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Master’s Students

Second Year

Aylie Baker
Tim Chen
Jenny Crayne
Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Christina Gooch
Alicia Kristen
Sam Moore
Wenhui Qiu
Jaleel Reed
Maya Rommwatt

Continuing

Lokyee Au
Andrew Dutterer
Allyson Woodard
Chithira Vijayakumar

First Year

Nick Dreher

ndreher@uoregon.edu

NickDreher

I spent countless days as a child wandering the woods and fields behind my family’s typical suburban home outside of Philadelphia. After growing up in suburbia, I was eager to move to a place where public transportation and walking were viable means of transportation. That eagerness led me to Washington, DC where I majored in International Studies at American University. For much of my undergraduate studies, environmental issues were not foremost on my mind, and it wasn’t until my final year that I took a course in global environmental politics. After graduating, I moved to Kampala, Uganda to work for a sport-development organization as a teacher, soccer coach, and program coordinator. I was drawn to this experience by the desire to explore the cultural and social role sport can play in a community. In Uganda, I became attracted to the way communities are shaped by environment and access to food. I’ve spent the last few years in Oakland, California working as a research and program assistant for a project that addresses literacy education in multiple subject areas. Living in Oakland, a city that simultaneously exhibits many of the promises and problems of the food system, I have begun to fully realize the important role food plays in a community. At University of Oregon, I’m looking forward to digging deeper into the relationships between community, food, and environment, and addressing issues of local food access. I’m also exciting to see what Oregon’s mountains, forests, lakes, and local farms have to offer.

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Lauren Hendricks

lhendri2@uoregon.edu

LaurenHendricks_Bio

Growing up near the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, I had access to amazing natural resources, and definitely took advantage of them. But it wasn’t until my freshman year of undergrad at Colby College that I realized that I could actually incorporate my love of the environment into my life beyond doing activities that took me outside. I took an introductory environmental studies class, and was captivated by the topics we discussed. I was fortunate to take several classes in field ecology, including a trip to the Galapagos, and fell in love with the subject. Along the way, I gained skills in GIS while doing a summer research project on habitat modeling, and have come to highly value the benefits of spatial thinking and its applications in a variety of fields. I spent another summer working as an environmental education intern at a park in my hometown, and third working as an assistant in a trace metals analysis lab. I also decided to pursue environmental engineering, through a dual degree program with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. I graduated from Colby with a BA in 2011 and from Dartmouth with a BE in 2012. After graduating, I worked at an environmental consulting firm outside of DC, doing GIS analysis for US Air Force encroachment studies. At the University of Oregon, I plan to study the impacts of climate change on species distribution. Outside of work and school, I enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, reading, and any other adventures that come my way!

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Deion Jones

deionj@uoregon.edu

Deion Jones UO Bio Picture

I am originally from Tampa, Florida, attended Florida Gulf Coast University two hours south in the city of Estero, and four years and a firm handshake on a stage later, my Environmental Studies degree was completed. Growing up, I was always outside, but not necessarily romping through the woods. My nature was a 120 x 80 yard soccer field that I called home, and this love continued throughout my college years as a student-athlete. With being a student-athlete, though, came a voracious appetite that could only momentarily be quelled by copious amounts of food. My family is Jamaican, and there was rarely a night in which we didn’t have a home cooked meal from the island. Cooking was commonplace in my home, and was something I quickly and happily continued in college. However, after reading an article about numerous instances of food insecurity just miles from my university, my inkling for food switched from “What am I going to eat for dinner?” to, “Don’t throw that food out – we can donate that!” A whirlwind of food soon ensued; I was running an end of the year food drive as students moved out of housing, was an intern with a local food bank, and luckily enough, was chosen attend a conference held by Real Food Challenge across the country in California, where I consequently had been catapulted into the deep end of the burgeoning food movement in colleges nationwide. The culmination of my undergraduate food experience came in the form of a study abroad course to Rancho Margot, a sustainable ranch located in El Castillo, Costa Rica, covering topics of sustainable food, society, and sense of place. When we weren’t discussing global implications of the industrialized food system, we were knee-deep in cow manure, or methodically and carefully tending to the garden beds. This course, as well as my experiences up to this point, inspired my undergraduate research, interviewing students on their relationship with sustainable dining options on-campus. At the University of Oregon, I hope to further explore the personal relationship that develops between people and the food that they consume. I’m especially interested in this relationship at the university level, where students have more independence in terms of what they choose to eat, and the role that universities play in that decision-making, from education to availability. If I’m not around anything edible, you can usually find me listening to music, biking, reading, attempting to rock climb, or doing something soccer related.

