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2017-18 CEB Interns

Jason Allison

Jason Allison – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

Working as an intern with the Center for Environmental Biology has been an amazing experience. I have always been interested in the preservation of natural habitats and the plants and animals they support. Through this internship opportunity I have learned so much more about current conservation and restoration efforts in Southern California and how I can make a direct impact. I’ve gained important practical skills in designing experiments as well as collecting and analyzing data in both a laboratory and field setting. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work on a variety of conservation projects with local partners while gaining meaningful environmental fieldwork experience in the process. I hope to apply the knowledge and skills that I’ve acquired through this internship in my future environmental endeavors.

Roxy Ayala

Roxana Ayala – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Environmental Science and Urban Studies

In the past few years, nature has been met with an increasing number of environmental issues that have not yet been addressed. These problems drove me to take action and led me to the opportunity of becoming an intern for the Center for Environmental Biology. In the past year, this internship gave me the chance to be an environmental leader, an educator, and a role model for many kids in the community. I have worked closely with organizations including the Back Bay Science Center, Crystal Cove Conservancy, Marine Protected Area Cruises, and other conservations projects. I hope to continue working with extraordinary organizations and projects in an effort to push for healthier and more sustainable environments in our local communities. My ultimate goal is to continue to grow as an environmentalist and educator through these projects. In the future, I hope to apply the field, communication and leadership skills that I have gained through the internship in a career in conservation or science education.

Malia Bautista

Malia Bautista – 2nd Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

I was always interested in the environment, in the preservation and the restoration of the natural beauty around me. I was raised with the Hawaiian culture and I felt a strong connection to the land. We say, “mālama ka ‘aina” which means to take care of the land. I wanted to contribute my part in taking care of the land and the environment and decided to take part in the CEB internship. Through this internship I have gained many amazing experiences such as being able to have a hands-on experience in designing and implementing a research project. This past quarter, I had the opportunity to go to many different sites such as Crystal Cove State Park and Back Bay Science Center. Through the work that my fellow CEB interns and I will do through the rest of the academic year, I hope that I can make an impact in restoration ecology.

Fernando Cano

Fernando Cano – 5th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

I deeply appreciate nature and what it has to offer. I know that changes to an ecosystem can have dynamic effects on abiotic and biotic factors. Thus, I felt an urge to participate in environmental programs that foster and promote habitat restoration. Working as a research intern for the Center of Environmental Biology at the University of California, Irvine, has helped me seek out this goal. It has allowed me to study and think about new techniques and approaches that will best lead to habitat restoration. By working with other interns, I remain optimistic about our endeavors on this large-scale project.

Song Choi

Song Choi – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Public Health Science, Minor: Medical Anthropology

Due to my love for plants and appreciation of conservation efforts of wildlife and nature, I wanted to be a part of a bigger project that identifies who I am as an individual. CEB was a great opportunity where I was able to meet with passionate members who care deeply about sustaining and protecting the environment as much as I do. I was able to work on various projects like designing panels for Cottage #46 at Crystal Cove State Park (CCSP), translating scientific literature for educational programs at CCSP, collecting data out in the field, and presenting at the annual CEB workshop on ecological research. I was able to get hands on experience with restoring our environment as well as build on my social skills through teamwork and social gatherings. I am grateful to say that I have learned a lot through this program and gained insight on both the challenges and benefits of conservation efforts, which will carry over to my future health career path.

Ashley Do

Ashley Do – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

Being able to intern for the Center for Environmental Biology has been such an exciting and humbling experience. I have always had a love for the outdoors and to see the deterioration of nature throughout my lifetime has fueled me to make a change. The opportunity to work with CEB has given me the chance to take action against the degradation of the environment around me and learn more about conservation ecology as a whole. This internship has allowed me to exercise and expand my research skills, build a strong sense of teamwork, and explore the world of education and outreach. I have been working on a greenhouse project called the Forbs Competition Experiment during my time with CEB, however, I look forward to working on restoring “The Bowl” at Crystal Cove State Park with my fellow interns as well as working on several other projects throughout the following year.

Leda Escoto

Leda Escoto – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Environmental Science and Sociology, Minor: Global Sustainability

As an intern for the Center of Environmental Biology I have gained more experience and learned more things than I ever thought possible. I was drawn to this program by my love for sustainability and the environment. I was excited at the chance to be outdoors and learn in an environment that was different from a typical classroom setting. What I quickly came to realize, was that CEB was constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone and I was doing more than I ever thought I was capable of. Not only was I able to stand in front of students and share my love of science in programs like the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise, but I also worked in a lab analyzing soil samples. My experiences have been diverse, and I have had the chance to not only work outdoors doing Butterfly Monitoring at Crystal Cove but also doing data collection and analysis and education and outreach. Through CEB I have gained knowledge that can be applicable not only to my regular coursework but also to a future career.

