THIS STRONG TEAM OF DEDICATED INDIVIDUALS HELP TO FIGHT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THE COALFIELDS OF SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA. 

Staff

 

600746_10100875803185449_1023422791_n.jpg

Executive Director - Veronica Coptis

Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county.  Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association.  She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University and is Chapter Chair for the Pennsylvania Chapter of Sierra Club. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughter. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile here

She can be reached at veronica@coalfieldjustice.org

 

Senior Attorney - sarah winner, ESQ.

Working with plaintiffs in Dallas, Texas who were disproportionately and adversely affected by the harmful effects of industrial nuisances inspired Sarah to commit to a career in environmental law. Since then, Sarah has been fortunate to work on a variety of complex environmental issues. Sarah earned her law degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As a Certified Legal Intern at the University of Pittsburgh Environmental Law Clinic, Sarah worked on a variety of environmental matters involving coal extraction and natural gas development. After law school, Sarah was the Interim Legal Director at CCJ before joining Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services as a Resident Attorney. In March 2016, Sarah returned to CCJ as Staff Attorney. When she's not working, Sarah enjoys hiking, running, and skiing. 

She can be reached at sarah@coalfieldjustice.org

SarahMartik

Campaign Manager - Sarah Martik

Sarah joined the CCJ team as a Community Organizer in 2017 after previous work in performing arts and foreign language education, and she has since moved into the role of Campaign Manager. A resident of Coal Center, PA, she is excited to work on issues related to legacy coal mining and the connection between the Appalachian petrochemical buildout and increases in fracking in southwestern PA communities like hers. Sarah is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy but often says that her undergraduate degree in Theatre from California University of Pennsylvania has been more useful in her work than anything else (ask her why sometime!). When she is not working or studying, Sarah loves spending time with her niece and nephews and going on walks with her “fur niece,” her sister’s lab/pitbull mix named Willow. 

She can be reached at smartik@coalfieldjustice.org

IMG_0256.jpg

Community Organizer - Nick Hood

Nick Hood is a community organizer with CCJ. Nick and his family have lived, worked, and recreated in Washington County for their entire lives. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and earned his degree in Environmental Studies. Nick is passionate about the environment and his community, and hopes to see an increase in environmental protection to help ensure the health and well-being of his family, including his 4 nephews and 1 niece. As a part of his goals, he aims to educate and provide the community with the necessary knowledge and tools to combat pollution and corruption perpetuated by the large energy companies. When he is not working, he likes to play music, watch baseball and spend time with his family and friends.

He can be reached at nick@coalfieldjustice.org 

IMG_0739.jpg

Outreach Coordinator - Lisa (Coffield) DePaoli

Lisa (Coffield) DePaoli joined the staff as Outreach Coordinator in December 2018. She grew up in rural Washington County and has always loved animals and spending time outdoors. Her deep interest in human beings and ecology led her to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked on research projects and taught at the university level in the U.S. and in field schools in Latin America. The knowledge and experience she gained fostered an interest in environmental and social justice issues. Thus, she has decided to work on issues of humans and ecology at the local level in order to research and address important matters in southwestern Pennsylvania. Lisa loves to talk to people about issues that concern them. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, furkids and friends, and taking long walks in the woods with her dogs.

She can be reached at lisa@coalfieldjustice.org

17265117_10210615012790479_3249701349776276814_n.jpg

Community Organizer - Heaven Sensky

Heaven Lee Sensky was born and raised on a small family farm in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania where she has been an active community member in advocacy and non profit work since she was 13 years old. As a first generation college graduate, her passion to pave the way for others in her community encouraged her to pursue college in Washington, DC to study public policy and social structures. Heaven is a recent graduate of American University, where she studied Communications, Law Studies, Economics, and Government in addition to Women, Gender and Sexualities studies. She previously interned for The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The American University Center for Diversity and Inclusion, United States Senator Bob Casey, and The Personal Office of Michelle and Barack Obama. After a very busy 3 ½ years in college, Heaven is eager to get to work protecting and defending Appalachia (and spending some much needed time with her new dog, Gizmo). You can read more about Heaven in a recent article published by American University here.

She can be reached at heaven@coalfieldjustice.org

Story_Headshot.jpeg

Community Advocate - Ethan Story

Ethan comes to CCJ with a J.D. and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. While attending Vermont Law School, Ethan worked as a Research Associate with the Water and Justice Program. In this role he worked with diverse stakeholders to help protect their natural resources. Ethan also interned with the PA Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Additionally, he served as an editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. When he is not at work, he is spending time with his family, running, and fly fishing one of PA’s many beautiful rivers.

He can be reached at ethan@coalfieldjustice.org

unnamed.jpg

Operations and Data Manager - Lovell Johnson

Lovell Johnson recently joined CCJ in August 2019 as an Operations and Data Manager. Lovell grew up and continues to live in Canonsburg, and his interest in the relationship between the community and the environment brought him to the doors of CCJ. Lovell is a recent graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, where he received bachelor degrees in International Business and German. In his free time, Lovell enjoys skateboarding, photography, cooking, and spending time with his friends.

Lovell can be reached at lovell@coalfieldjustice.org



board of directors 

ken yonek - treasurer 

nicole fifer - Chair 

charles hunnel

tom breiding

kim teplitzky

Lois Bower-bjornsoN - Secretary

x.jpg

Meghan Dille

Keith Fullerton

22489991_10100340502013204_7479189980946378867_n.jpg

Leann Leiter - Vice Chair

IMG-2848.jpg

Briann Moye