Alumni

Tina Geller
Tina Geller
BS, BA
2020
I’m starting grad school this fall at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. I’ll be working on coastal ocean biogeochemistry and hydrodynamics in arctic regions. My research is expected to focus on better understanding nutrient transport and cycling in coastal regions, and how they impact the development of oxic and anoxic conditions in these environments.
Aaron Rojas
Aaron Rojas
BS
2019
I’m a Tribal Air Technician for the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians located in Southern California. I work in the Tribe’s Environmental Protection Department, and assigned to all air related activities. Primarily, I am the site operator for the Tribe’s Air Monitoring Station which contains meteorological and air pollution instruments (PM2.5 and 10). I manage, analyze, and interpret air monitoring data for informational purposes for the Tribe to assist in making policy decisions.
Gianna Lum
Gianna Lum
BS, BA
2019
My four years as an undergraduate in the ESS department and my research experience with a supportive team in Professor Kathleen Johnson’s paleoclimate lab helped me cultivate a passion for climate science and a motivation to teach others about the intricacies of our changing world. I just completed my Master’s in Climate and Society at Columbia University, as well as a graduate research assistantship processing climate models at NASA-GISS. I’m now Executive Director of a climate communications and education nonprofit called Climatepedia, where I run an online climate science and climate justice program. My goal is to make climate education more accessible and empower people to become leaders in their communities.
Kaden Martin
Kaden Martin
BS, BA
2019
Since graduating from UCI, I have begun my Ph.D. in Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science at Oregon State University (OSU). My work at OSU focuses on reconstructing abrupt changes in past climate from Greenland ice cores. In particular, we utilize measurements of atmospheric methane and nitrogen alongside computer models to better quantify the impacts of North Atlantic freshwater discharge on Greenland climate. My experience as an undergraduate researcher in the Saltzman/Aydin Research Group provided me with laboratory experience, excellent mentorship, and the technical skills needed to succeed in my academic career.
Lawrence Abbott
Lawrence Abbott
BS
2019
I graduated UC Irvine having a supportive network of peers that developed throughout my coursework and involvement with the Earth System Science department's Mackey research team. I now work as a specimen accessioner at LabCorp. I help keep track of shipments of clinical samples and do data entry to keep patient specimen info available as needed so that LabCorp can test samples and relay results effectively. Being a part of the Mackey research team by going on field expeditions, helping others with their research goals, and doing my own research for a senior thesis have contributed to my attention to details, problem-solving skills, and ability to communicate effectively throughout the clinical lab, which has made my work at LabCorp more fulfilling because I am able to bring who I am to work everyday, confidently and authentically.
McKenna Coffey
McKenna Coffey
BA
2019
After completing the UCDC Internship and graduating from the ENSP program, I began working with the Society of Environmental Journalists, where I facilitate conversations around equity, climate, and the future of environmental policy. This course of study gave me a strong interdisciplinary foundation, and UCDC provided me with opportunities to network and gain invaluable professional experience.
Noreen Garcia
Noreen Garcia
BS
2019
I am currently in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Ph.D. program at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The Earth System Science program allowed me to experience what it would be like if I were to pursue a path towards a research-focused career. I was able to execute my own research project within Dr. Ellen Druffel’s lab and also work alongside her to complete a grant proposal. I was also able to experience new opportunities as Dr. Druffel was my PI through CAMP’s summer programs, who support minority students in STEM at UCI. As an alumni minority student of the ESS program, I was able to thrive and discover what path I wanted to pursue.
Alice Shen
Alice Shen
BS
2018
I am currently working as a data analyst for SunStreet Energy Group, a company dedicated to build solar communities and monitor the performance of solar panels. While studying at UC Irvine, I worked at professor Mike Pritchard’s lab, reading and analyzing data from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model. This experience helped me gain lots of knowledge in processing big data files, also received great mentorship from my lab advisor. That’s how I found the path I wanted to pursue, and enjoyed both my major when I was still an undergrad and my job now after I graduated.
Cherokee Turner
Cherokee Turner
BS
2018
After graduating from UCI, I began my journey into medicine. I am currently a medical student at Michigan State University, pursuing a career in pediatric emergency medicine. Completing a senior thesis in the Mackey lab gave me the excellent opportunity to explore different aspects of water quality, and it drove my interest in studying water quality as a social determinate of health in the medical field.
Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
BS
2018
I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder. My research focuses on remote sensing measurements of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols via optical absorption spectroscopy. In particular, I am interested in long-term trends and cycles of atmospheric halogens. My time as an undergraduate research assistant in the Saltzman / Aydin Research Group provided me with the skills and experience necessary for graduate-level research.
