Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Ashia Ajani (they/she) is an environmental educator and storyteller and a pregnancy/ postpartum doula hailing from Denver, CO, Queen City of the Plains. They are a (forthcoming) graduate of Yale School of the Environment and an incoming Fall 2021 PhD student at University of Oregon. She has been published in Sierra Magazine, World Literature Today and Frontier Poetry, among others. They are a proud cat parent of Cholula and earring collector extraordinaire.
I am a PhD student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara, where I study political economy and environmental conflicts in Latin America. My research spans two areas: the use of violence to suppress environmental movements, and the role of politics in climate adaptation strategies. I am originally from Panama and I have been passionate about social and environmental justice my whole life. My goal is to support communities and environmental leaders in reaching equitable, sustainable, and long-term solutions to environmental conflicts.
José Becerra is a PhD student at Purdue University in the Department of Anthropology. After graduating from California Polytechnic State, University Pomona with a B.S. in Anthropology, he received an M.S. at Purdue University studying coffee agriculture and risk using a political ecology framework. His PhD research builds from his undergraduate McNair project to investigate the intersections of air pollution, wildfires, and climate change impacting marginalized communities in the Inland Empire region of California.
Simon is currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Management at Yale School of the Environment. In years prior, he worked on federal environmental and clean energy policy with the Obama Administration and at the Environmental Defense Fund. He is committed to ensuring the transition to a 100% clean economy socially, environmentally, and economically uplifts marginalized communities. Simon was born in Hyderabad, India and has been fortunate to call Chicago, Illinois, “home.”
Xiara Day is a recent graduate of Texas Southern University with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Toxicology. Xiara is passionate about mitigating environmental health hazards in minority communities. By utilizing her educational background and vast research experience, Xiara will pursue a Doctor of Public Health degree in Environmental Health at Texas A&M University in the upcoming Fall with the intent of becoming a vital change-maker in the public health and environmental justice field.
Toyosi Dickson is a recent graduate of Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences with a BS in Environmental Science. During her time as an undergraduate she had gained a multidisciplinary experience in the fields of human ecology, geomicrobiology, soil science, and geospatial analysis. Toyosi’s time at UM SEAS has further shifted her interests into the social science, and has recently joined the Energy Equity Lab for the upcoming year.
Demi (she/they) is the daughter of working-class Mexican immigrants and the youngest of 10 raised in Riverside, California. As a first- generation student, she earned a BA in Sociology at CSUSB and is completing a master’s degree in Urban Sustainability and GIS from Antioch University. Demi was a 2020 Switzer Fellow, a graduate of Nature for All’s Leadership Academy, a certified UC California Naturalist and served on the student board for the California Native Plant Society.