Staff

Communications Director
Sarah Graddy

Sarah has more than 15 years of experience as a science communicator telling compelling stories about natural resources and environmental issues. At EWG, she leads media relations and strategy on water, agriculture and natural resources.

Like many other native Floridians, her passion for the natural world – especially anything water related – was inspired by a childhood spent traipsing through the swamp in her backyard, swimming in natural springs and surviving countless interactions with alligators and poisonous snakes. 

As evident from her B.A. in English with a concentration in film studies from the University of Florida and M.A. in public art studies from the University of Southern California, Sarah loves art, film and pretty much all things artsy fartsy. 

She also spends a lot of time cooking, reading, going to storytelling events (and occasionally performing), eating butter, obsessing about scuba diving and drag queens (but not at the same time), biking around D.C. and collecting music.

Email: sarah <at> ewg <dot> org

Direct phone: (202) 939-9141

Policy Analyst
Jared Hayes

Originally from Western Massachusetts, Jared received a B.A. in International Affairs from Manhattan College, with a minor in Government. After graduating, Jared volunteered with various Massachusetts-based veterans’ charities as a fundraising event organizer. Prior to joining the EWG team, he interned on Capitol Hill for Rep. Jim McGovern. During his free time, Jared is usually found cooking, exploring the city, bartending and camping when possible. 

Administrative Assistant
Lian Joerss

Lian is originally from Westchester, N.Y., and has lived in Washington, D.C., for the past few years. She graduated from American University, in 2018, with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in public health. Before joining EWG, she interned at the Bridge, an organization that provides mental health and substance abuse treatment for New Yorkers. Lian’s passion for public health aligns with EWG’s mission, and she looks forward to seeing how these goals evolve. Outside of work, Lian enjoys spending time outdoors, attending concerts and attempting to cook delicious pasta recipes.

Digital Production Associate
Eric Jonas

Eric has spent his career working in and for the nonprofit and education sectors. His educational and professional interests have centered on protecting the vulnerable against abuses of power. Before joining EWG, Eric worked as a digital communications consultant for a number of human service and environmental nonprofit organizations. At EWG, he helps build and track the performance of the organization’s digital fundraising, outreach and advocacy communications, especially emails. Eric enjoys keeping on top of digital trends and finding innovative ways to keep people informed of EWG’s work. He also enjoys deepening his knowledge of front-end web development, coding languages and language frameworks. Eric holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Northwestern University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, meditation and spending quality time with his spouse and two cats.

General Counsel
Caroline Leary

Caroline oversees EWG’s legal matters on a range of topics relating to contracts, employment, intellectual property and nonprofit tax. Prior to joining EWG, Caroline was a senior associate at a Washington, D.C., law firm where she sued government agencies for arbitrary, capricious and unlawful actions, and represented businesses and nonprofit organizations in corporate governance and contract matters. A South Carolina native, Caroline received her B.A. from the University of South Carolina and J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Daniel F. Pieper at the South Carolina Court of Appeals. In her free time, Caroline enjoys running, listening to podcasts and Gamecock football.  

VP, Healthy Living Science
Nneka Leiba

Nneka joined the science team at the Environmental Working Group in 2006. She currently leads EWG's Healthy Living Science team to translate complicated scientific topics, particularly ones dealing with the effects of everyday chemical exposures on our health, into easily accessible tips and advice.

Over the years, she has become an expert in a wide range of issues, including the safety of ingredients in cosmetics and other consumer products, and drinking water quality.

Nneka has appeared on CNN and CBS Evening News, as well as other national and local television stations, talking about consumer exposures to toxic chemicals. She has been quoted in a wide range of publications including Time Magazine, Yahoo News and The Huffington Post. In 2009 she was named a “Green Game Changer” by O Magazine for her unique research at EWG.

She earned graduate degrees in zoology and public health from the University of the West Indies and Johns Hopkins University, respectively. 

 

Senior Advocate, California Government Affairs
Susan Little

Susan began her career organizing grassroots campaigns concerning the wars in Central America, and later became a district aide for a California state senator and several members of Congress. As a district aide, she managed legislators’ local projects and efforts to expand public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

After working locally, Susan moved to Sacramento to serve as a legislative consultant for Assembly Member Fran Pavley, and worked to enact environmental and toxics-related proposals, such as a ban on lead in jewelry, and mercury in thermostats and vaccines. Susan then joined the Speaker of the Assembly’s team and eventually became the Director of the Speaker’s Office of Research and Floor Analysis, a unit that publishes analyses of all legislation considered by the State Assembly.

Susan has a master’s degree in public administration, and studied international development at the University of Uppsala, in Sweden. She loves to camp, and lives with her teenage daughter, one dog and two cats – and she remotely supervises her son’s college education.

Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Helen Lucey

Helen Lucey graduated from Hamilton College in 2013 with a concentration in government and minor in German studies. A Wisconsin native, Helen grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and developed a passion for kayaking, camping and hiking. Her love of the outdoors led her to work at EWG. Outside of work she enjoys brewing her own beer, cheering on the Packers and travelling. 

Senior VP, Partnerships and Development
Jocelyn Lyle

Jocelyn started her non-profit work with an environmental law firm in Montgomery, Ala., where she focused on environmental justice organizing. Jocelyn manages all of EWG's fundraising efforts – including foundation management, organizing keystone events for the organization and directing the growing online and major gift programs. She graduated from Allegheny College with a dual degree in political science and communication arts. Jocelyn hails from Pittsburgh and can often be seen sporting black and gold. 

VP, Finance and Chief Operating Officer
Scott Mallan

Scott moved over to the non-profit sector 15 years ago. After several years working in outsourced accounting for state governments, he switched over to accounting for the food service industry before making the move to non-profits. He earned his degree in business management from the University of South Carolina-Columbia

Development Manager of External Engagement
Aya Matsumoto

Aya graduated in 2012 from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied Middle Eastern Politics and Comparative Religions and was captain of the college equestrian team. She started at EWG in 2013 as an intern and joined the Development team full-time in 2014. Aya hails from southern California, where smog and annual forest fires taught her very early to pay attention to the environment. When not at work, she can generally be found wandering in Rock Creek Park and petting animals.

Development Administrative Assistant
Sean McCormack

Sean is from Albany, New York, and attended George Washington University, where he majored in environmental studies. Before joining EWG, he spent two years working at Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle – a grocery store committed to providing sustainably sourced goods. Joining EWG aligned with Sean’s goal of joining the fight to protect both the environment and public health. Outside of work, Sean enjoys traveling, exploring D.C., and an occasional trivia night.

Nutritionist
Aurora Meadows

Dawn has witnessed first-hand how our current food system affects people's lives, and she is committed to shaping policies for a more sustainable and healthful future, informed by research. She came to EWG from a community health center in Boston, where she proudly served as an Albert Schweitzer fellow. Previously she interned at the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion during the formulation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, helped prepare and promote healthy school meals at D.C. Central Kitchen and worked on both clinical and epidemiological cancer studies in California. She holds an M.S. in nutrition communication from Tufts University and a B.S. in nutritional sciences and toxicology from UC Berkeley. After hours, Dawn can be found chasing after her son or teaching nutrition or kids "cooking" classes.  

Communications Associate
Iris Myers

Hailing from Minnesota, Iris is a Wagner College graduate with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Biology. Her interests in political science and environmental issues made EWG a perfect fit. In her free time she enjoys traveling, singing, playing her trumpet, and petting any dog she comes into contact with.

VP, Science Investigations
Olga Naidenko Ph.D.

After graduating as a valedictorian from Colgate University in 1995, Olga started her Ph.D. training at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her doctoral studies focused on the molecular basis of immune defense against infectious disease and cancer. During her graduate and postdoctoral research, Olga co-authored and published over two dozen peer-reviewed papers. From 2007 to 2012, Olga served as a senior scientist at EWG, working to advance public policies to reduce Americans’ exposures to toxic chemicals. At EWG, Olga conducted groundbreaking studies and testified at federal and California legislative hearings about EWG’s research on electromagnetic radiation and children’s health. From 2014 to 2016, Olga held a prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science policy fellowship. As a AAAS Science & Technology Policy fellow, Olga worked at the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, focusing on climate change and water quality standards. In 2016, Olga returned to EWG as a Senior Science Advisor, spearheading EWG’s research efforts on children’s environmental health under the Jonas Initiative. 

Legislative Director
Colin O’Neil

As EWG’s Legislative Director, Colin focuses on a wide array of matters related to food and farm policy. He regularly meets with members of Congress and their staffs on agricultural policy issues including crop insurance, farm subsidies, conservation programs, food labeling, organic and sustainable farming and biofuels. Prior to joining EWG, Colin served as Director of Government Affairs at the Center for Food Safety. He has appeared or been quoted in a variety of media outlets, including NBC’s Meet the Press, Politico, the Today show, Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, Reuters and Fox News. Colin graduated magna cum laude from Beloit College in Wisconsin and is an avid outdoorsman.

Art Director
Katie Peacor

Katie was born in San Diego and moved to Washington D.C. when she was five years old. Missing California, when the time came to apply to college she decided to return to the west coast, or as close to it as she could. She attended New Mexico State University, where she played golf and studied marketing. She returned to Washington to attend the Art Institute and got a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. After graduation she worked at Fathom Creative before taking her position at EWG, where she loves hearing her colleagues ask, “Can you make this pretty?” Katie enjoys travelling, playing softball and golf with her friends and going to as many concerts as possible.

