Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities

C. Allen Watts Young Leaders Program

Mr. C. Allen Watts was a founding member of 1000 Friends of Florida and member of the Board of Directors from 1994 to 2013. A longtime chair of the legal advocacy committee, Allen played an instrumental role in 1000 Friends’ many landmark legal challenges to uphold the state’s growth management system. He was a highly respected government and land-use attorney who took a special interest in mentoring new lawyers, inspiring his family to launch this program in 2022 in his honor.

The C. Allen Watts Young Leaders Program allows for paid internship opportunities to further the mission of our organization. It is funded by 1000 Friends Board member Mark Watts, his sister, Kristi Putnam, and C. Allen Watts’ widow, Margaret Morris, in memory of their father and husband.

If you would like to contribute to the C. Allen Watts Young Leaders Program, please contact .  

Jacob Glantz, Intern (Spring 2024)

Jacob is a Junior at Florida State University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environment & Society within the School of Social Science and Public Policy.  After graduation, Jacob plans on staying in Tallahassee and pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.  He’s an active participant in FSU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, and recently finished coordinating this semester’s prospective member recruitment program. Jacob is interested in land use legislation and looks forward to working with 1000 Friends of Florida to enhance our social media presence.  As a Florida native, Jacob enjoys the state’s parks and beaches, where he loves to spend quality time with his family and friends.

Jacqueline Vanegas, Intern (Spring 2024)

A Florida native, Jacqueline is a Master’s student studying Public History and Historical Administration at Florida State University and previously graduated with a B.A in History and Political Science at the University of Florida. Her diverse experience ranging from legislative research for the U.S House of Representatives to interning at a local museum has fostered a deep interest in the intersection of state, local, and federal policy with historical preservation initiatives. After receiving her Master’s degree, Jacqueline’s mission is to find practical, ethical, and responsible methods to preserve historic spaces that hold significance to local communities. You can find her LinkedIn profile here to learn more about Jacqueline’s professional experience.

Michael Granto, Intern (Fall 2023)

Michael joins us as he begins his first year in the University of Florida’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program. Michael received his UF undergraduate degree in Sustainability Studies and worked in the UF/IFAS laboratories on both genetic engineering and agroecology projects. During the fall 2023 semester, Michael assisted 1000 Friends in our Agriculture 2040/2070 project by researching agricultural preservation and protection provisions in local comprehensive plans and land development regulations. Michael’s passions include environmental urban planning, urban forestry, watershed management, living shorelines, coastal resilience, and tactical urbanism. A Gainesville native, Michael spends his free time kayaking and cycling around the state.

Melissa Gallo, Intern (Summer 2023)

Melissa is entering her third year at the Florida State University College of Law. Originally from Cuba, Melissa moved to Florida when she was four years old. Before becoming a Nole, Melissa graduated as a Gator from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in English. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Environmental Law Society at Florida State. She is passionate about environmental justice and just completed a Law Article analyzing Florida’s House Bill 7 through an environmental justice lens. Melissa is also keenly interested in land use law and looks forward to working with 1000 Friends of Florida on smart growth projects. During her free time, Melissa can be found hiking around Tallahassee and exploring the local food scene.

Camari Simpson, Intern (Spring 2023)

Camari is a Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an interest in pre-law programs. An Orlando native, Camari has worked on electoral and advocacy campaigns for a variety of coalitions and causes, including the League of Conservation Voters, Raising the Minimum Wage, Black Progressive Action Coalition, the Michigan Democrats, among others. Camari’s mission in life is to use the courtroom and politics to positively influence and bring about change to our communities and country. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and watching legal documentaries about courtroom dynamics.

Alex Smock, Intern (Spring 2023)

Alex is currently a first-year law student at the University of San Francisco School of Law and previously graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Sustainability Studies. She is a proud Gainesville native and spent most of her childhood exploring Florida’s Atlantic coast or scuba diving around the state. She founded Gainesville’s Sunrise Movement Chapter, which advocated against the University of Florida’s plans for a proposed gas plant. Alex is interested in environmental litigation and water law. She will be conducting a legal research project to identify the practical and legal barriers associated with managed coastal retreat in Florida. During her free time, you can find Alex hiking the California coast, attempting a watercolor painting, or sharing a meal with friends.