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Katrina Maggiulli

kmaggiul@uoregon.edu

KatrinaMaggiulli

Born in Oregon, I grew up with the foothills of the Coast Range in my backyard, and the sprawling pastures of the Willamette Valley in the front. Having been raised on a steady diet of farming, art, music, hiking, and ample reading, after graduating high school I found myself working for the Oregon State University Horticulture Department and pursuing a degree in English. My plethora of interests drew me particularly to interdisciplinary issues and during my time in the OSU English department my studies focused on the human experience in their environment, and how this shapes one’s personality and perspectives on the world. When I met environmental ethics in my senior year, my interests grew to include the philosophies that inform the human-nature relationship and how they develop and change over time. After graduating I took an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service running visitor services programs for the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The differences between a scientist’s perspective on nature and an everyday citizen’s were fascinating to me. The structure scientific research creates in a person’s nature-experience is profound, and watching scientists running nature education programs struck me as limiting a child’s outdoor experience, rather than broadening and enriching it. From there I set a critical eye on the philosophy behind policy-based habitat restoration and conservation, and how all that boiled down to the facts we taught the kids. Were environmental education programs helping build the innovative conservationists of the future as we’d hoped, or were we just creating more of the same? At UO I plan to focus my studies on the connections between policy-based conservation, on the ground science, and environmental education, and how these connections can build a culture-wide environmental ethic. I’m particularly interested in species-based issues involving management practices for T&E and invasive species. On the days when I try not to get too skeptical, you can find me on a hike with my Australian kelpie Žižek, cultivating my weakness for sci-fi/fantasy novels, or enjoying a ridiculously bitter IPA.

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Dan Shtob

dshtob@uoregon.edu

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Having been born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to explore various cultures from a young age. Due to this curiosity I chose to study anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I took the advice of a favorite professor and spent a semester at the University of Zimbabwe studying the interaction between traditional and modern medicine. This interest—or at least the part that focuses on how social institutions and beliefs articulate with policy—then motivated me to attend Vanderbilt University Law School, where I concentrated on commercial law with a particular interest in banking, finance, and the social factors that influence and regulate them.After a five-year career as a finance and real estate attorney in New York, it became clear both that I would rather be out in the field than confined in an office and that my desire to return to southern Africa would not abate. My wife Brittany and I joined the Peace Corps and served in Zambia. Working with Zambian subsistence farmers and small entrepreneurs in a program that incorporates environmental stewardship, advanced agriculture and food security measures, and sustainable income generation was both humbling and illuminating, and crystallized an interest in conservation into a desire to remain in the field. I then joined Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, a conservation organization located in Mfuwe, Zambia, near South Luangwa National Park, to design community outreach programs intended to educate and sensitize the community about local environmental issues for the purpose of reducing poaching, habitat destruction, and other environmentally destructive activities.Each of these experiences convinced me of the overarching importance of understanding and aligning science and society when attempting to create sustainable and balanced conservation initiatives. Accordingly, my academic interests focus on the interrelationship between the environment and social and cultural precepts and norms, how these translate into policy, the relative efficacy of policy developed by various means, and how each of the foregoing should be incorporated into environmental and community planning. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling off the beaten path, all things aquatic, exploring the outdoors, growing orchids, and, sadly, following the New York Mets.

