Content Block Preview: Speaker Bio: Oceans, Environment and Scientific Affairs@State

Speaker Bios:

 

Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Marcia Bernicat, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is serving as Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Prior to this, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment from 2020-21 and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 2019-20. A native of New Jersey, Marcia Bernicat received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Lafayette College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service by Lafayette College. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Bernicat gained private sector managerial experience working for the Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company on Staten Island, New York. Her languages are French, Hindi, and Russian.

 

Farhan Akhtar, Acting Branch Chief for Climate Negotiations in the Office of Global Change, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Farhan Akhtar is the Acting Branch Chief for climate negotiations in the Office of Global Change at the Department of State. He leads negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is the U.S. representative on the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change. He was a 2013-15 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Policy Fellow at the Department of State. Prior to joining the Department of State, Farhan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency from 2010-12. Farhan is a graduate of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, receiving a B.S. in 2003 and a Ph.D. in 2009.

 

 

Alexis Lennon, Events and Communications Specialist, Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Alexis Lennon serves as the Events and Communications Specialist for the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation within the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Alexis is a Virginia Beach, Va., native who relocated to the Washington, D.C., area in 2015. She is a graduate of Hampton University, where she received a B.A. in Sociology. Alexis also has a master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communication from American University. In her role in the office of Science and Technology Cooperation, Alexis leads communications and event planning across all portfolios. Prior to joining the office, Alexis held the position of Partnerships Specialist in the Office of Global Partnerships at the Department of State, where she managed multi-stakeholder public-private partnerships. Alexis has a special interest in the intersection of communications and access to opportunities for underserved populations in international affairs. Her background and focus on international communications has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, watching documentaries and reading.

 

Vanessa Adams, Foreign Service Officer, Office of International Health and Biodefense, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Vanessa Adams serves as the Foreign Service Officer for the Office of International Health and Biodefense within the bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Vanessa is originally from California, a member of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, and grew up on her tribe’s reservation outside of Sacramento. Vanessa is a 2012 Rangel Fellow and joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2014.  She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a B.A. in Anthropology. Vanessa received her master’s degree in International Relations from American University. Vanessa previously served in Matamoros, Mexico, and Bangkok, Thailand. In her role in the office of International Health and Biodefense, Vanessa leads on the multilateral portfolio and has a regional responsibility for South and Central Asia. 

 

 

Susan Ware Harris, Chief of Staff, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Susan Ware Harris is Chief of Staff in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). She previously served as a senior advisor in the OES Front Office and as the Deputy Director of the OES Office of Policy and Public Outreach. Prior to joining the State Department in 2011, she was senior staff in the Office of International Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Executive Director of the NOAA International Affairs Council. In this role she supported NOAA senior leadership’s international engagement, and served on numerous U.S. delegations related to oceans, climate change, small island developing states, global Earth observations, and science and technology cooperation, with a focus on the Pacific islands and Asia. She has an MA in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and an AB from Smith College.