Meet our Staff


Brian G. Henning, Ph.D.

Brian Henning
Dr. Henning (he/him/his) is Professor of Philosophy and of Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University and is the inaugural director and founder of the Gonzaga Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Dr. Henning joined Gonzaga’s faculty in 2008. He earned a B.A. from Seattle University and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Fordham University. An award-winning author, Dr. Henning has written or edited more than 13 books and 35 articles and chapters, including Riders in the Storm: Ethics in an Age of Climate Change (Anselm 2015), Climate Change Ethics and the Non-human World (Routledge 2020), and Value, Beauty, and Nature (SUNY 2023). He has delivered more than 180 talks to general and academic audiences in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Professor Henning can be reached at For more on his work, visit

Climate Literacy Program Manager

Karli Honebein

Karli Honebein
Karli (she/her/hers) is originally from Reno, Nevada and has lived in Spokane since 2014. She is a Gonzaga University alumna with a BA in Environmental Studies and Biology. Karli has hands-on experience teaching environmental education in the classroom and volunteers regularly in the environmental community. After a brief detour into the corporate world, she is returning to her passion for climate and environmental education. In her free time, Karli likes to go backpacking, skiing, and biking with her husband and their dog, Rosie.

Karli can be reached at

Climate Resilience Program Manager

Dante Jester

Dante Jester profile photo
Dante (they/them/theirs) was born and raised in an apple orchard in Orondo, WA and moved to Spokane in 2015 to attend Whitworth University, where they received degrees in Peace Studies and Environmental Studies. After graduating, Dante spent over two years working in agricultural development in Paraguay. Since returning to the US in 2019, Dante has worn many hats in the Spokane community, including manager of a local farm, climate justice researcher for the City, and tree worker at Finch Arboretum. Dante received their MS in Climate Change and Development from the University of London in fall of 2023.

Dante can be reached at

Program Assistant

Katelyn Carroll

Katelyn Carroll headshot
Katelyn (she/her/hers) is originally from Astoria, Oregon. After fifteen years on the westside, she and her husband returned to Spokane in 2021 to raise their daughter Remy. She graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in English Literature and Lake Washington Institute of Tech, where she studied HR Management. Katelyn has spent the past ten years working in Microsoft's University Recruiting organization. After enjoying a career in connecting graduates and interns to their first roles in the workforce, Katelyn is very excited to join Gonzaga and have an opportunity to build her passion around climate and environmental work. In her free time, she enjoys taking her daughter to new libraries and walking her dogs, Li'l Abner and Thom Yorkie.

Katelyn can be reached at

Instructor, Climate Action Planning Certificate

Kara Odegard

Kara Odegard is an instructor of the Certificate in Climate Action Planning at Gonzaga University.
Kara (she/her/hers) is the instructor for Gonzaga’s professional certificate in Climate Action Planning. Born and raised in Spokane, Kara is considered a boomeranger who returned home after spending time living in Seattle and Singapore. Kara has a Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability from the University of Vermont and a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Washington. She is a practiced communicator and community leader with over 25 years of experience working with multinational, national and local organizations across multiple industries and sectors. Kara spent four years using a collaborative leadership model to guide climate action planning for the City of Spokane. Spokane’s plan and the process they developed now serves as a template for other municipalities developing their own climate action plans.

Kara can be reached at

Climate Literacy Outreach Specialist (AmeriCorps)

Kali Natarajan

Kali Natarajan
Kali (she/her/hers) recently graduated from Whitman College with a BA in Economics-Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology. She is serving through AmeriCorps at Gonzaga’s Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment. Kali grew up in Liberty Lake, Washington and is excited to be able to work in the environmental sphere in her hometown area. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, waterskiing, and gardening.

Kali can be reached at

Climate Resilience Associate (CivicSpark Fellow)

Ruby Nelson

Ruby Nelson with flowers and greenery in the background
Ruby (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in History and Political Science. Ruby was born and raised within Seattle, in what was once a small fishing town but is now the neighborhood of Ballard. After working in the sustainable fashion industry for four years, she joins the Climate Institute as a CivicSpark Fellow with AmeriCorps. In her spare time, you will find Ruby thrifting, gardening, and enjoying the city's parks.

Ruby can be reached at

Event and Communications Assistant

Sidney Ashby

Syndey Ashby
Sidney (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Environmental and Political Science with a minor in Film Studies here at Gonzaga. She grew up around the base of the White Tank Mountains in Arizona, where she quickly found her passion for the environment! In her free time, she loves hiking, reading, or watching a good movie. 

Climate Project Assistants

CJ Kreitlow

CJ Kreitlow
CJ (she/her/hers) is a rising senior at Gonzaga majoring in Environmental Studies with minors in History and Spanish. She is from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and loves reading, cooking, thrifting, and spending time outdoors. She is passionate about the environment and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Her previous experience includes working at Dishman Hills Conservancy, and she is excited to continue her environmental work in the Spokane community with the Climate Resilience Project.   

