Profile picture for user ielston

Preferred Pronouns

she, her, hers

Undergraduate Institution

UCLA

Organization

UCLA

Position

Undergraduate Student (Senior)

Current Location

Los Angeles, CA

Hometown

Northridge, CA

Personal Interests

  • Spending Time with Friends and Family
  • Reading
  • Sleeping
  • volunteering

Professional Interests

  • Energy and Climate
  • Recycling and Waste Management
  • Social/Environmental Justice and Equity
  • Sustainability
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Water Quality or Watershed Management

Strengths

  • Achiever
  • Analytical
  • Includer
  • Responsibility
  • Strategic

Hello! I am a senior undergraduate Civil and Environmental Engineering student at UCLA with a focus in environmental engineering, water resources engineering, and urban planning. My academic interests are centered around water/wastewater treatment and the ways in which those practices can be applied to water conservation and reuse around the world, especially in urban areas and highly populated areas. I’ve also participated in research with one of my professors related to environmental justice and measuring the different forms of pollution that affect primarily minority communities and neighborhoods in LA. Outside of academics, I am passionate about diversifying the field of engineering as well as the conservation movement. I spend time volunteering with underrepresented students of color in the Los Angeles area and encourage them to continue their education, pursue STEM-related subjects, and explore the field of conservation.

I am a Los Angeles native whose first introduction to nature/camping was through the Doris Duke program at NAU in 2016. The first summer was extremely challenging and required me to stretch and grow in a multitude of ways. From putting up my first tent and sleeping on the ground to not having access to running water or electricity, I was both humbled and ultimately inspired by the places my cohort visited throughout the Southwest that summer. In my second summer, I conducted research related to alpine amphibians in Vancouver, Canada and Washington State. I got to experience backpacking as well as snow for the first time which was daunting yet worthwhile. One of my biggest takeaways from my time as a scholar was that there are empty seats at the conservation “table”. The lack of people of color in these spaces was admittedly a little discouraging but has also sparked in me a desire to connect more people of color to nature. We all share one earth, one environment, and it only makes sense that we all should have a say in the protection of it.

As an engineer, I enjoy problem solving and see that one of the challenges we face is the future of our environment. My journey into the conservation field started out a little bumpy but got smoother as time went on due to supportive people within the Doris Duke program. I hope to inspire others to join the movement through inclusive practices and showing them the diverse ways in which they and others can and are contributing to the field of conservation.