2014 Scholar bios
The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars of Northern Arizona University
Meet the 2014 Scholars.
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Allison Donine, an environmental policy major, is passionate about preserving natural landscapes and sparking excitement in others to do the same. As the Environmental Senator at her college, Allison has worked to establish the first ever Green Initiative Fund to encourage student-led innovative and creative solutions to environmental problems on her campus. Allison has also served as a research assistant for the Ontario Real Food Project, which addresses issues of food justice in Ontario, CA. As a Gilman International Scholar in Nepal, Allison will be researching development in the face of climate change, examining the Nepali perspective on radical American environmentalism. When Allison isn’t busy doing these things, she enjoys spending her free time crafting jewelry from natural and found objects.
Baruch College, New York, NY
Ari is a student at the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. He is interested in building sustainable urban environments, coastal ecosystem resilience, and GIS applications for conservation and participatory community planning. Ari is V.P. of the Environmental Cooperation Organization (ECO) at Baruch College, and serves as Secretary of Baruch Undergraduate Student Government’s Legislative Affairs Committee, advocating for social justice and environmental programming. Ari has conducted research on lichens in Central Park and on people’s experiences of material loss from hurricanes (inspired by Hurricane Sandy and a service-learning trip to New Orleans). This summer, he studied post-wildfire stand replacement in New Mexico through the Bandelier Ecology Group. Ari is the Baruch Campus Representative for the Macaulay Gastronomy Club and enjoys documentaries, vegan cooking, and hiking.
Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX
Ben is double majoring in biology and environmental studies with a minor in feminist studies. He became interested in environmental issues and sustainability late in high school after taking an environmental science class that opened his eyes to an exciting and important field. Ben recently interned with a restoration ecology team from Northern Arizona University that specializes in developing and implementing novel revegetation strategies in riparian areas in arid lands around the west. Additionally, Ben has experience working with GIS software, and sustainable agricultural practices such as permaculture and aquaponics. Ultimately, he wishes to pursue a career that explores the ways in which humans can sustainably impact both their environment and one other in a positive, meaningful way. In his free time he enjoys making music, gardening, and engaging with all things non sequitur.
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Eva Malis is studying Environmental Science, with minors in forestry and creative writing. She is an outreach coordinator for Students Against Fracking, a blog editor for the California Student Sustainability Coalition, and Blog Staff for the Student Environmental Resource Center at her campus. During her freshman year of college, Eva won a grant from The Green Initiative Fund to install recycling bins in her school’s dorm rooms, and is continuing to apply for more funding to further the growth of residential recycling. She volunteers with SEED (Students for Environmental Energy Development) at La Escuelita Elementary in Oakland to spread her environmental passion to young people. Eva has interned with Environment California to combat fracking, Boston Scientific to explore biotechnology, and the Ecology Group of Bandelier National Monument as a field intern to assess post-fire regeneration. Eva is an alumna of the Global Environment Theme House, and is most interested in wildlife conservation, communicating sustainability, and environmental education.
West Virginia State University, Dunbar, WV
Jamaine is interested in environmental law and is studying Criminal Justice and Environmental Science at WVSU. Jamaine would like to be involved in the creation and enforcement of new environmental policies, laws and regulations. Right now he is active in several clubs such as Club YNASA, a service club that works to support diverse communities throughout the school year. He is also involved in the National Criminal Justice Association that honors their participants with an award for good behavior during the year. NAACP is a new club for Jamaine and he is working hard to take on a leadership role within this organization. In his spare time, Jamaine likes to read fantasy stories and study HTML coding.
