Meet the ’23-’24 Climate Fellows and Summer Interns!

July 3, 2023
  |   Leave your comments

Every year, Montgomery County’s Climate Team hosts climate fellows and interns to support the work various departments do across the county.

This year, the fellowship program has changed slightly and we will have three, year-long fellows and two interns each semester. We are so lucky to be able to work with these incredible young professionals and bring their expertise to the county.

Meet the Fellows

Xiang Xiang Fang (She/Her)Headshot of XiangXiang Fang, climate fellow, in an outdoor location. She is smiling with a lake behind her.

Could you introduce yourself briefly and share a bit about your background? What motivated you to join the Montgomery County Climate team?  

Hi! I’m Xiang Xiang (pronounced Shung Shung), and I have a BSc in Life Sciences from McMaster University and a MSc in Environmental Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As I have always been passionate about environmental and climate change issues, I was motivated to join the Montgomery County Climate Team as their detailed Climate Action Plan addressed several environmental issues that I was interested in, on a local and hyperlocal level.
During my master’s, I focused on risk sciences and public policy, food systems, sustainability, the environment, and public health – with further coursework in data science, GIS, and energy. I am also on track to complete my LEED AP certificate this upcoming fall.

Can you share a memorable experience or project you’ve worked on related to climate change, sustainability, or environmental justice?
A memorable project I worked on in the past was with the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition, where the team conducted an examination of transit equity and environmental health in historically redlined communities in Baltimore. The findings were utilized to identify communities that would benefit most from transit investments. This experience shaped my passion for the field as it made me realize that environmental disparities can highly impact the quality of life. Today, zip code is still the most potent predictor of an individual’s health and well-being.

If you could have dinner with any historical figure or climate champion, who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with a climate champion, it would be David Attenborough! I love his films and documentaries relating to conservation and climate change, and he has definitely inspired me to be in the environmental space.

Maycel Palansky (they/them)

Photo of Maycel Palansky, Climate Fellow. It is a headshot where they are smilingCould you introduce yourself briefly and share a bit about your background? 

Hi! My name is Maycel and I’m coming from the University of Toronto and heading to UConn, where I’ll study Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems! I’ve competed at the international level in environmental science, which taught me the practical side of environmentalism and introduced me to the local fight against climate change, and robotics, where I was the head of outreach for our nonprofit and learned how to work as a team to tackle social issues at the community level up.

What attracted you to Montgomery County and its climate initiatives? Is there a particular aspect of the county’s approach that resonates with you?

Montgomery County is a trailblazer in the local fight against climate change, and I wanted to be a part of investing and protecting the place where I spent my childhood. Let’s ensure that our county is a shining example to others at the state and national levels, showing how banding together with the people around us can make a difference! I can’t wait to work with our County Council and with our state legislators, representing the needs of our citizens and environment to the people in charge while expanding green spaces and listening to underserved communities.

What are some of your personal hobbies or interests? Do you have any activities or passions that inspire you?

The environmental and climate leaders I look up to the most are our indigenous populations worldwide that have developed ways of living to work with nature instead of at the expense of nature. In my own time, you can find me visiting the nearest pick-your-own farm or farmer’s market, spending time maintaining my home garden (which is a mini-version of the ones I started at local MCPS schools), or giving the folks multiple times my age a run for their money at badminton at the rec center down the street.

Ansu Elizabeth Mathew (she/her)

Headshot of Ansu Mathew

Could you introduce yourself briefly and share a bit about your background? 
I recently graduated with a master’s in Public Health from George Washington University Milken School of Public Health. I also hold a medical degree from one of the prestigious universities in Nepal. I live in North Potomac, Maryland. As a physician, although I found it extremely rewarding to help my patients, I felt the need to address the social determinants of health at a population level in order to improve the overall health and well-being of people. This is what led me to pursue a master’s in public health. During my master’s, I completed several projects that intersected with climate change and human health. The environmental and health impacts of climate change are a growing public health challenge. While climate change issues impact the population as a whole, some communities and target populations are more vulnerable to these challenges than others. This is what motivated me to join the Montgomery County Climate team as a fellow. I hope to contribute my skills and knowledge as a physician and a public health professional to bring a positive impact to improve the lives of my fellow county residents by working alongside the Montgomery County Climate team. I am a firm believer in “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

What are some of your personal hobbies or interests? 
Traveling, exploring different cultures and cuisines, testing and perfecting new recipes in my kitchen, and hosting game nights with friends and family. I am a food blogger and have an Instagram page; I hope to continue to grow on that journey.

