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DDCSP@UW Announces 2022 Cohort & Internship Partners

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington (DDCSP@UW) is a multi-summer, undergraduate learning experience that explores conservation throughout the Pacific Northwest. By connecting conservation to cultural identities, biodiversity, and environmental justice, DDCSP@UW supports emerging leaders to develop and contribute understandings, skills, and perspectives needed to transform the conservation field.

This year, DDCSP@UW is excited to resume in-person field immersion programming for the summer, with scholars engaging across a range of projects with conservation partners. See below for the list of incoming scholars and internship partners!

Meet the 2022 Scholars

Abigail Garcia
Kenyon College, Biology

One of my main goals is to decolonize and diversify the field of conservation biology and biology in general. I want to focus on the intersections between cultural anthropology and biology in order to learn about and implement a wide range of conservation practices. My goal is to work on bettering the living conditions of low-income BIPOC communities, specifically migrant communities like my own in the San Fernando Valley in California. Outside of classwork, I enjoy swimming and working on nail art.

Nia Richardson 
Howard University, Fisheries and Wildlife & Environmental Science

My name is Nia Richardson and I am a first year Environmental Science major at Howard University. I enjoy hiking, playing piano, and meeting new people. I grew up in Arizona where my love for nature bloomed, I mostly enjoyed watching the sunset with friends. When it comes to conservation, I have been most interested in food security. I would love to learn more about botany and ecology in order to create sustainable farming habits.

 

Kareli Mora Ayon
Heritage University, Environmental Science

Hello everyone! I was raised in Stockton California and moved to Washington my freshman year of high school. I am very passionate about our water conservation and our beautiful wetland environments and all the amazing wildlife that is within them. I reside in Sunnyside at the moment, and I have grown to call this my new home. I attend Heritage University which I completely love. My hobbies include biking, watching anime (Naruto) being my favorite, reading and hiking.

Isabella Chung
Wellesley College, Biology & Environmental Studies

My name is Isabella Chung, and I am from Honolulu, Hawai’i. Having grown up surrounded by nature, I am really passionate about making the environment accessible to everyone, and especially communities of color. Since both of my parents are immigrants, I care a lot about preserving cultural traditions and connections with land. I also really want to learn more about different ways to support food sovereignty, particularly in urban areas. I believe helping children and young adults to engage with nature is really important to creating a more sustainable future. Above all, I am committed to the decolonization of science and the environment, and hope to make these spaces more inclusive!

Jasmine Strickland
Warren Wilson College, Conservation Biology & Creative Writing

Despite being from a busy city I grew up wanting to experience the environment and help the natural world thrive. As I got older I got into creative writing and wildlife sciences and developed a joy for teaching others as much as I could. I enjoy reading, horseback riding, aerial dance, and sports photography. In the future, I would like to partake in a career that will make use of my artistic talents, appreciation for nature, and love of learning new things. I’m generally interested in predatory animals due to watching loads of documentaries about them when I was younger, but I wouldn’t mind working with other animals as well. I hope to broaden my knowledge and experiences with humans, animals, and their environments to properly teach others the importance of conservation.

Carley Bishop
Centre College of Kentucky, Environmental Studies & Studio Art

I am an adopted Chinese-American from Frankfort, Kentucky. I have lived my entire life surrounded by the arts, nature, and advocacy. I hope to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to the environmental field with visual art. I am currently interested in educational and corrective measures within environmental justice, but I love researching and being in the field. In my free time, I love reading, glass blowing, painting, skateboarding, and exploring or learning new things. I have always held a deep love and connection to water and the ocean, and I want to do what I can to protect it.

Kamryn You Mak
Middlebury College, Environmental Justice

I’ve had the privilege of growing up in San Francisco, CA with heavy emphasis on place-based learning and access to natural spaces and outdoor recreation. From this love of being outside, I’ve learned more about and gotten experience in conservation and stewardship. I’m majoring in Environmental Justice and am really interested in connecting more people with the environment and their surroundings, especially those who have been purposefully excluded, through education, food, and recreation. Outside of conservation and justice work, I also enjoy playing games and sports, outdoor rec, and reading and writing.

Maxine Haspel
University of South Florida Tampa, Geography

I am currently studying Geography at the University of South Florida, with plans to develop a professional path that centers GIS technologies and urban greenspace in conservation. I consider Atlanta, Georgia to be my home. It was there I began to understand the importance of urban greenspaces in uplifting marginalized communities, though it was in an Urban Planning course at USF that I first drew the connection between cultural and environmental conservation that I plan to center in my future work. As I work toward my professional goals, I will draw on my experiences working on public lands, traveling, and the knowledge I gain from my academic courses in order to contribute to a sustainable and equitable future.

