Mexico and California: Building Environmental Resilience Together

With the conference approaching, we would like to proudly accounce the graduate students that will be going to Mexico and participating in the conference! Our agenda is located here!

Laura Elisa Garza Díaz

Laura Elisa is pursuing a PhD in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis for which she received a scholarship from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT). Her research is focused on sustainable water resources management and planning of the Rio Grande/Bravo Basin. She is highly motivated in finding sustainable solutions and adaptation strategies that help water-scarce basins to balance natural, cultural, social and economic interests.
For her dissertation she will assess the impact of extreme climatic events in this transboundary basin to provide policy recommendations for bi-national water management. As the scientific advisor for Pronatura Noreste in issues related to environmental flows and water resources management,  she is an active participant in stakeholder meetings of the Rio Bravo basin council during discussions of a proposed regulation for Mexican water allocation. She has worked on research projects related to sustainable agricultural water management and resource conservation in California and Mexico. Laura holds a dual master’s degree in Applied Ecology from the University of Kiel, Germany and the University of Poitiers, France.

Johnny Magana

Growing up, Johnny Magana faced many personal challenges that included learning disabilities, poverty, and sexual orientation. Over time, these challenges have strengthened his character and resolve for ongoing learning. Being gay and being a student with two documented learning disabilities, Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, resulted in being bullied throughout my secondary education and has made me mindful of other individuals who deal with similar life experiences. 

 While enrolled at UCSB, Johnny Magana maintained ties and solidarity with people within the Latinx, migrant, transnational, disabled, and LGBT communities by participating in college dialogue platforms, addressing inclusive engagement, and searching for opportunities within my institution for the development and further representation of diversity. He obtained a Bachelors degree in Global and International Studies with an emphasis in global migration and transnational identities. 

His Mexican heritage and his collegiate experience as a first-generation college graduate student have become significant resources allowing him to educate children who come from low-income families through a music and art programs. He is the founder of a Children’s Mariachi Program in my hometown of Santa María, CA that fosters education with an emphasis on the importance and recognition of the Mexican culture while providing participants with an understanding of México’s diversity, its global presence through music, and its cultural position in this globalized world. 

His research at UC Davis is to highlight the importance of transnational migration as a positive agent for change within migrant families in the hope of maximizing their social and economic opportunities.  He aspires to focus on areas of need within the migrant children sector, specifically food, shelter, education, and health care; He plans to use his graduate education to identify and create programs that strive to respond to academic and educational urgent needs. 

Ariedy Beltran

Areidy Beltran is a doctoral student at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM). Her research focuses on the Food-Energy-Water-Climate Nexus. She is currently investigating where water availability may lead to water, food, or energy insecurity around the world based on population growth and climate change scenarios.

Before joining ESPM, Areidy worked in the environmental and geotechnical engineering consulting industry in the Bay Area for two years. Areidy holds a Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Earth Science (with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice) from UC Berkeley.

Ivan Soto

Ivan is a graduate student with the Interdisciplinary Humanities program at the University of California, Merced. He has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Humboldt State University, serves as a graduate representative for the Interdisciplinary Humanities Graduate Group, and is a member of UCM’s Latinx Graduate Student Association. His work focuses on Southernmost California’s Imperial Valley region and his research interests include the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, California agricultural labor, water, and environmental history.

Anahi Monserrat Ibarra Perez

I am an incoming second year student in the Masters in Public Health program at UCSD. One my biggest passions is doing binational work that engages communities from the US and Mexico. I am currently interning as an epidimiologist at the Office of Binational Border Health for the State Public Health Department where I have been learning about and doing active surveillance  on the travel of infectious diseases across both sides of the US- Mexico border. In addition to border health, I am also interested in digital health and how it can be used for reduction of chronic disease. Currently, I am implementing a multi-modal digital health intervention for reduction of weight in young adults. I’m deeply passionate about the environment and have been engaging with my graduate cohort to participate in more advocacy work for policy that places our environment and climate change on the forefront. I’am excited to deepen this conversation with the inclusion of our close neighbor and (my native country) – Mexico. 

Valerie Carranza

Valerie Carranza is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. She investigates trace gases that contribute to climate change and affect air quality. In particular, she has a keen interest in methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia emissions from dairy farms in the Central Valley of California. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, she has investigated aquaculture in the open sea, greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Los Angeles and future planetary missions to Mars at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Esaú Casimiro Vieyra

Esaú is a Master of Public Policy student at the University of California Riverside with a concentration in Race and Immigration. Esaú’s interests include immigration policy, public opinion, political participation, and immigrant integration. Recently, Esaú has taken interest in GIS and the potential applications that it can have on immigration. Esaú is currently a Researcher and Center. Associate at the UCR Center for Social Innovation. In addition to being part of the CSI, he is part of the WRCOG Public Service Fellowship Program and is currently placed in the County of Riverside Executive Office – Homelessness Solutions.

