Anna Gurevitz, MA (she, her)
K-12 Education Lead
Co-Founder | Masters of Arts in Teaching, University of Southern California | M.A. World Cultures, University of California, Merced
Hailing from Arizona, I began my life in the Central Valley of California as a graduate student at the University of California, Merced where I received a M.A. in World Cultures in 2017. While there, I focused on a field called bioarchaeology – which just means that I studied the skeletal remains of individuals at archaeological sites. I loved what I did, but while studying, I got involved with conducting workshops for middle and high school students about my field, which made me switch career fields.
I pursued a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California, which I received with a teaching credential in Science in 2020. I worked for the Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI, an environmental non-profit) as the Associate Contracts Manager, until I transitioned from being a volunteer for SEEN to work full-time as the executive director. At SEEN, my main objective is to improve equity in quality and critical education.
Chantelise Pells, PhD (she, her)
Community Engagement Program Director
Social Science Lead
PhD in Geography, University of California, Davis | MA in Geography, University of California, Davis | BA in Geography, University of California, Berkeley
Chantelise Pells’ work focuses on community-based environmental resource governance, water governance and socio-environmental sustainability. Her current research looks at the climate change impacts on vulnerable rural communities. Chantelise’s dissertation research is a case study of participation dynamics of the local groundwater user association in Northern Baja California, Mexico. Her work specifically focuses on multi-scale power relations impacting local governance and the related socio-environmental effects.
She also works to broaden understanding of human induced environmental problems and to work towards building collaborative and just solutions. She has experience teaching higher education courses that focus on socio-environmental sustainability, environmental policy and design and human geography.
Leticia M. Classen-Rodriguez, PhD (they, elle)
Participatory Science Program Director
Environmental Science Lead
Ph.D. Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, SLU | B.S. Environmental Sciences, Universidad de Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
Angel S. Fernandez-Bou, PhD (he, él)
Land repurposing and Environmental systems
Co-Founder | Ph.D. Environmental Systems, University of California Merced | M.Sc. Biosystems Engineering: Water Resources, Fluminense Federal University | B.Eng. Agricultural Engineering, Polytechnic University of Madrid
My work orbits around Sustainability (people + nature must be sustainable). Our team develops innovative solutions to preserve the environment, improve economic robustness, promote quality of life in disadvantaged communities, and develop climate solutions. We have multiple publications at all levels (for policymakers, for scientists, for disadvantaged community stakeholders, often bilingual).
Part of my work is to translate science into action. Our team implements projects of to mitigate environmental injustice and to promote health and socioeconomic opportunities. We do bilingual scientific outreach, workshops for children and adults, and communication with policymakers and journalists.
José Luis Susa Rincon, PhD (he, él)
Co-Founder | Ph.D. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California Merced | M.Sc. Robotics, École National d’Engénieurs de Brest (ENIB), France | B.S. Electrical Engineering, Colombian School of Engineering
Jose Luis Susa Rincón is passionate about robotics engineering and education. He is a R&D Project Manager at Siemens USA working on autonomous machines, AI, and robotics. He is managing several US Government funded projects with the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute (ARM) and has previously managed other projects related to educational robotics and hardware development of a translation system from electromyography signals into speech.
Jose Luis’s work has been presented at the International Multi-Robot Systems Symposium and published in prestigious scientific journals such as the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. He has also worked as a lecturer for the University of California, Merced, and at universities in Colombia. Jose Luis also has a book teaching children the fundamentals of robotics.
J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, PhD (he, él)
Water and Climate change
Secretary of the Board of Directors
Doctor in Hydrology and Water Resources | University of California, Davis
Pablo Ortiz is Senior Water and Climate Scientist for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In his role, he takes the lead in identifying and developing analytic and research projects that further his team’s water-related priorities. Dr. Ortiz also works on developing strategies for vulnerable sectors and populations in California to cope and adapt to the current and projected impacts of climate change, particularly related to water impacts.
Humberto Flores-Landeros, B. Eng. (he, él)
B.Eng. Environmental Engineering | Ph.D. student in Environmental Systems | University of California, Merced
Humberto began his journey with SEEN as a volunteer in 2020 while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Merced. Fast forward a couple of years later; he is now a graduate student at UC Merced in the Environmental Systems program and a board member at SEEN.
