Fellowship Grant Recipients 2012
Yale University - MEM/MA - (Environmental Management + Global Affairs)Leah is a masters student pursuing dual degrees in environmental management and global affairs. Her work is focused on reducing the environmental impacts of mining and enhancing the industry’s contribution towards global sustainable development. Last summer she worked in Liberia for an international development consulting firm and was responsible for assisting the Liberian Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for conflict-free diamonds. She also developed recommendations to improve the country's artisanal diamond-mining sector, managed multiple community development projects, and trained miners on improved mining methods. Prior to joining Yale, Leah conducted a multi-year research project on the role of civil society in influencing international trade disputes, studied marine ecology in Denmark, and worked on a rainforest conservation project in Ecuador. In 2006, Leah joined the US Environmental Protection Agency where she managed the investigation and cleanup of hazardous waste sites in Arizona and on tribal lands. Subsequently, she served as a life scientist in EPA’s Wetlands Office where she worked to protect the aquatic resources of California and Arizona from the impacts of urban sprawl. This summer, she wants to learn about the motivations, opportunities, and constraints faced by extractive industries in their quest to fulfill environmental and social objectives by working within the industry. Her goal is to help companies develop and implement realistic and robust environmental and social performance standards and to foster useful partnerships between industry players, civil society, and public agencies.
Moss Landing Marine Labs, San Jose State University - MS - (Marine Science)Ryan is a master’s student in the Vertebrate Ecology Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and a lead ecologist for the non-profit Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge. His current work is centered on the conservation of a small and threatened population of Rhinoceros Auklets (a burrowing seabird similar to puffins) breeding at Año Nuevo Island, CA. In 2009-11, Ryan collaborated with Oikonos and a diverse group of artists, scientists, and managers to restore damaged auklet habitat by re-establishing native plants to the island and installing ceramic nest sites that mimic natural auklet burrows. His master’s research focuses on Rhinoceros Auklets as indicators of changing ocean conditions, and specifically on how prey availability in winter and spring affects adult diet and subsequent breeding success. Ryan has worked for the Mono Lake Committee, the International Crane Foundation, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Friends of the Inyo, and CA State Parks. Through these experiences he gained a broad background in water policy, endangered species conservation, rangeland management, and habitat restoration, and was inspired by the potential of the non-profit sector to conserve biodiversity through creative, collaborative land management. His goal is to continue to find solutions for the conservation of islands and marine wildlife by utilizing scientific research and partnering with diverse groups and local communities.
UC Davis - MS - (Community and Regional Development)Ildi currently studies California agriculture, using a variety of disciplines from history and geography to economics and ecology to understand the unique patterns of development of food systems in California. By studying methods of producing, harvesting, packing and distributing food in her home state, Ildi looks at agriculture’s influence on landscapes, community structures and economies. Because of the size and power of the food system in California, Ildi believes that understanding the history of agriculture and the dynamics that have shaped the industry’s development is critical to charting an effective course for the sustainable food movement. She is interested in understanding how we created our current food system in order to help to retool the system so that it protects and improves the environment, rebuilds local economies and strengthens communities. Over the past ten years, Ildi has been working on the front lines of the community food systems movement, leading projects that attempt to shift California agriculture towards sustainability. Before heading back to school, she ran the Farm to School Program for Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), connecting school food services across California with locally-grown produce and teaching children about agriculture. For four years, she was President of the Board of an award-winning school garden organization called Life Lab Science Program before stepping in to co-direct the organization in 2010. She took a leadership role in the Central Coast Nutrition and Fitness Collaborative which brings together leaders to address community food and nutrition issues, serving as chair for a two-year term. On the national level, Ildi has participated in the School Food FOCUS Initiative, working with one of the largest school districts—Oakland Unified-- to transform school food systems. Throughout her work in the community food systems movement, Ildi’s approach emphasizes partnership and bridge-building. Whether it is in relation to school food or food safety, Americans seem to be shouting across a divide when it comes to food systems. At UC Davis, Ildi is bolstering her facilitation and collaboration experience with strong conflict-resolution skills in order to help the movement navigate these challenges.