Kimberly Lenz

Kimberly Lenz is a Climate Project Assistant
Kimberly (she/her/hers) is a Spokane native and has lived there most of her life except for five years in Bellingham. After moving back home in 2014, she has primarily worked in the healthcare field and, most recently, with Avista on their Transportation Electrification team.  As a student at Gonzaga, she is pursuing a BA in Computer Science and Computational Thinking, with an emphasis in both Sata Science and English Literature.  Having personally dealt with the effects of Spokane heat dome and wildfire seasons, she is excited to join the Climate Resiliency Project to help improve the lives of those in her community and positively contribute to her hometown.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, walking around Manito Park, gardening, baking, and volunteering in animal rescue. 

Ellen Lewis

Ellen Lewis is a Climate Project Assistant.
Ellen (she/her/hers) is a rising senior at Gonzaga majoring in Sociology and Environmental Studies. She is from Seattle, Washington, where her love for the outdoors and urban nature began, and often visited Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho throughout childhood. Her interests include the social and community impacts of climate change and how Spokane can build its communal resilience. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and playing the piano.  

Climate Literacy Fellows

Learn more about the Climate Literacy Fellows program. 

John Bergin

John Bergin
John (he/him/his) is a junior at Gonzaga majoring in Environmental Studies with minors in Sociology and Philosophy. He is originally from Reno, Nevada, and loves music, climbing, cooking, and new places and experiences. John’s passion for environmental and climate studies began with his time in the outdoors near Reno, but he is excited to become more involved in the Spokane community through the Fellows program. 

Henry Cowles

Henry Cowles
Henry (he/him/his) is a junior at Gonzaga, studying biology and education with hopes to become a school principal someday just like his mother was! He is from Rocklin, California (near Sacramento), and likes to spend his time watching and playing sports, drawing, and playing video games. He is very passionate about teaching and climate change and has experience in the classroom co-teaching middle school life science and coaching basketball!

Holly Fijolek

Holly Fijolek
Holly (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Environmental Science. She is from Linden, Michigan and likes to spend her time hiking, picnicking, and playing with her dogs. Holly is passionate about studying the effects of climate change on both human and ecological communities. 

Jordan Kremer

Jordan Kremer
Jordan (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Environmental Science with a minor in History. She is originally from Encinitas, California and spends any free time at the beach, curled up with a book, or baking.

Georgia LaPlante

Georgia LaPlante
Georgia (she/her/hers) is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Leadership Studies. She is from Fort Collins, Colorado, and enjoys skiing, camping, concert-going, and exploring new places. She's enthusiastic about environmental protection, wants to take her passion to the next level in the future, and is dedicated to making a difference.   



Affiliated Faculty

John Traynor, Ph.D.

Dr. John Traynor
Dr. John Traynor (he/him/his) is Associate Professor at Gonzaga University in the Department of Teacher Education where he specializes in the Foundations of Education, Teaching in the Middle School, and Community and Place-Based Education. John received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Political Science, went on to receive his Masters in Teaching in Secondary Social Studies from Seattle University, and finally received his PhD in Culture Studies and Social Thought in Education from Washington State University. Prior to coming to Gonzaga, John taught for nine years as a high school social studies teacher. John's current work involves partnership efforts with local K-12 schools throughout the region. John is an avid outdoorsman with passions for skiing, biking and fly fishing.

John is a key contributor to the Institute's Climate Literacy Project

Jonas Cox, Ph.D.

Dr. Jonas Cox
Dr. Jonas Cox (he/him/his) Is a faculty member in the School of Education. He teaches Learning Theory and Epistemology to elementary and secondary teacher candidates. He has been active in environmental education in the state of Washington for years, serving on various boards and he is certified as a trainer in various national environmental education curriculum models.

Jonas is a key contributor to the Institute's Climate Literacy Project

Marc Baumgardner, Ph.D.

Marc Baumgardner
Dr. Baumgardner (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he joined the faculty in the fall of 2015. He received dual B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of West Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively in 2005. After his undergraduate studies he worked for UOP, a Honeywell Company (a petrochemical technology firm) as a Process Specialist and Technical Expert in Gasoline Refining Technology. In 2014 he received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University specializing in the thermal sciences with a focus on renewable fuels and advanced internal combustion engines. He teaches courses in Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Heat Transfer. Current research interests include fundamental combustion studies, internal combustion engines, advanced engine strategies, chemical kinetics, fuel reactivity metrics, alternative/renewable fuels, biofuels, CFD and modeling of combustion systems, and biomass cookstoves.

Marc is a key contributor to the Institute's Climate Resilience Project 

Aaron Crandall, Ph.D.

Portrait of Aaron Crandall
Dr. Crandall (he/him/his) was previously a clinical associate professor and research professor at Washington State University. His primary research focuses on technologies to support healthy aging in place for our community’s older adults. Dr. Crandall’s academic efforts include researching artificial intelligence to model behavior of people in smart environments as well as addressing user needs with senior care focused technologies. His other research projects include evaluating board game complexity and developing novel CPU management algorithms. Dr. Crandall's undergraduate work has included founding Cougs in Space for developing a NASA-backed cubesat project, Palouse and Gonzaga Robosub clubs working on autonomous underwater vehicles, and rocketry projects building sensors and control systems. He is active in student activities such as hackathons, coding competitions, and senior design projects.

Aaron is a key contributor to the Institute's Climate Resilience Project 

Internal Advisory Board

The Institute's Internal Advisory Board provides support and advice to the Director in advancing the Institute's mission and ensuring the Institute's alignment with the University mission and strategic priorities.