Interns & Fellows

Natural Capitalism Solutions has a well-established internship and fellowship program. We are proud to have educated so many gifted individuals and look forward to working with them all as peers for years to come. Read about our current interns and fellows below, click here to find out how you can join our intern program, and click here to read about the amazing intern alumni we have had work with us in the past.

Brook Assefa (Sustainability Implementation Intern)

Brook is originally form Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to Boulder, Colorado when he was 6. He attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science where he also played 4 years of varsity soccer and was part of a NCAA National Championship team. During his last year Brook attended graduate level courses on environmental politics while also working at First Southwest Bank. As a market research analyst Brook facilitated the consulting and finance of sustainability interested companies. It was having the opportunity to live and travel globally that led Brook to realize the drastic differences in the quality of life among people from a young age. This experience always lingered and made him question what development truly meant and whose environment and life it was impacting for better or worse. His curiosity eventually led him to his existing interest and passion for sustainability. In the future Brook wants to work on improving the quality of life for as many people as possible by implementing useful, comprehensive and creative projects that are highly impactful and regenerative to the environment, especially focusing on the segments of society that are most disadvantaged.



Melanie Adams (Sustainability Implementation Intern)

Melanie grew up in Superior, CO and attended the University of Colorado. She graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and wrote an interdisciplinary Honors thesis that identified links between environmental resilience and human mental and physical health through analysis of agricultural practices.

Melanie learned about the importance of both natural and human capital as interconnected pillars of true sustainability from being a passionate landscape photographer, from learning about medical geographies, and from being exposed to conservation biology in Australia and to social dimensions of peace-building in South Africa. Melanie aspires to be a facilitator who helps diverse stakeholder groups to identify and meet common goals.

All of Melanie’s favorite extra-curricular activities relate to wellbeing through fostering human connections, spending time outdoors, enabling exercise, or promoting healthy eating. She cooks with friends, leads hiking trips, dances tango, SCUBA dives, and appreciates aesthetic environments as a photographer.

Melanie is exited to join the NCS team as a sustainability implementation intern!


Meryl Compton (Sustainability Implementation Intern)meryl compton- headshot

Meryl is from Boulder, Colorado, where she grew up camping, skiing, hiking, and exploring the mountains, and where she developed her passion for the natural world. She is currently a rising junior pursuing a degree in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University, and previously attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota before transferring to Colorado State. She has been an active member of both the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, and College Democrats clubs; she also played water polo for Macalester, and was on the club swimming and triathlon teams at Colorado State. She hopes to pursue a career in environmental economics and policy, and is interested in strategizing ways for communities, businesses, and industries to develop sustainably and efficiently. Outside of school, she trains and competes in dressage, and has worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for almost five years. In the future, she looks forward to traveling as much as possible, and continuing to learn how we can fundamentally shift global society towards resilience and sustainability.


David Schneider (Policy and Research Intern)ee

David Schneider, a student at the University of Wisconsin, is obtaining his master’s degree in Sustainable Management (MS).
David will graduate upon completing a capstone project that he hopes to corroborate through his intern experience. His interests are broad, but his focus is in financial and technical transfer mechanisms, means of implementing Global Goals, FCCC climate negotiations, climate intervention and governance, protecting the natural order of Earth, and global commons partnership. David believes in a regenerative approach to economics that does not transgress planetary boundaries, and cites Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” as a global sustainable model. He has completed course work in ecological, environmental and green economics, international environmental law, and geopolitics. His interest in Natural Capitalism Solutions stems from a desire to be involved with an influential institution during a historical moment in history – the year of sustainable development – and he feels working with the team here will expose him to many issues and give him glimpse into policy and partnership action. As an agent for change, David wishes to help NCS continue as a sustainably effective organization long into the future. David lives with his wife and two young boys in Green Bay where he works as a community organizer and enjoys being outdoors, running marathons, eating local and ethnic food, and practicing being fully alive in space and time.


Mariana Pickering (Policy and Research Intern)Mariana Pickering LEED AP

Mariana was born into an international family based in Dallas, Texas. She received a BA in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, with a semester abroad at DIS in Copenhagen, Denmark. She also has a Master of Design Science in Sustainable Design from the University of Sydney in Australia. For the past seven years she and her husband have owned an architectural design studio called Emu Architetti in his Italian hometown of Cavriago, where she designed the first certified Passive Houses in the province of Reggio Emilia. Mariana is a LEED Accredited Professional and has published articles with websites such as on the subjects of green building and Italian design. As part of the couple’s move to Colorado, Mariana hopes to draw on her international experience in sustainable built environments to shift her career focus towards larger community scale policy implementation.


Elizabeth Spears (Policy and Research Intern)FullSizeRender (8)

Elizabeth grew up in Texas with an innate curiosity about the world beyond Houston. Her desire for adventure led to seven years active duty service in the U.S Air Force. During a long tour in England, Elizabeth’s environmental awareness and passion for sustainability emerged. This passion continued to develop in her personal life as her career advanced in other directions. After leaving the military, Elizabeth obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio and worked as a critical care registered nurse for a decade. Seeking further professional challenge, Elizabeth earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from University of Houston Law Center and is currently a practicing attorney. After a few years doing volunteer work for a local farmers market and an advocacy group for small farmers and ranchers, Elizabeth began exploring ways to merge her professional experience and skills with her now full-blown zeal for sustainability. She completed a Professional Certification in Sustainability Management from the University of Colorado-Boulder to obtain basic education in the field. Elizabeth hopes to bring more awareness and acceptance of global environmental issues to Texas communities, businesses, and individuals. Her future career aspirations include further policy and advocacy work, as well as consulting with small to mid-size businesses on sustainability issues. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys travel, cooking, entertaining friends and couchsurfers, and knitting modern unique dolls for sale in her Etsy store.