Brown University - Ph.D. - (Environmental Sociology)David Ciplet is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Brown University. His research has focused on understanding relationships of power and inequality in global climate change politics. As part of this work, he has authored numerous reports with the organization, The International Institute for Environment and Development, that assess the adequacy of finance provided to developing countries to adapt to climate change. Turning his attention to the domestic context, his dissertation research is concerned with political factors that are both enabling and constraining a transition to more sustainable energy policy in the U.S. David also leads a team of Brown University students to support environmental health and justice initiatives in the Providence community. Prior to being a graduate student, he worked as a national organizer for more equitable and sustainable approaches to the problem of waste. He hopes to continue to facilitate opportunities for students to engage with issues of environmental equity and to contribute knowledge to environmental policy-making processes that is accessible and useful.
UC Berkeley - Ph.D - (Water Resources Policy)Esther is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California Berkeley. She is committed to understanding how collaborative approaches to water governance can draw upon knowledge from scientists and stakeholders to support collective learning and the development of adaptive strategies for coping with climate change and other risks. Her current research focuses on how the collaborative structure of California's regional water planning process supports the creation of integrated management strategies that boost resilience to increasing extremes and other effects of climate change. Esther also seeks to understand the challenges that public agencies face in implementing collaborative governance. Over the past year, she has worked with the Climate Change Program of the California Department of Water Resources, and is structuring her research to help inform how this agency supports the regional water planning process. Prior to her PhD studies, Esther worked for six years at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, managing interdisciplinary projects to support the use of climate and environmental information in water management and agriculture in South and Southeast Asia. She also worked at the United Nations Development Programme, analyzing community-based projects around the world that use renewable energy to support local livelihoods. Esther holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Sciences in Earth Systems from Stanford University.
University of Vermont - MS - (Field Naturalist - Plant Biology)Becky’s love for people as well as the environment grounds her work at the interface between the two. How should we make land management decisions in a dynamic, complex world? As a graduate student within UVM’s Field Naturalist program, Becky addresses this question again and again – and each time the answer is different, depending on the landscape and the people. A variety of environmental-themed education, work and volunteer experiences – sailing in the Atlantic, farming in Pennsylvania, kayaking in Baja, studying at Middlebury College, bird banding in Alabama and managing volunteers for Mass Audubon – led Becky to her current work exploring land management collaboration strategies. By understanding how environmental and human systems fit together, she hopes to work alongside communities to create site-specific management frameworks that can adapt to changing ecological, economic and social conditions. Currently, Becky is working with UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources to design a new student-driven model for managing the University-owned Natural Areas system. The goal is to challenge students to practice hard field skills in these 2000 acres of land while wrestling with larger conservation questions like “what are the major threats to these landscapes” or “what will this site look like in 100 years”? She hopes to empower young leaders with the tools to grasp complex environmental problems and confidence to generate solutions.
UC Berkeley - PhD - (City and Regional Planning)Lisa is a PhD candidate in City & Regional Planning at the University of California Berkeley. She understands planning as a tool for advancing social and environmental equity and justice. A policy wonk since childhood, her dissertation focuses on San Francisco as a case study to explore the disconnection between policy and food access in low-income urban communities of color. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Lisa was the founding director of a California-based program that educated public health and nutrition professionals in land use planning processes, politics and law to give them the tools necessary to partner with land use planners to incorporate health into planning decisions at the front end of the planning process. At the cutting edge of this nascent movement, Lisa developed curriculum, taught planning, and provided technical assistance throughout California and the nation. She has authored the textbook General Plans and Zoning: A Toolkit on Land Use and Health and is a co-author of the textbook Economic Development and Redevelopment: A Toolkit on Land Use and Health. She has also written a number of articles for a variety of publications. Lisa’s extensive career includes work in affordable housing finance and policy, labor, planning, and local government, and she remains closely engaged with work in these communities. Professionally, Lisa plans to pursue her love of teaching at an urban public university, where she can work with lower income students, many of whom are people of color. As a woman of African-American descent who grew up in low-income, inner city East Harlem, she has found that she often has a perspective on planning that her colleagues do not share, a deficiency that is compounded by the dearth of faculty of color in the profession. A longtime resident of San Francisco but a lifelong New Yorker at heart, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their teenage daughter, eating locally, baking, and dabbling in the blood sport that is San Francisco politics.