Lauren Hisatomi

Lauren Histomi – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Public Health Policy and Psychology

Nature has always been a place of comfort for me. As a child, I would love to go outdoors and play. Now, as a young adult, I enjoy gardening and being outside, whether that is a trip to a national park, a hiking excursion, a picnic, or a mere walk through the park. However, my interest to work and learn more about the environmental field began after a cultural immersion and sustainability focused trip to Costa Rica as part of UC Irvine Housings Costa Rica Program. It was truly an incredible experience where I became mesmerized by the complexity and healing effects of nature. As a Public Health and Psychology major, I would love to combine my love for the environment and these two fields to conduct research on the impact nature has on health outcomes and the importance of preservation and restoration ecology.

I am beyond grateful for the diverse range of learning opportunities and experiences that the CEB internship has provided. In one quarter, I have been able to witness around 300 Common Dolphin swimming around our boat in Newport Harbor, work in the greenhouse, be part of citizen science trips, analyze education outcomes, help design our Project of the Year at the Bowl, and even more! These experiences also come with a great group of people with a similar mindset whom I have been able to learn and grow from. As I continue the internship, I hope to help with research projects and eventually analyze data to help make future decisions when it comes to restoration and educational programs.

Daowei Li

Daowei Li – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

As a student from the inland city, I was always fascinated with the ocean. After years of studying biology, this fascination eventually influenced my career goal. The Center for Environmental Biology offers this unique outdoor opportunity that not only allows me to explore my passion, but also network with faculty and local organizations, such as Crystal Cove Conservancy and Back Bay Science Center. I was assigned to the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise program that aims to monitor the ocean’s health by investigating three categories: fish biodiversity, plankton and water quality (temperature, pH, and salinity). With the help of  volunteers and local high school students, we were able to collect the data for three consecutive years. The analysis of those data may help to expose the impact of the human activity and climate change. So far, it has been a wonderful experience to work with the CEB, and I am looking forward to the rest of year.

Crystel Maalouf

Crystel Maalouf – 3rd Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Civil Engineering

Working as a CEB intern for the past few months has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Having the opportunity to do hands-on work has provided me with an education I cannot learn in the classroom. Getting to work at Back Bay Science Center and teach others about restoration ecology has allowed me to grow both as a student and a leader in the community. With the education and skills I have acquired so far, I am able to teach others about ecological restoration and ways they can get involved. As a civil engineer major, being a creative problem solver is crucial. As a CEB intern, it is important to think on your feet, and I get the chance to solve the problems at hand, especially when out on the field. Working at Back Bay, and meeting people from different cities and backgrounds has been a fulfilling experience. I am excited to continue working with CEB, and I look forward to the lessons ahead.

Chassidy Manlapid

Chassidy Manlapid – 3rd Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Environmental Science

As an environmental science major, I was really interested in getting my hands dirty and working with the environment. CEB gave me that opportunity to go out in the field and I could not be more grateful. I’ve become more aware of restoration ecology and how it truly benefits the environment. I’ve also been able to utilize my passion and educate average citizens about science through the MPA Citizen Science Cruise. Being surrounded by a group of people that share my love for the outdoors has been such an amazing feeling, as we are able to feel truly connected by the experiences CEB has given us. CEB is such a unique program and I will be forever thankful for the experience and relationships it has given me. I look forward to the rest of the year and all of the amazing projects I get to participate in.

William Mercado

William Mercado – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Earth System Science

I’ve always had a passion for nature, and being an intern for the Center for Environmental Biology has served to strengthen that bond more than I could have hoped. When my first year as an intern came to a close, I was ecstatic to rejoin a new cohort of peers for another year of ecological restoration and education and outreach. As a returning intern for CEB, I have taken more of a mentoring role for the newcomers, which has also translated into a leadership role in CEB itself. I have begun working on my own research project, lead through the internship, and have even served as a leader in multiple projects that are still ongoing, such as the volunteer-based restoration program at the Back Bay Science Center. I am looking forward to more rewarding experiences and my own personal and professional growth as we continue into this new year at CEB.

Marisol Morales

Marisol Morales

Marisol Morales – 4th Year UC Irvine 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 Conservancy 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!

Victor Paitimusa

Victor Paitimusa – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Environmental Science, Minor: Urban Studies

I have always wanted to experience field work and CEB has given me that and much more. I never expected to work with such a friendly and passionate group of people. Everyday in the field feels gratifying to know that we are contributing to restoration, research, and education.