University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jordan Herring has recently developed a passion for environmental engineering and marine ecology and aspires to a career in one of these fields. Jordan has demonstrated his love for the environment in a variety of ways: being an active boy scout troop leader up until the age of 17, becoming one of his university’s Eco Representatives, and serving as a LEAF intern (Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future) under the Nature Conservancy. He also attended a LEED certified high school in Lithonia, Georgia, one that influenced environmental topics and research in its everyday class sessions. He plans to travel around the world, making his positive impact on the environment one step at a time.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
Kimberly Hill is studying Natural Resources Management at SUNY. She has an Associate’s degree from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in liberal studies. She is currently interested in (ethno) botany, water management, and recreation management. Kim received an Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future Fellowship at SUNY-ESF. Kim’s DDCS internship allowed her to work on a sagebrush habitat project and she has also interned with the Tuscarora Environmental Program on her reservation. Kim loves combining her favorite hobbies of hiking, botany, and photography.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
Marcy Brown majors in Biology, with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UNLV where she works in a research lab studying the effects of relative humidity, light intensity, and water availability on the ability of Timiella moss to survive stress. Marcy is interested in plant biology and restoration ecology, particularly in prairie and grassland environments. She is also interested in food sustainability, and works at a farmers market for an indoor vertical farm that specializes in microgreens. Marcy has received multiple awards and scholarships, including the Girl Scout Gold Award, which she earned by creating a twenty-eight page guide to the ethnic and farmers markets in Las Vegas. In her spare time, she participates in volunteer work for the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada, and is a member of several on campus organizations, such as the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers.
University of Houston, Houston, TX
Margarita Reza studies Environmental Science at UH. She is passionate about implementing and advocating for sustainability in an urban setting. She has been an advocate for recycling and gardening since she took an Environmental Science class in high school and volunteered at park clean ups. She interned with the Houston Parks Board, campaigning for more bike trails and green space around the Houston area. At UH, she tutors Chemistry, and as an active member of the Horticulture Society and volunteer for the Office of Sustainability, she works in many restoration and gardening projects, including helping with the upkeep of the sloped campus green roof. She is very interested in plants and in atmospheric chemistry. Margarita aspires to do scientific research that will contribute to conserving the environment, help mitigate the effects of climate change, and enable adaptation to these imminent changes. She enjoys dancing and sketching in her spare time.
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Maria Eller is majoring in sustainability with a minor in Spanish at ASU’s Barrett Honors College. Maria found her passion for conservation and diversity while exploring the Southwest with her family growing up. Her continued interest in conservation led her to obtain a research assistant position at the Wetland Ecosystem Ecology Lab at ASU. There, Maria began to understand the complexities of aquatic and soil ecology. Maria’s internship at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center also focused on aquatic ecosystems, primarily aquatic food webs. Ms. Eller plans to attend graduate school for Marine Biology. In the meantime, Maria is a coordinator of the Sustainabilibuddies Mentoring Program, a member of the Campus Sustainability Student Initiative, and a member of the Honor Society for Sustainability Alpha Chapter.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Radha Patel is double majoring in Biology and Global Studies, with a focus on Health and Environment at UNC. She hopes to help bridge the gap between science and the general public by incorporating environmental studies with her interests in communication and policy. Radha’s interests in inclusivity are demonstrated by her work as a counselor for Carolina United, a program that aims to allow students to explore all aspects of diversity within and between themselves, as well as her role as a mentor through the UNC’s Scholars’ Latino Initiative. Her passion for service is evident through her position as an executive cabinet member of APPLES Service-Learning organization at UNC and her involvement with alternative fall and spring breaks.
Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
From his youth, Raidel Moreno has always enjoyed the wonders of the natural world. However, it was not until his junior year of high school when he took Environmental Science that he decided to pursue a career in conservation. He is currently exploring his interests within the conservation field through internships with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. Raidel is passionate about representing minorities in the work force. He is currently one of the co-chairs for the Black Student Union and is the treasurer for SOMOS (the Hispanic club at his school). He is also the student administrator in the campus safety office. Raidel enjoys spending time outdoors and taking long walks with his dog, where he can reconnect with nature and remember the simplicity of life
University of Nevada,Las Vegas
Stacie’s passion for the Southwest and the people who call it home has driven her to work with several organizations across the Las Vegas valley, including The Shade Tree women’s shelter, Three Square Food Bank, and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. Stacie is devoted to the representation of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. She believes that activism and communication are equally essential in the fight for social and environmental justice. She has canvassed for multiple political campaigns and has written features for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stacie hopes her experiences with the DDCSP@NAU will strengthen her ability to raise social and environmental awareness in her community.
