Roxana Ayala – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Urban Studies
It has been incredibly exciting to be able to work as an intern with the Center for Environmental Biology. This opportunity has allowed me to immerse myself in the field of conservation ecology. This internship has been a platform through which I have continued to learn practical research skills, it has helped me grow as an environmentalist and it has been insightful in learning about various conservation concepts. I look forward to working on a research project at the Back Bay Science Center, and being able to make an impact with restoration while being able to work with a multitude of individuals in the months to come. I am hopeful that I will be able to apply the skills and knowledge I gain through this internship to other parts of the field of conservation.
Song Choi – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Public Health Sciences, Minor: Medical Anthropology
Some of my biggest motivators in contributing to the success of the conservation of the environment are community service programs and projects such as the Center for Environmental Biology. I knew that since I was a little girl, I wanted to help my community protect the environment in order to sustain water, air, wildlife, and more. This internship has given me the opportunity to achieve this, and better yet, I was able to work on many different projects and tasks like translating scientific papers into 7th grade writing for the Crystal Cove Alliance Project, working with Back Bay Science Center volunteers transplanting in the greenhouse, going on multiple Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruises, and helping visually impaired seniors for the Braille Institute visit. Not only was I able to gain hands-on experience, but also was able to meet many intelligent and diverse groups of people who share the same passion as I do.
Khai Dang – 4th Year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences
I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher and a biologist. I wanted to teach and do research. As a result my plan was to get a PhD in biochemistry and teach in a university. Being a CEB intern and having my first field work experience made me realize that working in a laboratory all the time is not an ideal job for me. I prefer working outdoors, interacting with a different aspects of nature. I also love to interact with people and teach them about the environment surrounding all of us. CEB internship is the best combination for me and helps me find my true dream job.
Cole Engert – 4th Year UCI Student, Major: Chemistry
After my first few years at UCI, I knew that I wanted to work with plants and that I loved the outdoors. I applied to CEB because I wanted to go beyond the classroom and tangibly affect the outside world while constantly learning. I was not disappointed. Even while limited by my schedule, over the last few months I’ve been involved in research project design, implementation, and analysis. The faculty are exceedingly friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable, and my fellow interns are deeply interested and excited about our projects. From my experience at CEB, I have been able to commit myself towards a specific career path which I can feel confident in pursuing thanks to a handful of excellent opportunities.
Waylan Khuu – 4th Year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences
The world has so many beautiful places to offer, from the vibrant coral reefs to the majestic cloud covered mountain tops, and I want to be able to explore and share these places with others. In order to do so now and in the future, we have to take steps towards preserving these special locations. Through the Center for Environmental Biology at UC Irvine, I’ve been able to take steps towards finding a career that will enable me to make a lasting influence on this Earth. I’m constantly exposed to new hands-on experiences throughout Orange County. I’m able to work with experts in multiple different fields and learn something new every day on the job. At the same time, our team is able to educate those around us via programs such as the Marine Protected Area Cruises and ROOTs events at the Back Bay Science Center. All in all, the CEB program so far has been an amazing experience and I look forward to seeing what the future brings.
Herman Singh Kooner – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Center for Environmental Biology internship is everything I could ask for. I came into the school of biology knowing I wanted to work in environmental sciences, but lacked a focus. This internship has provided me with an immense amount of experiences ranging from research to education. I have had the opportunity to explore the local Irvine community and appreciate the wildlife so many others overlook. I have also had the chance to teach younger students about the coastal environments. Not to mention all the great people I met, including my advisors, peers, and students. This internship, along with all the experiences and people I have met, has kindled my love for maps and mapping. Thanks to the guidance and experience the Center for Environmental Biology has given me, I now have a focus for my future.
William Mercado – 3rd year UCI Student, Major: Earth System Science
Becoming a CEB Intern has, no doubt, been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Not only have I bonded with people that share my love for the outdoors, but I have also gained so many new experiences, both professionally and personally. I love working with the other interns and CEB partners on all these projects that CEB has given to us. Working with Crystal Cove Alliance has shown me how to be a learning facilitator, demonstrating to younger students how authentic science is conducted. I’ve also lead groups of volunteers as we worked on restoring an area of land at the Back Bay Science Center. Finally, I’ve had the joy of monitoring Oak Trees to see how their population is holding up after several years. I really am grateful for CEB giving me these experiences that I would not have had anywhere else.
Marisol Morales – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I’ve always had a love for the environment, but I didn’t know how my passion could be translated into a career. CEB has allowed me to explore my interests and gain experience by giving me the opportunity to work on a variety of ecological projects. I’ve learned a lot of new skills such as ecological restoration, oak monitoring techniques, and translating science for the public. I got to work with the Back Bay Science Center and Crystal Cove Alliance on ecological restoration experiments that have amazing education and outreach programs. These experiences have inspired me to pursue a career in ecology and science education. I hope to take the skills I’ve learned here and apply them to my future career!
Hanh Nguyen – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science
Being a part of the CEB program has given me many unique opportunities and experiences that I’ve never had before. Even though I have always been passionate about sustainability and conservation, working outdoor was something very foreign to me; however, the time I’ve spent as a CEB intern greatly changed that. All of the projects require me to go outside of my comfort zone and truly immerse myself in the environment around me. So far, I was able to participate in programs like the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise, the Back Bay Science Center Seeds versus Seedlings Project, and many more. The CEB program has not only helped me improve many aspects that will benefit me in my future endeavors, but also gave me the chance to see first-hand how to preserve and restore the natural ecosystem around me.