Nicole Dear, Intern (Fall 2022)

Nicole is a sophomore at Florida State University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science and Environmental Science and Policy. A Winter Park native, Nicole enjoys living in proximity to Florida’s coastal waters, where she spends time at the beach with friends and family. She is an active participant and social media and design manager on the executive board of FSU’s Surf Club. This summer, Nicole worked on an eco-boat tour in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, an experience that strengthened her passion and commitment to playing a role in preserving our waters and marine species. Nicole also studied marine life and the geology of the ocean floor while aboard research vessels with the University of Connecticut and again in the Dominican Republic. Following college graduation, Nicole intends to obtain a secondary degree and pursue a career in conservation biology and environmental policy.  Understanding that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become a business imperative, Nicole aims to utilize her knowledge to help companies operate in an environmentally sustainable manner while ensuring they meet their business objectives.

Katie Wedemyer, Intern (Fall 2022)

Katie is a third-year law student at FSU College of Law, where she is pursuing an Environmental Law Certificate and serves as a staff editor on the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law. Prior to attending law school, she obtained a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012. Her work as an environmental consultant includes diverse experience in groundwater remediation, transactional due diligence, and environmental compliance. Katie is keenly interested in the intersection between environmental law/policy and human health; particularly as it pertains to chemical contamination within the food supply and consumer products. After graduating in December 2022, she plans to work in some capacity in environmental litigation and/or consumer advocacy. Katie lives in Fort Walton Beach with her husband, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, and two sons. She likes to spend any free time outside with her family – hiking, camping, and enjoying the beach.

Meghan Gilmore, Intern (Summer 2022)

Meghan is currently a fourth-year student at Florida State University studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Interdisciplinary Humanities. After graduation she plans to attend law school. Having recently completed an honors thesis with a focus on a modern archival of African-American narratives and an internship with the Museum of Everyday Writing, Meghan has an interest in archival history especially as it pertains to social justice. Meghan is also a member of Florida State’s Presidential Scholars Diversity and Inclusion Board, College of Arts and Sciences Student Leadership Council, and Student Conduct Board, activities which have better informed her pursuit of institutional social justice. During free time, you can find Meghan at her favorite coffee shop in Tallahassee reading and writing or roller-skating around town.

Katherine Wegzryn, Intern (Spring & Summer 2022)

Passionate about prompting active transportation, Katherine has successfully earned master’s degrees in both Urban and Regional Planning and Public Health from Florida State University in Spring 2021. Currently Katherine is finishing her first year of her Doctoral program within the Urban and Regional Planning department at Florida State University as she plans on extending research promoting active transportation for females by increasing security and safety. Katherine has a vast experience in various community led planning projects both domestically and internationally in countries such as Guatemala and Peru. Upon earning her PhD, Katherine will work in advocacy and policy making fields. In her free time, you can find Katie roaming around Tallahassee on her electrical scooter, growing edible plants promoting affordable urban farming, and fostering kittens until they find their forever home!

Sam Braverman, Intern (Fall 2021 & Spring 2022)

An undergraduate alumnus and master’s student in urban and regional planning with the University of Florida, Sam Braverman is a proud Tampa native. Having grown up biking in the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve and paddling the mangrove-lined estuaries of Tampa Bay, Sam translated his passion for natural spaces into a stint teaching environmental science in upstate New York. As a master’s student in urban planning, Sam studies bicycle and pedestrian safety, and the impacts of emerging transport technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles on growth management policies. During his free time, you can find Sam out bicycling rail trails and frequenting the coffee shops around his home in Gainesville.

Julianne McLay, Intern (Fall 2021)

Hailing from Palm Beach County, Julianne joins 1000 Friends from the University of Florida Levin College of Law where she is part of both the Moot Court Team and the Florida Journal of International Law. Julianne will be assisting 1000 Friends of Florida Policy and Planning Director Jane West in preparing amicus briefs.  In her free time, Julianne can be found swimming or kayaking. One of her goals is to kayak the entire Everglades. She is passionate about anything water-related and is committed to an active role in conservation of not only charismatic megafauna, but every element of the ecosystem. Be on the lookout for her forthcoming publication about invasive species management techniques.

Joshua Gloster, Intern (Spring 2021)

Joshua Gloster is a second-year law student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida. He previously received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Georgia and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Joshua utilized his land planning background to assist 1000 Friends with position papers on various land use issues facing the state of Florida.  Joshua shares, “I am very fortunate to serve this spring semester as an intern for 1000 Friends of Florida. I look forward to dealing with issues related to land use and environmental concerns.”  While with 1000 Friends, Joshua prepared the special report, Golf Course Redevelopment or Repurposing in Florida.

Katie Gwin, Intern (Spring 2021)

Katie is a second-year law student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She is a member of the Florida Law Review, the Environmental Moot Court team, and UF Law’s Public Interest Environmental Conference executive board.

As a double gator, she received degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Florida in 2019.

A Florida native, she is grateful to be spending the semester working on 1000 Friends 2021 legislative priorities.