Cindy Nguyen (she/her) is a RAY Clean Energy Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute. As part of the Islands and Africa Energy Teams, Cindy supports projects that initiate or accelerate a clean energy transition and global decarbonization efforts in Caribbean SIDS, including Belize and Jamaica, as well as Africa.
Cindy is a proud first-generation Vietnamese-American from Edmonds, WA. Her interest in conservation work was initially sparked after reading Michael Pollan’s, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Spurred by her newfound knowledge of the destruction and injustices of the food system, she began tending to a small community garden, where she further grew her love for the environment. She went on to attend Colby College in Maine, graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Policy ('20).
At Colby, Cindy cultivated a dedication for social, environmental, and climate justice. Particularly, her experience with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at Northern Arizona University introduced her to issues of public lands governance and energy extraction on Indigenous lands and instilled a desire to uplift and support BIPOC voices and leadership within the environmental movement. This experience was also formative in pushing her to incorporate principles of environmental justice into all aspects of her work. Other notable experiences included: promoting access to green stormwater infrastructure in Vietnamese communities (ECOSS), assessing inequitable access to urban greenspace (NRDC), and organizing a Climate Strike and Climate Action Summit for college students in Maine (Citizens’ Climate Lobby). Furthermore, while studying abroad in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, Cindy dove head-first into complex issues of global environmental governance, climate, energy, and economic development.
During her senior year, Cindy explored the intersection of Vietnamese-American identities and environmental justice by completing an Honors Thesis assessing attitudes toward environmental-health concerns and protective equipment in Vietnamese nail salons; for this, she earned an Honors in Environmental Studies. In addition, she researched climate vulnerability and adaptation in Caribbean SIDS, mainly Barbados, and published an article in the journal Caribbean Geography on varying risk profiles in the Lesser Antilles, which greatly influenced her desire to work with the Islands Team at RMI.
Collectively, Cindy’s experiences have motivated her to eventually pursue a J.D. in Environmental Law and return to the non-profit space to fight for and protect the environmental and social rights of marginalized communities, particularly low-income and immigrant AANHPIs. Before then, she is thrilled to be starting her environmental career at RMI and to explore international energy issues and participate in the clean energy transition.
Outside of work, Cindy is a self-described foodie -- she loves cooking, sharing recipes, and scrolling through Instagram and (embarassingly) TikTok to find new restaurants or “Insta-worthy’ food near her. She also enjoys bike-riding, picnics, and shopping at Target and Trader Joes.