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Our People

Our team of science and policy experts collaborates with scientists, business and government decision makers, and NGOs for a healthier world

Watch a video on Executive Director Arlene Blum and the history of the Green Science Policy Institute.

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.

Founder and Executive Director

Arlene Blum, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is the Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate in Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Blum’s research and policy work with the Institute has contributed to limiting the use of flame retardant, highly fluorinated, and other harmful chemicals in children’s sleepwear, furniture, electronics, and other products worldwide.

Blum led the first American and all-women’s ascent of Annapurna I, one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult mountains; co-led the first women’s team to climb Denali; and completed the Great Himalayan Traverse. She is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life.

More info: www.arleneblum.com

Jen Jackson, M.A.

Science and Policy Director

Prior to joining the Institute, Jen led the San Francisco Environment Department’s Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program. She and her team reduced the use of toxic chemicals through city procurement, integrated pest management, and a variety of commercial and residential programs. She helped pass ordinances and regulations on flame retardants and PFAS which then led to new state laws in California and beyond.

Prior to her work at SFE, Jen worked for a public wastewater agency addressing contaminants in San Francisco Bay, and as a grassroots community organizer for Save The Bay and Sierra Club. She holds a master’s degree in environmental planning and resource management.

Fred Spitz

Operations Director

Fred has supported San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits since 1988, serving in a variety of roles such as executive director, fundraiser, treasurer, caterer, systems administrator, and school secretary. His extensive event production experience has included work with Dizzy Gillespie, the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Indigo Girls, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Fred received a B.A. in English from Stanford University.

Seth Rojello Fernández, M.S.

Science and Policy Associate

Seth Rojello Fernández received his M.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the UC, Riverside in 2019, where he assessed classes of flame retardants for their overall hazard to human and environmental health. He also holds bachelors degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Political Science and in Environmental Science.

Anna Soehl, M.Sc.

Science and Policy Consultant

Anna Soehl holds an MSc in environmental science and policy from Central European University/Manchester University. She previously worked as an air toxics project manager at the Great Lakes Commission, managing federally funded scientific research grant program and as a natural resources planner at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Science Services Administration.

Carol Kwiatkowski, Ph.D.

Science and Policy Senior Associate

Carol Kwiatkowski is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University and former director of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, a science-based non-profit organization. She has many years of experience evaluating and communicating scientific studies of environmental chemicals that affect human health, particularly endocrine disruptors. Her training began at the College of William and Mary where she received her BA, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. 

Rebecca Fuoco, M.P.H.

Science Communications Officer

Rebecca Fuoco leads the Institute’s media and communications efforts. Rebecca previously worked as a communications strategist for nonprofit organizations and academic research centers in the health and environmental fields. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Cornell University and a master’s of public health degree from UC Berkeley, where she was a Center for Health Leadership Fellow.

Lydia Jahl, Ph.D.

Science and Policy Associate

Lydia joined the Institute to work on challenging issues that directly impact both human and environmental health. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the atmospheric processing of biomass burning emissions, advancing the understanding and modeling of how these emissions affect the climate. Lydia holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College.  

Candy Kasalo

Bookkeeper

Candy is a lifelong accountant whose career spanned 30 years at Hambrecht & Quist brokerage firm and WR Hambrecht + Co., where she served as Controller and CFO. She has a BA in Accounting from Western Michigan University.

Board of Directors

Gretta Goldenman, J.D. – Chair

Gretta Goldenman is an attorney based in Brussels and Berkeley. She co-founded the Pesticide Action Network International (1982) as well as Milieu Ltd (1994), a Brussels-based law and policy consultancy serving public sector institutions in Europe and internationally. She recently led a study for the Nordic Council on “The cost of inaction: a socioeconomic analysis of the health and environmental impacts of PFAS.” Her long-term goal is to bring about a global phase-out of many uses of PFAS.

Michael Lipsett, M.D.

Dr. Michael Lipsett served as Chief of the Environmental Health Investigations Branch in the California Department of Public Health until retiring in 2013. Dr. Lipsett conducted air pollution epidemiological research studies and developed the medical and public health foundations for California’s ambient air quality standards. He played a central role in establishing California’s biomonitoring program, which evaluates toxic chemical exposures in California residents.

Joan Blades, J.D.

Joan Blades is a co-founder of LivingRoomConversations.org an effort to rebuild respectful discourse across ideological lines. She is also a co-founder of MomsRising.org and MoveOn.org. She is a co-author of The Custom-Fit Workplace, and The Motherhood Manifesto.  A mediator and attorney by training, she is a nature lover, artist and believer in the power of citizens and our need to rebuild respectful civil discourse.

David Hochschild

David Hochschild is the Chair of the California Energy Commission, where he has served since 2013. He has been involved in the solar energy field since serving as Special Assistant to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown in 2001 when he launched a $100 million initiative to put solar panels on public buildings. He founded the Vote Solar Initiative. He has also served as executive director of a consortium of leading solar manufacturers and as a commissioner at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Martha Geering – Secretary

Martha Geering served as art director and designer of SIERRA Magazine for 23 years, where she curated images for the publication’s 1.3 million readers. In that role she won several prestigious Maggie Awards from the Western Publications Association for exemplary magazine art. She trained at the San Francisco Art Institute and UCLA.

Allen King, MBA

Allen King was the co-founder and president of Excellent Packaging & Supply, a wholesale distributor, from 2004-2020. He guided the company to its position as the premier supplier in the United States of innovative, bio-based foodservice disposable packaging that is recyclable by composting. Prior to this, he received an MBA from UC Berkeley, and worked as a senior salesperson at AC Paper & Supply from 1979-2004. He pioneered the use of biodegradable and compostable packaging products in the foodservice marketplace since their introduction in the late 1990’s.

Craig Rice, CPA – Treasurer

Craig Rice worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young before becoming a financial specialist for the insurance industry. The final 15 years of his career were as Vice President of Financial Management at Prudential Financial in Newark, NJ. In addition to his role with the Institute, he serves on the Boards of Central Works Theater Company and Grizzly Peak Cyclists. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Denver.

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.

Arlene Blum, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is the Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate in Chemistry at UC Berkeley.