What is your previous work experience?

As an undergraduate environmental science and policy student at the University of Maryland - College Park, I was excited to apply what I was learning in class, so I interned with the National Park Service, NOAA, EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, USAID, the Environmental Law Institute, and the University of Maryland Environmental Decision Support Science Lab. A lot of the work I did had to do with water resources, community engagement, and environmental policy.

After graduating, I worked as a GIS Specialist and Data Analyst at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham for 2 years, where I supported litigation and advocacy efforts on voting rights, fair redistricting, justice system reform, and environmental justice. I'm grateful for everything I learned from my coworkers, partner organizations, and community members across the South, and I will carry those lessons into graduate school and future work.

Why did you choose the Nicholas School?

The Nicholas school offered me the incredible opportunity to combine one of the strongest environmental management programs with one of the best urban planning programs at UNC-Chapel Hill. Getting to supplement the MEM's technical approach with the MCRP's policy focus will make my time at graduate school even more interdisciplinary and enriching. I am also invested in southern U.S. communities; there is a lot we can learn from people in the region and ways we can collaborate, so I am happy to get to stay in North Carolina to continue to nurture those relationships.

What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?

I am very excited to get to geek out about water issues with like-minded folks! The "worm" (WRM concentration) breakout session while visiting campus was the highlight of my day, as I was surrounded by people that understood me and shared my interests. There is always so much happening across campus, I am excited to join the Duke Water Network, collaborate with people in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and take cool courses in hydrology and water governance. I also hope to share some lessons from urban planning with my peers as another perspective on environmental issues.   

Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?

I will combine my time at the Nicholas school with the MCRP program at UNC-Chapel Hill to dig into flooding studies. I am particularly interested in how we can better protect marginalized and under-resourced communities during all kinds of flood events while also improving residents' relationships with both local water resources and local governments. There is a lot of important flooding work happening in Eastern NC, across the southern U.S., and the Global South I hope to engage with.

What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?

I hope to work in a role that helps make flooding policies more equitable, community-driven, and comprehensive. I am exploring working at the regional and international level, namely in Latin America, but I am also excited by local work and the wealth of local knowledge and impact that we can have. I am not sure exactly how I can best engage in this space yet, but I hope my experiences in the next 3 years will start to clarify that.