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Our students represent diverse experiences and ambitious professional goals.
We are pleased to introduce the CSP Cohort of 2020-2021:

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Miles Aiello

I am a grassroots community organizer, educator, social justice and environmental activist. My academic interests are in climate change, geography, structural and institutional racism, poverty, food insecurity, Native American indigeneity, ethnic studies, African American studies, marine, environmental, and biodiversity conservation, land grabbing, environmental justice, social justice, youth empowerment and leadership development. I received my A.A. in Communication from Cerritos College and my B.A. in Geography from UC Berkeley. At Cerritos, I was Student Body President and Vice President of the Speech and Debate team. I interned at Congresswoman Linda Sanchez's district office and while at the UC Berkeley Labor enter as a community organizer. While at Cal, I founded OneEighty, which aims to improve the quality of life for underserved and disadvantaged communities through educational empowerment and environmental activism. With my team, we created scholarships, organized six beach clean ups, seven community hikes, donated a Baby Grand Piano to Foster Road Elementary School in La Mirada, and conducted community organizing workshops.

I applied to the MAS Climate Science & Policy program because I want to focus on the intersection of climate science, social justice, and community organizing. It is the intersectionality of the program that drew my attention. I aim to create structural change that prioritizes the Earth's habitability, address social justice issues, and develop local policy recommendations centered around food justice and greening spaces. As I enter this program, I am excited to be in San Diego. I've always wanted to learn how to surf, and I'm finally going to. 

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Pargoal Arab

I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2020 with a B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. At UCLA, I researched the impact of smoke plumes from wildfires on particulate matter 2.5. I also researched public attitudes towards climate change. My research helped me realize the significance of combining the scientific and social aspects of climate change. I chose the MAS Climate Science and Policy program to learn more about the policymaking and social aspect of climate change. I believe that having knowledge in both aspects is essential for addressing climate change effectively. I look forward to finding better ways to communicate climate change to the public. 

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Krissy Chan

I'm  a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University at Albany - SUNY.  Over my year off I became very fascinated with the environment and finding a career that would allow me to make the many lifestyle changes such as going vegan, reducing my usage of single-use products, shopping sustainably and even starting my own permaculture garden. My aspiration is to have a career in politics as a policy maker so I can make lasting and sustainable legislation that preserves and protects our planet, underrepresented populations, and animals.  
My main interests lie with mitigation of ocean acidification, ending factory farms, converting our energy systems to 100% renewable and halting deforestation here and abroad. My goal is to gain a deeper understanding and perspective of the inner workings between academia, business and government...I chose this program because it offers a great opportunity to examine these dualities as well as work with highly skilled experts in this constantly evolving field. 

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Matt Curtis

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Matt spent 20+ years leading, training, and operating around the world. After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2018, Matt worked for Illumina, the world leader in genetic sequencing technology, as the Equipment Lifecycle Manager for San Diego manufacturing operations. Bringing an educational background in political science, history, and business administration, Matt joined the Climate Science and Policy Program with a desire to learn about the drivers of earth's climate system, explore environmental adaptation strategies, and study how government policies shape market forces. 

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Gregor Donath

After graduating with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, I earned my M.S. in Civil Engineering focusing on management and digitization of construction processes from Technical University of Munich, Germany in 2019. As an internal consultant and project manager in various construction companies, I linked theoretical knowledge and practical needs and benefits during and after my study programs. Working in interdisciplinary teams, I supported company-wide strategic development and implementation of Lean Construction and digitalization to optimize construction projects.
Strongly convinced that successfully addressing climate change requires an intense, cross-functional exchange, I joined the MAS Climate Science & Policy Program. Since, in my experience, one of the most important success factors is to consider the needs of all stakeholders, the political and economic topics included in the program make it a practical and cutting-edge approach to tackling climate change. Fascinated by the ocean and its impact on the global ecosystem, I believe it offers high-potential starting points such as wave energy and coastal protection systems, to contribute to climate actions with my current skill-set. Furthermore, I think that learning from and discussing with colleagues and experts with different backgrounds will lead to innovative solutions combining process-oriented thinking, economical aspects and ecological requirements. 

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Emily Grady

I graduated from Lafayette college in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Following graduation, I worked as a client care manager for a large healthcare company where I became preoccupied with the amount of resource, energy, and material waste in current business practices. Although climate change was always an important issue to me, my workforce experience taught me that many industries are not adopting sustainable practices and drove me to want to be a part of a larger scale change. I believe the only way to address the climate crisis is to couple scientific and technological advances with innovative policy strategies. I chose to pursue a Masters of Advanced Study in Climate Science and Policy at Scripps knowing it will provide me with the academic knowledge and practical skills needed to develop solutions to the most complex and urgent threats associated with climate change. 

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Jonah Harris

I received my B.A. in Public Policy with a minor in History from New York University in 2017. After that, I worked as a bilingual public school teacher for two years in San Jose, Ca, building my skills as an educator. I am passionate about international relations and understand that climate change will be one of the most difficult problems for diplomats and international policymakers to work on. My goal is to become a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. For that reason, I want to equip myself with the skills needed to work in the international arena, including in climate negotiations. I am excited to learn from the many experts at Scripps across various fields, and I am excited to collaborate with many students from diverse backgrounds. 

