ENVS Award Recipients

Environmental Studies is pleased to announce the following award recipients: Spring, 2017...

Keeley Coastal Scholarship: Cassandra Powell

Cassandra Powell:
I am a second year Environmental Studies and Biology combined major with a focus in marine ecology and the effects of climate change in the ocean. Growing up in the little beach town of San Clemente down in Southern California, I have been at the beach since I was a baby and have grown to appreciate the ocean and the role of humans to protect and conserve it. I have been active in marine conservation and education since I was a teenager and I continue to work in these fields through research in the Kroeker Lab at UCSC. I am an ENVS and EEB combined major because I believe that the best way to tackle the emergent effects of climate change like ocean acidification and sea warming is through an interdisciplinary approach to research. Our world is complex and this issue has more layers than just the hard science. I want to engage with policymakers to develop meaningful regulations, work with local communities to understand the cultural importance of their interaction with the ocean, and educate future generations about the wonders of the sea and inspire them to work to protect it. With this scholarship, I hope to do meaningful research in Alaska and engage with all of these factors in order to further our understanding of climate change and its effects both in and outside of the scientific research I will conduct.

Dean's Award: Molly Rose Jacobsen

Molly Rose Jacobsen:
I was raised in Santa Cruz County, where the mountains meet the sea and rich agricultural valleys provide food to nourish people around the world. Growing up on California’s Central Coast, I was able to develop a relationship with the natural world at a young age. I discovered my passion for farming as a young adult, and was intrigued by the overlap between the natural and agricultural worlds. In June 2016, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. My Senior Thesis reflects my interest in the intersection between the natural ecosystem and the agricultural matrix, and examines the relationship between agricultural land management practices and bat species community composition and relative activity levels. After graduating, I decided to deepen my experiential understanding of agriculture and am now participating in an Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. I hope to take my blend of academic and practical experience and provide farmers and gardeners with tools and support in striking a balance between production and conservation by using ecologically sound farm management practices.

The David Gaines Award in Environmental Studies: Rachel Shellabarger, Stephanie Webb

Rachel Shellabarger:
I am a second year PhD student in Environmental Studies, and I research dairy production in California. Specifically, I aim to understand how the variety of dairy operations throughout California meet demands of recent environmental legislation regulating groundwater and methane. This research works as a case study to better understand what sustainability efforts like environmental regulation mean on the ground for the diversity of farms and farmers. My research is informed by my agricultural background: I grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa, and use knowledge from this experience to try and bridge farmer realities and environmental policy goals. The David Gaines Award will provide funding so that I can conduct research this summer, learning from dairy farmers throughout California about implementation of groundwater and methane regulations.

Stephanie Webb:
My current research focuses on Pacific forage fish (i.e. herring, sardines, anchovies) and the role of alternative seafood markets (i.e. community supported fisheries) in creating direct human consumption (DHC) markets for fish otherwise known as ‘bait’ or ‘feed.’  I examine socio-political hurdles and opportunities in small fish commodity chains; I question if and how redistribution would affect sustainable fisheries and food sovereignty, and who in the commodity chain is best positioned for redistribution. In short, can community-supported fisheries bolster DHC for atypical, underutilized species and how would DHC affect the fishery and fishers' livelihoods? 

The James Stuart Chanley Scholarship in Environmental Studies: Sarah Marshall, Esmeralda Reyes
Sarah Marshall:
My name is Sarah Marshall and I am currently an Environmental Studies junior with a focus on Environmental Policy. My future goals revolve around my desire to make an impact on our environment, whether becoming involved with environmental policy, education, or social justice. As a senior I hope to take part in the UCDC and UCCS programs. Before graduation, I plan on applying for the California Capital Fellows program. All of these opportunities will further develop my understanding of policymaking regarding environmental concerns and social justice. After I graduate from UCSC, I plan on applying for the Peace Corps with a desire to teach environmental education in developing countries. Additionally, I would like to work on projects for AmeriCorps within the United States. When I am not focused on schoolwork I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, surfing, swimming, and running as ways to appreciate the natural world around me. 

I believe that receiving this scholarship will help me reach my goals, whether in California, Washington D.C, or elsewhere in the world. I feel incredibly honored to receive this award and am even more inspired to make a change in the world. 