University of Houston, Houston, TX
Sujata Gautam is majoring in Civil & Environmental Engineering at UH. She is also a proud member of Warriors of the Wild, a non- profit environmental education program that advocates for empowerment among young kids. In addition, Ms. Gautam enthusiastically participates in many outdoor activities and sports such as rock climbing, hiking, kickboxing, soccer, Frisbee, and dance. She also frequently engages in multi-cultural diversity programs at her school and is an active member of the Council of Ethnic Organizations as well as the Metropolitan Volunteer Program. In the future, Ms. Gautam would like to work on creating sustainable communities and cities. While first starting local, Ms. Gautam hopes to expand her vision to encompass a more global perspective, working particularly with those living in impoverished conditions. She is excited for what the future awaits and ambitiously strives to live her life in the service of humanity.
Taylor D. Howard
University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
Graduating with honors from a LEED certified environmental high school in 2013, Taylor has chosen to embark on the journey to a career in conservation. Currently a student at the University of West Georgia, Ms. Howard plans to begin undergraduate research and is an alumna of UWG’s UWISE summer bridge program, which is limited to STEM majors. Taylor is currently studying general biology and intends to concentrate her studies on marine wildlife, a long time passion of hers. Taylor also has gained field experience by volunteering at PAWS, a local animal shelter, as well as having the amazing opportunity to work with The Nature Conservancy as a field intern in North Dakota for the LEAF (Leaders of Environmental Action for the Future) Program in 2012.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, NY
Vincent is interested in establishing a sense of community and restoring peoples’ connection to nature within his urban environment. He has studied the sustainability of farmers markets, promoted environmental spaces by conducting educational events for city youth, restored trees with the Central Park Conservancy, and helped to establish a safe habitat for native coastal birds. Vincent traveled to study the alternate style of living in Hamburg, Europe’s greenest city, where he was inspired by examples of alternative energy and transportation. He also interned with The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program, where he worked with indigenous populations in Maine to restore fish species by assessing the stability of waterways. Vincent hopes to integrate his experiences to make a difference in the field of urban conservation, both while he is in college and beyond.
University of Houston, Houston, Texas
Walter Topete’s passion for learning is overshadowed only by his passion for biology. He strives not only to learn, but to comprehend, in order to be a greater asset in the pursuit of ecosystem conservation and preservation. Walter participated in the first DDCSP during which he interned with NAU’s Forestry Department on a riparian ecology and restoration project. Walter is a member of the UH’s Scholar Enrichment Program, where he and other minorities underrepresented in STEM fields build community and tutor. Walter is also the Outdoor Programs Director for the Houston chapter of Warriors of the Wild, an organization dedicated to outdoor education for minority youth, a field in which he hopes to concentrate for his career. In his free time, Walter enjoys playing guitar and serving as the Vice President of the UH rugby club.
Hiram College, Hiram, OH
Zach Nemec is from North Royalton, Ohio – a suburb of Cleveland. Zach has received the Dean’s scholarship from Hiram College and has been on the Dean’s list for three semesters. He is majoring in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies and is expecting to graduate in 2016. Zach is interested in aquatic ecology and has been working with aquatic ecosystems since the winter of his freshmen year. Zach specifically works with benthic macroinvertebrates in headwater streams under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Clark. He plans on furthering his education after obtaining his undergraduate degree by pursuing a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Science or Natural Resource Management with the hopes of working in the field aquatic ecosystem conservation.