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Meet our July 2022 Community Science Fellow Cohort

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Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our July 2022 regional cohort of Community Science Fellows!

They’ll be working with communities from across the United States and Mexico to launch impactful community science projects.  The partnership will connect communities with scientists and technical experts and support them as they work together to tackle local challenges related to natural hazards, natural resources and climate change.  Stay tuned for more information about the impactful projects to come from this launch and the communities who lead and inspire them!

Andrea Diamond Headshot

Andrea Diamond is the Founder & Vice President of Education for STEAM ENRICHMENT ACADEMY with a demonstrated history of 3 decades working in Science/Art education research & development. Accredited NASA Educator, NASA Martian-Mars Subject Matter Expert. Citizen Advocate for MEPAG-Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group. JPL Lecturer. Executive Board of Directors for Spotlight the Arts & The Endeavour Institute. Public Engagement Murals, Public Speaking, Space & Earth Physics. Strong professional business development. Graduate of Johnson Space Center Microgravity Universe.

Ben Taylor Headshot

Benjamin Taylor–Bio coming soon

CJ Koch Headshot

Christopher “CJ” Koch is a graduate student at the University of Southern California. He received his Bachelor of Science from Butler University for Chemistry and Math. CJ’s current research focuses on capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then converting that carbon dioxide to useful fuels. He is excited to learn how to help connect communities with the scientific expertise they need. CJ also enjoys reading, playing clarinet, and hiking.


Evelyn Michael Headshot

Evelyn Michael (she/her) is a Human Geographer with a background in ecology. She is particularly interested in serving Indigenous Communities through the retention of their traditional knowledge, culture, and language. She works as a Geospatial Analyst and GIS Coordinator at Maxar Technologies supporting the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) GeoCenter. She produces geospatial analytics and map products to support development work, and she leads efforts to build and manage the agency’s Geospatial Community of Practice. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Minor in Latin American Studies. Afterwhich, she went on to complete her Master of Science in Environmental Biology and earned a Master’s certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Evelyn is very excited to serve as a Thriving Earth Exchange Community Science Fellow. In her spare time, she is an avid reader, an animal fanatic, an outdoor adventurer, and a beauty enthusiast.

Hang Ngo Headshot

Hang Ngo (she/her) holds a Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice from the University of Washington. She has worked with the Southern Institute of Social Sciences in Vietnam to conduct research on the climate, migration, and health nexus. Her research interests focus on the intersection of climate, health and justice. She is particularly interested in the health risks of and adaptation to climate change, including strategies for managing climate and disaster risks to reduce vulnerability and build community resilience.

Hayat Nasirova Headshot

Hayat Nasirova is a geographer and teacher with a background in education. She originally completed her Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University and is currently a Master’s student in Physical Geography: Climate and Environmental Sciences at the Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg. She is an experienced science communicator, especially with respect to the intersection of science and contemporary art, having led masterclasses and workshops integrating and articulating scientific phenomena on art and canvas. She runs a series of courses called “The History of Science” and “Sci-Art”, as part of the Pint of Science festival. Her passion is to present scientific data with art to communities.

imena valdes headshot

Imeña Valdes (she/her) earned her B.S in Biology and a Certificate in Agroecology from Florida International University and is currently a graduate student at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG). Her research focuses on pollinator preference between native and cultivated native plants. She also serves as the Monarch and Milkweeds Community Liaison for the Budburst project at CBG and as Student Representative for the Botanical Society of America. Imeña is excited to be a part of the Thriving Earth Exchange program to learn how to bridge the gap between scientists and the community in order to put science in action. Outside of work, she likes to bake and try new recipes and care for her growing houseplant collection.

Jason Maitland headshot

Jason Maitland (he/him) holds his BSc in Chemistry and Zoology from the University of the West Indies, his MSc in Occupational Safety and Health from the University of Greenwich and his MBA with a Specialism in Strategic Planning from Heriot-Watt University. Jason considers himself as a risk and sustainability champion and functions as a change agent where he brings a wealth of experience to both Corporate and Non-Profit organizations. Jason is currently the President of the Sustainability Institute of Trinidad and Tobago whose focus is transforming societies to achieve balanced social, economic, and environmental progress today and tomorrow.

Kate DeMarsh Headshot

Kate DeMarsh (she/her) is a PhD student in Environmental Systems at the University of California, Merced. Her research focuses on air pollution and atmospheric chemistry across California’s Central Valley. Previously, Kate worked in collaboration with LASP and NCAR in Boulder, CO to explore pollutants of Colorado wildfires. Kate holds a BA in Biophysics from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and studied Environmental Science of the Arctic at the Denmark International School, Copenhagen. In her free time, Kate enjoys hiking, skiing, and is an avid movie goer.

Kelly Sanks Headshot

My name is Kelly Sanks (she/her) and I am a postdoctoral research fellow at Tulane University where I study carbon accumulation in deltaic environments. I graduated with my PhD in Geoscience from the University of Arkansas in December 2021, where I studied how wetlands interact with river deltas. I have always been fascinated by nature and loved spending time outdoors as a kid, which led me to pursue a career in science. The best part about science, to me, is the ability to use the scientific method to help people solve problems. As the climate continues to change, community science will only become more important, so I am excited to learn the ins and outs of working with communities to address issues relevant to them and apply it to my future career as a research scientist! In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my dog, reading, and competing in Olympic weightlifting.

