Feliz Scholarship Winners
Morgan Kelley is a fourth year Environmental Studies student, emphasizing in Natural Resource Management and Conversation. She comes from a small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, where she spent the majority of her childhood and adolescence. The beautiful landscapes there had inspired her to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies. She greatly appreciates San Francisco State University’s support in helping her reach her academic goals. In the future, she would like to collaborate with local communities to keep natural spaces accessible and free from development. In addition, she would like to empower youth in urban environments to become involve in protecting and restoring natural areas. She also aims to study Marine Resource Conversation at a graduate level.
Lisa Rachal initially majored in Cinema. Through her participation in beach clean-ups, Arbor Day and community clean-ups, she discovered her new passion for the environment. She decided to change her major to Environmental Studies. After graduation, she plans to work as a Wildlife Monitor to protect the environment.
2014-2015: Miguel Guerrero
Miguel Guerrero is a Bay Area native and the oldest of ten children. He is majoring in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice. Miguel has always had a deep love for nature but became inspired to work for social justice when his father, a Nicaraguan native, was deported back to the country where he was born after having spent 45 years in America. This painful experience stirred and motivated Miguel to work towards creating a more just, and sustainable future.
Through his work with Sustainable Initiatives at the Student Center, Guerrero was part of a team that secured a $10,000 grant to increase bike culture on campus. During the 2013-14 academic year, he served as the College of Health & Social Sciences representative on the Associated Students Board of Directors and acted as the student representative on SF State’s Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee where he focused on maximizing student success.
As an Outreach and Communications Intern with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Guerrero acted as a liaison between local universities and the department. Through that role, he was invited to participate in the planning and coordination of the first National Zero Waste USA Youth Convergence, held at City College of San Francisco in 2013.
Most recently, Guerrero was awarded the Outstanding Student Leader Award at the 2014 Annual Dean of Students Leadership Awards for his ongoing commitment to student representation and leadership. After graduating he plans on pursuing a career in government relations and city planning where he looks forward to continuing his work as a champion for sustainability and social justice.
2013-2014: Michael Sanchez
Michael was born and raised in the northern region of California in Shasta and Siskiyou counties. Michael is Chicano and is proud of his family’s migrant and working-class heritage. Having been raised in a region rich with the resource of water he was made aware that many in the world do not have access or rights to the resources that are rightfully theirs. He now studies in the Environmental Studies Department at SFSU with a focus in Sustainability and Social Justice. He is currently working as a Climate Scholar at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education doing research with Dr. Nancy Wilkinson. Their project concerns water resiliency in the Bay Area in relation to climate change.
2012-2013: Lubomira Raykova
Lubomira’s interest in environmental issues dates back to when she was a child in her native country, Bulgaria. During the cold war, Bulgarian industries relied on heavy toxic chemicals used in agriculture and manufacturing. Few laws if any existed to protect the waters, air and soil, which resulted in heavy toxic pollution of the natural systems. Nuclear power plants were built. Pollution and environmental degradation were immense. In 1986, The Chernobyl nuclear plant in nearby Ukraine exploded and the radiation from it affected many countries in the region, including Bulgaria. Cancer and birth defect rates skyrocketed during the next decade. Thus, it came as no surprise that the first movement to protest the old regime was, in fact, the environmental movement in Bulgaria. The first calls for change, the first protests and organizing in the 1980's against the old system, came from a small group of intellectuals, poets, writers and scientists, who saw the need to preserve the natural resources and life and stop the ongoing pollution and environmental degradation. The political movement followed and joined the environmental protests. These themes and events were a part of Lubomira's life growing up and played a major role in shaping her views and values. Today, she is a full time student at SFSU, majoring in Environmental Studies, Natural Resource Management and Conservation, and hoping to graduate in December 2013. Lubomira likes to volunteer, to hike, to be outdoors and to spend time with her four-year old daughter, friends and family.
2011-2012: Andey Nunes
Andey is a sustainable building advisor and returning student at San Francisco State University. He has a unique blend of 15 years of experience spanning the wastewater industry, electrical construction, and green building. In 2010-2011 he served as the LEED AP consultant for Roebuck Construction on the Park and Presidio Branch Library Renovation projects. Andey is the author of Conserving the Future While Preserving the Past: A Case Study of Eco-renovations in Two Historic San Francisco Public Libraries which was completed as part of his internship with SF Environment’s Green Building Program. He earns his BS-Earth System Science with an emphasis in Chemical Analysis in Spring 2012. Upon graduation he plans to apply for a research position at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions in Portland, OR. He enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with his 7-yr old son.
2010-2011: Jeanette Sasek
Jeanette was attracted to the Environmental Studies major because of her experiences growing up in rural Northern California. Though she is a city dweller now, her childhood was spent surrounded by nature where she became a keen observer of natural cycles. She grew up near the agriculture-rich Central Valley and remembers gazing at the farmland through the car window. One day she realized that farmland had now been completely taken over by a sea of houses; row upon row of identical suburban dwellings, miles away from any town. Observations like these, along with her classes relating to the urban environment, have led to her interest in sustainable urban development, transportation and land use planning. During her time at SF State, Jeanette worked with Professor Raquel Rivera-Pinderhughes on Roots of Success. This is an environmental literacy curriculum which aims to give those with limited proficiency in English, math and computer literacy a competitive advantage in the emerging green collar economy. After graduation, Jeanette plans to continue working with Roots of Success as the curriculum is continuing to be developed and expanded.
