Meet our team: Angie Kaufman, Communications Associate

Meet Angie! Angie was promoted to Communications Associate after starting at EFI as a Communications Fellow. A former wannabe skateboarder, she is passionate about the environment, neuroscience, and rock climbing.

Kaufman camping and bouldering in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My kindergarten teacher asked the class this question, and I confidently responded, “professional skateboarder.” Months later, after my cousin snapped in half my only, Spongebob-themed skateboard, I reassessed and decided I wanted to follow in the footsteps of some of my heroes — Jane Goodall, Steve Irwin and Martin and Chris Kratt — and become a naturalist. I brought my animal encyclopedias for free-reading days at school, took notes on desert fauna and flora behind our backyard, and eagerly got certified as a Junior Ranger at every national park my family visited. Over time, I changed to wanting to be a sustainable architect and then a neuroscientist. Now, as a climate change and clean energy communicator, I’ve found a sweet spot to combine my passion for nature and neuroscience/psychology.

What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?

In college, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on improving climate change decision-making and communication from a neuro-social perspective, an experience that taught me how to research, translate complicated ideas to relatable material, fully edit my and others’ writing, admit when I needed help, and persist. At the same time, I founded a policy team within a new organization at UT that strives to decrease emissions in the region. This experience taught me what it takes to be a good leader, the power of a cold email, and allowed me to dive headfirst into personally uncharted territory: policy and negative emissions technology. Both of these experiences initiated my transition from a neuroscience career path to an environmental one, something that took me a long time to figure out (and I’m still trying to figure it out fully!).

What’s the best thing about working at EFI?

As an editor of the newsletter, I know that most EFI staff answer that the best thing about working at EFI is the people. And it’s absolutely true. I find inspiration in each of my coworkers; they’re intelligent, caring, and fiercely passionate. This translates to a work environment that encourages curiosity and learning and kindles a passion for our work and the greater cause.

What gives you hope for the future?

In addition to watching the world wake up to the climate crisis, seeing progress in gender and racial equality, partly through the normalization of compassion and education across more cultures and countries, gives me hope for the future. Climate change and inequality are so intertwined that I personally don’t believe climate change can be solved without radical improvement in racial and gender equality; having more diverse voices heard means more solutions discussed, more understanding reached, and more progress made.

What’s one thing on your bucket list (professional or personal)?

Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to live in southern Africa and work at an elephant conservation for a few years. Plus, this region of Africa has some epic rock climbing routes I’d love to send! Another goal is to climb a V10 boulder, but this will definitely require some training…

What is your favorite song at the moment?

Currently, “Flesh and Bone” by Sammy Rae & The Friends, but old standbys include songs by alt-J, Wilco, Glass Animals, and Simon and Garfunkel.

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