Meet fellows Maya Grant and Christian Koch
The Groundwork Center welcomes two new fellows and one returning fellow for our winter/spring term, which runs from January until June. Ann Arbor native Christian Koch and Mesick native Maya Grant join Harbor Springs native Abigail Hackman, who returns for a third term.
In a partnership position between Groundwork and Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), Christian Koch will work directly with Groundwork’s clean energy policy specialist, Dan Worth, as well as MEC’s northern Michigan representative, Kate Madigan. Koch will assist Worth with outreach and community engagement projects that promote clean energy and local production around the Grand Traverse region, and also help manage the Clean Energy Conference in June, particularly securing speakers and panelists. Koch’s work for MEC will focus on building the Michigan Climate Action Network’s 100% Clean Energy Cities Program. After conducting research and working to facilitate multi-sector coalitions across the state, Koch will also develop a report that will focus on the best practices for communities to achieve a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
Prior to joining Groundwork, Koch worked in Lansing, interning at government relations firms, with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and as a legislative fellow at the Michigan House of Representatives, where he specialized in House Energy Policy agendas. Originally from Ann Arbor, Koch is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied Social Relations & Policy, and minored in Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy. With his background in state policy and environmental advocacy, Koch says he was naturally drawn to Groundwork’s progressive and forward thinking clean energy mission that helps to assure that the state of Michigan be resilient during the Green Energy Revolution.
Food equity fellow Maya Grant (who identifies as non-binary, "they/them") will work with food and farming program director Meghan McDermott on food access work with pantries and schools, including supporting Groundwork’s Building Healthy Communities contract. Grant grew up in Mesick and graduated with a class of 37 people from Grand Traverse Academy before studying sociology at Grand Valley State University. Their adventures included studying abroad in India and activism oriented around collective liberation through an organization called United Students Against Sweatshops. Grant worked in Traverse City through Americorps at the SEEDS Farm and the Sarah Hardy Downtown Farmers Market, which inspired their love for healthy, farm fresh foods. The Food Equity Fellowship at Groundwork represented an opportunity for them to connect and hear stories of those in the community and work to create the changes that members wish to see.
Continuing fellow and Harbor Springs native Abigail Hackman will work part-time on the clean energy program with Worth and Madigan to strengthen relationships with municipal governments, local utilities and businesses in Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Charlevoix to move them toward 100-percent clean energy resolutions. In addition, Hackman will work part-time as a new development support fellow in Groundwork’s Petoskey office. She will work directly with development director Amy MacKay to build new donor relationships and create opportunities to meet new donors in the Northern Farms Foodshed.
Fellows work side-by-side with Groundwork staff on projects, build policy expertise, engage in networking opportunities, and gain valuable professional development skills. Fellows are provided an excellent opportunity to engage in policy advocacy while working for a well-established, community-based nonprofit organization. Learn more about our 5-month fellowships here.