Erick Partida
Erick Partida
BA
2018
Since graduating from UC Irvine, I've moved up north to Monterey to begin work on a master's degree in marine science at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Chemical Oceanography lab. My research interest has shifted somewhat since working on a phytoplankton focused project in Professor Mackey's lab and I have since begun working more in the field of analytical chemistry for marine science. I am currently working on the development of a Sequential Injection Analysis method for the detection of aluminum in the marine environment.
Nairi Sevajian
Nairi Sevajian
BS
2018
During my undergraduate career, I had two incredible opportunities with ESS faculty that enabled me to explore my passions within environmental science. I pursued my interests in STEM education with Dr. Elizabeth Crook as a program assistant for COSMOS UC Irvine and conducted research in the lab of Dr. Kate Mackey where I sought to uncover an influence that phytoplankton may hold on atmospheric chemistry. I am now pursuing graduate school in environmental science & policy after two years of teaching high school science. With ESS training, I am prepared to become an unstinting voice for the planet and its inhabitants.
Araceli Serrano
Araceli Serrano
BS
2017
I am currently a Ph.D. student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). My research goals are to improve water quality and supply in agricultural areas. In particular, I focus on understanding the biogeochemical processes of contaminants of concern, such as nutrients and trace metals, using a series of field and lab-scale experiments. In the Earth System Science Department at UCI, I had the opportunity to work with Katherine Mackey on my undergraduate thesis, which fostered my passion for research and gave me the experience and resources I needed to pursue graduate school.
Danny Macias
Danny Macias
BS
2017
My undergraduate experience as an ESS student and UCEAP participant allowed me to develop a wide breadth of knowledge and applicable science-based skills which I have used on a daily basis in professional settings since graduating. The general ESS curriculum, in combination with hands-on experience gathered through extra curricular activities, such as my internship with the UCI Center for Environmental Biology, prepared me to accept full-time employment as an Environmental Analyst at Lilburn Corporation immediately upon graduating. Currently, I work as an Environmental Planner at Jacobs.
Parrish Powell
Parrish Powell
BS
2017
ESS has helped give me experience in all aspects of science to be able to be able to work with Todd Holmes lab in the Physiology and Biophysics Department as a Senior Lab Technician for about 6 years since my freshman year at UCI starting as a lab assistant. After I graduated I worked 2 years as a quality control analyst at Veri-Tax and starting last September I am now I full time Insectary Technician for the UCI Malaria Initiative working with Anthony James in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department.
David Huyhn
David Huyhn
BS
2016
I am currently a Field Operations Specialist with Chino Basin Watermaster. In this role, I help collect and analyze groundwater level and quality data to help maintain and enhance the health of the Chino Basin. I was able to meet wonderful and renowned professors who were truly experts in the field of ESS. The education at UCI and ESS ultimately developed skillsets to view issues with a holistic lens and to address complex problems with integrated solutions. I apply the principles and lessons I learned from ESS on an daily basis in my professional career and graduate education at CSU Fullerton’s MS Environmental Engineering Program.
Dongqian Zhang
Dongqian Zhang
BS
2016
I am currently working as a science teacher at Silverado High School. The contents I am teaching include Earth Science, Chemistry of the Earth, and Conceptual Biology. All these subjects are part of the ESS main and elective contents. I appreciate ESS for providing solid background knowledge for my teaching career. I had experienced lots of field work such as guiding students to study the components of soil and analyze the quality of the ocean water at Laguna Bay while I was studying at UC Irvine. ESS enlightened and motivated me to pursue an educational service career with a concentration of secondary teaching. After graduating from UC Irvine, I pursued a master of Education at University of Southern California, and earned my teaching credentials. Everytime when I am introducing myself to my students in the new semester, I am proud of being an anteater of ESS at UC Irvine!
Luis Martinez
Luis Martinez
BS
2016
Upon completion of my bachelors in ESS, I went on to earn my masters in Hydrogeology from Illinois State University. Currently, I work as a scientist for an environmental consulting firm in Long Beach, CA working on a diverse set of projects, helping protect Earth one data point at a time. The teachings and classes provided by the ESS program coupled with my research experience with Scot Parker in the Goulden Lab provided me the critical and technical skills essential to succeed in graduate school and in my professional career.

The Department of Earth System Science acknowledges our presence on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Acjachemen and Tongva peoples, who still hold strong cultural, spiritual and physical ties to this region.