Yale University - Ph.D - (Environmental Studies)Jennifer is a PhD candidate at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she works at the intersection of food studies and environmental sociology. Her research on the evolution of food, labor, and technology within the National School Lunch Program provides a holistic window into the complexity of food systems, how they’re formed and how they change over time. Historical analysis centers around the state of being “Fit to Feed,” insofar as it encompasses issues of ‘what’ is fit to feed (i.e. the shifting nature of foodstuffs in terms of their effects on both the human body and the broader ecology) and ‘who’ is fit to do the feeding (i.e. bringing into question the gendering of foodservice labor and shifting job characteristics). Contemporary analysis focuses on instances of scratch cooking and farm-to-school programming. Her research relies on a mixed-methods approach including participant observation, archival research, interviews, content analysis, and quantitative survey research. She hopes to turn her dissertation into a general audience book aimed at sparking collective activism around the issue of school meals. Her broader research and teaching areas include consumption and sustainability, labor and the environment, and food studies. She earned a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering with minors in Environmental Studies and International Engineering from the University of Illinois. At Illinois, Jennifer researched thin film solar cells, contributed to the design of undergraduate and graduate level sustainability-themed courses, and served as a key organizer for campus sustainability initiatives. Through her position at Yale’s Teaching Center, Jennifer remained a strong advocate for problem-based inquiry and experiential environmental education. Her volunteer work with Cooking Matters and the Yale Sustainable Food Project provides experiential food and farming education to New Haven families. She also mentors young food and agriculture scholars in Yale’s Food, Culture, and Environment working group, which she co-founded and currently leads. In addition, she engages in collaborative research with UNITE HERE, the largest North American labor union representing foodservice workers. Throughout her career, Jennifer hopes to remain deeply engaged in solving environmental problems through innovative teaching, research, and activism in her local community.
UC Santa Cruz - Ph.D - (Environmental Geochemistry and Hydrogeology)Priya is a Ph.D. candidate in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is interested in linking physical and geochemical processes in aqueous systems to determine how their interaction affects the bioavailability of contaminants. For her dissertation research, Priya is investigating mercury transformations at the land-sea margin with a focus on quantifying the form and mass of mercury discharged to the ocean via coastal groundwater. Additionally, she is exploring the interaction between barrier beach lagoon surface water and coastal groundwater to determine how seasonal changes in water quality may influence nearshore mercury cycling. This research is adding to a growing body of literature documenting the importance of groundwater as a source of mercury to marine ecosystems. Priya is also interested in terrestrial watershed dynamics and has been involved in several mine site remediation projects in the California Coast Ranges. For her Master’s degree research, she studied mercury transport and cycling at the abandoned New Idria Mercury Mine, which is now an EPA Superfund Site. After completing her MS, Priya was employed as a geologist at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board where she worked on large-scale mine site and wetland remediation projects. She also gained experience in environmental regulatory permitting at a number of industrial sites, including chemical plants, refineries, tank facilities, and landfills. Priya would like to combine her background in science and policy to continue working on multidisciplinary environmental restoration projects.
Yale University - MESM - (Environmental Studies)Molly Greene is interested in using art and design to engage communities in environmental issues. She is currently a Master of Environmental Science student at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she focuses on cultural geography, critical cartography and art-based research. Molly is particularly interested in representing and reflecting on how technologies shape our ideas of nature and the landscapes in which we live. Her work takes the form of collaborations, crowd-sourced or community-based mapping projects, and her personal practice, which is rooted in both environmental science and art. This summer, Molly’s work will take her to the Fresh Kills estuary on Staten Island, where she will be exploring the social and material history of New York City’s waste. Additionally, through collaboration with the Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh, Molly will also be working on a series of illustrations and prints of genetically modified organisms. In the past, Molly has worked as an art teacher, illustrator, permaculture designer-builder, construction worker, environmental educator, antique appraiser, circus theater curator, and graphic designer. Molly is currently living on the banks of the Quinnipiac River in Fair Haven, Connecticut.
