Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

IEN Team

Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director

In 1997 I found a professional “home” at IEN for my passion for bringing people together to discover common ground and create solutions for mutual gain. Beginning as a Senior Associate, then Associate Director, I was privileged to be appointed Director in 2015. Through the years my work has covered a broad range of challenging environmental, agricultural and community issues. Now, as Director, working with a talented and collaborative team, I strive to be a servant leader while providing vision and strategic direction. As we build on IEN’s rich history to continue tackling the tough issues with integrity, our team seeks to meet the evolving needs of our times, through innovative leadership in our field and engaging stakeholders in ways that are fresh, focused, relevant and effective. Learn more about me here.  You can find my resume here. Email Tanya.


Franklin Dukes, Ph.D., Distinguished Institute Fellow

I have been privileged to work for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) since 1990, and served as its Director from 2000-2015. As a mediator and facilitator, I seek to help individuals and groups address complex public problems and conflicts in ways that strengthen communities rather than tear them apart. Each year I work on average on a dozen or so projects involving environment and land use, contaminated sites, community development, education, and health. I have also facilitated many difficult community conversations on topics ranging from faith and homosexuality, to education, to reparations for slavery. Learn more about me here. You can find my resume here.  Email Frank.

Kelly Altizer, Program Manager, Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute

As Program Manager for the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, I coordinate VNRLI’s logistics, and organize alumni events and the six sessions that comprise the leadership program. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2009, I volunteered for a year with Americorps at the Southeastern Appalachian Rural Alliance in Lewisburg, WV. I received my Master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where I researched the effectiveness of UN peace-building programs in areas of environmental conflict and interned with the North Carolina Conservation Network. Email Kelly.

Selena Cozart, Ph.D.

Selena Cozart, Ph.D. has twenty years of facilitation and program evaluation experience with a primary emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and community capacity development. She also brings a rich background in Education, ranging from secondary through graduate school, which includes teaching, student academic advising and mentoring, and higher education administration. 

Robierre Nderitu, Fiscal & Project Manager

I am excited to join the team at IEN, and participate in the important work of mediation and working towards shared solutions in this complex world. Being an immigrant has afforded me to see different perspectives and gain a global view of problems and their solutions. I see myself as a “peace-maker” and working for IEN, albeit on the financial side, allows me to contribute to reducing conflict, through mediation and supporting projects that create shared solutions for communities all over the world. I aspire to be fully immersed in learning about and sharing our world, and leaving a better place then what I found. My background is management, leadership and creating efficiencies in organizations.

Judie Talbot, Senior Associate

I started working at IEN in February 2015. I have had 15 years of experience in facilitating and mediating collaborative efforts and public involvement programs. My projects include strategic planning; assessments and process design; joint fact-finding; facilitating of meetings, workshops, and technical panels. My work focuses on policy planning for natural resource issues involving federal, tribal, state and local agencies as well as underserved communities, environmental, commercial, agricultural and recreational interests. My services include technical research, writing, and editing. I also create tailored materials for public engagement such as press releases, informational brochures, and content for briefings, newsletters and websites. My resume can be found here. Email Judie.

Tammy Switzer, Administrative Assistant

My role at IEN is part-time Administrative Assistant. I provide general administrative support to the IEN staff, but the majority of my time is spent working on the Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute (VNRLI). I came to IEN in September of 2008 after being a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years. I am originally from Littleton, Colorado, where I worked for the University of Colorado for 12 years. In 1999, my husband was transferred to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we lived for six years. In 2005, his company brought us to Charlottesville. We have two wonderful boys that keep us very busy and active. Email Tammy.