Moises Perea-Vega

Moises Perea-Vega – 3rd Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I never had a chance to work in nature until I joined the Center for Environmental Biology. The research that we do at CEB unites the community and helps us learn more about effective ways of restoring the environment. I have been given the opportunity to be involved in several research projects that I never would have considered as a possible career. I have learned a lot of new skills and gained experience in designing experiments and actually being able to go out into the field and implement our ideas. One of the most rewarding experiences in the CEB is working at the Back Bay Science Center, where we work with volunteers and teach them about the research that we do. CEB has taught me a lot about ecological restoration and motivated me to pursue a career in this field.

Austin Quach

Austin Quach – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

Being an intern for the Center for Environmental Biology has been highly rewarding. The unique experiences this internship offers are like no other. Research, fieldwork, and education are all factors that fascinate me; and this internship allows me to delve deeper in each respective field. Working alongside others who share the same perspective on the environment has fueled my passion greatly. The hands-on portion of the internship at various work sites to actively maintain and restore areas provide skills and techniques that are difficult to grasp in laboratory or classroom settings. The opportunity to participate in educational programs, such as Crystal Cove Conservancy’s Citizen Science Cruise and Environmental Study Loop Program, has sparked an interest and joy in educating others as I get to work alongside high school and middle school students. This internship is, without a doubt, a highlight of my college experience. The CEB internship has guided and provided me with the necessary tools to pursue my passion for restoring and conserving the environment – something I hope to do in the future.

Samantha Ramadan

Samantha Ramadan – 3rd Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Earth System Science and Biological Sciences

My enthusiasm for the outdoors has been a longstanding part of who I am; however, becoming a CEB intern has allowed me to transform my passion into something greater. By working on projects that directly benefit local environmental conservancies, I have seen firsthand how important restoration of natural habitats is. Joining CEB has allowed me to directly influence how these habitats in Orange County are restored by forming my own hypotheses and experiments. CEB has given me the skill set necessary for doing field research. I am continually looking forward to all the endeavors CEB will take me on and know that this experience can only positively influence my work later in life.

Katharina Schmidt

Katharina Schmidt – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Biological Sciences

Growing up playing in the forests of Germany and spending a somewhat extensive amount of my childhood at the San Diego Zoo is probably what led to my current regard for nature. And while it was that love for the environment that drove me to seek out this internship, it was the program itself that convinced me to stay – I am happy to say this this is my third year as a CEB intern. I am now in the final year of acquiring my biology degree, and have continued to work in both education/outreach and ecological research through CEB. As a returning intern, I have had the opportunity to take more of a leadership role and was able to complete my very own research project, the results of which I hope to be able to publish soon. I am continuously amazed with the flexibility that this position allows and the vast number of projects that I have an opportunity to be involved with. I am currently looking forward to the rest of the year and to future experiences with this wonderful group.

Melissa Steller

Melissa Steller – 4th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Earth System Science, Minor: Global Sustinability

All of my passions are centered around being outside; I love working with students on environmental education projects and researching environmental changes and impacts. I have spent my college years dedicating myself as an environmental steward: coordinating high school science education programs in Yosemite with a nonprofit called NatureBridge, restoring habitat for threatened species in New Zealand, working with the Forestry Service in Iceland to develop trails and maps for eco-tourism, and working as an Interpretive Park Guide in Arches National Park. As a current CEB intern, I’ve had the opportunity to combine my love for environmental education and my excitement for research and fieldwork into the work that I do. Interns have the opportunity to address and tackle local ecological problems by designing and implementing experiments to answer complex questions. We then get to educate local schools and community members as they come out and help us collect our data, learn about the issues we’re tackling, and become citizen scientists. This work translates perfectly into what I hope to do with my future; upon graduating I hope to work for the National Park Service as a Biological Science technician studying changes and impacts in our parks and sharing that information with park visitors.

Juan Troncoso

Juan Troncoso – 5th Year UC Irvine Student, Major: Earth System Science and Spanish

I am happy to have been given the opportunity to return to the Center for Environmental Biology (CEB). My first year as an intern was amazing, all the different projects helped me shape my professional career path. CEB has provided me with an opportunity to get involved in restoration practices by exposing me to projects that involve analyzing the effectiveness of seeding compared to planting or the nursing effects that mature plants have on seedlings. CEB has provided me with valuable skills that I can use both in the field as an intern and in my future careers. I am very lucky to work with a team of highly motivated individuals who love the environment as much as I do and who are willing to get their hands dirty to make a difference in the community.