Lexis Meza
University of Arizona, Biology & Latin American Studies

I’m currently living, working, and studying in the Sonoran Desert as an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona. I incorporate my own experiential knowledge as a first gen Mexican American into my passions surrounding conservation and community development with the intention of making the outdoors a more inclusive and welcoming space for underrepresented communities. Beyond the classroom and the outdoors, I volunteer with various student organizations, student clubs, and online communities to contribute to their efforts in conservation, education, and community engagement. In my sparse free time, I can be found tending to my houseplants, watching TV, or thinking about my next hike.

Amoreina Espinosa
Fort Lewis College, Biology

My name is Amoreina Espinosa I am Indigenous Mexica-Nahuatl and Anishinaabe from Red Lake. I was born and raised in Minnesota. My major is Biology with a minor in Physics. The land we live on is essential for life, I am interested in cultivating the environment we live in and making it better for future generations. I am co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council-Twin Cities Chapter, I am an active chapter representative. I enjoy dancing, I am apart of Traditional Mexica-Aztec group, Kalpulli Yaocenoxtl in Minnesota. I also enjoy the outdoors and swimming where I can find a spot.

Anisa Lopez-Ruiz
Pomona College, Biology

I am passionate about conservation and centering decolonial perspectives in science. I seek to understand the complicated networks of interactions between organisms and the ways in which the wellbeing of humans is inextricably linked to the health of other organisms. I grew up in the Houston area, but my family is from a Zapotec pueblo in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am on a lifelong journey to learn my native language and practice my culture. With these commitments to a decolonial praxis, I aim to help create a future that is equitable for all peoples.

Helena Thompson
University of Washington, Environmental Science and Resource Management

I am a sophomore and Environmental Science and Resource Management major at UW! I am interested in studying rivers, riparian ecosystems, and their connections to human communities. Eventually, I want to help improve communities’ access to clean water. I am particularly interested in how improving public engagement with environmental science and conservation can help communities exercise more agency over their water sources. Besides the environment, I love theatre, playing piano, and my pets.

Arjun Ramachandran
Iowa State University, Environmental Science

I am interested in urban communities and water ecosystem conservation. India and the Midwest are home to me. I love photography, music production and film in addition to my passion in conservation and environmental science.

 

 

Gabriel McMillen
University of Washington, Oceanography

Hi! I am passionate about renewable energy, and learning how climate change is shaping our future. As an oceanography major, I am also very interested in the way the ocean works and the way climate change is impacting marine ecology. I am a local Seattleite having grown up and gone to school here my whole life. A few hobbies of mine are hiking in the North Cascades, distance running, and dancing.

 

K’Lona Lofton
United Tribes Technical College, Environmental Science & Research

My major is in Environmental Science and Research at United Tribes Technical College. I am a Lakota member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Growing up with an indigenous background, I have always known there is a deep connection to the land and all living things. I pursue this inner knowing through my career interests in soils, plants, water, and wildlife. My passion surrounds the integration of Indigenous Knowledge into Western Science. I aim to recognize Indigenous Knowledge as a vital approach to land restoration, sustainability, and conservation practices.

Mikayla J. Agbamuche
University of Florida, Natural Resource Conservation

I am an avid nature lover who is passionate about plants and the relationships people have with them. Specifically, I am interested in cultural preservation through plant conservation and encouraging members of underserved communities to reconnect with nature through urban gardening and public education. My future goals include promoting the inclusion of minorities in outdoor recreational settings and decolonizing the history behind national and state parks.

Amber Smith
University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Environmental Science & Biology

Hi I’m Amber! I’m really interested in wildlife conservation and marine conservation mostly! I am excited to learn more and gain more experience so that I can progress in my career path. I’m from New Jersey but I live in Charlotte, NC for college currently. I came down last year when I started college in 2020. And for hobbies, I love to paint especially with acrylics and spend time in nature!

 

Isabella Villanueva
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Fisheries and Wildlife & Environmental Science

Hello! My name is Isabella Villanueva! I am from Lincoln, Nebraska and go to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am double majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife and Environmental Science. I am passionate about conservation biology, improving my community, protecting biodiversity, and learning. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, rock climbing, being outside, and meeting new people. In the future, I hope to travel the world and to gain experience with different environments and cultures.

Royale Pinassi
University of California, Berkeley, Conservation and Resource Studies

I am a community member of the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation. I am currently focusing on various subtopics and cultural relationships that intertwine with Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Fire and Land Stewardship, as well as Medicinal Ethnobotany. From here, I hope to find and discover nuances when it comes to fully researching ethnoecological practices that tie into each other such as adaptations to climate change, riparian restoration efforts, watershed management, wildland fire effects, cultural burning, and salmon biodiversity. Experiencing these issues as well as being very rooted within my culture has now led her to reclaim these narratives and bring awareness to the vast abundance of cultural knowledge and resources my People have held since immemorial. In doing that, I plan to further my education by working and researching within environmental management as I will be better equipped to stimulate a more unified tribal community as well as advocate for my community’s needs on an academic scale. It is an opportunity collectively for everyone by bridging the gap between traditional ecological knowledge and academic knowledge.

