Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Teddy Kisch (2006)

Ok Tedi / Fly River Resource Center, Papua New Guinea

Grant awarded: $25,000
Teddy is working to establish and direct an environmental resource center for communities affected by the Ok Tedi Copper Mine in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. The mine is reported to be dumping 80,000 tons of mine tailings (toxic to algae) into the world’s twenty-third largest river system each day, thereby seriously impacting the local food supply for 50,000 indigenous people living along the river. The resource center will serve as a scientific clearinghouse for mining documents. It will “translate” the documents into simple, culturally appropriate information so the community may make informed decisions about mining operations at local and provincial level meetings. It will also provide education about sustainability issues and the review process of the highly contested Community Mine Continuation Agreements. The center will operate under a new director after Teddy returns to the United States in May 2007.

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Teddy received a Bachelors of Arts with honors in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science in May 2006. He became involved with issues surrounding the Ok Tedi Mine in his sophomore, junior, and senior years and during his tenure as a 2005 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. He was invited to speak about his project, for which he has received seven grants and prizes as part of the ESPM 166 course “Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resource Policy.” He was also the only undergraduate to serve on a student engineering team that designed a fuel-efficient cookstove for refugees in Darfur, Sudan. He authored the group’s successful funding proposal in the 2006 Big Ideas@Berkeley contest.
Teddy coached youth soccer teams, rode competitively for the CAL Cycling team, and worked as a whitewater river-rafting guide. He is interested in energy and natural resource use and hopes to attend graduate school in environmental engineering.

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