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2023-24 CEB Interns

Addie Aubley – 3rd year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science and Policy; Earth System Science

I have always been environmentally oriented and knew I wanted to pursue an environmental related career. I’m an avid surfer and scuba diver. Through scuba diving at the same sites over time, I have watched ecosystems dramatically change due to human impact. A sad truth that I hope to have a positive impact on through my career path. The CEB internship, among many teachings, has allowed me to explore the importance of maintaining and restoring ecosystems. This internship has immersed me in the world of conservation and restoration and has only grown my interest in fieldwork. I will surely apply the knowledge I have garnered from this experience to my day to day life and future pursuits.

Catherine Ishii – 2nd year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science & Policy

Something that I admire, but am also intimidated by, is the highly interdisciplinary nature of environmental science. Throughout my educational journey, I have familiarized myself with the political side of environmental issues by analyzing international policies and programs. However, I had never truly been exposed to the ecological discipline of this study. I joined the CEB internship program to seek out opportunities to get my hands dirty, figuratively and literally, in conservation and restoration. Experiences such as exploring local ecosystems with Project Grow and assisting UCI Nature with developing drought resilient sites have allowed me to recognize the ecological issues in my local community that I was previously unaware of. By taking a purely hands on approach to environmental science, I have gained endless opportunities to apply my knowledge on sustainability in the real world rather than being stuck in a pattern of memorization. Moreover, CEB has allowed me to work alongside a wonderful group of ambitious peers who also seek to alleviate the consequences of climate change and anthropogenic damage on our ecosystems. I am extremely grateful for the patience and support from our mentors in CEB and our partnered organizations who have guided us through fieldwork and professional development. This program has helped me gain a deeper understanding of different career pathways in the field and improve on skills that will help me in my future professional pursuits.

Darlene Pham – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences; Earth System Sciences

Through my years at UCI, I’ve had a difficult time pinpointing what area of study I wanted to focus on. I went into this internship blindly, but also curious on how CEB could further my general interests in ecology and the environment. The CEB program provides many opportunities to get involved in restoration projects, education programs, research, and learning skills such as plant identification and data collection. I’ve enjoyed my time most with Project Grow, restoring our local habitats while learning about the native and non-native plants in California. It was refreshing to see myself work closely with nature and push outside my comfort zone. The connections you decide to make during this internship can be worthwhile. I enjoy working alongside my fellow CEB colleagues and partners from organizations who are also all passionate and educated in what they do for the environment. I hope to use my experience and connections from this internship towards my future career. Thank you to all the people who work to protect and enrich our environment and the plants that reside in it.

Elaine Pritzlaff – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science & Policy

As someone who has always preferred being outdoors, I have discovered that coupling my passion for the environment with the necessary action to preserve it is essential. The Center for Environmental Biology has given me the tools necessary to help create positive change. As humans, we are all part of a global ecosystem where our actions impact the world around us. Environmental justice affirms that everyone has the right to be free from ecological destruction. My work with CEB has allowed me to do a variety of things. Most of the time has been spent working in research and informal science education settings. As a returning intern, I am grateful to be able to share my experiences with the new interns. I would like to thank the CEB supervisors, partners, and my fellow interns. I have had such an amazing experience these past 2 years, and I am very excited to see what the future brings for the program.

Hunter Vandre – 2nd year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences; Minor: Spanish

Nature and I have always been in close proximity. Growing up in the heart of the central valley, surrounded by the alpine Sierra Nevadas to my east and the lush north coast and redwoods to the west, the outdoors have been close to me for as long as I can remember. Whether it be riding my mountain bike through winding vistas in Tahoe or hiking between rice fields while hunting with my dad, growing up always meant greater connection to the natural world. Since coming to UCI, my appreciation for nature and it’s biochemical and ecological underpinnings has only expanded. The plethora of resources afforded to me by my colleagues and supervisors alongside the environmentally-conscious community I’ve grown have pushed me to explore opportunities I never would have otherwise taken advantage of: and for those, I am eternally grateful. CEB has allowed me to discover passions I never knew I had and has given me the professional, academic, and personal guidance to break out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons. Moving forward, I hope to pursue a doctorate in a restoration science or related field with the ultimate goal of pursing a teaching professorship.

Jordan Navarro – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science and Policy

Since I can remember, I was a daydreamer. As a kid, I spent a good part of the start and end of my day staring out a window while my family commuted to and from work and school. I was drawn in by the views of my home, and the people sitting in their cars, and the ways people were always moving. On the flip side, I also liked to focus on the things I’d see every day, like the overgrown grasses of old plantations, sunrises, sunsets, the colors in the clouds, and the different rain intensities; I admired it all. One question that frequently came to mind was, “How did that get there?” whether I was looking at a rock or tree or a bird flying by. When I didn’t know, I would come up with stories for each thing. As I learned to map things out and draw connections, I grew to love science and the environment. I saw the world as a vast system transecting with smaller ones, creating massive cycles of interactions. As I advanced through college, I wanted to grow my understanding of these cycles, so I chose to major in Environmental Science and Policy. Through this internship and because of the knowledgeable staff, I can ask all my questions and immerse myself in our objectives to make an impact and see how things got places.

