Workshop Participants

Workshop Participants

Below are biographies for the 25 participants in the Scaling UP: Future of Environmental Decisions for Students.

Laura Bartock

School: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Majors: Environmental Science, Media and Communication Studies
Personal Statement: In May, I will have graduated from UMBC with a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Media and Communication Studies. In the Fall, I will begin pursuing an MS in Environmental Communication and Participatory Processes at SUNY ESF. MY career goal is to work as a boundary spanner, or someone who can effectively bridge the gaps between environmental research and environmental decision-making. I would ideally like to work with research institutions to help disseminate their findings to relevant decision makers, as well as to help research institutions guide their projects in ways that are useful to the community.

Juan Botero

School: The City College of New York
Majors: Economics
Personal Statement: I believe that applying statistical research can help us learn a series of strategies for a better economical sustainability, by using our resources in both efficient and responsible ways. Statistical research and data collection have become my forte and passion. I have worked with statistical software such as SPSS, allowing me to use the U.S. Census data as a base to predict, for instance, the average income compared with different educational levels in NYC. Technological change has lowered the cost of generating data; nevertheless, only a few know how to really interpret data and use for a meaningful analysis.

Wanda Briscoe

School: University of the District of Columbia
Majors: Architecture
Personal Statement: Having earned a BS Arch degree, I have accomplished the first important step on the road to being a licensed architect. I am currently gaining valuable practical experience under a program that rehabilitates low-income single family homes. In the Fall of 2013 I will begin the second step of my journey by pursuing a Masters of Architecture.

John Brito

School: University of Missouri- Columbia
Majors: Civil/ Environmental Engineering
Personal Statement: I am currently a MS student graduating May 2013 from The University of Missouri-Columbia studying civil/environmental engineering with a minor in geographic information systems (GIS). My concentration has been water quality and water resources. As a research assistant my project focuses on developing new methodologies for EPA to tackle emerging issues in surface water connectivity. The project required me to manage large databases and convert them into GIS where I created different methods to determine changes in water quality parameters. During the project I worked with biologists, geographers, and hydrologists to create an interdisciplinary solution.

Rory Carroll

School: SUNY Plattsburgh
Majors: Biology
Personal Statement: I am broadly interested in wildlife conservation biology. More specifically, my work explores the ways in which wildlife adapt to survive and thrive in and around human-dominated environments. My work has and will continue to explore connectivity, metapopulation dynamics, and intraspecies competition and variation across an urban-rural gradient. I enjoy engaging the public to both educate and learn, and I think incorporating citizen science into research has the potential to benefit everyone involved.

Brenda Castro-Voltaggio

School: University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus
Majors: Demography
Personal Statement: My name is Brenda I. Castro-Voltaggio, I am studying my master’s degree in the Demography program at the Public Health School in the Medical Sciences campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Next year, I plan to graduate and pursued a doctoral degree in Geography. With my previous curricular experience in Environmental Science that helped me comprehend the interaction between human populations and their physical environment. I have a particular interest in investigated land use and water quality, and how they interact or may be affect by the interaction of the human population.

Yvan Delgado de la Flor

School: Humboldt State University
Majors: Wildlife Conservation and Management
Personal Statement: I am very interested in Wildlife Ecology. I have always been interested in vertebrates but in my recent exposure to spiders I learned that these little creatures, play a critical role in many ecosystems around the world. Foundation species provide a unique habitat to arthropods that are also the main food source to small mammals and bigger predators. The understanding of food webs and the interdependency of organisms is very important so that we can make better conservation and management decisions. For this reason, I would like to work in biodiversity hotspots around the world.

Jessica Flondro

School: Augustana College
Majors: Geography and Environmental Studies
Personal Statement: Undergraduate student of Geography and Environmental Studies at Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois. Pursuing research related to Geographic Information Systems, particularly, how the application of GIS can improve environmental conservation and management. Also interested in using GIS to study watersheds, map ecosystem services, and determine the impact of Development on natural spaces. Employed by Rock Island Army Corps of Engineers.

