The past and my vision of the future.


My name is Dejah Powell and I'm a graduate of Cornell University who studied Environmental and Sustainability Science and minored in Business and Community Food Systems.

I constantly wonder where my love for the environment came from. Maybe it began with the day fishing trips I took with my dad where I, with my pink Barbie fishing rod, caught my first fish... and then threw it back into the lake, afraid to remove the creature from it's home for too long. Maybe it was trips down Lake Shore Drive, where I would stare in Lake Michigan, hypnotized, desperately wanting to know what was beneath the water. Maybe it was my childhood summers with my cousins in the south suburbs of Chicago, where we used our imaginations to turn forest exploration into fun games, where we'd save caterpillars, worked as bee hunters (such a terrible thing to do with the bee epidemic now!) and where we would climb trees for kicks, to which I could never seem to do. All I can say is whatever the reason, I am beyond blessed to have found a future in nature, in saving the planet, and in spending my life inspiring more people to become stewards of this one Earth we've got.

I started Get Them to the Green in the midst of applying to Clinton Global Initiative University, a two day conference hosted by Bill and Chelsea Clinton, where student leaders from across the world come together with commitments to action regarding pressing world issues. I was upset at the lack of diversity within my major at Cornell University. I was also discouraged by the fact that there weren't very many educational opportunities for students on the South Side of Chicago to learn about nature and have at least the opportunities and exposure to find out if environmental science was something the students were interested in. Realizing the need for such a program, I created Get Them to the Green.

I am driven by my vision of the future, a world in which climate and environmental justice is no longer debated but engrained in our structural systems, where food deserts are replaced with food sovereign communities thriving in urban agriculture, where carbon and fossil fuels are banned and kept in the ground where they should be, where communities and human connection are reinvigorated and where ecological and environmental consciousness/awareness are ingrained in every human being at a young age. My life existence is entangled in doing all that I can to make this vision a reality. I am excited to begin this journey inspiring and invigorating students to develop a deeper love for the environment. Big thanks to anyone and everyone who has supported me along the way. 

Dejah Powell

A little more about me...

Favorite Movies: Unbroken, Good Will Hunting and Apocalypto

Favorite Books: City of Thieves by David Benioff and Revolutionary Suicide by Huey P. Newton

Countries Want to Visit in Next Two Years: Australia, Iceland, Brazil

At Cornell: Cornell University Sustainable Design, Keeton Active Citizen, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Ambassador, Hunter R. Rawlings Presidential Research Scholar 

Future Plans: I work for Civic Consulting Alliance currently. Would love to go back to school and someday run my own business.

Affiliations: Jackie Robinson Scholar, Engaged Learning Cornell, George Pullman Scholar, SEA Semester Alumna, School for International Training (SIT) International Honors Program (Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water, and Energy), Net Impact Healthy Food Fellow

Favorite Quote: “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.” - The Alchemist


Philanthropy through Youth Eyes

Cross-college Program in Environment and Sustainability

Dejah Powell uses awards to help feed her Chicago neighborhood

Societal Solutions Scholars are bettering the world, one grant at a time. 

"Start Strong, Finish Stronger" in Practice, University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars

Brower Youth Award Acceptance Speech


Podcast: Your Call: Meet the leaders of the next environmental movementKALW Local Public Radio

Vanderpoel Elementary Alum Returns To Install Community GardenDNAInfo Chicago

Four Cornell Students win 2017 Truman, Udall scholarships, Cornell University

2017 Young Futurist, The Root

Meet Dejah – A Net Impact Fellow with a Vision for a Healthier and Greener Chicago, NetImpact

NAAEE 30 Under 30, NAAEE

Chicago Native to host environment-related camp on University of Chicago campus, Hyde Park Herald

Dejah Powell-- Get Them to the Green, The Pollination Project

Students tackle global challenges at Clinton conference, Cornell Chronicle

Shedd Aquarium Takes Teens to the Bahamas -- On Board Research Vessels, DNAInfo Chicago