Young Innovators

The CNT Young Innovators are a community of young professionals working to actively engage with new ideas about urban sustainability and resilience.

Join Us!

Recruitment is currently underway to fill multiple positions on the Young Innovators Board for 2019. The Board works year-round to connect CNT and its initiatives with the greater Chicago young professionals community. Applications are open now through Friday, November 16th


The CNT Young Innovators board hosts a variety of educational, outdoor, and social activities throughout the year. To stay updated on Young Innovators events, subscribe to their mailing list to the right, and join the Young Innovators group on LinkedIn.


The Young Innovators Board is pleased to announce the 2018 theme 40 Years of Progress, which is highlighting CNT's many accomplishments throughout its 40-year history and its continued commitment to tackle emerging issues and advance urban sustainability.

In 2017, we explored how technology can be used as a resource to improve urban sustainability in new ways in conjunction with CNT's Urban Sustainability Tech Challenge. Our program asked questions such as: How can the urban shared economy be applied beyond its current models to in-demand resources such as parking spots? ​What affordable technologies can communities and individuals utilize to mitigate flooding risks and severe weather damage? 

In 2016, we examined the Rockefeller Foundation’s City Resilience Framework, and featured topics ranging from the role of the Illinois Medical District in creating and maintaining a resilient Chicago, to closed-loop urban farming at The Plant.

We also have bi-monthly happy hours, our annual summer fundraiser, and holiday mixer.

Become a Member!

As a member of CNT’s Young Innovators, you’ll receive priority access to limited-attendance YI events, discounted admission to CNT events and talks, and most importantly, a voice within the leading group of emerging sustainability advocates in Chicago. Join us today!


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Young Innovators Board

Interested in joining us for 2019? Please complete this application by Friday, November 16th.

The current board members are:

Sawyer Middeleer, Chair
Research Assistant, Metropolitan Planning Council

Sydney VanKuren, Secretary
Sustainable Urbanism Program Coordinator, Farr Associates

Rabees Rafiq, Treasurer
Capital Construction Engineer, Peoples Gas

Allison Bobman
Mission-Driven Storyteller

Chris Bonarrigo
Designer, bKL Architecture

Celine Cua
Staff Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants

Kevin Dunphy, AIA, AICP
Architect & Urban Planner, CannonDesign

Emma Harrison
Junior Content Specialist, Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications

Michael Hennessy
Research Fellow, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Hannah Loftus
Senior Information Analyst, Civilian Office of Police Accountability (City of Chicago)

Kirk Nelson
Systems Administrator II, VelocityEHS/MSDSonline

Kristin O’Brien
Test Manager, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Rosie Powers
Nonprofit Digital Marketing Strategy Consultant

Jameson Skaife
Associate Landscape Architect, Forum


To learn more about the Young Innovators or inquire about partnerships, please email Kate Borghgraef.

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