James Haggar

School: West Virginia University
Majors: Landscape Architecture
Personal Statement: I am a Landscape Architecture student at West Virginia University. I have a passion for storm water management, landscape reclamation and stream restoration. After I graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture, I would like to go on to further my studies in environmental landscape restoration. Since attending WVU, I have developed a love for the Appalachian Mountains and would like to work with professionals who work towards the reclamation of areas that have been affected by the coal mining industry.

Aubrie James

School: Iowa State University
Majors: Animal Ecology
Personal Statement: As a PhD student, my goal is to play a part in bridging the gap between ecological empiricism and theoretical modeling. Specifically, I would like to investigate population and community scale dynamics by using mathematics to generate hypotheses that can be tested in the field. Professionally, I would like to dissolve the real or perceived problems that come with the ivory tower– that is, I would like to play a role in changing how knowledge is disseminated for use outside academia. In this workshop, I hope to understand how to problem-solve with a diverse array of my peers.

Tiona Johnson

School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Majors: Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in Regional Analysis and Development; Environmental Studies
Personal Statement: This upcoming fall I will begin Virginia Tech’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program to study the relationship between urban land use and freshwater quality and quantity. Through my research and over the span of my career I intend on using my knowledge to both facilitate and guide integrated management practices by serving as a point of liaison between hydrologists and land use planners. In addition to these pursuits I aim to enhance the overall knowledge that marginalized persons have in regards to environmental issues, thus contributing to the ongoing movement of environmental justice.

Rugiyatu Kane

School: Spelman College
Majors: Environmental Science and Studies
Personal Statement: My professional and academic interests lie in the fields of environment, public health and international development. My aspiration is to assist with environmental and social sustainability on the African continent.

Bonnie Keeler

School: The University of Minnesota
Majors: Natural Resources Science and Management
Personal Statement: I am a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota where I work at the Institute on the Environment. I am also a collaborating researcher with the Natural Capital Project, a group working to mainstream ecosystem services research. My dissertation research links decisions with biophysical models and economic valuation tools for improved management of water resources. I use spatial decision support tools and GIS, water quality models, and economic approaches to address problems related to land use and management in the Midwest, US.

Laina Lockett

School: University of Pittsburgh
Majors: Ecology & Evolution
Personal Statement: Laina Lockett is an April 2013 graduate who received a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution as well as a certificate in Latin American Studies, and minors in chemistry, music and theatre arts. She would like to spend some time gaining research experience through internships in various ecological disciplines such as ichthyology, herpetology or mammalogy and environmental policy or law. She plans on pursuing a masters degree in a related field such Environmental Studies and Policy.

Maria Cristina Martinez

School: Chapman University
Majors: Environmental Science and Policy
Personal Statement: My passion for environmental issues and their geographical implications stems from my interest in the cross sections of the natural and social sciences. Issues of environmental concern are inevitably interdisciplinary and require diverse perspectives and efforts to solve. I have done community geography research in the past, which explored the social and political dynamics that created an urban community whose health was deemed to be affected by the resulting polluted air and soil. After gaining more out-in-the-field experience, I plan to pursue a graduate degree that deals with similar issues of environmental injustices, particularly environmental health.

Greg Patton

School: Augustana College
Majors: Accounting and Political Science
Personal Statement: This spring I graduated from Augustana College with a major in Political Science and Accounting. My out of the classroom experiences have allowed me to intern with the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps; intern with the Environmental Law and Policy Center; and study abroad in Brazil. I plan to pursue a career with the Park Service or some federal agency involved with the environment after I return from the “World Race” an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries.

Mariana Quiñones Rosado

School: University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
Majors: Environmental Science
Personal Statement: In May, I will complete the requirements of my B.S. with a major in Environmental Science. Currently I am working in an atmospheric chemistry laboratory studying the impacts of African dust after it is long range transported from Africa to the Caribbean. Studying and learning about everything that has to do with the environment is certainly my passion, mostly the fields of hydrology and the atmosphere. I plan to continue graduate studies and stay in the research field. Developed countries take the natural resources for granted, by this means I would like to relate science with policy and social awareness.

