Our Team

Jay Feldman—Executive Director

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Jay is a cofounder of the organization and has served as its director since 1981. Jay dedicated himself to finding solutions to pesticide problems after working with farmworkers and small farmers through an EPA grant in 1978 to the national advocacy organization Rural America (1977-1981). Since that time, Jay has helped to build Beyond Pesticides' capacity to assist local groups and impact national pesticide policy. He has tracked specific chemical effects, regulatory actions, and pesticide law. He is very familiar with local groups working on pesticides and has helped develop successful strategies for reform in local communities. His work with media has helped to bring broader public understanding of the hazards of pesticides. Jay has a master's degree in urban and regional planning with a focus on health policy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1977), and a B.A. from Grinnell College (1975) in political science. In September 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Jay to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), where he completed a 5-year term in January 2015.

Autumn Ness—Director of Hawai'i Organic Land Management Program

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Based in Maui, Autumn was instrumental in generating broad political support to begin the process of converting four Maui pilot sites (playing fields and parks) to organic land management, generating an invitation by vote of the Maui County Council to Beyond Pesticides that enabled site evaluations and the development of organic land management plans for the pilots, training the county landscaping staff, and holding community meetings. She is a grassroots community organizer and has been a policy consultant to state and county legislators on agriculture, pesticide, and housing policy. Specific projects include: expanding organic land management practices in the public and private sector, better regulation of pesticide-heavy industrial agriculture and the chemical companies conducting outdoor genetic engineering (GE) crop testing, and the promotion of small scale sustainable agriculture that produces food for the Hawaiian Islands. Autumn was a leader in the historic citizens’ initiative for a moratorium on GE crops in Maui County, which won at the ballot box in 2014, but lost in courts when the chemical industry sued the County of Maui. She works with a statewide coalition of environmental groups, to engage average people in the political process, amplify their voices in government, and drive policy.

Jocelyn Cordell—Director of Operations

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Jocelyn joined the Beyond Pesticides team in October 2022. Working closely with the Executive Director and staff, her position ensures that the organization supports programing and meets the informational and strategic needs of partner advocates and organizations by collaborating on improvements to systems or processes to advance our mission. Jocelyn is well prepared for this role, bringing 5+ years of international programming experience and an interdisciplinary background that includes public policy, education, gender initiatives, and nonprofit governance; she recently transitioned from the National Peace Corps Association, where she collaborated with executive leadership and the Board of Directors. Fluent in French, Jocelyn completed a graduate semester at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. In addition to her capstone with the Global Engagement Center, U.S. State Department, in Washington, D.C. and Rabat, Morocco, Jocelyn also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages: French/Italian from Merrimack College, taught English as a Foreign Language in France and South Korea, and performed internationally as a classical vocalist.      

Jeff France—Office Manager

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Jeff joined Beyond Pesticides in 2019 and assists in administrative support and office management for the Washington DC office and the annual National Pesticide Forum.  He comes with many years of experience in the non-profit sector with New York land conservation.  Jeff brings his administrative skills as well as his enthusiasm in continued support and assistance to work protecting the environment, and the all more urgent work of protecting public health with Beyond Pesticides.  Jeff is also a lover of the outdoors and hiking, as well as yoga, meditation, and music production.

Rika Gopinath—Community Policy and Action Manager

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Rika Gopinath joined the organization in October in the role of Community Policy and Action Manager with a focus on the Parks for a Sustainable Future program. She brings a wealth of experience and a long history of working at the community level in California, serving as founding member and chair of YardSmart Marin and cochair of Moms Advocating Sustainability, a San Francisco Bay Area organization focused on protecting children from toxins in the home and environment. 

Sara Grantham—Science, Regulatory, and Advocacy Manager

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Sara Grantham is a passionate scientist with two bachelor's degrees in Biology and Marine/Environmental Science and her master's degree in Chemical and Life Sciences. Her love of the environment began with a project on Rachel Carson and the harmful effects of DDT, and has only grown since. Sara has experience in cancer research and within a marine ecotoxicology laboratory setting, as well as science education at both the high school and college levels. Sara considers herself a life-long learner who always wants to better herself and teach others from that knowledge. Her goal is to make an impact not only in local communities but also on the world stage.

Max Sano—Organic Program Associate

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Max recently graduated from New York University with a master’s in food policy and advocacy. His capstone research project focused on the relationship between domestic organic agricultural production and mentoring the next generation of farmers and ranchers. He received a bachelor’s in environmental studies and government from Franklin & Marshall College. He was inspired to pursue agricultural advocacy after meeting with farmers in central Pennsylvania, leading a community garden initiative, and engaging in various advocacy initiatives with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Clean Air Council, and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Max has a love for writing, with work recognized by the UN-FAO and published by Food Tank, Civil Eats, Planet Forward, and other outlets. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook new dishes, and discover new books to read.

Caitlyn Rodeo—Volunteer, Science, Policy, and Practice

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Caitlyn is a rising junior at Connecticut College, where she is pursuing a major in Neuroscience with a specific focus on neurotoxicity. She is also enrolled in the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment through which she will complete a 2.5-year interdisciplinary research project currently in its developmental stages. She is excited about the opportunity to volunteer at Beyond Pesticides this summer as someone who is passionate about public health, organic farming, sustainability, and pesticide policy reform. Caitlyn aims to develop a better understanding of pesticide policy and regulation at the local, state, and national levels, as well as the challenges of implementing organic land management. Her experience will culminate in an action-based project in partnership with Beyond Pesticides staff.

Terry Shistar, PhD—Science Advisor

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Terry has a Ph.D. in ecology (University of Kansas), is a trusted science and policy advisor with a 30-year affiliation with the organization and an expert in organic policy. She works closely with National Organic Standards Board members in reviewing materials that are on or petitioned to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, and evaluates chemicals for their toxic effects on all species that comprise the natural world.

Valerie Brown, MA—Contributing Writer

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Valerie contributes writing to the website's Daily News Blog and the Beyond Pesticides journal, Pesticides and You. Her writing focuses mostly on science and the environment, including climate change, chemical exposures, radiation health effects, fracking, microbiology, evolutionary biology, legacy nuclear weapons waste, and more. Also an accomplished musician and an artist, Valerie has published a historical analysis of the popular music scene in Portland, Oregon in the late 1960s.