Dia de los Muertos celebration at F&ES, November 2015. Photo by Adrien Salazar.

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at F&ES: Meet the 2015-2016 EQUID Student Team!

The Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee at the School of Forestry is a group of students, faculty, and staff committed to cultivating an inclusive atmosphere at FES, challenging systems of oppression, and fostering a space where a diversity of ideas, values, and perspectives are welcomed and respected.

This year the committee is excited to put on cultural celebrations, community dialogues, and workshops to enhance the role of the School of Forestry in developing culturally competent leaders and driving the discourse of diversity and equity in the environmental field.

This year’s student team includes three new members and three returning team members. Welcome to our three new EQUID student team members:

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Jessica Leung (MEM ’17) is currently pursuing her Master of Environmental Management with a focus on water resources and environmental policy. After graduating, she aims to return to California to work with drought issues and to develop policies that are environmentally sound and socially equitable to help prepare the state and its citizens for the future. At FES, she wants to help foster a warm and welcoming place for students, faculty, and staff and to remain connected to the campus at large. She loves learning new things about different cultures and hope to create a community where we can share our unique backgrounds to educate one another.

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Lun Ou (MESc ’17) is from Beijing, China and studies environmental economics here at FES. She has been living in the U.S. for about 6 years. She had chances to come across many people and have different experiences during her high school and undergraduate time in the U.S. From this experience, she has seen the value of creating a more diverse and inclusive community and she has very strong feeling to push on making positive changes.

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Katherine Wolf (MESc ’17) is a student in Dr. Michelle Bell’s laboratory studying disparities in human exposures to air pollutants.  She originally hails from the Chicago area, where she first became involved in social justice work and community organizing, particularly around LGBTQ rights.  She is committed to challenging oppression and fighting structural violence both within and outside environmentalist circles to ensure that all voices are heard.

Our returning EQUID student team members are:

Adrien

Adrien Salazar (MEM ’16) was born in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines and grew up in San Jose, California. He received his B.A. in Sociology with Honors from U.C. Berkeley in 2008. Adrien has served as an advocate for community-based development and environmental organizations for over seven years, with organizations like the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter and the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Adrien’s studies focus on agro-ecological systems management, agro-biodiversity, climate change adaptation, and community-based development. This past summer Adrien conducted research with the International Rice Research Institute studying heirloom rice production systems in highland rice terrace systems in the Philippines. Adrien co-leads the Environmental Justice at Yale (EJAY) student interest group at FES. As an EQUID team member he intends to foster critical dialogue around dismantling privilege, power, and oppression in the environmental field and environmental movements.

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Latha Swamy (MEM ’16) is passionate about international forest policy & governance, food security, public health, gender, post-colonialism, the linkages between these in the midst of global environmental change, and their effects on those living in poverty. Prior to her time at F&ES, she was in a combined degree program pursuing an MD in clinical medicine and a PhD in Systems Neuroscience. Currently, Latha serves as the UN Youth Representative at Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), sits on the Junior Board of EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), and is completing a certificate in Urban Agriculture at Just Food NYC. This past summer, Latha interned with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in India and Nepal, and conducted independent research at Klinik Alam Sehat Lestari (Health in Harmony) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Her work with EQUID is motivated by both her professional and personal interests around issues of diversity and inclusion in society at large. She holds an MSc in Neuroscience and Clinical Investigation from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a BS in Cellular Biology from the University of Georgia.

Tamara

Tamara Thomas (MEM ’16), native of Trinidad and Tobago, represents among many, the African Diaspora and is deeply committed to women’s empowerment. She has become involved in Environmental Justice efforts in Washington DC reflecting a range of frontline issues including Tar Sands. At F&ES her focus is International Policy and Integrated Coastal Management as it relates to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Climate Change. Tamara holds a BA in Anthropology and Art History, with a minor in Caribbean Studies from Howard University. Her past professional experience includes work with Caribbean Fisheries and Coral Reefs, Watershed Management, International Marine Policy, Environmental Curriculum Development, Corporate Social Responsibility and Disaster Risk Reduction. In her spare time Tamara can be found creating art on a Caribbean beach.

Keep your eye on the Diversity tag here on the FES blog to stay up-to-date on the programs and events EQUID will put on this year!