Meet our California interns, Hugo and Stephanie!

photo-copyName: Hugo Ceja
College: CSU Monterey Bay
Major: Environmental Science Technology and Policy
Project Site: California Coastal National Monument & Elkhorn Slough National Estuary Research Reserve
Hometown: Merced, California

Background: Over the course of my undergraduate education I was exposed to various science fields that contributed to my knowledge and passion for this subject. I anticipate this internship experience will allow me to learn more about careers in the sciences. I am very excited about this opportunity because I have a passion for working with underrepresented communities that are not presently involved in conservation issues. I am also excited to know more about the different birds that migrate through the Monterey area and most importantly how to conduct adequate research on these species.

In the past I have volunteered with several educational initiatives with the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and Fort Ord National Monument. During my time interning with UFW, one of my duties was to translate English articles to Spanish for their website. This was important as it informed monolingual Spanish speakers about certain laws and regulations. I was also out in the community collecting signatures for a petition that was sent to the capital of California regarding the safety of farm workers.  One of the things that I enjoyed when being out in the community was the stories that individuals had to share. The stories made me realize the injustice they were exposed too and also how uninformed they were. As a volunteer for Fort Ord National Monument, I created two interpretative posters. One poster was on the rules and regulations at the monument and the other poster informed daily users of the flora and fauna found throughout Fort Ord N. M.  When creating the posters I considered how to make the information general enough so that individuals from many backgrounds would understand the posters. Every once in a while I participate in trail maintenance work as well as public and school planting events with Fort Ord N.M. Volunteering for Fort Ord N. M. made me realize how important it is to care for the land and the importance of inviting the community to get involve. Overall, I have learned a lot by working at two agencies that strive to inform and educate different types of communities.

Interests: Over the years I have grown to love many activities such as hiking and camping throughout California. I also enjoy other recreational activities such as road and mountain biking, soccer, and tennis. Occasionally, I go bird watching along the shore or at other locations where I am likely to see many different types of bird species. I am a big fan of traveling long and short distances to places with rich histories. Every time I have the opportunity to be outdoors- I take it! I am always open to trying new things.

Long-term Goals: Over the course of my college career I have developed an interest in climate change and I hope to one day obtain a Ph. D in this field. Eventually I want to do research on climate change and study how humans affect the rate in which certain events are happening on Earth. I also want to work with the public and inform them about the actions everyone can take to protect all flora and fauna. I also want to encourage young Latinos and other underrepresented groups to consider doing something relating to science because not many minorities are encouraged to do so.


StephanieName: Stephanie Aroche
College: CSU Monterey Bay
Major: Watershed Management. Minor in Statistics.
Project Site: California Coastal National Monument & Elkhorn Slough National Estuary Research Reserve
Hometown: Tulare, California

Background: I grew up with much appreciation for the outdoors, especially with having Sequoia National Park as my backyard. I enjoy projects that integrate social issues with local environmental problems. It gets everyone to cooperate and work together to find solutions, and I am looking forward to working this summer in getting the community engaged with the Elkhorn Slough area. I love the Monterey Area; I also love living right up the street from Cannery Row! I cant wait to post some of the things that I will become involved with over the summer.

Interests: Some long term interests of mine have been photography and animals. I have been to all of the zoos in California, both large and small. I take my camera everywhere, taking photos of all my life experiences, and am currently in the scrapbooking phase of trying to better organize all of those photos. I love going to the movies, and playing tourist, because traveling is one of my loves.

Long-term Goals: I have one more year in my undergraduate. Then, I plan to get some hands-on experience trying to narrow down my broad watershed major job options into some areas that i can focus into. I really want to let my future happen on its own, but i would love to work in Central/South America on restoration or conservation projects. From there I can always go back to graduate school, or even do non-profit work. Any career paths that allow me to work outdoors and connect with other people with similar passions as mine is what I look forward to.


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