2009-2010: Virginie Corominas
Virginie is a returning student born in France living in the Bay Area since 2001. She decided to go to college at 25 after her experience volunteering for a fair trade organization. City College and SFSU have been her turf for learning about leadership, critical thinking and writing, and have also been great institutions for her to get to know people of all backgrounds, to learn from dedicated teachers and to get an affordable education. She comes from a working-class family but was very fortunate to travel the world since birth. These contrasting assets allowed her to witness and understand global injustices at an early age but also to see how fast globalization was damaging the earth. She decided to enroll in Environmental Studies because she thought that there is not much to gain from social advancement if this planet becomes inhabitable to our species. Virginie is eager to graduate from SFSU and start community involvement again, from now on focusing on food issues. She has found that food is a big part of her cultural background and as a universal tool that brings families and communities together, food reminds us of our relationship with the earth and grounds us in our necessity for a clean and sustainable livelihood.
2008-09: Karen Medina
Throughout high school, Karen was involved with the San Diego Ocean's Foundation, particularly working on the White SeaBass Grow-Out Pens. The time she dedicated to the non-profit organization gave her lots of insight to the problems facing our world and turned me onto Environmental Studies. Currently she is concentrating in NRMC, yet finds every program to be equally important to solving the problems of our future. Outside of her academic work, Karen has been battling social justice by volunteering her time at Mujeres Unidas y Activas and CAMINOS, as well as working with preschoolers at Mission Annex. As she pursues her BA, she will continue to take a holistic approach on the environmental problems she is confronted with.
2007-08: Rick Sakow
Rick has been involved in the environmental and social activist arena since high-school, when he began working with the nation's most widely heard pirate radio station, Free Radio San Diego. At 16 he worked for the County of San Diego’s, Department of Environmental Health, Watershed Protection Program protecting water quality. Thanks to the ENVS Internship Program at SF State, he is currently working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clean Water Act Compliance Office where he is an inspector and compliance officer. he is currently applying for the masters program in Environmental Management at USF.
2006-07: Casey Batchelder
After graduating, Casey wants to teach people ways to conserve and live a sustainable life. Casey is currently studying abroad in New Zealand.
Yvette Michaud Student Leadership Award Winners
2014-2015: Liana Derus
A Bay Area native, Liana's love of nature has guided her life. She loves animals, but even as a kid knew that being a veterinarian was not for her. Liana began at SFSU Fall 2012 as an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in NRMC. Quickly she joined ECO Students, a student group focused on promoting sustainability and community on campus, then later was elected as an officer in Fall 2014. Not only has becoming involved in a student organization led to learning about the University and how to get involved in on-campus projects, but also led to her finding her core group of friends who care passionately about the same things she does. She interned at Friends of the Urban Forest during Summer 2014 to dig into a local non-profit organization and increase San Francisco's urban forest. She also interned at Sustainable Initiatives, a program based in the Student Center, in Fall 2013, where she was later hired as a Sustainability Manager in Fall 2014. She works to educate students, reduce waste in the Student Center, and change policy on campus. Here she met her mentor and friend Sharon Daraphonhdeth who helped Liana move past her shy qualities and become a better leader. SFSU's passionate sustainability community has given her a great hope for the future by incorporating principles of social justice into her work.
2013-2014: Natalie Greer
Natalie first discovered her interest in animals by taking trips with her grandmother to the San Francisco Zoo nearly every week beginning when she was three years old. That interest then turned into Natalie volunteering at the zoo starting at age 13; it was her first exposure to animal conservation. It is through her love of animals that Natalie discovered her passion for the environment. While in high school when she was still working at the zoo, Natalie realized how interconnected animals and the environment are; you cannot focus on one and ignore the other. The process of completing courses in the Environmental Studies Program at SF State has only strengthened this belief. In September, Natalie completed an internship on Alcatraz where she worked under the island Biologist to monitor the Alcatraz bird population. Currently, Natalie is the first president of the new Wildlife Society student chapter on campus. Natalie also works new student orientations as a GatorAider and takes advantage of the connection with new students to inform them about sustainability at SF State. After she graduates, she hopes to find a job where she can express her interest in environmental sustainability and animal conservation. She is also planning to attend graduate school.
2009-2010: Christina Manalansan
Growing up in San Diego, California, Christina began her studies in the environmental sciences focusing on marine biology, a focus that fueled her love for the ocean. She volunteered at the Stephen Birch Aquarium in La Jolla before moving to San Francisco and transferring to SF State University. A constant participant in community activities, Christina has cultivated a love for serving the student community, particularly kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently, she is an Environmental Studies major at State, hoping eventually to help sow grassroots environmental movements, a method which she believes is the only method to effectively raise awareness. Working with young students currently and in the future, in tandem with her innate desire to cultivate a more sustainable physical environment has helped Christina to formulate a belief in the absolute necessity of creating sustainable social environments of conservation and awareness in a society where both figurative and physical barriers are coming down every day.
2008-09: Marissa Speer
Marissa will never stop learning. Recently she and a friend shared some seeds from a calendula flower in her backyard. She was amazed as to the amount of seeds she collected just from one flower. This proves that life is abundant and that by working with nature everyone in the world could have their needs met. The earth is bursting with life, even our concrete sidewalks can't keep it out! Marissa recently completed the Earth Activist Training, a permaculture design course that also focuses on earth based spirituality. Permaculture can also be called Regenerative Design for human systems that build beneficial relationships with nature. She works to help spread the wealth of nature working within herself, within the human community, and working with the earth.
2007-08: Adrienne Eliza Aquino
Adrienne designed a poster for SFSU Focus the Nation and designed the T-shirts for the national Focus the Nation campaign. Adrienne describes her background and goals: I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and aspire to act locally. Ideally, I would like to apply my skills as a graphic designer to environmental communication. I have a strong interest in environmental justice and hope to become more involved with the movement. I see a strong correlation between effective communication and positive action and would like to use this knowledge to bring attention to environmental problems.