Laura Cristal Magaña

Laura Cristal Magaña is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a third year PhD student in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). She is conducting her doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Martyn Smith, with guidance from Drs. Luoping Zhang and Andres Cardenas. Her research objective aims to establish a correlation between chemical exposure and human disease using molecular and sequencing techniques. Moreover, she utilizes in vivo and in vitro assays to assess the toxicity of EPA Superfund chemicals. Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Ms. Magaña was an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow at the Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research centered on next-generation sequencing of RNA viruses. Ms. Magaña received her Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. While in DC, she was an HSHPS/National Institutes of Health Fellow and worked at the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Office of the Director and interned at the DC Public Health Laboratory. She is an alumnus of Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Bioresource Research with options in Toxicology and Biotechnology. Ultimately, she foresees her research path benefiting vulnerable populations, especially Latinas, in the area of reproductive and developmental health. In the future, Ms. Magaña wants to ensure higher participation of women and people of color in STEM careers and increased promotion into leadership positions. She is an active member of the Latina Researchers Network, Society of Toxicology, UCB Graduate Students de la Raza, UCB Latinx Association of Graduate Students in Science and Engineering, and is a Graduate Student Representative for the Genetic and Environmental Toxicology Association, in North California. She is a proud Oregonian Chicana and in her “spare time”, she workouts before going to brunch.

Summit Program (PDF) 2019

Summit Program (PDF)

8:00 AM-9:00 AM – Registration 
9:00 AM-9:30 AM – Welcome

Oscar Dubon, Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion, University of California Berkeley 

David Ackerly, Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of California Berkeley

Lupe Gallegos-Diaz, MSW, Director Chicanx Latinx Student Development and Community Affairs, University of California, Berkeley

Federico Castillo, PhD, Researcher, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley

9:30 AM-10:30 AM – Panel: Climate Change: Towards the Future

Kristen Torres Pawling, Sustainability Program Director, Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

Valeri Vasquez, University of California Berkeley 

Martha Camacho Rodriguez, Director, CA Central Basin Municipal Water District Division 1 Board of Directors 

Federico Castillo, PhD, Researcher, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley

Latinxs are disproportionately vulnerable to climate related threats due to where they reside, their occupations, and the financial challenges they may face. More than 60 percent of U.S. Latinxs live in California, Florida, Texas, and New York, where severe heat, air pollution, and flooding pose even greater risks compared to other states. In the last few years, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and María hit Latinx communities especially hard and some communities are still coping with the effects today. Latinx communities in the Central and Imperial Valleys experience chronic water shortages and the negative impact of deficient water quality
on a regular basis. Latinxs are overwhelmingly united in favor of taking action on climate, therefore we have the perfect opportunity to propel forward with solutions that are equitable and benefit not only the Latinx community but also society in general. This panel will discuss the impacts and opportunities that Latinx communities must make in order to address issues elated to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Workshop: Leveraging Power

10:30 AM-10:40 AM – Break 
10:40 AM-11:40 AM – Panel: Urban and Rural Planning: Re-imagining the Blueprint for the Future

Daniel Rodriguez, PhD. Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

Erika Uribe, Founder and Creative Director, incommon llc

Emilio Cruz, Director Strategic Pursuits, Carollo Engineers 

Moderator: Guillermo Rodriguez, State Director, The Trust for Public Land 

Latinos are increasingly relocating to and living in larger urban areas. With this trend comes a need to ensure our cities are healthy, people friendly and equitable places to live. From air quality challenges to transportation, and a lack of access to open space, cities need to adapt to improve Latinx quality of life. This panel will address how those conditions impact the Latinx community and what are actions that could help to mitigate the impact of those conditions. In addition, the panel will discuss the gentrification of established urban Latinx communities.

Workshop: Graduate School 

Aidee GuzmanUniversity of California, Berkeley

Arturo Fernandez,University of California, Berkeley

11:50 AM-1:00 PM Keynote Speaker
Ana Alvarez 
Deputy General Manager of the East Bay Regional Parks District 
1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Lunch, Poster Session, and Career Fair  
2:00 PM-3:15 PM – Panel: Environmental Justice

Yana Garcia, Assistant Secretary of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs CalEPA

Alvaro Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director, the Greenlining Institute

Deniss Martinez, Deniss Martinez, University of California Davis

Moderator: Adrianna Quintero, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Energy Foundation 

This panel aims to build an understanding of environmental justice in terms of class, race, socioeconomic status and how those identity markers relate to the occupation, usage and pollution of land, water, and air. The panel will question the systemic and currently pressing issues that have historically marginalized and oppressed low-income communities, in which in turn elevated risk of experiencing environmental hazards (i.e., food insecurity, pervasive contamination, and waterborne and air borne illnesses). Panelists will discuss the reach of Latinx communities presently engaging in the environmental justice movement as it intersects issues of environmental sustainability and social justice

3:15 PM-3:25 PM – Break 
3:25 PM-4:40 PM: Panel 4: Health and the Environment

Xavier Morales, PhD., MRP, Executive Director, The Praxis Project 

Ana María Mora, Assistant Researcher at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), UC Berkeley School of Public Health

David Gonzalez, Ph.D. Student in Environment and Resources
Frosh Scholars Program Coordinator, Dean for Community Engagement and Diversity

Evaluating the health status and needs of the Latinx community is crucial in order to develop health policies and implement programs to address social determinants of health, health services, risk factors, and health disparities, as these factors shape the principal causes of morbidity and mortality. Cancer is the primary cause of mortality amongst Latinos, followed by cardiovascular diseases and unintentional injuries. And although the Affordable Care Act has
improved access to care, other limitations in healthcare exist, such as a shortage of Latinx health care providers, a lack Latinx focused health programs, poor health literacy, limited cultural sensitivity and uninsured/underinsured status. This panel will explore current actions and policies that address preventable chronic diseases and conditions, particularly those related and resulting from environmental factors. The panel will also discuss policies that could bring about improvements in health outcomes resulting from changes in environmental conditions.

4:45-5 PM – Closing