Julie Hodgin, Sam Leist, and Katie Billing are all graduates of PBI's Climate Alliance.

©  Julie Hodgin, Sam Leist, Katie Billing

9/23/2015 8:19:23 PM

Climate Alliance – Where are they now? {Julie Hodgin, Sam Leist, Katie Billing}

As part of our 10-year anniversary celebration of Polar Bear International's Climate Alliance, we will be highlighting a few of our 248 graduates throughout the fall. Check back every week to see what our grads are doing to take action on climate.

Julie Hodgin, Sam Leist, and Katie Billing were part of our Teen Leadership Camps, a predecessor to Climate Alliance.

As part of the Millennial Generation, Julie, Sam, and Katie grew up with climate change as part of their reality. Along with personal computers, cell phones, and social media being a ubiquitous part of their lives, they don't know a time without global warming.

Teen Leadership Camp gave these young people the opportunity to learn about climate change, but more importantly, how they could make a difference. Their experiences at Leadership Camp impacted both their paths in college and their professional paths. In fact, the educational opportunities and professional development they gained from PBI aided them in college applications and job interviews.

Julie Hodgin

Julie attended Teen Leadership Camp in Churchill in 2011 and was a Project Polar Bear Semi-finalist in 2010. She is currently studying at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was an intern at both the North Carolina Zoo and the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Julie grew up and lives in the southeastern United States. One of the challenges PBI helped her face is understanding and communicating with people who don't see climate change as a problem. Read more about Julie.

Sam Leist

Sam traveled to Churchill with PBI in 2008 the Teen Leadership Camp from the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky, and returned in 2010 when his team tied for first place in Project Polar Bear. He studied at DePauw University from 2010­-2014, where he earned a BA in Political Science and was a member of the Environmental Fellows honors program. In 2014, he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship and spent a year teaching English at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey. He is currently a student at Notre Dame Law School and will graduate in 2018.

"PBI absolutely influenced the path that I took, and it did so in two major ways. First, it inspired me to become involved with numerous environmental efforts; many of my past and current extracurricular and professional activities are based on interests developed during my time with PBI." Read more about Sam.

Katie Billing

Katie was part of the 2008 Leadership Camp from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently the sustainability evangelist and program coordinator for Purposeful Networks (previously myActions) where she works on the InnerView Internship Program for college students to highlight their volunteerism and civic engagement experience, helping them show the best side of what they do.

"PBI influenced my path to get here because when I was in high school and college I volunteered at the (Brookfield) Zoo and for PBI, to bring forward my passion for conservation and call people to action on behalf of polar bears. What I do now is help other students have a platform to share their voice for causes that they care about. I was fortunate to work with PBI and explore.org to blog about issues up north and served as a leader on my campus to generate change. Read more about Katie. 

PBI is immensely grateful to our platinum sponsor, Frontiers North Adventures for the complimentary use of its mobile Tundra Buggies®; to Canada Goose for warm parkas provided to participants during their week at camp; to Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg Airport Hotel for lodging; and to Calm Air for discounted flights. We also wish to thank our education partners, Manitoba Conservation and Parks Canada.


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