About Us

Our Staff and Volunteers

Staff
Joelle Novey, Director
Karen Leu, Program Coordinator
Rachel Brustein, Maryland Organizer
Catherine Goggins, DC Metro Organizer
Robin Lewis, Green the Church Outreach Associate
Laura File Long, Program Associate


Joelle Novey, Director
Joelle comes to IPL-DMV from one of our own congregations, Tikkun Leil Shabbat, an independent Jewish community in Washington DC which hosts speakers from social and environmental justice organizations, and regularly holds potlucks for over 150 people without the use of disposable tableware. Joelle grew up in Baltimore and attended Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

She is the co-author of Green and Just Celebrations, a purchasing guide that Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) distributes to local congregations for assisting families in making greener purchasing decisions around weddings and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations.

Most recently, Joelle worked at Green America, where she screened applicants to the Green Business Network and wrote dozens of articles about greener living for the organization’s newsletter and magazine.

Joelle brings a variety of interfaith experience to the religious diversity of IPL’s network. For more than a year, she counseled hospital patients of all backgrounds and led interfaith worship services through a chaplain training program at Washington Hospital Center.

Joelle is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University where she received a BA in Social Studies, and completed the coursework for a minor in the Study of Religion.


Karen Leu, Program Coordinator
Inspired by many of Jesus’ radical teachings on love, money, and the life worth pursuing, Karen has actively worked for peace and justice since high school. During a study abroad in South Africa, she stayed in a heavily polluted town where asthma and cancer were prevalent, and it was there she learned how intimately the well-being of humans is intertwined with the well-being of their environment. Since then, she has been committed to working for a stable climate that does not threaten the world’s ecosystems and the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Karen graduated from Rice University in 2008 with a degree in civil engineering. She has served with the Clinton Climate Initiative, working as a home energy auditor on the HEAL Arkansas program bringing energy efficiency services to low-income Arkansans. She also worked at D&R International, providing technical assistance to DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program and other energy efficiency projects.

Since college, she has been especially interested in Christian and Buddhist contemplative traditions, inspired by the writings of Thomas Merton. A huge believer in the benefits of mindfulness, she meditates regularly with the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Group.

Rachel Brustein, Maryland Organizer
Headshot of Rachel BrusteinRachel graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore with a B.A. in Sociology this past May and is excited to be back in the mid-Atlantic working with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. She is originally from Chicago and loves deep dish pizza and the Obamas. Rachel spent the past two summers working at Eden Village Camp, a Jewish farming camp in Putnam Valley, NY, which sparked an interest in the intersection of religion and the environment. She is eager to learn more about environmental causes impacting Maryland and to work with IPL this year.

 
 
 
 
 

Catherine Goggins, DC Metro Organizer
Catherine squash medSeeking to link her commitment to caring for people and “our common home,” Catherine joins IPL through The Festival Center’s Discipleship Year program. She grew up in Virginia, along the James River, and graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015. While studying agriculture and economics, she had the privilege of working with the Alderson Community Food Hub as well as the Alderson Hospitality House, which supports the families of women incarcerated in the nearby prison.

Catherine’s time in Alderson has encouraged her to draw connections between the issues of poverty, incarceration, and environmental justice. She comes most recently from Córdoba, Argentina where she accompanied students and local communities, many of which face grave environmental injustices, through a Jesuit study abroad program. Motivated and sustained by both her Catholic faith and her love of nature, Catherine is excited to partner with IPL and learn from our many partners.

Robin Lewis, Green the Church Outreach Associate

Robin LewisAs the Outreach and Social Justice Coordinator at Beloved Community Church in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Robin Lewis believes that she has been called as a Christian to be a voice for environmental justice in her community. After working in business for a long time, she found that her satisfaction was gained by helping to educate others, in particular people of color and other marginalized communities, become more aware of environmental issues that are impacting their quality of life. As a result, she shifted her career focus to community engagement and organizing with various local grassroots and faith-based organizations to help to promote collaboration on environmental justice issues.