UC Santa Barbara - Ph.D - (Biology/Evolutionary Ecology)Brian Haggerty is an evolutionary ecologist working toward his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work explores a variety of topics at the intersection of environmental science, education, science communications, and public participation in scientific research. A common theme throughout his activities is phenology – the timing and intensity of seasonal dynamics and their responses to environmental changes. In his dissertation research, Brian is studying how changes in the timing of plant growth and reproduction can be used to track the short-term effects of climate variability and the long-term effects of climate change. For these projects he integrates field-based monitoring of wildflower communities in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with greenhouse experiments, statistical modeling, and historical herbarium-based studies. Brian also has been working with other scientists, educators, and policy-makers across the country and within California to design and implement the USA National Phenology Network and the California Phenology Project. These are emerging partnerships among federal agencies, the academic community, educational institutions at all levels, and the general public to monitor the effects of environmental change on our nation’s resources. By coordinating the development of phenological monitoring programs across the state, and by creating a variety of guides, educational activities, and training workshops for scientists and educators, Brian is helping to lead climate change research and outreach efforts across California’s National Parks, the UC Natural Reserve System, and other partners. Brian received a B.S. from the University of Oregon and a M.S. from the University of Virginia, and enjoys gardening, photography, triathlons, and playing music.
Yale University - Ph.D - (Environmental Policy)Angel Hsu is a PhD candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Project Director of the Environmental Performance Measurement program at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. Her research focuses on environmental performance measurement and policy evaluation, aiming to understand how quantitative data and scientific approaches can be better geared toward environmental solutions and policymaking. Much of her work has taken place on the ground in China, where she spent the 2010-2011 academic year based at Tsinghua University in Beijing as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Prior to coming to Yale, she worked as a Research Analyst at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a non-profit environmental think tank in Washington, D.C., where she helped to develop corporate greenhouse gas reporting initiatives in developing countries and managed the GHG Protocol's programs in China. She is an avid blogger whose blogs have been featured in major media outlets and have taken her to Washington, D.C., where she testified on U.S.-China cooperation on the environment in front of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in April 2010. She also holds an MPhil in Environmental Policy from the University of Cambridge and a BS in Biology and BA in Political Science from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
University of Maine - Ph.D - (Ornithology)Adrienne Leppold is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine. Prior to pursuing graduate school, she held positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and served, for a number of years, as the banding program coordinator for the Powdermill Avian Research Center in western Pennsylvania. Her dissertation research has been supported by the University of Maine’s DeepCWind Consortium and has been a collaborative effort with the Maine Coastal Islands NWR. She is focusing on understanding the spatial and temporal patterns of landbird migration through the Gulf of Maine region in the context of addressing potential effects of near shore and offshore wind energy development on migrants. In concert with her research, she co-founded, and is currently the assistant director of, the Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network, which serves to coordinate and expand avian research efforts throughout the region. The network is currently comprised of a number of state and federal agencies, academic institutions, and NGO’s. Adrienne is committed to helping improve how bird banding techniques and methods are employed, has offered numerous professional development workshops, and is certified at the trainer level by the North American Banding Council. She is also passionate about sharing her knowledge of birds, bird conservation initiatives, and the birds themselves with the public. She is involved in establishing a non-profit Gulf of Maine Bird Observatory and hopes it will serve as an umbrella for not only research, but for expanding education and outreach initiatives as well. In the photo, she is posing with a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, one of thousands of migrants captured on Metinic Island, in mid-coast Maine, during the Fall 2011 migration season.
