Environmental Protection for the 21st Century: Putting Equity at the Top of the Agenda Workforce of the Future Symposium

Thursday, June 3, 3-5 pm (ET)



Please join the Center for Environmental Policy at The American University School of Public Affairs for an interactive symposium that will address the workforce needed to achieve fairer and more equitable environmental protection and meet future environmental challenges.  The model characteristics and capabilities of the future environmental workforce will be discussed along with the opportunities for, and challenges of, developing the workforce, including: 




Merlene Mazyck, Volunteers and Service Program Manager, US Department of Agriculture, 

Merlene has served as Program Manager for the USDA Forest Service Volunteers & Service program since 2010. In this role she provides strategic leadership and policy guidance for a national program that engages more than 100,000 volunteers and service members on the 174 national forests and grasslands, and FS units, annually. She has been instrumental in rebranding Forest Service volunteerism efforts, promoting expanded service opportunities for youth and veterans through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Program, and establishing new programs such as the Resource Assistants Program that are making significant contributions to the Forest Service mission and promote workforce development for emerging professionals. Prior to joining the Forest Service, Merlene served as the Director of AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), an AmeriCorps program operated by the Corporation for National & Community Service. In this role, Merlene provided leadership to a $30 million plus federally funded and operated program that engaged young adults in full time team-based residential national service focused on disaster relief and response, environmentalism and housing construction and rehabilitation. As Director of AmeriCorps NCCC, Merlene managed strategic planning and daily operations including financial and human resources for 1,200 full time service members and over 100 full-time staff, consultants, and contractors; policy-making; budget formulation and execution; and outreach, recruitment, selection and placement, and alumni affairs. She has worked in the youth service field most of her professional career serving in various education, workforce development and leadership roles with youth corps and non-profits, and as a training and program monitoring consultant in the private sectors in addition to her government service.  Merlene received a Bachelor of Science from Temple University and earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Kean University in New Jersey.  


Corey Welch, Director of STEM Scholars Program, Iowa State University

Dr. Corey Welch is Director of the STEM Scholars Program at Iowa State University. He arrived in Ames in January 2015 to establish a new Science training program serving underrepresented students. His career goal is to diversify who succeeds in science, thereby benefiting both STEM disciplines and our larger society.

I grew up in a trailer park in Billings, Montana, am a proud member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, and a first generation college graduate whom was inspired to pursue a career in biology after spending a significant part of my childhood bouncing around in my grandfather’s pickup truck on the red-dirt roads of the Northern Cheyenne reservation. I was a naïve, shy college sophomore with no idea what graduate school was or how to get into science. Through mentors and NSF summer research training opportunities and the support of my family, I learned about the pathways to a Biology PhD, including that you got paid!

My academic path through undergraduate and graduate degrees had many bumps along the road, mistakes, luck, some hard work, and a lot of fun. My formal biology training is in ecology and evolution with an emphasis on population biology and genetics of birds and mammals. Previously, I taught biology courses for several years at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS.

Prior to coming to Iowa State, I was the Research Program Coordinator for a large (~500 students) biological sciences program: the Biology Scholars Program at UC Berkeley 2011-2014 where I coordinated a variety of different research training programs funded by HHMI and NIH grants.

Lastly, I have been professionally involved with the National Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native American Scientists (SACNAS). I attended my first conference in 1998 and several years later, I was recruited to the University of Washington through meeting my PhD co-advisor at the SACNAS Conference. In 2012, I participated in the Linton-Poodry and Advanced SACNAS Leadership Institutes (LP-SLI and ALI) and subsequently, developed the framework of what has become the STEM Scholars Program. Since 2016, I have served as a facilitator/lecturer at the LP-SLI hosted by AAAS in Washington DC and am the co-creator/facilitator of the new Postdoc Leadership Institute (2019). SACNAS Leadership Programs. In 2016, I was elected for a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of SACNAS, served as the Secretary for two years, and was re-elected to the Board in 2018.

Rafael DeLeon, Director of Site Remediation and Enforcement, and former Director of Human Resources, EPA

Mr. DeLeon is employed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where he has worked since 1987.  Mr. DeLeon is a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Office of Site Remediation Enforcement (OSRE) within the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA).    As Deputy Director, he manages a national program of remediation and clean up enforcement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), and the Agency’s Underground Storage Tanks Program.  Mr. DeLeon serves as a principal adviser to the Assistant Administrator, OECA, on the conduct of civil and administrative enforcement activities relating to CERCLA, RCRA and OPA.    
Prior to joining OECA, Mr. DeLeon served as the Director of Civil Rights in the Office of the Administrator.  In this capacity, he served as the principal advisor to the Administrator of EPA for the civil rights, equal employment opportunity and affirmative employment programs.  Prior to his appointment as Civil Rights Director, he served as Director of the Office of Cooperative Environmental Management (OCEM).  As the Director of OCEM, he managed a professional staff that was responsible for providing guidance and oversight for EPA’s ~50 federal advisory committees established pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).  Mr. DeLeon has also served as EPA’s Director of Human Resources.   
Prior to being the Director of Human Resources, Mr. DeLeon worked in EPA’s 

Office of General Counsel (OGC) as a staff attorney, Assistant General Counsel and Associate General Counsel.  As Associate General Counsel, he established the Civil Rights Law Office and managed a team of attorneys providing legal guidance and advice to EPA officials on all matters relating to civil rights, equal employment opportunity (EEO), special emphasis programs, and diversity and inclusion.   

Before joining EPA, Mr. DeLeon worked as an EEO Counselor, Investigator and Specialist at the Departments of Labor, Justice and Defense.  He is the recipient of a number of performance, human resources and civil rights awards from all four agencies.   Rafael is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree (BA).  He also graduated from Georgetown University Law School where he received his Juris Doctor (JD) degree.  He has been a lawyer since 1984. 

Stan Meiburg, Director, Master of Arts in Sustainability Program, Wake Forest University, Session Moderator

Dr. Meiburg is the Director of the The Master of Arts in Sustainability Program and associated dual degree and certificate programs at Wake Forest University. He works with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES).

Meiburg served as Acting Deputy Administrator for the EPA from 2014 to 2017, capping a 39-year career with the agency. He is known for leading efforts to protect the nation’s air and water, clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites, build collaborative relationships with state and tribal environmental programs, and promote sound management in EPA.

Meiburg joined the EPA in 1977 in Washington, D.C., and later served as Deputy Regional Director of the EPA’s Atlanta office and as the Deputy Regional Administrator in Dallas, Texas. He was only the second person in the agency’s history to serve as Deputy Regional Administrator in more than one region. From 1985 to 1990, he served with the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards in Research Triangle Park.