Esmeralda Reyes:
My name is Esmeralda Reyes, I am a 2nd year majoring in Environmental Studies. I have always been very passionate about the Environment. My main points of interest are ecology and sustainability. In the future I want to teach environmental education, and own my own small scale farm. 

Concur, Inc. Scholarship: Marissa Fuentes, Briana Prado
Marissa Fuentes:
I am a fourth year student graduating in the spring from UCSC, studying both environmental studies and legal studies. As my years in Santa Cruz went by, my passion for the environment grew stronger. I was granted the opportunity to be an environmental enforcement intern for the Department of Justice through the UCDC program, and my heart was set that I would pursue my own law degree. I have been accepted to multiple law schools, and am still trying to decide which I will attend. I hope to one day protect our environment as an environmental attorney, and inspire others to engage in sustainable practices and become passionate about protecting our Earth. My main goals will be to tackle environmental injustices and pursue punishment for corporate negligence. I am both nervous and tremendously eager for what lies ahead for me as I continue my education, and begin my legal career.

Briana Prado:
I am a first-year Environmental Studies major combined with Biology, from San Diego, ecstatic to be studying at UC Santa Cruz! I’ve already learned so much in my classes like ENVS 24, ENVS 25 and my intership with the Big Sur Land Trust, I have a sense of direction where I would like to go. I would like to find a  balance between urban/societal human growth, needs and impacts and the conservation of ecosystems and resources. However, I am also interested in ways to implement technology and the media to effect green shifts in thinking in California communities and in those of our neighbors to the south, in Mexico. There’s still so much to learn and I truly can’t wait for what the next three years have in store!

The Terence Freitas Award in Environmental Studies: Riri Shibata  

Riri is a junior undergraduate student, working towards a double major in Environmental Studies and Legal Studies. Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in San Diego by Japanese parents, Riri has developed an interest in Japanese and American food culture. The ways in which agriculture and food systems sustain cultural heritage, as well as its ability to nourish memories, feelings of belonging, and emotional ties, has inspired her to conduct research within this field. Riri has experience working at the Santa Cruz City Hall and has held internships pertaining to environmental education. This past summer, she conducted ethnographic field research in Okinawa, Japan for her independent undergraduate research. She looks forward to completing her senior thesis on how food patterns and practices reflect the influences of US militarization in Okinawa, as well as implications for cultural continuity, connection to place, and social cohesion between old and young. Riri is excited to apply her interdisciplinary studies towards a career as an East Asian Food Studies researcher, focusing on the nexus of military, food, and environment in the context of intergenerational change.

Hammett Fellowship Winners

The Hammett fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from Benjamin and Ruth Hammett, for students who conduct interdisciplinary research on climate change or climate change and water issues. The Environmental Studies department is pleased to announce the Winter 2017 recipients, Ana Martinez Fernandez, Grace Barcheck, and Danielle Crawford.

Martinez FernandezAna Martinez Fernandez, Ph.D. student, Department of Earth and Planetary Science

I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, surrounded by buildings that made me long for the sea and mountains constantly. I spent my childhood summers on my grandparents’ farm, where I realized how completely we depend on nature for basic things like oxygen and food.  This inspired me to study Environmental Science at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid where I specialized in limnology and water quality. For the senior year of my bachelor’s degree I studied and researched abroad at Umea Universitet and at the Climate Impact Research Centre of Abisko, Sweden where I learned about microbial ecology, pollution and climate change.

After I graduated, I worked at a sustainable rural development company creating tools to assess the environmental risks of olive and seed oil extraction and refinement. Wanting to refocus on water quality I applied for a grant from the Ministry of Education of Spain to work as a research scholar in Paytan Biogeochemistry lab here at UCSC. I was awarded the grant, and enjoyed the research so much, I decided to continue pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. I am currently using RNA sequencing and physiologic analyses to investigate the effects of ocean acidification and climate change on corals and benthic foraminifera to identify species and populations resistant to a changing environment.