Robin previously worked as a certified project manager for non-profits and businesses for many years, recently leading a large community engagement project about energy sourcing and usage in Madison, WI. She also worked as a community education and awareness advocate for energy conservation and promoted environmental legislation to clean-up the Renewable Portfolio Standards in Maryland. In addition to obtaining her BA in Economics and MBA from Rutgers University, Robin has a Masters in Sustainable Urban Planning with a concentration in Climate Change from The George Washington University. Robin’s research has focused on the socio-economic aspects of sustainability in urban revitalization, such as issues relating to displacement, gentrification, and affordable housing.

Robin feels blessed that she is able to bring her experience and passion to the IPL team and hopes to learn more about other faith traditions in the spirit of cooperation and harmony.

Laura File Long, Program Associate
Laura Long headshot
Laura grew up in southern West Virginia where coal was king — except, of course, in the small towns that had been decimated and abandoned after the mines dried up. However, it was not until her time at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she majored in History and Religious Studies, that she became invested in educating herself and others about social justice and environmental issues. Inspired by her Christian faith and the charge in Micah 6:8 to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God, Laura worked through WVWC’s Center for Community Engagement to create opportunities for awareness, education, and action.

Laura is committed to a future in faith-based social justice work. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from and be a part of the IPL team. Laura and her husband, Dustin, recently started attending Silver Spring United Methodist Church.

 
 

Julliane Osias, Summer Intern

Julliane is an Accounting major student from the University of Guam. Her passion for protecting God’s creation and interests with environmental injustices led her to be a part of IPL. Through the General Board of Church and Society Ethnic Young Adult Internship, she was given the opportunity to learn and help educate people about the issues especially pertaining to climate change. She grew up in the Philippines where environmental justice has been a challenge over the past years, she had experienced and witnessed the negative factors that are human-caused such as pollution, flooding, deforestation, and waste management.

She currently attends Guam United Methodist Church, where her father is a pastor. She is driven to make a difference and bring home the knowledge she gains at IPL to her church and throughout the whole community.

 
 

350 Dove, Environmental Peace Organizer

350 Dove has a lot of experience in working for peace throughout the scriptures of many faiths, but is perhaps most famous for the role he played in the Abrahamic traditions’ stories of Noah and the flood.

Why 350? 350 parts per million (ppm) is what many scientists, climate experts, and national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Accelerating arctic warming and other early climate impacts have led scientists to conclude that we are already above the safe zone at our current 400 ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.

“Today, we are called to be Noah,” says 350 Dove, “but only after we also recognize that this time, we are the cause of the flood. As the sky broke over Noah’s head, the sky is breaking in ours; but this time, it’s us.” Look for 350 Dove to find the Interfaith Power & Light folks at our next rally!

Thank you, Interns and Volunteers!

Our work is made possible through the assistance of interns and other volunteers. Please contact us if you’d like to explore lending a hand to our work. Recent interns and volunteers for IPL include:

Elana Orbuch, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
Isabel Zeitz-Moskin, Lutheran Volunteer Corps
Clara Summers, Episcopal Service Corps
Elizabeth Stevens, Lutheran Volunteer Corps & Discipleship Year
Maria Langholz, Discipleship Year
Josef Lorentz, Lutheran Volunteer Corps & Discipleship Year

Summer 2016
Sanha Ryoo, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church

Summer 2015
Gabby Resnick, Wesleyan University
Abi Rome, Volunteer for Energy Programs

Summer 2013
Mike Fekula, Wesley Theological Seminary
Shahar Colt, Solar Congregations Organizer

Summer 2012
Kanza Khan, Muslim Public Service Network Fellow
Shahar Colt, Solar Congregations Organizer

Spring 2012
Meredith Hollingsworth, American University

Summer 2011
Sara Emmerich, Beatitudes Fellow
Arif Karim, Muslim Public Service Network Fellow

Spring 2011
Lukas Troetzer, American University
Jane Rutherford, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill

Summer 2010
Hannah Donner, University of Rochester/Machon Kaplan
Robert Long, Harvard University
Avichai Ozur Bass, Charles E. Smith JDS/Har Shalom

Spring 2010
Matthew Young, St. Lawrence University
Avery O’Brian, School Without Walls/Fabrangen West

Summer 2009
Kelly Hardin, River Road Unitarian Universalist Church

Summer 2008
Tamara L. Slater, University of Rochester

Summer 2007
Aviva Birnkrant, Washington University in St. Louis/Congregation Beth El
Gina Gonzalez, Northwestern