Travis Waters, Jr. 
Florida State University, Political Science & Environment and Society

Witnessing firsthand the effects of environmental disinvestment and the absence of critical infrastructure, I hope to bring greater attention to African American communities in the United States suffering from the injustices of unclean air, hazardous waste emissions, and unsafe water. I believe that the intersection of government and the environment is one that cannot be overlooked as a cleaner society and healthier Black community is one that can ensue from its advancement. My passion for environmental policy and service has led me to the Democratic National Committee as a Presidential Fellow, the Campus Election Engagement Project where I successfully expanded voter accessibility for thousands of Florida State University students, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Recently, I was named to the inaugural cohort of the John Lewis Scholars and Fellows Program, which aims to create positive societal change based on the revolutionary non-violent respective pioneered during the American Civil Rights Movement.


2022 Internship Conservation Partners

 

Learning from Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Marine Toxins in Clams
Coastal Communities and Ecology Lab at Western Washington University
Mentors Dr. Marco Hatch and Grad Student (and DDCSP@UW Alum!) Jackelyn Garcia

Scholars Eva Weddell and Celeste Lucero will be studying how people’s risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning may be influenced by the selective removal of certain parts of a clam before consumption, a traditional practice by Coast Salish Peoples to mitigate exposure to marine toxins.

San Juan County Marine Mammal Sightings and Strandings 
The Whale Museum
Mentors Alyssa Scott and Alexis Haifley

Scholars Kyra Tan and Henry Hua will be investigating mortalities, migratory patterns, and population health of marine mammals in the Salish Sea.

Long Term Environmental Monitoring on Yellow Island Preserve
Black in Marine Sciences and The Nature Conservancy
Mentors Salma Abdel-Raheem and Chris Mantegna

Scholars Luna Peralta, So Hess, and Taylor Umetsu will identify and contextualize abiotic shifts in and around Yellow Island Preserve that have impacted the broader intertidal community and study what their observations mean with regard to the health of the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Adaptive Management and Ecosystem Wellbeing on the Olympic Peninsula
Olympic Natural Resource Center
Mentors Courtney Bobbin and Eric Burres

Scholars Elizabeth Randolph and Nate Kinyanjui will be working on several forest ecology and management project on the westside of the Olympic Peninsula in order to study and develop forest management prescriptions that meet ecosystem wellbeing and promote conservation values.

Quinault Nation Olympic Cougar Project
Quinault Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources
Mentors Kristen Philips and Deidre Hayward 

Scholars Asa Samuels, Kiya Rahn, and Idris Tang will be studying the cougar population on the Olympic Peninsula to help develop a cohesive, broad-scale understanding of cougar population size, demographics, and dispersal patterns in order to help inform tribal management plans and guidelines to benefit predator, prey, and human communities.

Building BIPOC Food Systems in Seattle
Black Farmers Collective
Mentors Hannah Wilson (DDCSP@UW Alum!) and Ray Williams

Scholar Dominic Ardazon will be working at Yes Farm and Small Axe Farm to support Food sovereignty and Black liberation efforts in the urban landscape of Seattle through land stewardship with our human and more than human communities.

Determining and Addressing Sources of Contamination in Urban Community Gardens
Dr. Melanie Malone’s Research Lab at the University of Washington Bothell
Mentor Dr. Melanie Malone

Scholars Kaytlen Cruz and Sierra Hurtado will be engaged in soil sampling, community research, and data analysis to explore the sources of, and ways in which, contaminants impact urban community gardens in Seattle.

Wolverines, Native Plants, Data Management, and Community Outreach Along the Greenwater River
Conservation Northwest
Mentors Laurel Baum and Jen Syrowitz

Scholars Tracy Mai and Minerva Rivera will be working on several projects relating to  restoration planning, actions, and outreach in the Greenwater River corridor. They will be working with the community through a community wildlife monitoring program and cleanup actions as well as developing skills in native plant and watershed restoration.

Urban Outreach and Coexistence
Beavers Northwest
Mentor Elyssa Kerr

Scholar Kyra Hanson will be studying urban beaver populations through implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of beaver management devices as well as leading public nature walks and community outreach campaigns to promote beaver coexistence as a tool for building ecosystem resilience and reducing human-wildlife conflict.


 

For more information on previous internship projects and program information please the the DDCSP@UW website.