We are pleased to introduce the Class of 2023:


Alex Pourfard

I am Alex Pourfard, a San Diego native who enjoys skateboarding, photography, sculpting with clay, and hanging out with my dog. I also have a decent amount of experience in the environmental space.
My most recent university educational experience was at UC Santa Cruz where I studied Environmental Studies, with a focus on Conservation Biology. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have worked in the nonprofit, higher education, and private sectors - with a few different organizations - UC Santa Cruz Reserve Systems, NOAA Fisheries Ecology Division, The Otter Project, Pollinator Partnership, USF Department of Environmental Science, and Source Intelligence.

I am honored to take the next step in my environmental career as a student in the UCSD MAS CSP program. I feel that the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography will be the perfect environment for me to apply my experience and create a professional network that will propel me towards a career in marine conservation policy. I am most interested in the opportunities for faculty mentorship, access to resources, and of course, this amazing location.
My goal is to come away from this program with an integrative approach towards tackling the ecological and socioeconomic issues that are present along the California Coastline.


Amanda Low

I graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2015 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies, minoring in environmental geoscience. I grew up in NYC where I was always enamored by the city’s diverse food and restaurant community. After college, I explored my love for food and became a pastry cook baking up croissants and eventually helping to open two restaurants. While I immensely enjoyed this period of my life, I realized I wanted to return to my undergraduate roots. I then transitioned into a role that combined my love for food and the environment as a hydroponic specialist with New York Sun Works, a nonprofit that builds hydroponic science labs in schools to teach students about urban agriculture and healthy eating. This sparked a new passion for growing food and the surrounding issues of food justice and insecurity in cities.

I chose to pursue a MAS in Climate Science and Policy to equip myself with the knowledge on how to fight food insecurity and climate change effects on urban environments. My goal is to use the tools I gain from this program to better integrate climate change awareness and education into my home city. I’ve spent my whole life on the east coast so I’m personally excited about the sunny change and exploring some old hobbies like rock climbing, and potentially picking up new ones like surfing!


Amber Gunsur

I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2020 as an Environmental Studies major, and minored in Writing and French. During my time at UCSB, I took courses and conducted research that instilled my passion for environmental policy. I participated in a study abroad program in France, where I completed a research project comparing food waste in France and America, looking at how policies and laws play a considerable role in improving the food waste crisis. After graduating, I worked as an English Language Assistant in France to diversify my work in an international setting. Most recently I completed a research project on how food justice and environmental justice share the inequalities in economic, social, cultural, and political systems that produce environmental degradation. With this research, I created a zine to use as a resource and tool to educate individuals about food justice, sovereignty, security, and access to food.

I chose to pursue the MAS Climate Science and Policy program because of the interdisciplinary focus it offers that will help me expand my knowledge just beyond political aspects of the environment. I believe this program will aid me in addressing climate issues and give me the necessary tools to create more innovative and effective solutions to problems. Outside of academics and being an environmentalist, I enjoy snowboarding, the beach, and time with friends and family.


Anaïs Guery

When I was 17, I started working in educational summer camps, which was an opportunity for me to lead many environmental workshops to raise awareness about climate change. This first professional experience confirmed my desire to have a job contributing to long-term actions against the challenges posed by climate change. Therefore, I graduated from Sciences Po Bordeaux (France) with a Bachelor of Political Science. Afterwards, I joined a Masters Program focusing on the governance of the ecological transition, hoping that it would help me become a key contributor to climate policies. During my Bachelor Degree, I spent a year at UCSD as an exchange student, mainly studying ethnic studies. Those classes made me realize the importance of intersectionality in the fight against climate change and fueled my interest for climate justice. Coming back to France, I tried to expand my knowledge about climate justice through volunteer work and academic projects.

I chose UCSD's MAS CSP program in order to build a strong foundation of knowledge in climate science and policy and study the interconnectedness of the two disciplines. I was drawn to the opportunity to learn from renowned climate change leaders at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and I look forward to applying my experience in working with diverse teams to solve complex problems related to climate change.  My interests include urban planning, U.S. military response and preparedness for climate change, sustainable business practices, and waste management.


Brock Knight

I recently received a BA in political science from UCSD. I wanted to be a part of the MAS program because of the leadership team and its interdisciplinary, multi-subject nature. My previous studies and experience have focused more on the policy side of issues, and the MAS program will help me incorporate and enhance my technical analysis. I am particularly interested in the role that the changing climate will play in water and food security. I hope to use my educational attainment to provide solutions to create a more sustainable future especially in developing countries. Apart from academics I enjoy spending my time surfing, walking my dog, and playing soccer.