Mark Rogers

School: Virginia Tech
Majors: Biological Systems Engineering
Personal Statement: As a PhD student at Virginia Tech, I am interested in creating advanced technologies that mitigate nutrient inputs from agricultural areas into stream and river networks. I also examine the effects of DOC (dissolved organic carbon) on in-stream processes such as denitrification. My ultimate goal is to create a watershed scale model that accurately describes the effects of DOC on denitrification in order to better inform natural resource management policy and strategies.

Daniel Schall

School: University of Maryland, Balitmore County (UMBC)
Majors: Geography and Environmental Systems
Personal Statement: I decided to advance my academic career after working three years in West Africa (two in Senegal and one in Guinea). I was primarily involved with sustainable agriculture and Agro-biodiversity. Currently, I am first year Masters Student in the Geography and Environmental Systems department at UMBC. My subfield is human geography and my thesis will investigate land-user perception of Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the Choptank watershed (Eastern Shore, MD). Professionally, I am interested in pursing employment that directly and/or indirectly elucidates anthropogenic complications by incorporating socio-environmental, political and economic theory.

Joy Semien

School: Dillard University
Majors: Biology
Personal Statement: After graduating from Dillard University, I would like to pursue the career path of a marine biologist/environmentalist. My goal is to work with the government developing policies and conducting research on marine life, coastal degradation, and coastal restoration. From there I would like to conduct workshops/seminars on policy, knowledge’s obtained from research on preservation and some effects of stress on marine animals and their environments.

Sumnima Sharma

School: Christ University, Bangalore, India
Majors: Business Management
Personal Statement: I am currently pursuing my undergrad degree in Business Management in India. Despite having a very solid commerce background I am interested to discover ways to contribute to the environment and understand how ecologists and scientist do what they do. In addition, I want to learn how different disciplines can come together to make this world sustainable.

Kelsey Stockert

School: Augustana College – Rock Island, Illinois
Majors: Biology, Environmental Studies, Spanish for Professional Use
Personal Statement: Currently, I am majoring in Biology, Environmental Studies, and Spanish, but I am very uncertain about my life beyond my undergraduate studies. After this workshop, my internship and the Upper Mississippi River Center, and my classes next year, maybe I will be more enlightened as to what I would like to do. However, as of right now, I am pursuing a happy and meaningful life working to protect our precious planet through means I am currently unaware of.

Tracy Wendt

School: University of Montana
Majors: Resource Conservation – Aquatic Ecology emphasis
Personal Statement: I am completing my undergraduate degree in May and will start graduate school in the fall of 2013 at the University of Montana. My studies have focused on aquatic ecology and restoration. As a graduate student, I will be coordinating the restoration plan for a 201-acre property at the confluence of Montana’s Clark Fork River and Rock Creek. This is key habitat for native threatened bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

Stephanie Wilson

School: The University of Pennsylvania
Majors: Biology
Personal Statement: I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2012 with a degree in biology. Currently, I am interested in studying the diversification of crop fields. This summer I will be a research technician in Neal Williams’ lab at UC Davis, which researches pollinator habitat connectivity in agricultural landscapes. I sought to participate in the Scaling Up Workshop after taking GIS courses at the University of Pennsylvania through an internship at the Morris Arboretum. While I am still defining what career I am interested in, I would like spatial analysis to be a part of it.

Becky Wood

School: University of Oklahoma
Majors: B.A. Environmental Sustainability (Planning and Management); B.A. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment (Natural Resource Policy)
Personal Statement: I am primarily interested in environmental law and climate change, especially in communicating complex environmental problems to policymakers and the public. As an undergraduate, I have conducted research on experimental green roofs and rain gardens to improve stormwater management in the Lake Thunderbird watershed, and I coordinate sustainability initiatives for the University of Oklahoma. As a NASA Earth Earth Ambassador, I also lead geoscience outreach programs for NASA Climate Day. My interests also include renewable energy, especially wind power and transmission; the geography of poverty, and environmental justice.

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