Lindsey Moreno – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Environmental Science and Policy; Minor: Humanities and Law

During my freshman year of high school I watched a movie called “Before the Flood,” staring Leonardo DiCaprio, where I watched a polar bear struggling to find food because of the melting ice caps in Antarctica. I was heartbroken but fascinated by how quickly humans were destroying environments like Antarctica. From that point, I knew I wanted to dedicate my studies to helping restore our deteriorating climate. I changed major practices in my life for the sake of living a more sustainable lifestyle like cutting red meat out of my diet completely. CEB has granted me hands-on fieldwork experience to help restore my environment. I’ve worked directly with ecologists, planting native species and educating others on restoring native plants. While the hands-on experience has enhanced my research experience, I am grateful for the social networks the CEB faculty has exposed me to! Through CEB I’ve bloomed my fieldwork experience which guided me to discover that I want to pursue a career in urban planning!

Miriam Pinada – 4th year UCI Student, Major: International Studies / Environmental Science and Policy

My journey at UCI has been a roller coaster, in a sense that there are so many opportunities that I have encountered and taken advantage of. I studied in Washington, D.C. during my third year and explored different career routes in both policy and environmental research. Then I studied abroad during the summer before my 4th year in Greece and I learned about urbanism and sustainability in Athens and the Cycladic Islands. I experienced life in traditional and modern communities, allowing me a micro-level understanding of climate crisis challenges, including rising sea levels, drought, and wildfires. These experiences have expanded my knowledge on international relations and how environmental challenges are experienced in all parts of the world, not just at home. Interning for CEB has added to my experience and introduced me to field research and what it would be like to have a career in conservation and restoration. This program has helped me grow in fieldwork and research skills which allowed me to expand my repertoire of expertise. As I approach graduation, I can confidently say that I am ready to explore what the world has to offer and I excited to see where I will begin my career journey whether that be in policy or conservation and restoration.

Mya Huetter – 4th year UCI Student, Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Minor: Global Sustainability

During the midst of covid, being outside became my life. I had always felt connected with nature; growing up my family and I went on vacations to National Parks and hiking was always something I enjoyed. However, the pandemic allowed me to get outside as a way to interact with friends as well as improve my mental health. Over the past four years at UCI, my respect and passion for nature has only grown. I’ve been able to learn about how ecological breakdown is not only detrimental for the environment, but also about how it deepens social inequities and creates stronger economic burdens for those that have been historically underprivileged. The CEB internship at UCI has provided me with experience in field work, networking and educational outreach. I’ve found this internship incredibly fulfilling, and my time with CEB has ultimately inspired me to pursue field technician work following undergrad. My goals moving forward are to continue to help restore ecosystems, work to build resilient and equitable communities, and to inform others about the importance of ecological protection.

Warren Jaffee – 3rd year UCI Student, Major: Earth System Science & Environmental Science and Policy

When I first came to UCI, I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I liked science and animals, and I figured I would probably declare biology as my major by the end of the year. However, during the spring quarter, I took an introductory earth system science course about the atmosphere. Having little previous exposure to environmental science, I found the course very exciting and interesting. Although topics such as global warming and the earth’s future can be disheartening and depressing, the course really stuck with me. I wanted to help fix these huge environmental issues, so I declared earth system science as my major and environmental science and policy shortly afterwards. I heard about the CEB internship during my sophomore year from one of my professors, and I knew it was a perfect opportunity for me. I had been searching for research and fieldwork opportunities since my freshman year, and the idea of working outside and getting my hands dirty sounded really fun. I also liked the idea of learning more about conservation biology, restoration biology, and ecology since I wasn’t taking any biology courses for my major. So far, the majority of my time at CEB has been at two field sites. First, I have worked substantially with Project Grow at the Back Bay Science Center helping restore their riparian forest community. Second, I have contributed a lot to the Fuel Mod site at the UCI Ecological Preserve by removing invasive weeds and preparing the site for planting and seeding. Also, quite recently, I started planting native grasses at the site. It is very fulfilling to see CEB’s restoration work pay off. I hope to get more involved with research this year and contribute to more oak monitoring. Overall, I’m very proud of what I have accomplished so far, and I’m excited for new experiences!

William Deng – 5th year UCI Student, Major: Biological Sciences & Earth System Sciences

I’ve always been an outdoorsy kid—maybe that’s a product of having grown up in Northern California all my life. We have so many parks, wilderness preserves, and beaches (some as close as a five-minute walk away). It’s a central part of what defines who I am from my hobbies, to my interests, to my major. I’ve spent much of my childhood hiking through some of our regional parks, exploring the San Francisco coastline, or taking advantage of the one year we purchased a Monterey Bay Aquarium membership to visit whenever I could. One of my most memorable experiences from high school were the two field trips we took to MPA (marine protected area) sites along the coast. There, we worked with state park biologists to sample populations of sand crabs at different tidal distances and perform transect sampling at the tide pools. While I was initially accepted to UCI as a business administration student, I knew my true passion was Biology. I made the switch before my first quarter and I’ve never looked back ever since. This internship has given me the opportunity to try things I’ve always wanted to do but never thought I’d have the opportunity to do. Whether that be traveling to remote sites, two hours away, to conduct vegetative field work or boarding a marine cruise to shadow educators (and being lucky enough to watch pods upon pods of dolphins during our return). I’m grateful that I’m able to bond with other undergraduates who share similar goals and interests and learn from those who are already established in the field. I’ve learned and experienced so much throughout my time here and I’m excited for what’s left to come!

Noah Marsh – Bio Coming Soon