Stanford University - Ph.D - (Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources)Noa Kekuewa Lincoln exhibits a passion for life that keeps him energetically engaged in a broad range of communities. Born and raised in Hawaii he connects strongly with the Hawaiian culture, which places environment at the core of human well-being. This cultural value has become the backbone of his professional and academic accomplishments, and the guiding principle that he brings to all. Growing up he received unique training in Hawaiian ethnobotany, language, and history. Traditionally he has worked in marine and terrestrial ecosystem restoration and conservation around the Pacific, particularly with indigenous Polynesian groups. His efforts are always coupled with cultural and environmental education and community engagement. Along these lines he has engaged in research focused on coral reef reproduction and mortality, biodiversity enhancement in forest ecosystems, large and small scale restoration on private lands, and cost-benefit analysis of conservation efforts. Over the past many years Noa has increasingly engaged with large landholding organizations to perform analyses of land asset allocation. Bringing together concepts of decision analysis, ecosystem services, and economics he has provided consultation for a number of significant organizations. By synthesizing rigorous technical data, social values, and anticipation of future issues management decisions are interpreted for influential players. Examples include include “Assessment of Water Resources and Suggested Tribal Water Strategy” produced in 2006 for a tribal corporation in New Zealand, “Carbon Measurement Technologies and Risk Management Strategies” produced for the EDF in 2008, and “Strategies for Engaging in Culturally and Ecological Sustainable Tourism” produced for the Bishop Estate in 2007. His recent engagement in Hawaii's agricultural sector has led to a broader look at the intersection of land use, culture, and economics. Research interests examine combining traditional and modern knowledge of land management to evaluate corporate and policy decisions from a social utility, rather than an economic, basis.
University of Maine School of Law - JD - (Law)Aga Pinette is completing her law degree at the University of Maine School of Law, where she is Editor-in-Chief of the Maine Law Review. After graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in Environmental Earth Sciences, Aga worked as a senior land use planner for the State of Maine, where she coordinated regulatory reviews of significant and controversial land use proposals in Maine’s North Woods, wrote agency rules, developed policy on a range of complex rural land use planning issues, and conducted public proceedings involving constituents with diverse interests and objectives. Just prior to attending law school, Aga led a contentious five-year regulatory review of the largest development project in Maine’s history—Plum Creek’s long-range planned growth and conservation scheme encompassing 400,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region. While in law school, Aga has studied a broad spectrum of legal issues that offer insights into ways of thinking about local, regional, and global problems and solutions. For example, applying her tax law and land use background, she recently analyzed the feasibility of applying certain Maine-based tax incentives and programs related to working waterfront preservation to other coastal states. The analysis was part of a broader effort by the Maine Sea Grant and National Sea Grant Law Center to address the disappearance of water-dependent fisheries and marine trades caused by the conversion of working waterfront land to other uses such as vacation homes. Aga is currently researching the legal frameworks that facilitate the incremental privatization of some of Maine’s most cherished coastal beaches, rivers, and lake shores through the purchase of shorefront and the installation of expansive docking structures for private use. Her legal analysis on this issue will be published in the next volume of the Maine Law Review. As Editor-in-Chief, Aga is also organizing a colloquium, scheduled for Spring 2013, focused on legal issues confronting food systems and local food movements in the United States.
Yale Law School/Yale School of Forestry & Env Studies - JD/MS - (Law/Environmental Health and Justice)Stephanie Safdi is a joint-degree student at the Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she concentrates on intersections of environmental, health, and human rights law. Stephanie endeavors to advance environmental justice domestically and internationally through legal advocacy, community-driven development, and research. As a member of Yale’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, Stephanie advocates for indigenous rights in the context of large-scale land development and agribusiness in Papua, Indonesia. She has worked to advance access to justice services and accountability for corporate mining practices in Sierra Leone through the human rights organization Timap for Justice, as well as to create accountability for disparate environmental and social harms domestically, with the Natural Resources Defense Council Litigation Team, and for disproportionately impacted communities in California, with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. In an effort to advance imaginative and collaborative approaches to environmental law at Yale, Stephanie founded and chaired the New Directions in Environmental Law Conference Series. Stephanie has also served as Co-President of the Yale Environmental Law Association and Vice-President of the American Constitution Society’s Yale chapter. Prior to law school, Stephanie used a Fulbright Fellowship to establish a public health outreach program with indigenous Israeli Bedouin and pursued global health equity through the Center for the Study of the Presidency, USAID, and the Harvard Initiative for Global Health. Stephanie received an A.B. in History and Literature from Harvard University and an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, where she researched the history and sociology of health and medicine.