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Christopher Torres

cgt@uoregon.edu

ENVS Bio pic_Torres, Christopher

I was born a Southern Californian, and a bad one at that. Having been raised among the mountains of East County San Diego, I enjoy rolling hills and valleys over flowing waves and salty breezes. Undergrad took me to Northern California, to the hills of Berkeley and the mountains of North Bay. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in the Spring of 2012 with degrees in Philosophy and Conservation & Resource Studies. The interim between my academic work has taken me to the mountain tops of the San Bernardino mountains to teach science, ecology, and leadership to 5th and 6th graders and to the San Diego Zoo to be a tour guide in order to share conservation and biodiversity ideas with the public. I am happy and excited to once again be a part of a vibrant academic community in order to continue my academic work. I seek to continue my path down the avenue of Philosophy and Environmental Studies, the two graduate degrees I am pursuing while here. My interests focus on the way the philosophical perspective and approach can help understand environmental philosophy, environmental ethics, and social justice.

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Second Year

Aylie Baker

aylieb@uoregon.edu

I grew up in a small town in coastal Maine. When my parents were my age, they saved up enough money to buy a small sailboat and leave Edinburgh, Scotland for the sea. Eventually, they crossed the Atlantic. The way they tell it, it was hot that summer they arrived in the U.S., so hot they kept sailing north.In Maine, my Dad got a job as a coastal engineer, my Mom a job as a nurse. I was born, and they’’ve never left. Growing up on the coast shaped my outlook of the world; through exploring the rocky isles off of Maine’s coast with my family I developed an interest in the stories we tell at the boundaries, the inter-tidal zones.In college I wandered into the Vermont Folklife Center and found my people; my first introduction to fieldwork and narrative storytelling was through the lens of ethnography — working with communities to tell their own stories on their own terms. My first year out of college, I was fortunate to receive a grant to travel to different islands around the world, exploring storytelling as a community building tool and as a means for creating and maintaining an ethos of sustainability on islands.For the past three years I’’ve lived in different places, but never too far from the sea. Living on islands drove home for me the idea that knowledge cannot be partitioned, that sustainable livelihoods are upheld as much by story as they are by custom and policy. My work has migrated between public folklore, community storytelling and media education, natural disaster recovery work and traditional navigation.At Oregon, I’’m interested in dissecting the role of stories in shaping our relationship with place. I want to cross-examine what community-driven, ethical and socially conscious storytelling initiatives can look like. I’’m eager to explore how storytelling can be used to inform citizen science and community planning initiatives, and I’’m interested in the intersections between place-based education theory and ethnographic media instruction.Following in the steps of my intrepid parents, I hope to focus my research on traditional, non-instrumental navigation in Micronesia, continuing my study through a more formal, academic lens with navigators who use only natural signs (i.e. the rising and setting stars, wave and cloud patterns, paths of migrating birds) to find their way.

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Tim Chen

tchen6@uoregon.edu

Pulling down every single National Geographic magazine from the bookshelf and leaving them sprawled across the living room floor was my favorite pre-afternoon-nap activity as a small child; the intensity of the sense of wonder that the photographs inspired was perhaps exceeded only by the exasperation my parents surely felt at the daily mess. While my reading level and organizational skills have fortunately improved (nominally) since those days, the desire to learn more about our natural surroundings has not changed.After graduating with a dual degree in photography and environmental science from Houghton College in New York, I have intentionally chosen to work at several different positions focusing primarily on sociological aspects, a field I had less contact with during my studio art and science-focused curriculum throughout high school and college. Three years of working in communities with low-income residents, refugees, and at-risk youth has led to a desire to incorporate the study of human dimensions with my original passion for the natural environment. Several pre-college years living in Taiwan and witnessing severe environmental degradation, on the other hand, has brought the importance of responsible natural resource management and sustainable development to the forefront for me.Entering UO, my primary interests are sustainability and environmental sociology. I also hope to focus on justice/equity issues and environmental education, specifically in underrepresented populations and communities. I enjoy playing music, photography, sports, being in the outdoors, reading, and almost everything else when time permits.