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Rosanne McConnell

Rosanne comes from a military aviation and air traffic control background; two career fields that are highly impacted by weather. She is pursuing her MAS in Climate Science & Policy to better understand the connection between policy makers and the science behind climate change. Rosanne hopes to gain the expertise to communicate the science back to the communities that are directly impacted by the many aspects of severe weather we are facing today. 

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Timothy Moffit

After serving in the U.S. Navy for 4 years on an aircraft carrier in San Diego, I separated in order to pursue my education as well as spend time with my family. While pursuing my Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science at California State Polytechnic University Pomona, I found my passion and focus in climate science and the policies that influence environmental impacts. At the encouragement of my family and professors, I applied to Scripps Institution of Oceanography's MAS CSP Program. My goal is to use the knowledge I gain from this program to research environmental impacts of climate change and strategize policy recommendations that create a healthier, more sustainable future. 

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Cayt Schlichting

My educational background is in mechanical engineering, clearance diving, explosive disposal and homeland security. I served six years in the U.S. Navy as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. During this time, I travelled extensively throughout Europe and Africa on humanitarian, force protection and multinational training missions. For the last three years, I have been working as a software consultant for healthcare organizations, helping them improve outcomes and efficiency through patient experience initiatives. 

My goal in joining the MAS Climate Science & Policy program is to gain a greater understanding of climate science in order to channel my passion for public service into the field of environmental programs and policies. My interests in this field include renewable energy systems, environmental impacts on homeland security, and private sector motivations for adopting environmentally conscious business practices. 

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Michele Shoemaker

Michele is pursuing her MAS in Climate Science & Policy because she believes solving the climate crisis will require a deep understanding of both science and policy. Michele likes being an early adopter and feels the MAS CSP Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a unique and timely opportunity for her to be involved in a global solution. She is extremely proud to attend Scripps and study under its prestigious faculty members. Michele enjoys spending time with friends and family surfing. She has been involved with environmental issues her entire life. Michele has a Bachelor's degree from the University of California Santa Barbara in Environmental Studies and a Certificate from the University of California San Diego Extension in Sustainable Business Practices. She has worked in the environmental field as a consultant focusing on hazardous materials remediation and as a regulator in the area of groundwater protection. She is also a substitute elementary school teacher. Michele is excited about returning to school now that her adult children are in college.

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Michael Torti

I earned a B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University. I believe data-driven advocacy leads to systemic top-down change, which is the best way to impact our planet for the better. In the last seven years, I have developed policy, advocacy campaigns and programs to resolve environmental impacts. As Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter Chair, I successfully launched environmental programs such as water quality testing programs, co-created the national Ocean Friendly Restaurant program, supported advocacy efforts to fund sewage treatment infrastructure in the Tijuana River Valley and advocated for municipal and state-wide single-use plastics ordinances. I am currently serving on the San Diego Coastkeeper Board of Directors. As a twenty-year professional in the transportation industry, I have worked to implement sustainable practices and to education such applied programs within the small business community. The MAS Climate Science & Policy curriculum, faculty and community will allow me to gain new skills to lead on more impactful climate policy. I am excited by the program's access to expertise in climate science and mitigation, economics, and policy. Post graduation, I hope to contribute to mitigation policy, specifically the reduction of CO2 and short-lived climate pollutants. 

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Julie Turko

A lifelong nature girl, I have a BA in the Liberal Arts and a Master's in Business Administration. For the last fifteen years, I've raised money to improve the lives of children and I continue to serve on Arizona's Foster Care Review Board. As a fundraiser, my practice is to build a credible case for support and then find resources in the community to implement and sustain needed programs. Climate change is complex and my purpose at Scripps is to better understand the fundamental insights of climate science in order to translate them into practical action steps that I and others can take on a personal, economic, and policy level. I come to the program with many questions and a strong desire to learn. 

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Annika Vawter

I earned a B.S. in Aquatic Biology from UC Santa Barbara where I enriched my education as an undergraduate research volunteer with the Long Term Ecological Research (SBC LTER) Project. I gained insight into the power of interdisciplinary research networks as well as practical research skills, and my SCUBA certification course and ecological research trip to Costa Rica offered new perspectives of complex coastal ecosystems. In my senior year, I developed and presented an independent research project examining the effects of disturbance on kelp forest ecology. After graduating, I assisted with doctorate work in the Smith Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography examining coral in the Southern Line Islands to better understand the health of tropical reefs in a changing climate. It was there I fell in love with SIO's pioneering mindset and research - and their beautiful campus! 

I wanted to be a part of the MAS Climate Science & Policy program because of its focus on interdisciplinary and deliverable climate solutions and SIO's long history with climate research. This program prepares students to respond to current and future climate challenges with innovation, provide tangible assistance to people and ecosystems affected by the changing global climate, and create a legacy of environmental accountability and scientific advancement - all necessary paths for our global future. I look forward to integrating my experience and education to address climate concerns, particularly those relating to the impacts extreme weather events and climate shifts have on humans and ecosystems.