Alumna Claire Moss ’17 Receives Young Leader Award

UMass Amherst Public Health Sciences alumna Claire Moss

Claire Moss '17

August 27, 2020

Public Health Sciences alumna Claire Moss ’17 recently received the American Public Works Association (APWA) New England Chapter Young Leader Award. Moss currently works as the Environmental Manager for the Town of Wakefield, MA Department of Public Works, where she serves as point person on the town’s environmental- and sustainability-related tasks.

The New England Chapter Young Leader Award recognizes young New England Chapter members who have demonstrated commitment to the public works profession and the New England Chapter. They contribute in a significant manner to his/her public agency or company and help to advance the cause of the public works profession. Moreover, they demonstrate an ongoing commitment to continuing education in the public works field.

“I am honored to be a part of APWA and to receive the New England Chapter Young Leader Award,” says Moss. “APWA has provided me with so many opportunities to learn and grow in the field of public works and I’m excited to continue working with such a remarkable association.”

Among her many responsibilities as environmental manager, Moss coordinates, develops and implements the town’s refuse and recycling, stormwater, hazardous waste, climate change, and public relations programs. She credits her education at UMass Amherst for helping her to prepare for this role.

“Had it not been for my degree and the UMass community, I would have never known the world of public works existed, much less recognized how it could be a career path for me specifically,” says Moss, who also minored in environmental science and graduated from the Commonwealth Honors College. “I distinctly remember sitting in a CSP [Community Scholars Program] class a month before graduation, talking about my honors thesis. Upon hearing my thesis, which focused on the intersection of green space, stormwater management, and public health, a girl in my class piped up that she knew of someone hiring in the field of stormwater. It was all very serendipitous; I got an interview and started my job a month after graduation.”

Among her many accomplishments, Moss developed and implemented the largest rain barrel distribution program in the commonwealth for the Town of Wakefield, serves as director-at-large for the Wakefield Food Pantry, and serves as co-chair of the Young Professionals and Newsletter committees. She is proud of the effort she led to obtain a state-funded grant for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, which allows municipalities to analyze and improve upon their respective resilience capabilities, as it relates to climate change.

“For this initiative, I collaborated with stakeholders to develop climate mitigation outcomes related to infrastructure, environment, and socioeconomics. This plan culminated in an action plan to further develop the Town’s understanding of vulnerability and emissions through a Town-wide vulnerable populations assessment and a greenhouse gases assessment. Upon highlighting that our local food pantry is an asset to programs such as the MVP, I proposed that the food pantry hold a drive to collect emergency supplies so that residents could create ‘preparedness kits’ and be better prepared in the case of a climate-related emergency.”

Moss completed a master’s degree in city planning from Boston University in 2019.