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Jenny Crayne

jcrayne@uoregon.edu

A Pacific Northwest native, I grew up in the Seattle suburbs, went to college in Walla Walla, WA, then spent the next five years following jobs all over Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. After dozens of moves between Hood River, Portland, Lewiston, Salem, and—most recently— Vancouver, I am excited to “settle down” for two years and grow a few roots here in Eugene.I graduated from Whitman College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Humanities. This interdisciplinary department spanned the academic spectrum from geology to politics to literature; from E.O. Wilson to Bill McKibben to Annie Dillard. As an undergraduate, I was especially interested in social justice, climate change, and the intersection of environmentalism and Christianity.Post-college, I served as an AmeriCorps member at the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, an environmental education outfit in Hood River, OR. For two years, I coordinated and taught ecology classes for local youth while enjoying the ample outdoor opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge.From 2010 to 2013 I worked as an outreach educator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. My job took me throughout the Northwest, where I visited schools and taught science classes ranging from squid dissection to aeronautical engineering.At UO, I plan to concentrate on environmental education and nonprofit management. Outside of school, my hobbies include cooking, biking, playing guitar, and exploring mountains and rivers with my husband, Brice.

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Davita Flowers-Shanklin

dflower4@uoregon.edu

Growing up in Milwaukee WI, I can remember being fascinated with being outside. Though, this is not a story of a little girl who grew up in a small town, in the mountains, on the range, riding horses, always seeing the stars and playing in the river behind her house, this is a story of a girl who grew up in the inner city, in an area that is considered the “bad part of town”, and where most people would not consider nature.At Macalester College, I graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology, a starting point for the development of how I see myself in this field and the passions I have for the environment and the people in it. After college I spent two years in environmental non-profits through an AmeriCorps Program, Public Allies, and one year as a crew Leader with a non-profit, where I helped build capacity in the organizations and worked on projects ranging from 3000 person river cleanups, to the creation of the sustainability plan for the City of Milwaukee, to the restoration and designation of a nature sanctuary on the Milwaukee River. I also helped teach young people a range of skills from building community gardens, organizing neighborhood events, building rain barrels and aquaponics systems and designing and building rain gardens.Through my work with these organizations I realized that my passion for this field stems from not only the work that I am doing in the environment, but the connections to the people who live in those areas. While at the University of Oregon, I plan on focusing on the connection between environmental justice and restoration. It is important to me that my work impacts the community I am apart of. I believe in changing lives, through changing places.

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Christina Gooch

cgooch@uoregon.edu

goochphoto

Raised on the south shore of Kauai, Hawaii and in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, my life has been a geographic hopscotch that has instilled a love of outdoor exploration and an appreciation for the complexity of current environmental issues. These interests led me to Smith College in Northampton, MA, where I spent summers studying abroad in Kenya and interning with the National Park Service in southern Colorado, receiving my bachelor’s degree in geology in 2007. After graduating, I began a career with the National Park Service, carting my pack and boots to Mount Rainier as a park guide, to the Everglades as an environmental educator, and to the high Sierra of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where I have worked as a wilderness patrol ranger since 2009. During this time, I spent several winters pursuing an interest in sustainable food production, volunteering on organic farms in the US and abroad. My years of visitor interactions in the National Parks, along with reflection upon my own food- and environmentally-related travel experiences, have led me to think critically about the interface of global experience and community-based action. These questions drew me to the University of Oregon, where I am exploring the connection between food studies abroad and students’ subsequent engagement in local food issues. When not hiking or thinking about food, I can be found running, mandolin picking, gazing excitedly at rocks or stars, and grinding fresh coffee.

