kesha ram hinsdale

vermont state senator
VERMONT LAW & graduate SCHOOL adjunct faculty 


KESHA RAM HINSDALE is a Vermont State Senator and led the state in the historic adoption of its first environmental justice legislation in 2022.
Kesha first introduced similar legislation in 2007 as a graduating senior at the University of Vermont (BS, Natural Resource Planning; BA, Political Science), and the experience spurred her to run for and win a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives in 2008. She served in the House from 2009 to 2016, including serving as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. In 2020, she became the first woman of color to serve in the Vermont State Senate.

Kesha now serves as Chair of the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee, where her main focus is tackling the housing crisis and closing the racial and economic homeownership gap. Her efforts for over a decade to help shape environmental justice policy in a rural context earned her the 2022 EPA Region 1 Environmental Merit Award for Government Service.

Kesha has served on the boards of the Center for Whole Communities, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. She lives in Shelburne, Vermont with her husband, Jacob Hinsdale, who grew up on a nearby dairy farm, and their dog, Miso. They are expecting their first child in May of 2023.

Kesha’s Personal Website Kesha’s VT Senate Website

Dr. michael shank

adjunct faculty, nyu & gmu

Dr. Michael Shank is the Director of Engagement at the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, an affiliate of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a group of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Michael’s professional career includes leading press and/or policy shops at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Climate Nexus (clients included the United Nations, Vatican City, The White House, and Fortune 500 Companies), U.S. Congress, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Institute for Economics and Peace, Biodiversity Northwest, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and more.

Michael’s academic career includes a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution and is focused on climate conflict. Michael is adjunct faculty at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, where he teaches graduate courses on Sustainable Development, Power and Politics and Climate and Security. Michael also serves as adjunct faculty and advisory board member at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, where he teaches graduate courses on Writing for Policy and Practice and Communicating Conflict.

Michael is a former opinion columnist for the Washington Post and US News & World Report and a contributor to USA Today, CNN, FOX News, The Guardian, TIME, Fast Company, Newsweek and more. Michael serves on the advisory boards of the Safer Society Foundation, Faith For Our Planet, New Standard Institute and Global Environment Media. 

Michael’s Personal Website



savannah collins

research assistant

Savannah Collins is currently a JD and Masters of Climate and Environmental Policy student at Vermont Law and Graduate School. She has served on the executive board of the Environmental Justice Law Society and Native American Law Students Association.

Savannah intends to work to develop policy for climate adaptation and fundamental environmental health rights. She believes education can come in all forms and knowing how to advocate for yourself can change your life.

Savannah’s passions are in universal literacy, healthy living environments, and human connections. She is originally from West Virginia, grew up in North Carolina and comes from a long line of hard-workers and educators.