Humberto’s focus is on climate research, primarily the soils potential for carbon sequestration at local scales. His primary goal is to do science that contributes to the world’s forward progress while accounting for the wellbeing of its all inhabitants. Humberto also has expertise in community engaged research, and he has worked with multiple rural disadvantaged communities of the San Joaquin Valley.
Lorenzo Booth (he, él)
Robotics and Environmental Monitoring Instructor
PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Candidate | MS in Environmental Systems | BS in Environmental Engineering, University of California, Merced
Lorenzo works on the sustainable development of water resources and applications of robotics methods in environmental and agricultural science.
Lorenzo has worked with SEEN for several years and he has contributed to the development of multiple curricula including different robotics platforms, applied math, and environmental monitoring.
Felipe Perez (he, él)
Community Engaged Research
Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Firebaugh | Community Leader
I have a long history of community engagement and activism in the San Joaquin Valley. I have served as Executive Director of the grassroots non-profit Los Promotores from 2005-present that works to educate communities on environmental hazards and advocates for community empowerment. I have also served as an outreach specialist and project supervisor for the Firebaugh Farmers Market and Community Gardens Projects, and as a CWOP for Westside Family Preservation Services Network Agency and Firebaugh Youth Empowerment Center Supervisor.
Espi Sandoval (he, él)
Executive Director of High Education For All
Espi is the Director of HEFA, a Central California grassroots non-profit organization working to close the opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect Hispanic students from low-income families. Since 1999, HEFA has guided over 1000 students in dual enrollment classes (high school and community college) and the results have indicated that 87% of students who participated in dual enrollment prior to college had higher retention rates, completion rates of four to six years, and a shorter time to complete the bachelor’s degree.
Espi is also a political advocate for just causes in the San Joaquin Valley, and he has served as an elected official in the City of Kerman.
Eliseo Gamiño (he, él)
Community Leader | B.A. Liberal Studies | M.A. Education, CSU Fresno
As the son of an Ex-Bracero, Eliseo has served as College Director, Associate Dean of Student Learning, Federal Grant Director, and Administrator Designee at Raisin City School District.
He is the current President of the Central Valley Leadership Round Table, and he has played several active roles in community events, including in the Fresno Food Bank distribution for displaced families, as Valley’s Children Hospital Supporter, and in the Community Touring Theatre. He is an Elected Trustee of FLDUSD District#1 and an Active Member of the California and National Teachers Associations.
Some of our wonderful volunteers, collaborators, fellows, and former key members
Ana Simões, MA
PhD in Quantitative Psychology candidate, University of California, Merced. | M.A. Psychology, American International College
Originally from Brazil, Ana Simoes moved to Massachusetts in 2012 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. In 2016, she continued her studies and obtained a Masters of Arts in General Psychology. Ana is currently a PhD candidate in Quantitative Psychology at the University of California Merced where she studies mathematical modeling and statistical analysis applied to the social sciences.
Elisabet Perez-Coronel, PhD
PhD in Environmental Systems, University of California, Merced
Eli grew up in Mexico and has been passionate about caring for the environment since she was young. She majored in Environmental Engineering and during her studies she learned that little tiny organisms regulate what happens in our water, dirt and even in our bodies. After college she moved to the U.S to pursue a PhD in Environmental Science at UC Merced where she studied microbes that live in lakes and how they can influence climate change. She enjoys teaching Earth and Environmental Science, hiking, dancing, reading, and traveling.
Manuel Cornejo, PhD
PhD in Quantitative and Systems Biology.
I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, and moved to Merced to pursue my Ph.D. degree. Now I work in a Bioengineering company in San Diego. I am interested in diverse topics on biology and chemistry, especially those related to health, such as physiology and pharmacology. As an undergrad I helped graduate students to develop a more efficient medicine for hypertension, and worked with bacteria to develop a vaccine for cows. Nowadays, I work looking at the effect of different treatments on Japanese diabetic rats. I went to Japan during three summers to work with other students in my lab, and tried to pick up the basics of the language (it’s hard!). I like martial arts, and I have a black belt in Taekwondo.