Can you share a memorable experience or project you’ve worked on related to climate change, sustainability, or environmental justice? 
For one of my climate change elective classes, I had to create a podcast and write a paper covering the story of a person on the frontlines of climate change in the United States who is working to address the effects of climate change/mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. I chose to write about Marsha Jackson a homemaker who became an environmental activist. Her long, challenging fight to get justice against the shingle mountain piled next to her house was admirable. The health and environmental impacts caused by this hazardous waste-filled shingle mountain to her as well as the community were insurmountable. This truly brought to my attention the environmental justice issues faced by people of color and other vulnerable communities. Shingle Mountain is also a great example of the environmental racism that exists in our country, which isn’t addressed completely.


Meet the Summer Interns

Ilana Williams (she/her)Headshot of Ilana Williams

Could you introduce yourself briefly and share a bit about your background?

Hello! I am an upcoming senior at the University of Maryland in College Park, studying journalism and environmental science & policy. I wanted to join the Montgomery County Climate Team to prepare how my two majors coincide with each other and use this internship as a stepping-stone to write about the environment. I want to be part of a local government that is finding ways to improve air, water, and land quality as climate change becomes more permeant in its community.

What are some of your personal hobbies or interests?

When the weather is nice, I enjoy swimming and walking on the trail near my apartment. I also like painting flowers and nature using watercolors. Also, if I’m not too busy, I like to cook and bake. One of my favorite things to bake is banana chocolate chip muffins.

What attracted you to Montgomery County and its climate initiatives? 

I like the county’s approach to community resilience. The county knows that climate change is already affecting communities and is making progress in addressing concerns. I have read through climate action plans for other counties, but I appreciate the detail and structure that was added to Montgomery County’s plan.

If you could have dinner with any historical figure or climate champion, who would it be and why?

I would like to meet Marie Curie. I did a school project about her in elementary school, and I thought it was cool she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for her advancements in physics and chemistry.

Fisher Mallon (He/Him)Headshot of Fisher Mallon

Could you introduce yourself briefly and share a bit about your background? 
Hello, I’m Fisher, and I’m very excited to be part of the Montgomery County Climate team this summer. I live in Silver Spring with my mom, dad, brother, and two dogs. I recently graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, where I was the president of two clubs and the captain of the varsity tennis team. In the fall, I’m going to Duke University to study Environmental Science & Policy. I sought to join the County Climate team to get exposure to the strategies and challenges that the county faces while implementing climate policy and to use my skills and experiences to help make the county more sustainable.

Can you share a memorable experience or project you’ve worked on related to climate change, sustainability, or environmental justice?
In high school, I led an environmental club called the “Climate Club.” As a club, we led two tree-planting projects to plant over 800 native saplings in Montgomery County. During our first tree planting project, we planted 40 trees on school grounds that were later mowed over by a landscaping team. We were devastated by the news, but we realized that we hadn’t made adequate provisions to care for the trees post-planting. In our second tree-planting project, we revised our strategy and exceeded our tree-planting goal. This experience illustrated the difficulty of enacting sustainable initiatives but also made me hopeful: hundreds of community members volunteered their time to plant trees, and I saw that with creativity and perseverance, we can make progress in the fight against climate change.

What are you most excited about when it comes to working with the Climate team?
The most exciting part of working with the Montgomery County Climate team is the ambitious scale and timeline of our County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). It is inspiring and refreshing to see a government taking the bold and necessary steps toward mitigating climate change, and I am grateful to have a role in that process. Because Montgomery County’s CAP is unique in terms of its emission reduction goals and strategies, I’m excited to work on policy research and participate in cross-departmental communications better to understand the attitude towards climate policy in Montgomery County. I think my experience as a climate intern, combined with the climate work that I plan to pursue in North Carolina while at Duke, will expose me to diverse perspectives and give me insights into how to promote sustainable development best.


Future climate fellow and internship opportunities will be posted here on My Green Montgomery. If you have any questions about the climate fellow or internship program, you can email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *