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Kids Climate Summit 2021: Focus on the Community

A huge thank you to those who are lending us their expertise to make the Kids Climate Summit a rewarding experience.  

Roster Of Experts

We are just starting to collect bios from climate experts, so check back again soon! If you are interested in serving as a client expert, please click above - we'd love to add you to our roster! 

Lisa Albrecht

Lisa Albrecht is a principal at All Bright Solar, which provides affordable rooftop solar, community solar, and big fields solar utility panels.  Lisa credits her interest in solar power to participation in science fair projects as a youth.  Lisa entered the Solar Energy Industry in 2007, and trained with former vice president Al Gore in 2012 as part of the Climate Reality Project.  In 2018, Lisa founded All Bright Solar.  Part of the mission of All Bright solar is to support youth in climate endeavors:  “our vision is to become a contagious catalyst for positive change, empowering communities to work toward solutions and spread hope.” 


Jeffrey Bennett

Author/astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett (Ph.D., U. Colorado) is the lead author of best-selling college textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics; of six books for children that have all been read by astronauts from the International Space Station for NASA’s Story Time From Space program; and of critically acclaimed books for the general public on topics including the search for extraterrestrial life, Einstein’s theory of relativity, math and science teaching, and global warming. Other major projects include having served as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters; proposing and co-leading development of the Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, DC; founding Big Kid Science; creating the free app Totality by Big Kid Science that will help you get ready for the upcoming solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024; and a free online textbook/curriculum for middle school Earth & Space Science (grade8science.com). Personal web site, www.jeffreybennett.com. Medium/Twitter: @jeffreyobennett.

Melissa Brice

A driven environmental leader with a scientific background, including a Master's degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, and 10 years professional experience in project management and cross-functional team collaboration at two Fortune Global 500 food companies. Melissa founded the local 350 chapter in May 2013 after attending a rally in Washington DC calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Melissa wanted to turn her despair and anger about climate change into action and hope, and loved the climate-change-focused mission of 350.org. Melissa is also a Climate Reality Project leader.

Sean Casten

Sean Casten represents Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, located in suburbs west of Chicago, and is serving as a sophomore in the 117th Congress. As a scientist, clean energy entrepreneur, author, and now as a Member of Congress, Casten has dedicated his life to fighting climate change. In Congress, Sean currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the Select Climate Crisis Committee, and is a Co-Chair on the New Dems Climate Change Task Force.

Mike Della Penna

Mike Della Penna is the Project Lead for Carbon Free Energy at Google. Google is the largest annual corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world and is working toward relying on only carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030. Before joining Google, Mike worked for an electric utility in Northern California called Pacific Gas & Electric. He worked on a variety of projects there, including building the utility's first lithium ion storage project and leading several partnerships with Tesla. Mike majored in Civil Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and he has an MBA from UC Berkeley.


Jamie Margolin

Jamie Margolin is a climate justice activist and the co-executive director of Zero Hour, a climate action organization based in Seattle, Washington. She cofounded Zero Hour in 2017 after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the 2017 Washington wildfires. She is the plaintiff in the Aji P. v. Washington case, suing the state of Washington for their inaction against climate change on the basis of a stable climate being a human right. Her writing about climate change has appeared in many publications including HuffPost, Teen Ink and CNN. She was part of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 class of 2018. In 2018, she was also named as one of People Magazine's 25 Women Changing the World. 

Julie Moller

Julie Moller is the former chair of the River Forest Sustainability Commission which she co-founded in 2015. She implemented River Forest’s curbside compositing program. Other sustainability work in River Forest includes: creating the River Forest Schools Sustainability group, Green4Good in 2009 and the creating and running the River Forest Recycling Extravaganza for the past 7 years. Julie represented River Forest and District 90 on the PlanItGreen Core Team from 2012-until recently and volunteers with the One Earth Film Festival. Most recently she completed Climate Reality Leadership training in Minneapolis.

She also participates in fundraising for Beyond Hunger, Y.E.M.B.A. and the Oak Park not for profit, Women’s Global Education Project.

Julie is here to share her experience of researching micro plastics in Indonesia as an Ambassador for the 5 Gyres Institute which empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure.

Esther Ngumbi

Esther Ngumbi (Ph.D. Auburn University) is an author, researcher, educator, mentor, speaker and a champion for change around the issues of hunger, gender, education, youth activism, agriculture, sustainability, and public service. She works as an Assistant Professor, Entomology and African-American Department, at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is the founder of organizations that empower farmers and youth in Kenya,  she’s served as a mentor for entities like the Clinton Global University Initiative and President Obama’s Young Leadership Program and in 2021 she was the winner of the AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science.

Esther Ngumbi believes that everyone has a right to live a dignified life. She vows always to use her education as a voice for the voiceless, and use her intellect to serve the needs of the hungry, the poor and the needy! She has a huge heart, an unstoppable passion, and a deep commitment for developing Kenya, Africa, and our global world.


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About CGCC

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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