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Alicia Kristen

aliciar@uoregon.edu

Long ago, a young girl put on her best adventuring gear. She had read about travelers, role-played as an elven ranger, and written stories of wilderness heroics. Hair braided and backpack on her back full of a bug-collector’s gear, now was her time to explore the wilds and reclaim the forests from litter and pollution.As a young woman, this journey would take her far beyond New England’s forests. She sought waterfalls hidden in the cliffs with the shamans of Tepoztlán, she sang ancient songs for rain and sun with the pedagogical descendants of Ingwe, she made decoctions of nutritious herbs she’d never before heard of, and she tasted the wild foods of Shenandoah’s sweet hills. In this journey, she joined in all kinds of communities, —ecovillages, family farms, farm schools, outdoor education centers—partly as anthropological research, partly soul-searching. During these experiences, she began to have a vision for the kind of community that she wanted to be a part of: a community with nature, mentoring, and rich culture at its core. She also began to hear a clear calling for her to travel to Eugene, Oregon.Leaving her precious (goat) kids with fellow herbalists, she gave everything to travel the Oregon Trail to the great valley of the Willamette. While finding the journey worthwhile in itself, she grows everyday more delighted that Oregon is just as she had imagined. She and her partner have founded their own community, The Gardenhouse, to bring together a three-generation family with a focus on nature-based education and permaculture gardening. While attending the University of Oregon, she will delve again into her anthropological and creative backgrounds to implement a program that will connect (human) kids with nature, culture, and their communities.The projects and goals have matured, but this young woman is still in many ways the same young adventurer—, collecting specimens, journaling, writing novels, role-playing, biking, raising animals, playing in the dirt, and enjoying board games with friends. The difference is that now she can make fire by friction, stealth silently through wineberry brambles, make berry baskets from bark, and lead kids on adventures she could only dream about as a young girl.

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Sam Moore

smoore8@uoregon.edu

I graduated from Tulane University, majoring in Environmental Studies as well as Studio Art (concentrating in photography). My study at Tulane revolved around the pairing of material knowledge of biological processes with conceptual undertakings in photography, writing and drawing. Aesthetically, I am attracted to people and nature alike, and I think my best work incorporates both. I idolize Walker Evans and Ansel Adams equally alongside E.O. Wilson and Rachel Carson.As my environmental consciousness evolved, I realized that the scope of my interest was broadening to become willfully large, with driving interests in environmental justice, ethnogeography and journalism as well as field ecology, with literary concerns from intensely practical case studies to abstract natural ethics. I enrolled at the University of Oregon with an intention to intensify my study of these different paths and to throw myself fully into reading, writing and taking pictures relating to critical problems of human-environment interaction.Through courses in each domain I hope to blend a passion for visual storytelling with a foundation of specific knowledge about ecosystems and their function. I am especially interested in subtropical ecosystems in southern Africa from previous studies abroad there, especially related to the interplay between conservation, colonial history and socioeconomic disparity.Otherwise, I’m from Massachusetts, interested in biking, hiking, fresh food and plenty of hip hop.

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Wenhui Qiu

wenhuiq@uoregon.edu

I’m from Fujian, in southeast coastal China. In 2009, after receiving my bachelor’s degree in English from Peking University, for nearly four years I worked as a volunteer on an anti-desertification project in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. The desert forestation project, featuring collaboration between China, Japan and South Korea, has been considered one of China’s most successful environmental projects. However, the improved natural environment has not been as cherished as was intended. A similar scenario occurred when I was a volunteer protecting the Yangtze River source on the Tibetan Plateau. Through the ENVS program, I’m focusing on ecology and environmental education because professional interpretation of nature and ecology enables communities to better understand and appreciate their own complex wildlife and botanical resources. The academic foundation provided by the ENVS program, service in a summer internship, and the fascinating rhythms of life in and around Eugene have shown me environmental education which far exceeds my limited prior experience.

I greatly enjoy cycling and hiking in Oregon, in part because I’m an avid nature photographer, especially of macro images which highlight overlooked miniature niches of the natural world. My photo sharing website is: vanfei.zenfolio.com.

