Liz Plascencia

Where My Heart Will Always Be

Liz Plascencia — ’22 MEM (she/they)
“I’m a surfer from Los Angeles and have always been obsessed with the oceans. In college, it was shocking to learn about the effects of plastic pollution on the coastlines, and I wanted to do something about it through plastic pollution policy. That’s what drew me to apply to graduate school. I was a Posse Scholar as an undergrad and found out about YSE through the Posse Graduate Affiliation Programs.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, California  
Fellowship host:  Restore America’s Estuaries 
Next step: Finishing the MEM program and then seeking a position in a science-based federal agency

Key takeaway from the Environmental Fellows Program: “It’s crucial for coastal conservation organizations to have an Environmental Justice perspective and create more intentionally diverse working groups on climate change impacts along coastlines.”

“I feel so grateful to be at Yale and study at YSE because we have some of the greatest leaders in science, and specifically coastal ecology and policy, here. As soon as I arrived, I took the Climate and Environmental Justice course and it really impacted me. Dr. Taylor has such a clear message that we need everyone at the table who cares about the environment—not just people of color, but everyone—to realize that Environmental Justice is racial justice.

“As an openly queer, first-generation Latinx identified woman, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and justice messages really speak to me. There aren’t many folks with diverse identities in positions of leadership in the environmental and conservation fields. In my fellowship at Restore America’s Estuaries, or RAE, I’ve been helping them draft their own Environmental Justice statement for their website. On the science end of things, I’ve helped plan the National Blue Carbon Working Group meeting, the product of which will be policy recommendations for the new administration regarding protections on blue carbon ecosystems. This was a great project for me because it is directly about protecting estuaries and oceans, and that’s where my heart will always be.”

Meet More 2021 Environmental Fellows