Lauren Mahoney Headshot

Lauren Mahoney(she/her) is an applied climate science researcher with a focus on natural disaster vulnerability and food security utilizing GIS. She holds an M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University’s Climate School and a B.S. in Environmental Resources and GIS with a minor in Meteorology from Hofstra University. Her academic work has focused primarily on categorizing flash flood risk and mapping food insecurity and climate shocks. Most recently, she spent two terms as a visiting researcher with NASA DEVELOP studying urban heat island mitigation strategies and watershed vulnerability. She is passionate about building cities that are healthier, more equitable, and resilient to disasters and climate shocks, and using community-driven science to do so. In her free time, Lauren enjoys cooking, thrifting, and reading.

Lis Regula Headshot

Dr. Lis Regula is a lecturer in biology at the University of Dayton, where he teaches Human Anatomy and other undergraduate classes. Since earning his doctorate from Kent State University in 2013, he has taught at a wide range of courses at both public and private colleges, while continuing his involvement in community service. Dr. Regula’s research and advocacy revolve intersections-whether that’s the intersection of members of an ecological community, or intersecting identities in the fight for social justice. He has been building a life in Columbus since August of 2019 with his daughter, cat, and memory of his husband, MJ Eckhouse.

LuAnn Dahlman headshot

LuAnn Dahlman is a contractor in NOAA’s Climate Program Office. She serves as the Managing Editor of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and provides support for the team. LuAnn studied Geology at Arizona State University and spent 7 years teaching Earth Science to high school students. Later, she developed curriculum materials and led professional development workshops for educators. The focus of her current work is on helping communities understand and prepare for changing climate conditions. She splits her time between her home in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert and a farm in western Minnesota.

Melesia Brown–photo and bio coming soon

Nirav Patel headshot

Nirav Patel is a trained natural and social scientist with a PhD from Cornell University and has expertise in dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH). His research encompasses teaching as research in its emphasis on experiential learning on Food-Energy-Water nexus in the Anthropocene as a universal point of introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of planetary and global health.

Shannon McAvoy headshot

Shannon McAvoy  (she/her) is a PhD student in Geospatial Analytics at North Carolina State University and she previously received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia. Her research is focused on creating equitable distributionsof forest ecosystem services and modelling landscape dynamics affected by climate change. Shannon currently works in awatershed ecology lab in the Forestry Department at NCSU and is interested in researching how forest cover and connectivity affect the social vulnerability of local communities. She views all of her work through an environmental justice lens and believes that community science is an integral part of all scientific discovery.

Shenyue Jia Headshot

Dr. Shenyue Jia holds a Ph.D. degree in Geography from UCLA and has led or participated in community science projects in Southern California, focusing on the access to urban greenness and the best practice to improve tree canopy coverage for underserved communities. She developed Los Angeles County Tree Canopy Map Viewer and is currently working with several cities in LA County on their tree canopy improvement projects. Trained as a satellite image and geospatial data expert, she likes to promote the use of the latest satellite data and other geospatial data to address the environmental and social challenges faced by communities.

As a postdoc fellow at Chapman University and data scientist of CrisisReady, Dr. Shenyue Jia’s latest work incorporates crowdsourced data from social media and aims to use them to optimize disaster or humanitarian crisis response. Her latest work on the distribution of Ukraine migrants in adjacent countries has been reported by Fortune.

Stephanie Stanford Headshot

Stephanie Stanford(she/they) works in American Geophysical Union’s(AGU) Publication department, which she manages the peer review process for two journals: Global Biogeochemical Cycles and Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. Prior to joining AGU, Stephanie has an extensive background in clinical guidelines and patient education at American Gastroenterological Association. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana, which she became interested in healing the world around her as a community. Stephanie is excited to connect with the community to tackle inequitable challenges that we are facing in the black belt of Alabama. When not working, she enjoys meditating, communicating with plants, and traveling around the world.


Sushmita Lotlikar Headshot

Sushmita Lotlikar (she/her) is the Administrative Director at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, which is a part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Marketing from the University of WI-Whitewater and her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sushmita has a passion for making science more accessible through outreach, communications, and policy, which is what attracted her to thriving earth. In her spare time, Sushmita enjoys traveling, ultimate frisbee, hiking, reading, and good food.

Tamar Case Dixon headshot

Tamar Case Dixon Remembering my frustration as a kid being unable to fix the egg I had broken with the young chick inside has made me appreciate nature even more. My interest was stirred about how life works and I have been fascinated by science ever since. Presently I teach English at my local high school. For over twenty years I have been working with the local NGO, Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency to protect the environment in Jamaica. Service to community is my passion and I will continue to lend my skills to promote sustainable development.

Trista Brophy Headshot

Trista Brophy is a doctoral candidate of Interdisciplinary Ecology with a concentration in urban and regional planning in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on progressing community resiliencethrough geospatial data and tools and she is particularly interested in the nexus of urban flooding and climate change. Trista is an adjunct instructor at Flagler College, where she teaches undergraduate coursework in Environmental Science and in Science Communication. She is also interning with NASA’s Earth Science Applied Science’s Open Innovation and Community Applications program, where she supports activities that expand NASA’s Earth observation applications. Outside of her career, she is a social Argentine Tango dancer, pastry baker, and avid hiker.

Yining Bai headshot

Yining Bai–bio coming soon


Maria Sharova subscriber

1 Comment

Nkenglefac Tacha Foretia DivineJul 13, 2022 at 3:47 PM

Congratulations to all the fellow! My best wishes

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