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Jaleel Reed

jaleelr@uoregon.edu

jaleel

I graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Environmental Science and a minor in Business Institutions. Growing up in Los Angeles, but having spent the last four years in the Midwest, I am excited to return to the west coast. As a graduate student, I hope to broaden and deepen my understanding of the interplay between natural resource management and economics, as it pertains to decision-making and policy implementation in both the public and private sectors of developed and developing countries. In the long run, my goal is to continue to share the knowledge and experience I gain throughout my career in order to have a positive impact on communities in need, while also working to inspire the next generation of scholars from those communities. I feel social equity in the human experience is integral to remedying environmental, social, and economic plight; so, through my extracurricular activities at Northwestern, I pushed to include a social justice component in my environmentally oriented pursuits. I engaged social justice discourse and became actively involved in the process of serving underprivileged communities through my involvement with social justice organizations.

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Maya Rommwatt

rommwatt@uoregon.edu

I was raised in the Pacific Northwest with one eye to the ocean and the other to the mountains. I learned to appreciate the splendor of the natural world from a very young age, but it took me many years and distant places to realize how my love of everything outside could be channeled into an effective way of life. I spent some years traveling the world and living in remote places before I got my act together and returned to school. I learned how people in other places do things, and observed how the land can look both similar and radically different in far away places. I also lived for several years on sixty acres in the coastal mountains of Oregon, where I learned how to homestead-light and to enjoy putting all my energy into my gardens and walking the land around me. I even had the opportunity to work on a fire lookout. I finally learned I could realize my potential by getting a proper education.I completed a BS in Biology at the UO in 2012. From there I went on to Oregon State University where I completed a graduate certificate in fisheries management. While working on the certificate I also worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in several different positions and in several different locales. I conducted geomorphology stream surveys in the coast range, Chinook spawning surveys on the North Coast, and most recently I’ve worked PIT tagging fish on a study in Southeastern Oregon that is tracking the life histories of the native redband trout living between Steens Mountain and Malheur Lake.I plan on focusing my studies on environmental law and marine ecology while I’m at the Environmental Studies Department. I’m interested in exploring the relationship between the law, policy, and ecology of marine protected areas. I’m curious how these protected areas are affecting fishing communities both ecologically and socially. And I’d like to explore the divide in knowledge between the scientific and fishing communities regarding marine protected areas.

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Continuing


Andrew Dutterer

dutterer@uoregon.edu

As a youngster growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I cultivated an early interest in fishing through summer trips to Wisconsin, West Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as poaching bass ponds on nearby golf courses after hours via bicycle and spinning rod.While attending Middlebury College in Vermont I “evolved” into a fly fisherman and at that point there was no turning back. I have since spent most of my adult life planning my next fly fishing adventure. Ultimately, this led me to full-time residence in Maupin, Oregon- a rural Central Oregon town of 450 people on the lower Deschutes River.In five years as retail and guide service manager, guide, and instructor at the Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin, I was regularly exposed to a large range of issues surrounding the high profile water resource of the Deschutes River. The river defined the small community in which I lived, and decisions concerning the management of the river had enormous impact on the livelihoods of many in the community, myself included.
Through my almost daily forays to the Deschutes and elsewhere, fly rod in hand, I developed an impassioned concern for the vitality of our rivers. In turn, this led to an inspired interest in the policies managing our region’s water resources with respect to the health of our fisheries.Subsequently, I began working with Trout Unlimited in Bend, OR to further explore the field of watershed management. I have since worked directly on a range of policy issues concerning water resources in Central Oregon as numerous federal, state, and non-profit organizations attempt to balance the demands of recreation, irrigation, and fisheries in our region.Through the Environmental Studies program at UO I will pursue an outstanding academic foundation to complement my experience in the field. Ultimately, I aspire to contribute to water policy and watershed management decisions by innovating solutions to the allocation of water resources in the Western US.My all-time favorite thing to do is to float and camp on rivers, and with some good fishing in the mix I could ask for nothing more. I also enjoy hiking with my two dogs, barbequeing on the back deck, watching Chicago Cubs games, tying steelhead flies, and chasing steelhead throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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Lokyee Au