Eliza Brady

My name is Eliza Brady, I’m originally from Boston, MA, but I moved to the vibrant New Orleans for college where I studied Environmental Studies at Tulane University. New Orleans was an interesting place to study that topic because of their deep and complicated history with climate issues and the politicians and corporations who perpetuate those issues. I was able to get firsthand experience and knowledge of some of the worst disasters and atrocities against the environment and people of New Orleans. I was lucky to be involved with a lot of cool organizations and projects who are working to increase the resilience of the community and empower the residents there to make the best choices that they can.

My last year of undergrad was cut short by the beginning of Covid, and I graduated at home, with a few close friends and family present. In the Summer of 2020, my boyfriend and I packed up and moved out to San Diego, and we’ve been loving it here ever since. In the mush of the last two years of Covid, I’ve spent my time teaching yoga and working on my yoga teacher certification, painting, hiking, and most recently, I traveled to Italy for three months to study language, and I’ve been working for sustainable fashion brand Reformation.

All of my life experiences and job experiences thus far have lead me to attending this program, I’ve always gone for jobs with an environmental aspect to them, I wrote for a magazine through an environmentalist lens, and when I studied at Tulane I knew I wanted to take more action in my life to face this issue. I have worked a lot in the nonprofit world and on a lot of small scale projects and I really want to expand my knowledge and expertise so I can break out into the business and economic sector of the climate field, and create change to bring us towards sustainability and a less harmful system. I can’t wait to get started, and to meet everyone!


Emily Stephens

Being Southern California born and raised, I have always had an admiration for the outdoors. During my first year at Pepperdine University I experienced the Woolsey Wildfire and the effects it had on the place I admire and call home. Having an intimate encounter with the effects of climate change, I devoted my career to work towards climate mitigation and adaptation. Then, in the Summer of 2019, I participated in a study abroad program located in Kaikoura, New Zealand where I studied environmental ethics while living a low-impact lifestyle. This experience confirmed my desire to enter this field. I graduated from Pepperdine University in the spring of 2022 as one of the first seven students to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability. I also completed a minor in Rhetoric and Leadership.

During my senior year at Pepperdine, I worked alongside the administration to evolve their practices to become more sustainable. This included campus dining, water and energy usage, carbon offsetting, and more. This experience fostered in me a passion for finding practical and effective ways that stakeholders can minimize their footprint and leave a positive impact on the world. So, wanting to focus my vastly interdisciplinary Pepperdine education on a practical application of my studies, and to gain a deeper understanding of climate science and how that leads to solutions, I chose to pursue a MAS CSP degree at UCSD.


Eve Preucil

I was born and raised in the small ski town of Ketchum, Idaho. Access to the outdoors set the tone for my curiosity about the natural world. I went to Pitzer College in Claremont for undergrad, about an hour East of LA. There I studied organismal biology and focused my classes on ecology topics. I did my senior thesis on the morphology of whale ears and how that contributes to our understanding of the evolution of high frequency hearing. My advisor and I then got that research published in the journal of Marine Mammal Science. After graduating in 2019, I moved back to Ketchum where I began working in a biotech lab making monoclonal antibodies. I worked there for 2 years throughout the pandemic until it became clear that I needed to make a change. Lab work didn’t really suit me and I wanted to be more involved in my community. In between leaving the lab and now, I have done some freelance research and writing about various topics, my favorite so far being how climate change has impacted soil health and ways that regenerative farming can improve it. I am passionate about community connection and want to use what I learn at Scripps to help Idaho navigate an exploding population and a changing climate. In my free time I love to ski, bike, and hopefully learn how to surf!



Hannaford Bush

I graduated from UC San Diego in June of 2022 with a B.S. In Marine Biology and a minor in Scientific Education. During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to work in the Aburto Lab doing educational outreach and writing. I was also able to participate in a BIOMA Sea Turtle Research expedition in Costa Rica where I learned firsthand how important the intersection of policy and oceanography is through their community organizations. But, most of my undergrad work was spent in the pool. As both an aquatics athlete and headlifeguard, I was able to develop my passion for working to grow a team from the ground up, as well as hard work and problem solving.

I chose the Climate Science and Policy program at SIO because of the desire I have to make science accessible for the general public, as well as my deep love of San Diego. Presenting climate data to people is an incredibly difficult process, and I look forward to learning more about how the two incredibly different sectors of science and politics are able to work together to make our population and planet a better place.


