inspired me to research sustainability master’s degrees and I was very excited when I found the Climate Change & Society Masters’ program. I am looking forward to learning more about how to communicate sustainability initiatives to be able to facilitate long term and deep changes we need.

Casey Nelson
Spending the first 10 years of my life primarily living outside of the U.S. due to my father’s military career, I grew up being exposed to a variety of different climates. Moving to North Carolina in 2004, I then began to realize just how important the climate impacts were to the coast especially when my family was in such close proximity. I received a B.A. in English from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a second undergraduate here at NC State in STS. During my time at NC State, I have taken numerous courses dealing with the environment and climate change, which has only fueled my interest in continuing my education in a program that can combine my educational backgrounds. I am specifically interested in how we communicate climate change to the public, in addition to fostering resiliency in communities that may be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. I am very much looking forward to being a part of the Climate Change & Society Program here at NC State!

Daniel Pantaleo
When I started my undergraduate degree in Public Health at the University at Buffalo, I was quickly drawn towards the environmental side of public health and was fascinated by the strong impact your environment has on your health. Climate change is currently one of the most significant public health crises, affecting people across the globe and will only continue to get worse unless something is done soon. From the CCS program, I hope to further understand the science behind climate change and the effects it may have on populations so I can share my knowledge with others and help to protect vulnerable populations.

Addie Thornton
I have always had a love and appreciation for the natural environment and the experiences, resources and beauty it provides. This passion led me to an education and career sustaining our natural resources for future generations to enjoy as I have. Starting with my BS in Natural Resource Policy and Administration at NCSU, to working within the NCSU Forestry Extension Department coordinating natural resource educational events and conferences and now, coordinating the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS). Through SERPPAS I bring together state and federal agencies to make resource use decisions that support military readiness, conservation of natural resources and sustainable working lands and communities in the Southeast. Climate change impacts threaten all of these sectors in varying ways, and I am excited to join this program to enable SERPPAS to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate for a more resilient Southeast Region. I look forward to this degree opening up opportunities for me to continue my career focusing on the most important issue of our time.

Andrew Webb
I found my passion for climate change and sustainability through my combined interest and experience in science and social justice issues. Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and working in outdoor adventure, I have a deep appreciation for nature and the environment. Scientifically however, my interest in astrophysics propelled me through my undergraduate degree in physics at Valparaiso University, where I gained experience in planetary nebulae and galactic research. Furthermore, over the past several years I have gained an intense interest in multiculturalism and international issues, which sent me to several countries around the world, including Senegal, where I lived and volunteered for a year. During this time I heard a call to learn about several intersecting social justice issues, including climate change. This CCS program is where all my interests and past experience merge, where I hope to learn more about climate change communication, better understand climate science, and navigate environmental policy in order to help shape the world into a more sustainable system on several levels.