Jorge A.M. Montiel-Molina, PhD
PhD in Environmental Systems, UC Merced
Picture from UC Merced News
Instructor and Scientist
PhD student in Watershed Science, Colorado State University | MSc in Environmental System, UC Merced | BS in Environmental Science and BA in Atmospheric Sciences, UC Berkeley
Alan Cai is a PhD student in Watershed Sciences at Colorado State University – Fort Collins. He previously completed a Master’s degree in the Environmental Systems Graduate at UC Merced, where he focused on understanding the priorities, attitudes, and decision-making processes of Western United States hydropower facility operators with regards to environmental flows. In 2018, as an instructor for SEEN, he developed and taught an interactive ecological monitoring workshop to Central Valley high school students. He later converted this workshop into a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Alan is fluent in Mandarin and an expert in watershed fieldwork.
Andrés Torres García
MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Merced | B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering, Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Supeiores de Occidente
Andrés is a Research Development Software Engineer
Dematic Mobile Automation, and he is interested in Localization and Motion Planning for Autonomous Ground Vehicles. He worked for several years with SEEN until he moved back to Mexico to work in robotics.
Andrés have done multiple bilingual workshops for children about robotics, including arduino, lego, and other platforms.
Alain Juarez, PhD
PhD Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Merced
I’m an Animation Engineer at Visual Concepts. I obtained my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Merced on May 2018, where I worked at the UC Merced Computer Graphics Lab under the direction of Marcelo Kallmann. I have a B.S. in Computer Science from the Universidad de Guanajuato.
My main research interest is Computer Animation, specially human-like animation synthesis, human motion machine learning and motion planning.
Jose Nava Mejia
B.S. Environmental Systems Science (2023), University of California, Merced
Hello everyone. I am Jose and I’m from Merced. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2023. I love anything outdoors. I can’t wait to use my education to help in a program like this. After graduating I plan to work as an environmental scientist.
Allyzza Torres Raya
B.S. Human Biology (2023), University of California, Merced
Hi I am Allyzza and I am from Livingston I plan on graduating in fall 2023. After I graduate from UC Merced I plan on attending medical school to pursue a career as a doctor and I plan on having my own medical practice. I enjoy playing guitar, spending time with friends and family.
B.A. Psychology (2026), University of California, Merced
Hello 🙂 My name is Angeles Perez-Vargas and I am from Madera CA. I am a first-year undergraduate student and I am also the first person in my entire family to attend a university, so I am a first-generation college student !! After graduating, I hope to continue my education and hopefully one day become a clinical psychologist.
B.S. Biological Sciences, B.A. Psychology (2023), University of California, Merced
Hello everyone, I am Rushad and I am from Merced. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2023. After I graduate, I would like to either attend a Post-Baccularate program at UC Irvine or attend Pharmacy School. Some interesting facts about me are that I have a Black Belt in Karate, I have EMT training, I handle mice in my research lab on campus, and I am an RA as well for everyone who lives on campus.
Political Science (2023), University of California, Merced
My name is Kalysta Barrios and I am from Sacramento, California. I am currently studying for my undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of California, Merced. I was previously an intern for Environment California and plan to be an environmental lawyer in the future. I like to read nonfiction books, crochet, journal, and go on hikes.
B.S. Environmental System Science (2025), University of California, Merced
My name is Nayerli Carbajal, though I normally go by Naya. I am from Turlock, California coming here to UC Merced as an ESS major. I cannot say I know specifically what I would like to have a career in though I am certain I would like to make a positive difference in the way people interact with the natural world. In my free time I enjoy gardening, painting and reading.
Mechanical Engineering (2024), University of California, Merced
Hey everyone, my name is Juan Hernandez and I’m from downtown LA. Right now I’m studying ME at UC Merced and hope to use what I learn to innovate on current technologies and processes, as well as maybe invent something of my own at some point. I like to play basketball, volleyball, go on hikes, runs, bikes, and am almost always willing to try something new.
Psychology (2025), University of California, Merced
My name is Micaela Cuevas and I am from Hayward, California. I am currently a second-year psychology major. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in counseling for children. A few things about myself is that I like to read books, watch movies, and hang out with friends and family.
Former Members of the Board of Directors
|Elisabet Perez-Coronel, PhD | 2019 – 2022||Ana Simões | 2019 – 2022|
|Manuel Cornejo, PhD | 2019 – 2022||Jorge A.M. Montiel-Molina, PhD | 2019 – 2020|
|Anna Gurevitz, MA | 2019 – 2022|