Quincey Nguyen – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Earth System Science, Minor: Education Studies
Global environmental issues are constantly growing, so does the need to be aware of the problems that surround it. I’ve always been captivated by the people and nature that drives environmental change, which has motivated me to become an intern for the UCI’s Center for Environmental Biology. During my sophomore year of highschool, I had the grand opportunity to work as a mentor for elementary students in an environmental science program called Biosite. Throughout the school year, I helped establish a community that worked together to carry out water quality tests, while participating in fun educational activities. From that program, my passion for both the environment and education grew, and pushed me to pursue opportunities alike in college. As a college student, my ultimate goals are to explore my passions and grow into a better person, and CEB has fulfilled both of these promises. CEB has given me opportunities to become involved in both the research and the educational field. Opportunities, like the Crystal Cove Citizen Science Cruise, has not only given me chances to explore my major and minor, but has also helped me continue my work as a mentor in a new community.
Paola Romero-Ceron – 4th Year UCI Student, Biological Sciences
Being an intern in the Center for Environmental Biology Internship has allowed me to network with local environmentally oriented organizations like Back Bay Science Center, Crystal Cove Alliance and Crystal Cove State Park. In my time span participating in the internship program, I have worked alongside Crystal Cove Alliance on a Soil Microbes Education and Outreach Program for local 7 th grade students. This research-driven project enabled me to help develop the program and gain hands-on experience prepping materials for the project. In order to have a successful education program I familiarized myself with the lesson-plans and helped develop objectives for the students, program instructors, and the teachers. Through CEB I have realized that ecology and restoration projects are likely to be most successful when they are linked with education programs to spread knowledge and awareness of the importance of restoring and maintaining natural habitats in Southern California. I am eager to continue developing my skills through CEB and applying them when I go into the workforce upon graduation.
Katharina Schmidt – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences
My love for the environment drove me to seek out this internship, but the program itself convinced me to stay – I am happy to say that this is my second year in the CEB Internship program. I am currently a third-year biology major and have continued to work in both education/outreach and ecological research. As a returning intern I have taken more of a leadership role this year and have chosen to pursue my own research project through the program. I am constantly amazed with the flexibility that this position allows and the vast amount of projects that we have an opportunity to be involved with. I certainly look forward to the rest of the year and to future experiences with this unique group.
Stephanie Silva – 4th Year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science and Public Health Sciences
Entering my freshman year of college, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do. Throughout the years my passion to help my community grew, specifically the health of the people and the environment of my community. I am given the opportunity to help the local community through environmental outreach and I am able to conduct research that can go far beyond. The CEB program allows me to focus on the health of our environment through restoration and conservation work, and it gives me the opportunity to promote sustainability through educational outreach. I am thankful to receive a unique opportunity to gain important skill sets that will indeed help me flourish in assisting my community in the future.
Priscilla Ta – 4th Year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences
Throughout the past two years that I have spent as a CEB intern, I have gained an invaluable skill set which will aid me in my future endeavors as I prepare to enter the workforce. Through this internship, I have had the greatest privilege to be able to work with a team of highly skilled individuals, faculty and organizations who share my same passion for studying and restoring damaged natural ecosystems in Orange County. During my first year of the internship, I participated in both field research and education outreach projects which provided opportunities for me to learn how to conduct authentic scientific research and communicate our findings and the significance of our projects to local community members. In my second year with CEB, I plan to work more intensively on my senior thesis related to one of our passive restoration experiments. Ultimately, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a CEB intern and greatly value all the experiences and relationships I have formed through this program.
Juan M. Troncoso – 4th Year UCI student, Major: Earth System Sciences and Spanish
I am happy to have been selected to take part in the CEB 2016-17 internship program. I look forward to every time I get to go out to the field and get my hands dirty. Since I can remember I’ve always been exposed to nature, whether it as hiking or drinking out of a spring, nature has always been part of my life. My love for the environment grew in high school and it guided me towards an environmental approach regardless of any major/career I chose. CEB has provided me with an opportunity to get involved in restoration practices and to communicate those experiences to the community. As a CEB intern I’ve worked on both outreach/education and research. As part of the outreach aspect of CEB I worked on the translation of research papers. The purpose of this was to make the reading more adequate for middle school students. As part of research, I participated in activities such as transferring seedlings, soil mixing and setup of plots for our experiments. Regardless of the task I am assigned in the program I am always happy because I know I will always learn something new.
Laura Wahr – 3rd Year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences
This is my second year as a Center for Environmental Biology intern. I really enjoyed the versatility of this program and working on the many projects CEB was involved in last year, especially oak monitoring and education/outreach at Crystal Cove State Park. As a second year intern, I hope to learn more about leadership roles in science education and research, as well as continue to work on projects that I am passionate about. I look forward to helping the community and communicating with the public about the importance of ecological conservation. This is an amazing program where I have gained invaluable knowledge and hands on experience that I know I can apply to all future endeavors.