Hugo Mkhize

After graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Science in Finance, I spent the following 5 years at Morgan Stanley, a global Investment Bank. Across both Johannesburg and London, I have been fortunate to find myself at the forefront of global M&A transaction activity in the renewable energy, environmental services, and infrastructure spaces. These professional experiences, as well as the announcement at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow of the monumental $8.5bn ‘South Africa deal’ to help the country end its reliance on coal, have given me a unique understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities that climate change will present. In my view, a key enabler of a ‘just’ energy transition will be the VC industry. In particular, new ventures, and their ability to commercialize disruptive climate solutions that will benefit those most in need by easing the environmental, economic, and health impacts of the transformation of the global power sector.

Ultimately, I am choosing the MAS CSP program because I want to use my understanding of the climate challenge to interact with founders of the leading climate technology companies on their level, with the requisite technical rigor, as many will have scientific and engineering backgrounds. In the long-term, my ultimate goal is to leverage my experiences building the world’s leading climate technology start-ups and use them to play a fundamental role in helping South Africa, my home nation, achieve its potential to become a leader in the global energy transition.


Isabella Espinoza

I graduated from Boston University in 2017 with a Bachelors in Biology specializing in Behavioral Biology. Since graduating, I have worked as a director of Brookline Recreation’s Nature Camp, a UGA Sea Grant Marine Education Fellow, a middle school science teacher, and an adult basic educator in a GED program. The students and communities I have worked with for the past several years face the negative effects of climate change on a disproportionate level and are the driving force in my desire to make a difference beyond individual climate action. My time as an educator has shown me that individual action is not enough and has inspired my goal to work with community-centered programs and solutions.

I chose the MAS in Climate Science and Policy program because its interdisciplinary focus will provide me with the toolbox I need to contribute to meaningful and lasting climate solutions. Education is a crucial aspect of climate action, but it must be paired with policies that promote and create societal and environmental equity and equality. I am excited to gain the experience I need to one day contribute to the policies that will help regulate the corporations that have been operating unchecked for too long.After completing the program, I hope to work on a local government scale to help create sustainable policies, prioritize sustainable development, and pursue environmental equity for all residents.


Jeri Wilcox

I graduated in May of 2022 from the University of Arizona with an Honors B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis on the Biosphere and a Minor in Marine Science. During my undergraduate career, I became very involved in the sustainability space on campus. For two years I was a Co-Director of the largest student-run sustainability-focused organization on campus. In addition, I performed research with renowned scientists at Biosphere 2 in the Ocean Biome and in the Rainforest Biome. In the Ocean, I studied nitrogen variation in three different algae species to understand nutrient cycling in a closed ocean system. In the Rainforest, I studied how temperature variability impacts the physiological processes of coffee plants to gain insight on how climate change might impact coffee production. I also participated in a brief study abroad experience working on organic coffee farms in the mountains of Costa Rica physically volunteering on the farms and providing business consulting for the farmers. In addition, I was a member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Council and the University of Arizona Collegiate Triathlon Team, TriCats.

I decided to pursue the MAS CSP at Scripps because I am very passionate about the science behind climate systems as well as how this scientific knowledge can be applied to a policy setting to make impactful change. I believe in the interdisciplinary approach to tackling today’s greatest challenges and that this program will effectively equip me to face these issues.


Jessica Clegg

In 2019 I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an emphasis in Anthropology. While working on my undergraduate degree, I began to understand the severity of the climate crisis and became motivated to build a career in the environmental field. As an intern researching climate displacement in indigenous communities, I recognized that profit-driven solutions to climate change were often insufficient in addressing environmental injustice in our nation’s marginalized communities. After graduating I began working for the renewable energy nonprofit, GRID Alternatives. GRID’s mission mirrored my values by bringing affordable renewable energy and clean jobs to the communities most affected by the climate crisis.

My professional and academic experiences have highlighted the importance of policy, advocacy, and education in the environmental justice movement, which is why I chose to apply to the Climate Science and Policy Program. During my time at SIO I hope to learn evidence-based policy tools and the skills required to effectively communicate inclusive climate solutions. Aside from climate work, you can find me hiking, backpacking, biking, snorkeling, doing pottery or gardening!


Lisa Reymann

After receiving a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), I moved to Santiago, Chile to teach English as a Second Language. During the two years I spent there, I became enamored with viniculture, and painfully aware of the negative human impacts of climate change. Once I returned to the United States, I found a part time job at a wine market to foster my industry knowledge, and started a career in business consulting at an IT firm. My roles ranged from Proposal Editor, Organizational Change Management Lead, and Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Consultant for companies in various industries including Commercial Packaged Goods, Aerospace and Defense, Healthcare, and Utilities. As an EHS Consultant, I focused on manufacturing solutions to find improvement areas in operations while progressing sustainability and inspection goals.