Yale Law School - JD - (Law)Reed Schuler focuses on urban development, global sustainability, and economic empowerment of low-income communities. As a student at Yale Law School, he has been Co-Chair of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs, Co-Chair of the Africa Law and Policy Association, a Student Fellow at the Yale China Law Center, and an Associate Fellow with the Yale World Fellows Program. During law school, he has worked with the Center for Market Innovations at NRDC, the building sustainability and transparency platform startup Honest Buildings, and the Environmental Defense Fund. After graduating from Pomona College, Reed traveled to Shanghai, China as a Fulbright Fellow, where he conducted research in urban development, transportation, and sustainability. After his Fulbright research, he led an energy efficiency and renewable energy strategy project in Boston with the social impact consulting group New Sector Alliance and the environmental NGO Mass Audubon. Next, Reed started and managed an innovative, multi-sector behavior change and energy efficiency program for the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation, developing systems to build the market for energy retrofits, learn from patterns of residential energy consumption, give people better data about their energy usage, and help communities across Baltimore reduce their energy consumption and costs. He also consulted for the economic development social enterprise KickStart in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
UCLA - Ph.D - (Urban Planning)John is pursuing doctoral studies at UCLA, where his research engages a vexing question: what happens when ‘climate change adaptation’ isn’t adaptive? His current research builds a case study on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal, where intense rains after decades of drought have led to widespread flooding. He documents the ensuing local action and politics that, his fieldwork suggests, may have compounded the human and ecological impact of the changed climate, not reduced them. John engages how climate adaptation is shaped and constrained by context, whether as individual incentives or policies. His work attempts to encourage practitioners and academics to keep the concept of climate change adaptation productive by making sure maladaptation is equally well understood. Previously, while completing a master’s degree at the University of Michigan, John helped develop “participatory mapping” projects aimed at protecting the fragile property rights of poor families living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He has also gained international recognition for his work carrying the voices of Egyptians and Libyans from behind internet and media blackouts.
UC Irvine - MURP - (Urban and Regional Planning)Lindsey is interested in the water related aspects of human-environment interactions. In particular, she wants to study planning and regenerative strategies that will support communities and simultaneously maintain the health and integrity of watersheds and ecosystems. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Fullerton and is completing coursework toward the fulfillment of a Master of Science in Regenerative Studies from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona and a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from University of California, Irvine. She has been involved in several water-focused studies, including sustainable water use in the restaurant industry and institutional and organizational barriers to alternative water saving technologies in California water agencies. Her current research focuses on water demand mitigation fees and their effect on the availability of affordable housing. Primarily the goal of her research is to determine whether more contextual water neutral development policies can circumvent market externalities that adversely affect affordable housing. For her culminating professional report at University of California, Irvine she is performing an inventory of the available water resources in San Bernardino County and will develop an action plan leading to San Bernardino County’s water independence. She is currently a water conservation intern with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA). As an IEUA intern she has been involved with the Garden in Every School program, grant-writing to fund drought-tolerant landscape programs, and community outreach efforts. When she’s not at school or work she likes to spend time with her two dogs or pretend that she’s geyser watching at the Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park.
UCLA - MURP - (Urban and Regional Planning)Miriam is a master’s candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. She recently founded Alcanza, a planning practice with the mission to develop sustainable projects that promote resilient, healthy and vibrant communities. Alcanza aims to serve low-income communities in South and South East Los Angeles. Currently, Miriam is planning projects that create open space and improve water quality before discharging into the Compton Creek and Los Angeles River. Prior to graduate school, Miriam worked six years for a statewide organization, The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. In her capacity as the Southern California Program Director, she worked on local campaigns and statewide policy to address water quality concerns in low-income communities of color. Miriam is getting appointed to the City of Los Angeles Green Building Retrofit and Workforce Program Advisory Council and is a Disadvantaged Committee member of the Greater Los Angeles Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. Miriam emigrated from Mexico in her teens and is now rooted in Los Angeles where she lives with her four-year old son Louka.