BarcheckGrace Barcheck, Ph.D. student, Earth and Planetary Sciences

Grace is a senior Ph.D. student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. Her love of landscapes and the geologic processes that form them began during childhood family vacations to Colorado, where she was equally enamored of hiking the high peaks of the Rockies and hunting for fossils in the limestone beds of the Great Plains. As an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, Grace majored in Earth Science because she loved going on field trips and expanding her knowledge to explain the landscapes around her. Grace became interested in seismology and geophysics at WashU. While working on several seismology research projects at WashU, she was privileged to also be involved in many field expeditions, one of which brought her to Antarctica and ultimately her current research path. Over the years, Grace participated in seismometer deployments in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Marianas Trench, various parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Breiðamerkurjökull glacier in Iceland. Grace’s current research path was inspired by the stunning beauty and captivating science she encountered on her first trip to Antarctica in 2010 to service seismometer equipment deep in The Middle of Nowhere, Antarctica. At UC Santa Cruz, she is studying the movement of the Whillans Ice Stream, which is a fast-flowing outlet of the smaller but more unstable “Western” half of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. She uses seismometers to listen to the sounds the bottom of the ice makes as it scrapes over the sediment, rock, and water underneath, and she relates what she learns to GPS measurements of ice speed. The goal is to better understand how ice slides for better predictions of sea-level rise. Her research also aims to explain what is causing the Whillans Ice Stream to slow down (say what??), and why it seems to be skittering and stick-slipping to a halt. 

Danielle Crawford

Danielle Crawford, Ph.D. student, Literature

I was born and raised in the Santa Cruz area and received my B.A. in Literature/Writing at UC San Diego. After receiving my undergraduate degree, I entered a graduate program at San José State University, where I received my M.A. in English and Comparative Literature and gained valuable teaching experience. Upon joining the Ph.D. program in the Literature Department at UC Santa Cruz, I became especially attracted to interdisciplinary research, and particularly work situated at the intersection between literary and environmental studies. While I had always been interested in the environment, taking classes in the Literature and Environmental Studies Departments at UC Santa Cruz made me realize that my work could actually address both fields. With the help of my committee, which includes my advisor Rob Wilson, Christine Hong, Kirsten Silva Gruesz, and S. Ravi Rajan from the Environmental Studies Department, my work broadly explores the complex relationship between U.S. militarization and destructive storm systems in the Pacific during the 20th and 21st centuries. My prospective dissertation draws from historical case studies, literary narratives, films, archival documents, and scientific literature on tropical cyclones and utilizes a wide geographic focus that encompasses sites such as the Philippines, Hawai‘i, California, and the Marshall Islands. By examining the intimacies between extreme storms, U.S. warfare, and weapons testing, my project analyzes how the U.S. military has historically responded to and interacted with the climate in the Pacific, and the implications this holds for disaster aid under global climate change.

Winter 2016 Hammett Fellowship Winners:

Kate Ross, Environmental Studies graduate student: Forests under climate change: climate sensitivity and management of Eastern Sierra Nevada conifers

I’m originally from Hanford, California, in the San Joaquin Valley. I spent my summers at my family’s pack station in the central Sierra Nevada, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. I received my B.A. in Linguistics and German from the University of California, Santa Barbara, but by the end of undergrad, I realized my interests and passion were in environmental studies and plant ecology. I studied Environmental Sciences at the University of Cologne, where my masters’ thesis considered the effect of specific soil microbes on plant growth and root morphology. As a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, I work with Michael Loik in the Environmental Studies Department. I am broadly interested in understanding the relationship between physiological and distributional responses of plants to climate change. In my research I work with eastern Sierra Nevada conifers in the area around Mammoth Lakes, CA, examining current physiological processes and distributional patterns across an elevation gradient, as well as historical growth trends embedded in tree rings.

Galen Gorski, Earth and Planetary Sciences graduate student: Linking hydrogeology, biogeochemistry, and microbiology during stormwater

I was born in Washington State and grew up hiking in the North Cascades near Mt. Baker, trying to keep up with my older brothers. I went to Carleton College in Minnesota and majored in chemistry, but my interests shifted to environmental chemistry and geology. After I graduated, I worked as a technician in a stable isotope lab at the University of Utah, then moved back to Minnesota and worked in a biometeorology group at the University of Minnesota. I am broadly interested in using stable isotopes and other chemical tracers to investigate human impacts on the hydrological cycle and other biogeochemical processes. Now at UCSC, I am a PhD student working with Andy Fisher and Adina Paytan in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. In my primary research I am investigating ways to improve water quality through the removal of nitrate and other contaminants through the use of naturally occurring microbial populations. Our research is focused in the Pajaro Valley Groundwater Basin, a chronically overdrafted basin south of Santa Cruz that faces significant water quality challenges. We hope our research can lead to low cost technologies and management practices that provide dual improvement to water quantity and quality on the central coast of California and beyond.