alumni spotlight

Lily Tsukayama, B.S. 2013


Lily Tsukayama is all about marine health, monitoring things such as increasing bacteria and declining fish stocks. Working on “real world applicable issues and real research has been the best part of my educational experience,” she says—even if the findings aren’t always what ocean users want to hear. After testing post-storm bacterial levels in Santa Monica Bay, Tsukayama had bad news for surfers. Instead of waiting the typical three days to get back in the water, surfers and swimmers should allow five to ten days to allow harmful bacteria to drop to safe levels. After she’s tackled California’s coastal fisheries, Tsukayama intends to work on international issues that affect the entire Pacific Ocean.

alumni spotlight

Mario Colon, B.S. 2013


A Los Angeles native, Mario Colon loves nothing more than being in nature, completely cut off from society. His practicum project with the U.C. Natural Reserve System provided that kind of natural immersion during its exhaustive investigation of 665 endangered species. “I was camping on these cliff top reserves all over the state and getting in there with the weeds, bugs, lizards, birds and plants,” Colon says. “It’s a living laboratory and my project helped me know for sure this is what I want to dedicate my life to.” Colon wants to bring likeminded people together to work on land range management and reserve design. “I don’t want to be in the lab pipetting, but on the ground applying what I’ve learned in class to see if it works, and makes sense.”

alumni spotlight

Shannon Walker, B.S. 2011


Eco-entrepreneur Shannon Walker wants to make electric vehicle charging easy and cheap. Her software-based sharing platform—EVmatch—seeks to quadruple California’s public charging networks. Walker initially planned to conduct marine research, but says “the key thing you take out of environmental science is that everything we do impacts the entire planet.” Life at a tech start-up is a brand new experience, but Walker’s underlying passion remains the same. “I feel very strongly about making the world and the environment better. More clean vehicles on the road reduces harmful air pollution and provides better health for everyone.”

alumni spotlight

Jesse Jaeger, B.S. 2014


Jesse Jaeger does her part to protect California’s air quality and keep greenhouse gas emissions in check. A project analyst for SWAPE—Soil/Water/Air Protection Enterprise—she assesses pollutants and emissions for construction and development. Jaeger left UCLA and hit the ground running. “The environmental science major prepares every student for the demanding world of environmental science,” she says. Technical courses in things like ArcGIS (geographic information system) and Microsoft Excel gave Jaeger a broad skill set. Tackling groundwater contamination, emissions from petrochemical plants, industrial facilities and landfills is all in a day’s work. “Just as the environmental science program expects greatness from their students, so does SWAPE from their employees.”  

alumni spotlight

Bianca Shulaker, B.S. 2010


“The intersection between urban systems, green living, and public health fascinates me,” Bianca Shulaker says. Working for The Trust for Public Land, she puts her passion and science skills to work every day. The trust focuses on ensuring that the 80 percent of Americans who live in or near cities have easy access to safe, green places—and aren’t disconnected from nature. “I love that central to our environmental mission is community, and our work has significant, long-lasting impact,” she says. Shulaker credits the practicum in preparing her for the working world. “Seeing a project from start to finish, formulating research questions, incorporating professional input, working in a team and seeing how your contribution fits into the larger project were really valuable,” she says.