Web Developer
Alex Perkins

A D.C. native, Alex received a BFA in Film from the University of Colorado. After graduating, he worked on HBO’s “The Wire” in Baltimore, Md. Realizing that there was not much film work in this part of the country, he transitioned to a career in IT. Before joining EWG, he decided to narrow his focus to web development, completing an immersive front-end engineering program at The Iron Yard’s D.C. campus. When not working, he is probably watching or reading about old movies, or wishing he was on a boat somewhere.

Director of Consumer Database Architecture
Sean Perrone-Gray

Sean compiles and analyzes the underlying data for many of EWG’s consumer guides, including Food Scores, Skin Deep®, the sunscreen guide and the Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Before joining EWG, he studied climate dynamics at Yale and the University of Maryland. He graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in mathematics. He currently resides in Clinton, Conn., and serves in volunteer roles for his church and local Cub Pack. His five children, backyard chickens and dog motivate Sean’s work for EWG toward a healthier, safer future.

Editor
Ketura Persellin

Ketura learned her editing skills at the now-defunct Boston Phoenix, one of the first and most respected alternative weekly newspapers. She joined EWG in 2018 after a career that has included editing, writing and teaching. Originally from Texas, she’s lived in several large cities around the country but has called the District home for many years. She has an undergraduate degree in Semiotics and a doctorate in English literature.

Senior GIS Analyst
Sarah Porter

Sarah has long held an interest in the impact modern agriculture has on the environment and human health, making this the focus of her studies while obtaining a master’s degree in geography from the University of Iowa. Sarah joined EWG in 2018 after six years with the USDA performing agricultural research and developing precision conservation planning tools. She has brought this experience to EWG, along with her skills in GIS and geography, and is motivated to continue her work to inform and advocate for a more sustainable food system. In her off time, Sarah enjoys kayaking, camping and hiking and is a certified scuba diver, always looking for a chance to travel to the tropics. She enjoys experiencing new cultures, cooking, music and hanging out with her family and cat. She’s excited to be in Minnesota along the Mississippi River, the same river that flows through her hometown a few hundred miles to the south.

Associate Database Analyst
Kali Rauhe

Kali graduated in 2017 from George Mason University with a B.S. in environmental science and policy, with a concentration in ecological science. During her undergraduate career she worked as a research assistant for the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, studying the overall ecological quality of the Potomac River. Prior to joining the EWG team, Kali worked as a naturalist for the city of Alexandria, Va., where she led environmental education programs for the community. Kali grew up in southern New Jersey on a small farm where she spent numerous hours outdoors learning about the environment and developing a lifelong passion to preserve it. Kali enjoys cooking different vegetarian cuisines, traveling, and hiking. These passions led her to complete the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain, hiking over 500 miles.

Development Manager of Events and Partnerships
Hanna Rhodes

A native Marylander, Hanna graduated in 2013 from McDaniel College with a B.A. in sociology as well as minors in environmental studies and urban and community studies. Prior to joining EWG she worked at a café and as a major gifts intern at UNICEF. Her interest in sustainable and green living led her on a month-long trip to New Mexico, where she worked building sustainable housing as an intern at Earthship Biotecture. Hanna loves spending time with her family by the Chesapeake Bay and exploring unique spots in Washington D.C. with her friends. She also enjoys cooking, always with a touch of Old Bay – she stays true to her Maryland roots!  

Director of Spatial Analysis
Soren Rundquist

Soren grew up in northwest Iowa. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he worked various positions with U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. National Park Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He began using geographic information system technology in the National Park Service and did graduate work in this field at Penn State University. He later became a project analyst in the Finance and Markets Division of Thomson Reuters, using GIS data to assess risks in the agriculture and forestry sector. At EWG, Soren uses GIS and remote sensing data better to understand how agricultural landscapes interact with environmental issues throughout the Midwest. Soren enjoys watching college football and spending time with his family.

Senior Analyst, Economics
Anne Schechinger

Born outside Ann Arbor, Mich., Anne earned a B.A. in economics at Kalamazoo College while conducting research on the economics of natural resource valuation. While pursuing her Master of Science in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, she studied the commercial feasibility of growing environmentally sustainable crops. At EWG, she explores agriculture’s impact on the environment and how we can change government policies to reduce agriculture pollution. After recently moving from Iowa to Minnesota with EWG, Anne likes to hike in the Twin Cities’ regional parks and kayak Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. As a fervent animal lover, she enjoys exploring nearby dog parks with her Vizsla.

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