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Beyond Pesticides Staff

Jay Feldman, Executive Director

202-543-5450 ext. 15
[email protected]

Jay is a cofounder of the organization and has served as its director since 1981. Jay dedicated himself to finding solutions to pesticide problems after working with farmworkers and small farmers through an EPA grant in 1978 to the national advocacy organization Rural America (1977-1981). Since that time, Jay has helped to build Beyond Pesticides' capacity to assist local groups and impact national pesticide policy. He has tracked specific chemical effects, regulatory actions, and pesticide law. He is very familiar with local groups working on pesticides and has helped develop successful strategies for reform in local communities. His work with media has helped to bring broader public understanding of the hazards of pesticides. Jay has a Masters in urban and regional planning with a focus on health policy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1977), and a B.A. from Grinnell College (1975) in political science. In September 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Jay to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), where he completed a 5 year term in January 2015.

Carla Curle, Science Program Associate

202-543-5450 ex. 14
[email protected]

Carla Curle graduated from the Friedman School at Tufts University in the spring of 2016 with a Master's in Agriculture, Food and Environment. She has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After finishing her undergraduate studies she worked as an AmeriCorps member in Providence, Rhode Island for Save the Bay as an environmental educator. During the summer between her two years of graduate school, she worked for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on issues related to GE crops, agricultural certainty programs, and farm conservation. Throughout her graduate studies, Carla worked on research projects including assessing the effects of climate change on tea production, reviewing the environmental effects of GE crops, and providing recommendations for how to best implement FSMA at the state level. When not thinking about or working on environmental and agricultural issues, Carla loves to hike, bike, cook, and explore coffee shops.

Annie D'Amato, Legal and Policy Associate

202-543-5450 ex. 19
[email protected]

Annie D'Amato graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2009 with majors in Political Science, Legal Studies, and Environmental Studies. She also has a joint J.D., M.P.P degree at the University of Denver, graduating from law school in the spring of 2014 and receiving her Master’s in Public Policy in the spring of 2015. While in law school Annie also received a Certificate of Environmental and Natural Resources Law. In between her undergraduate and graduate program, she spent time volunteering as a teacher in Ghana, working for the State Environmental Leadership Program in Madison, WI, and managing leadership conferences and events in the Washington, DC area. As an undergraduate she was a member of the Women's Varsity Crew Team, and in her free time Annie enjoys a multitude of activities including swimming, biking, running, playing soccer, practicing yoga and sailing on the Potomac.

Nichelle Harriott, Science and Regulatory Director

202-543-5450 ext. 20
[email protected]

Nichelle is the Science and Regulatory Director at Beyond Pesticides. She has earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) in chemistry and environmental science at Morgan State University and her Masters of Science (MS) in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University. She joined Beyond Pesticides in the summer of 2007, having previously worked on several conservation and public health issues. At Beyond Pesticides, Ms. Harriott reviews pesticide substances and their impacts on human and environmental health, as part of a broader effort to provide decision-makers and the general public with information in support of sustainable management of indoor and outdoor environments. She also leads and coordinates the pollinator protection campaign at Beyond Pesticides which has developed several educational materials, policy recommendations, and local legislation and grassroots action.She is responsible for submitting regulatory comments to EPA regarding pesticide registrations and uses, and is the author of several articles and brochures exploring the connection between chemical contaminants and human health. Ms. Harriott works actively on campaigns seeking to protect consumer health via public education, grassroots outreach, and regulatory advocacy in collaboration with other environmental and health organizations. She has also spent time speaking to local schools and communities about public health and environmental related issues.

Jake Palermo, Intern

202-543-5450 ext. 26
[email protected]

Jake is our current intern at Beyond Pesticides.  He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in the summer of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Studies.  During his years at VCU he was a volunteer water monitor for the Reedy Creek Coalition, a volunteer group teamed up with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.  While volunteering at the coalition he gained a wealth of knowledge in water monitoring practices and techniques.  His participation in the group led him to an opportunity with the Henrico county waste water reclamation facility in Richmond VA where he served a brief summer term as a laboratory aide collecting residential water samples for laboratory analysis.  His interest in preserving water quality stemmed from his seven high school and collegiate rowing career, where he had intimate relationships with many rivers along the east coast.  Before joining the team at Beyond Pesticides he was a field technician for an environmental and civil engineering consultancy where he supervised a variety construction projects to ensure contractors adhered to state and local building codes and regulations.   

Jen Ruocco, Executive Assistant

202-543-5450 ext. 11
[email protected]

Jen graduated from Lafayette College in 2014 with a double B.A. in Environmental Issues & Policy and Psychology. Prior to graduating, Jen spent four months studying sustainability in Copenhagen, Denmark. When she returned to the US, she camped and worked on a food forest in California for a month through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program. She then completed a year-long senior project where she designed, built, and planted food into low-budget vertical gardens to demonstrate the feasibility of growing food to low-income families. After graduation, Jen spent five months working at LaFarm, a community garden and working farm that provides organically grown food for Lafayette College’s dining halls. She was brought in as a full time staff member at Beyond Pesticides for the Executive Assistant position after first arriving as an intern in March 2015. In her free time, Jen enjoys perusing D.C. farmers markets, hiking, gardening, and is an avid craft beer enthusiast.

Drew Toher, Public Education Associate

202-543-5450 ext. 18
[email protected]

Drew was brought in as a full time staff member for the public education associate position after first arriving as an intern. Previous work at a certified organic heirloom tomato farm and Mid-Atlantic region farm club cultivated Drew’s determination to spread the word about the benefits of organic production, and the hazards of pesticide use. Drew graduated with a B.A. in Global Affairs, concentration in the Environment, from George Mason University, where he is currently pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Management.

Amila Weerasingha, Administrative and Public Education Assistant

202-543-5450 ext. 28
[email protected]

Amila Weerasingha is currently working at Beyond Pesticides as the Public Education Assistant. She is passionate about pesticide reform and is eager to help the public with their questions.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Arcadia University in 2012. Before joining Beyond Pesticides, she completed an administrative internship at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a non-profit that provides services to people with cancer.  Amila is a Capitol Hill resident and enjoys dog walking, biking and spending time with family and friends.