Announcing the 2023 Cohort of Ecological Security Fellows

The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, is pleased to announce its 2023 class of Ecological Security Fellows. This initiative is a part of CCS’s  Ecological Security Program, supported by the VK Rasmussen Foundation. Fellows are mid-career experts from a variety of backgrounds and geographies, and will work together over the next year to deepen their understanding and analysis of ecological security risks.

Kaleigh Vilchez-Russell is a USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Riverside. She is a broadly trained community ecologist interested in symbiosis and the ways in which interactions are influenced by environmental conditions, particularly by the drivers of global climate change. Her research addresses how climate change-induced warming alters symbiotic interactions within a community, with a special focus on the tripartite interactions between plants, pollinators, and microorganisms. Kaleigh received her PhD in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside.  She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master’s degree in Ecology and Conservation from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. Her current research focuses on the effect increased nighttime temperatures and heatwaves have on pollinator health and plant fitness in a desert ecosystem. 

Chloé Prendleloup is a coordinator for the Sustainability and Social Performance team at Ipieca, the global oil and gas association for advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition. In her role she supports the work of the social responsibility, supply chain, human rights, and responsible security workstreams. Prior to this, Chloé was a Programme Assistant at the Environment and Society Programme and a consultant at the Europe Programme at Chatham House. During her MA in Conflict, Security and Development from the department of War Studies at King’s College London, Chloé focused on environmental peacebuilding, natural resource management and climate diplomacy. She also holds an MA in International Relations from Leiden University, and a BA in European Politics from King’s College London.

Ayesha Malik is Senior Research Fellow and Team Lead of the Conflict Law Centre (CLC) at the Research Society of International Law (RSIL). She has worked for a security policy-based think tank in London and Kabul, where she conducted an on-the-ground research project on security policies in Afghanistan. She also worked in the development sector in Pakistan and South Sudan before returning to pursue a profession in law and working at RSIL. The CLC publishes reports and policy papers relating to war law in Pakistan and Ayesha is Editor of the CLC Blog, host of the CLC’s Podcast series @War and a webinar series with international authors regarding their books on IR, foreign policy, and war law. She is also Editor-in-Chief for the Diplomacy, Law and Policy Forum, a project with the International Committee for the Red Cross which publishes blogs, podcasts and videos on thematic areas of international humanitarian law every month. Ayesha has authored papers on Climate Change and Armed Conflict and the Recognition of the Taliban and is working on a forthcoming paper on Armed Conflict in Space. Ayesha has also been adjunct faculty at the Lahore University of Management Sciences for around two years having been an instructor for war law, public international law, refugee law, and has also assisted in teaching advanced public international law to undergraduate students.

Keith Lema is a 2023 Finalist for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. In Spring 2023, he will begin his two year PMF and work on climate and energy issues through rotations at various agencies across the Federal government. He earned a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University, where his research concentrated on the interplay of ecological security and burgeoning supply chains for clean energy minerals. Outside of the classroom, Keith worked as a Research Associate at the Wilson Center and was accepted into the U.S. Foreign Service. Prior to graduate school, Keith facilitated the deployment of rooftop solar PV systems across the United States while working at Sungage Financial. In 2013, Keith was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Madrid, Spain. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Natosha Hoduski is a final-year PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews in the school of International Relations. Her dissertation is on hydropolitics of conflict in Syria. She is also a fellow at the Centre for Syrian Studies where she writes on aspects of environmental security in the state. Natosha received an MSc from the University of Edinburgh in International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic. Previously, she worked with the UNECE Environment Division on transboundary water cooperation by supporting the Water Convention and Water Protocol teams at the Secretariat. She also worked at the Fund for Peace as a research assistant where her main responsibility was conducting the qualitative analysis portion of the Fragile State Index (FSI). Prior to this, she worked for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research as a research associate. Her independent research project was on the nexus of climate change and water weaponization by non-state armed groups in Iraq and Syria. She also co-coordinated the lab’s first international conference on environmental security.

Molly Gallagher is a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL). Her background is in theoretical ecology and infectious disease modeling, and her work primarily focuses on global health security, including pandemic preparedness and the ecology of pest insects. Currently supporting the national response efforts for COVID-19 and mpox, she engages frequently with federal government professionals and program officers as well as academic and industry researchers. Molly is a member of Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) and has volunteered with organizations including Skype a Scientist, 500 Women Scientists, and the Ecological Society of America. Molly has a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from the Ohio State University and a master’s and PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining JHUAPL, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Biology Department at Emory University.

Oko Victor Ehoche is a Scientific officer at the Environmental Biotechnology and Bio-conservation department of Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Abuja. His role focuses on the conceptualization of original scientific research and leveraging research findings to inform policy positions relating to environmental conservation Biotechnology. He is a postgraduate student at the department of Environmental Biology, University of Abuja-Nigeria where he is investigating the ecosystem disruptive effects of some agriculturally relevant xenobiotics. He is interested in emergent biological threats associated with anthropogenic activities and is committed to building a career in ecological security with a view to contributing to efforts by governments in Sub-Saharan Africa and the global south to develop policies and strengthen institutional frameworks to ensure ecosystem integrity.

Malak Altaeb is a nonresident fellow with Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) working on food security in North Africa. She is also a nonresident scholar in the water and climate program at the Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington, DC. She is an Environmental Policy master’s graduate from Sciences Po in Paris, with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tripoli, Libya. Originally from Libya, she works as an independent consultant, blogger, and researcher based in Paris, France, with think tanks and NGOs on policy analysis focusing on the water, food, and climate security nexus in Libya and the greater Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Malak is a World Youth Parliament for Water – Research Group member and the Groundwater Youth Network (GWYN) member. In addition, Malak is a graduate of the North African Policy Initiative’s Young Policy Leaders Program in 2020-2021, during which she researched and wrote a policy paper on local agribusiness development in Tripoli, Libya. In 2020, Malak won second in the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) Marseille’s water heroes contest and participated in the E-Hackathon on Water and Climate Change Entrepreneurship with CMI and CEWAS Middle East.