The MAS CSP program is incredibly intriguing to me as it consists of collaborating and learning with a cohort from diverse backgrounds, and encourages connectivity of past experiences and future goals throughout the program. I want to learn more about the agricultural and economic impacts of climate change, research how it's disrupting the wine industry from both oceanic and land-based weather influences, and gain experience working with scientists and innovators in this field. In addition, I'm a Certified Specialist of Wine, a PADI Divemaster, and a marathon runner with a goal of completing races in at least ten different countries (I've done five so far!)


Maíra Netto

I am Maíra Netto, I spent most of my life in Brazil although I was born in New Orleans. For this reason, I consider myself more Brazilian than American. Since I can remember, I always loved nature and had curiosity to study it. In 2013 I started my B.S. in Environmental Science at the Universidade de Brasília and in 2019 I concluded it. During my graduation, I got involved in some projects, most of them related to Brazilian traditional communities, sustainable technologies and environmental education. The lasts four years I worked on a project called Observatory of Sustainable and Healthy Territories of Bocaina, which is an association between Fiocruz (a public health institution) and FCT (a social movement of the traditional communities leaderships of the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro State and northern coast of São Paulo State). The main aim of this project is to guarantee the rights of well living for the traditional communities such as indigenous, quilombolas and caiçaras of this territory. In this project I was a member of the Knowledge’s Ecology Coordination. This coordination is responsible for implementing Differeced Education actions, the differentiated education is a concept of an inclusive, autonomy and emancipatory education directed to traditional communities. I am very excited to begin the MAS Climate Science and Policy. I believe that one of the biggests challenges that Climate Change can bring is how to create efficient contingency official plans besides the need for cultural/economic change.


Mike Machiaverna

Hi, my name is Mike Machiaverna, I was born in Long Beach California and grew up mostly in the city of Anaheim. Win or lose, always been an Angels fan. Received my undergraduate B.S. degree from Cal Poly Pomona in Geography with a minor in regenerative studies. Also studied international business in Beijing and taught English as a foreign language in Eastern Europe. My professional career has varied across a number of industries supporting mainly U.S. public sector customers and critical infrastructure while working with a government services contract organization called Peraton. Most recently I have been leading teams in delivering diverse technology solutions for the County of San Diego, including the Land Use and Environmental Group, Geographic Information Systems, Enterprise Resource Planning, Web Content Management, Public Works, and the newly separated Air Pollution Control District.

Have enjoyed spending time in the ocean for as long as I can remember. I am excited to embark on this opportunity at Scripps and have always been in awe of our beautiful oceans and the vast array of global systems they support and influence across the planet. Look forward to harnessing every aspect of this experience to help support the fight for our planet’s right to continue supporting life and a healthy environment for future generations to experience.


Nicholas Cirrito

I graduated from UC San Diego in 2022 with a degree in Urban Studies and Planning with a dual minor in Climate Change Studies and Environmental Studies. During my undergraduate career, I was fortunate to be interdisciplinary in my studies focusing on environmental policy, resource equity, and access to green spaces within the city of Long Beach. I was able to combine my passions for education and the environment through being a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the Environmental Studies program. This opportunity allowed me to empower students about the pressing issues of climate change and environmental injustices. Through an internship with MD7, I was able to gain experience in land use and environmental policy, CEQA, CAD, and ArcGIS while working with a number of professionals, municipalities, and local, county, and state policies. Beyond education, I am member and captain of the UC San Diego Men’s Soccer Team and have a strong passion for surfing, rock climbing, and mountaineering.

I am pursuing a Master’s in Climate Science & Policy from Scripps Institution of Oceanography as it will help broaden my understanding of how scientific knowledge is produced and communicated to communities impacted by climate change. I am eager to learn from some of the world’s greatest scientists, researchers, and professors who are currently battling the complexities of climate change.


Samantha Guetz

At 17 I moved to Bozeman, Montana seeking adventure through skiing and rock climbing, which instilled in me a passion to protect the places I care about. At 18 I took a month-long mountaineering course through NOLS in Valdez, Alaska. Along with learning the fundamentals of glacier mountaineering, we were taught the impact of climate on glaciers - an experience that opened my eyes to the importance of science education and advocacy.

I graduated from Montana State University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Bio-Resources. Most recently I have been working as a Stormwater Engineer in San Diego, CA. In this role I have realized how day to day decisions prioritize profit over climate action and the great disparities this creates on different socio-economic groups. Outside of work, I volunteer for Running Wild, a non-profit that raises money and awareness for endangered African wildlife. Working for this nonprofit has inspired me to pursue a career in community- based conservation.