lokyeea@uoregon.edu

I graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Inequality and minors in Environmental Studies and Education Studies. I spent the past two years as an intern for a nonprofit organization called Citizens Climate Lobby, contributing to their efforts to ameliorate the acute need for effective climate legislation in the U.S. During my internship, I realized how environmental policy and environmental education have related and critical roles in ensuring the successful implementation of effective climate policy. As a result, my planned areas of focus at UO are public policy, environmental education, and environmental justice.

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Allyson Woodard

awoodard@uoregon.edu

I’m an Idahoan by birth and upbringing, and one of my sharpest recollections from the third grade was a late April night in Yellowstone, when my dad and I stayed up far past my bedtime listening to recently-reintroduced howling. I spent the next year fashioning radio collars for my playmates and “tracking” them with tin-foil telemetry.I grew up and attended Scripps College in Claremont, California, where I managed to weasel my way into two stays abroad, including biodiversity research in Costa Rica and an ecology program in South Africa. I finally got to practice with real telemetry (on tortoises. I lost almost all of them). However, once handed the opportunity to perform research I found myself captivated instead by storytelling—the intersections between South African environmental history and social justice, the nonchalant manner with which Costa Rican ecologists avoid pit vipers. I graduated with my degree in English and a minor in biology. After college I joined The Peregrine Fund to research and design interpretive displays, and later transitioned to a position as outreach coordinator for the American Kestrel Partnership.I am now pursuing concurrent degrees in Environmental Studies and Multimedia Journalism, with a focus in nonfiction writing. I think back to my childhood and the “war” between wolves and livestock. How do we chisel cultural narratives into something less vitriolic? And can a community care this much about bunchgrass?In my “free” time I play roller derby for the Rose City Rollers and human fetch for my lovebird, Sammy. I also have aspirations of photographing the Andromeda galaxy, given significant improvements in skill and geek budget.

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Chithira Vijayakumar

chithira@uoregon.edu

I could say that it all began with a childhood spent largely in trees; with the stubborn six-year-old who would scramble ungracefully up the ancient mango tree in our yard. I went on to spend much of my days there, in the woods, in the mud and getting bitten by red ants.But the truth is, it was only much later that I noticed changes in Kerala, the astonishingly beautiful state in India where I was born. Gaping wounds were mined open in the mountains that our house overlooked, the earth growing bald in patches. At 12, I went to the beach we visited every day, and saw it coated in thick sulphurous foam and strewn with fish, after the titanium factory up the coast decided that it was too expensive taking its effluents offshore.I graduated in Economics, did a diploma in International Relations and Geopolitics, and worked with a few social change research centres; then decided to return to writing, my first love, and completed my post-graduate diploma in Journalism. I spent two years at The Hindu, one of India’s oldest English newspapers, and became part of its 131-year-old history as Reporter and Sub-Editor, and worked on more than a hundred stories on heritage, art, literature and the environment. Elsewhere, I wrote on human rights, tribal issues, the politics of water and agriculture.I’d like to study how our perspectives on culture and identity tie up with the way we view our environment. I hope to understand why different cultures, genders, races and classes think so differently about the environment, and how our performative and non-performative aspects – like theatre, languages, literature, dance and storytelling- influence our relationship with our communities and their issues. This is because I believe that that besides our ongoing battles to protect the environment, we must also work towards boosting the immunities of our communities, so that over time, we evolve a new way of living, and thinking about living.As a citizen of the “Third World”, I also have a deliberate interest in social justice movements, in the social irony of living a life of deprivation in areas that are resource-rich. I have come to understand the environment not just as the wetlands and the jungles, but as the land where we do live – specifically, the land consigned to the poorest among us.All along the way, there have also been martial arts, mountaineering, diving, swimming, writing, trekking, theatre, filmmaking, pottery, reading, and dancing.

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