Department Honorees

2013-2014: Kelsey Westfall

Kelsey was raised in the beautiful Sierra Foothills by parents with an affinity for nature and exploration. Her childhood was spent swimming, climbing trees and eating fresh fruits and veggies from the thriving backyard garden, hobbies that eventually paved the way for her travels across Europe and New Zealand with organic gardening and work exchange programs. Kelsey then transferred to San Francisco State University where she became a member of Fossil Free SFSU and assisted in coordinating the 2nd Annual International Divestment Convergence Conference in April, 2014. She is currently an intern at 5 Gyres Institute, researching plastic pollution on local San Francisco beaches, and looks forward to a future of environmental activism and advocacy. 


2012-2013: Natasha Dunn


2011-2012: Cory Singer

Cory Singer, 2012 Department Honoree

Cory S. Singer was born and raised in California where she spent much of her free time as a child playing outdoors, giving her a deep appreciation for the natural environment and a strong need to be involved in conservation efforts.  Cory transferred to SF State in the fall of 2009 where she became highly interested in ecology.  She has volunteered for the Wild Equity Institute and has been working with an SF State researcher on amphibian conservation since the winter of 2010. Cory has been working as a biological technician for an environmental consulting firm where she is able to apply the knowledge gained through her education at SF State. Cory will return to SF State in the fall of 2012 to begin the Master’s program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology and to continue her work with amphibians.   


2010-11: Ray Rothwell

Ray Rothwell, 2011 Department HonoreeRay’s passion for environmental and social justice issues began in San Diego—his adopted hometown. Since transferring to SF State in the fall of 2009 Ray has stayed active on campus and in the community, serving as the Environmental Studies Student Representative and as a volunteer project leader in the Bayview. He also served as a leader in ECO Students, where he helped the group receive a CSSA Greenovation Fund grant to build a community garden on campus. Over the summer Ray will be working with the EPA and NASA to develop action plans for environmental justice communities and tribal groups affected by hazardous materials production and disposal. Ray will be returning to SF State in the fall to study for an MS in Geographic Information Science.



2009-10: Olivia Collins

Olivia Collins, 2010 Department HonoreeOlivia was born and raised in a small rural town just an hour north of Montreal. She moved to California in 2003 looking for a change of scenery and climate. She discovered her love for all things environmental following a summer spent in New Mexico doing a strawbale building internship and taking some environmental classes at Merrit Community College. In 2007, she enrolled at State in the Environmental Studies program. With the program now completed, she will participate in a 6 month internship in India, starting in September, working on waste management, organic farming and environmental education projects for a local NGO in the state of Punjab.



2008-09: Ruslan Filipau

Ruslan Filipau, 2009 Department HonoreeBorn and raised in Belarus, Ruslan was 20 when he came to the United States. With lean savings in his pocket, and little knowledge of English he arrived in San Francisco to build a new life. Working low-paying jobs, within three months he was able to master English and to get accepted at San Francisco City College. After two years at the community college he was admitted to SF State. The fallout and effects of the Chernobyl catastrophe contributed to his early interests in the fragility of the natural world. Living in San Francisco’s most actively developing neighborhood SoMa, he became acutely interested in public policy and planning. He looks forward to applying his experience and education in a career where he can serve the public good and bring about positive change.


2007-08: Denise Rivas

Denise Rivas, 2008 Department HonoreeDenise is a recent transfer student from Santa Monica College. She is a returning student and the first in her family to attend college. She did her internship with the National Park Service where she worked on energy conservation outreach and a CFL bulb exchange. They reduced the Golden Gate National Recreation Area energy bill which garnered a hefty sum of money that now goes to environmental programs. Upon graduating, she plans to return to the Los Angeles area and work on water issues, especially conservation.


2006-07: Yvette Michaud

Yvette Michaud graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State in 2007 with a BA in Environmental Studies and concentration in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice. She was a leader in ECO Students, SFSU’s student environmental organization. She worked with the Cesar Chavez Student Center staff to phase in composting as part of their waste management practices and was co-chair of the organizing committee for the Redefining Wilderness Symposium. Her interests include cultivating sustainable communities through healthy food systems and waste management practices, toxics reduction, and greening the urban landscape. Prior to pursuing an Environmental Studies degree, Yvette spent 13 years as a technical pattern designer in the fashion industry.


2005-06: Deborah Meckler

Deborah is graduating this semester with a concentration in Natural Resource Management and Conservation and earned an SFSU amazing 3.97 GPA! She came back to school after getting her first bachelors degree in history in a previous life.