I believe that climate change is fundamentally a water problem, and I am especially interested in looking at the effects of climate change on water resources and how those effects disproportionately affect lower-income communities. I want to work to empower communities to advocate for changes in policy and regulation in the face of a changing climate, and to make sustainable choices for the future. I chose the MAS CSP program because I want to elevate my career by taking an interdisciplinary approach to advancing climate policies.


Taylor Adkins

I earned my B.A. in 2014 in Saint Augustine, Florida, and in 2015 I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii to help manage and operate an organic farm. Following my time there, I spent five years in the corporate workforce in Portland, Oregon.

In 2020-2022, I completed 2 more years of academic courses in biological sciences and chemistry at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego while volunteering for various humanitarian organizations. In 2021, I worked as a therapeutic wilderness counselor for teens and adolescents struggling with trauma in Bend, Oregon. Exiting corporate America led me to alternative ideologies which prioritized sustainability, equity, humility, and compassion. My interests include reducing carbon emissions, land conservation, restoring biodiversity, reforestation, regenerative farming and soil solutions, public health, environmental and social justice, and education. I chose the MAS CSP program because I feel an ardent conviction that the health of our planet and its inhabitants depend as much upon regeneration as they do on litigation and redirecting social behaviors. In this multidisciplinary program, I can attune to my interests and learn from world-class faculty with diverse climate-focused backgrounds.

My goal is to serve in a non-profit or international government agency conducting research, writing policy, and implementing solutions that will help us reach a more acceptable climate trajectory. I hope to be part of a growing environmental movement that will sustain and nurture life for years to come.


Tran Nguyen

I graduated from Bennington College in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Japanese. At Bennington, I took various courses in public policy, ecological economics, chemistry, and data analysis, through which I gained knowledge on environmental issues from different perspectives. During my junior year, I participated in the Asian Studies exchange program at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, where I focused my coursework in Japanese language and sustainable urbanization. My primary research area is water resources management, with regional focus on East and Southeast Asia. After graduation, I worked as an intern for the Natural Science sector at UNESCO Representative Office in Vietnam, where I went further into hydrology in the context of climate change and also came to an understanding of the role of global agencies, specifically the United Nations, in the fight against climate change.

This academic and professional background, along with my passion to help my home country mitigate and adapt to climate change, are my motivations to pursue higher education through the UCSD’s MAS CSP program. I look forward to learning from the renowned professors and speakers of the program and use the newly-gained knowledge in developing a meaningful capstone project as well as in my future career.


Yash Solanki

I graduated from Iowa State University in 2020 with a B.S. in Biology. During my time at college, I was a research assistant for ISU’s Department of Animal Science, where I worked on fascinating projects related to molecular genetics and immunology. Graduating during the pandemic, however, put a pause on my grad school plans and gave me time to reexamine my future goals. Seeing how the pandemic and extreme climate events of 2020 disproportionately affected poorer populations, I felt an urge to contribute to ground-level efforts that helped uplift underprivileged communities. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself, I chose to change career paths and join a sustainable agriculture start-up based in rural India. This start-up focuses on implementing sustainable agricultural techniques on farmlands that have been made unproductive by decades of harsh conventional farming practices. Getting insights into the damage caused by unsustainable human activities and climate change, and its impacts on rural communities, convinced me of the urgent need for policy changes at national and international levels.

When I heard of the SIO’s MAS CSP program I knew it was the perfect next step for my professional development. I was especially drawn by the interdisciplinary approach of this program, which incorporates scientific, political, and social aspects of climate issues. I’m excited to learn more about the intricacies of climate change, policy-making, and social justice under the mentorship of the reputed SIO faculty. Outside of work I’m a passionate musician and love traveling, and I’d love to learn how to surf while I’m in San Diego!


Yuyang Han

Hi, I am Yuyang Han. I’m from the northeast part of China. I finished my bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego, environmental systems major, with a specialization in environmental chemistry. The reason for me to choose Climate Science & Policy Program(MAS CSP) as my master’s degree is because I want to achieve my future career goal of helping society live in a sustainable and eco-friendly environment. When I took earth science, environmental chemistry, environmental policy, and some other relevant courses, I noticed that climate change has already severely affected our lives. We must figure out feasible solutions and take action to change the situation. Thus, I consider the MAS CSP is a perfect program for me to pursue my career goal because it can allow me to learn more comprehensive knowledge about climate science and environmental policy, and at the same time, I can get practical skills from my Capstone project. Something that would be interesting for my classmates and colleagues to know is that I am kind of Introverted, but my MBTI type is ENTJ-A (Assertive Commander), an ​​extroverted personality. Also, I have a dog in China. His name is Tuantuan and he is a Bichon.