The Iceland Ocean Cluster welcomes student project interns Juan Pablo Quintero and Emily Purcell, current masters students at Duke University. They are pursuing a 3-year dual-degree Master of Environmental Management (MEM)/Master of Business Administration (MBA) program that develops future leaders at the intersection of business, energy, and the environment. Juan Pablo and Emily have partnered with IOC to conduct their “Kelponomics” Master’s Thesis Project focused on evaluating the economic and environmental value of kelp and its applicability and feasibility for Nordic and Icelandic ecosystems and markets. The expected outcome of this project will be to provide a set of recommendations for how companies can prioritize and best utilize kelp for increased value, expanded business opportunities, improved ecosystem function, and/or increased carbon sequestration.

Juan Pablo is studying pursuing dual Masters of Environmental Management / MBA degrees at Duke University. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, he grew up in the northern Canadian community of Fort McMurray, Alberta, before moving to the United States for his undergraduate studies in New York. His passion is at the intersection of climate and business. Outside of Duke, he has experience in climate activism and corporate sustainability through internships with the Sierra Club and McKinsey & Company, where he will return as an Associate in the Chicago office after graduating. He has published various pieces on the ocean economy and global climate policy. In his personal time, Juan Pablo is an accomplished musician, nature photographer, and deep-sea fisherman.

Emily is studying Ecosystem Science and Conservation at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and Sustainable Enterprise at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. She is dedicated to finding business solutions to environmental challenges by leveraging markets, technologies, and partnerships key to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. Emily has experience in corporate sustainability, including developing a biodiversity strategy for Tiffany & Co. as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow and working on energy transition projects as a consultant with EY-Parthenon where she will return full-time this fall. She also has experience working with start-up companies to develop and refine their sustainable business plans and product offerings. Before starting her master’s program, Emily designed and managed international development projects for environmental, economic empowerment, and health outcomes. She studied biology and epidemiology in her undergraduate career and worked previously as a cancer research fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Emily is passionate about biodiversity and conserving and restoring our planet’s wild spaces, and spends her free time hiking, paddling, and generally enjoying the outdoors.