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People 2018-02-22T13:14:28+00:00

People

Director

Current Student Fellows

Shirleen Achieng

Abby Reyes directs the UCI Community Resilience Projects in the Office of Sustainability at the University of California, Irvine. The projects create human infrastructure through which climate and sustainability solutions foster and reflect participation and leadership of underrepresented communities in our university and beyond. From 2013-2016, Abby directed the UCI Sustainability Initiative and was a co-Principal Investigator of the FloodRISE project, leading the Research Integration and Impact Team. She co-chaired the Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group of the UC Global Climate Leadership Council and oversees UCI’s Global Sustainability Resource Center. She has provided facilitation and design services for the UC-CSU Knowledge Action Network on Transformative Climate and Sustainability Education, UCI Salton Sea Initiative, UCI OCEANS, Research Justice Learning Community, Nexus 2014, the Borrego Stewardship Council, and is the lead trainer for UC climate and food fellows in transformative sustainability leadership. She has also facilitated advocacy and research collaboration with indigenous communities in California, Colombia, and the Philippines, and contributed to landmark international human rights and environmental cases in domestic federal courts.

Reyes completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford and JD at UC Berkeley Law. She clerked for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and co-chairs the board of directors of EarthRights International. She is a partner in the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners and an ambassador for the Pollination Project.  Reyes received UC Irvine’s 2015 Excellence in Leadership Award and a 2016 California Higher Education Sustainability Best Practices Award. She has a TEDx talk on How to Come Home.

Shirleen Achieng

Based at the Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research, Shirleen became a fellow in May 2017. Project activities include catalyzing a rich campus conversation, fostering alignment, and building campus momentum to address actively the root causes of environmental, social, and racial injustice. The Fellow will support co-lab participants in designing and carrying out a range of actions that build community resilience, including mobilizing student capacity to reclaim and create systems and cultures of collective action that lift up cultural relationships to the earth and land. This fellowship is a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity to develop and practice a range of skills essential to building community resilience in the context of furthering our campus’s climate and sustainability goals.

Shirleen is a second year public health science major at UCI. As a public health major, she feels the need to not only focus on the health of the general community, but values the importance of environmental health in relation to social justice. Her biggest inspiration to apply for the Community Resilience Fellowship were her early background experiences of environmental inequality and injustice growing up in Kenya. She believes natural resources are extremely vital for human survival. As a result, she wants to promote access to, control, and use of natural resources in various marginalized communities that have been limited, denied, or undermined. She especially looks forward to tackling the intersecting environmental, social justice, and racial crises that are occurring in contemporary society. Her future career goals involve working with overlooked communities in third world countries as a public physician while simultaneously advocating for various public health issues severely affecting Kenyans. Since this fellowship aligns with her career path, she hopes to utilize the skills and experiences she takes away from it into her future endeavors.

Bo Daraphant

Description: At UCI, we understand that transformations in physical infrastructure alone will not suffice to achieve the University of California’s climate and sustainability goals. How we build the human infrastructure to get us there is also key. “Community resilience” describes our efforts to create human infrastructure through which climate and sustainability solutions foster and reflect social cohesion and inclusion of diverse voices in our university community and beyond. Through Community Resilience Projects, we seek to understand, engage, and lift up the interests, contributions, and leadership of underrepresented communities on our campus and in communities in our region that are more vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate–typically low-income communities, people of color, indigenous communities, immigrants, and elderly populations.

Student Project: The Climate Ambassador will work with the UCI Community Resilience Project to integrate and align UCI’s sustainability and climate activities with UCI’s wide ranging activities that forward understanding and progress on racial and social justice.  The fellow will also work more generally with UCI’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability to communicate about campus and UC system-wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs, and to empower students to engage in and shape those efforts. In addition, the fellow is expected to help shape and participate in a UC system-wide dialogue and mobilization among fellows regarding climate action, a process facilitated and overseen by the student representatives to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, who convene regular meetings with fellows from all campuses.

Tope is a fourth year Criminology Law & Society major and International Studies minor at UC Irvine. She is an avid reader, self- proclaimed photographer and adventurer. Throughout her life she has had the opportunity to live in countries where certain resources are scarce to the majority of the people who inhabit the area. She is aware of the value of resources and how easily we take certain things for granted. She has had the opportunity to live in places like Nigeria, where the water system is not entirely clean and there is not electricity throughout the day. It is primarily because of this experience that she has a strong interest in sustainability, which for her simply means to empower people and value nature. Her vision for UC students is to realize the interconnectedness of nature and society as well as its relevance to human rights. She is excited to work alongside professors, faculty, and students in learning and facilitating dialogue about how to be an effective advocate in addressing environmental wrongs and racial injustice.

Bo Daraphant

Based at the Cross-Cultural Center, Bo became a fellow in April 2017. Project activities include catalyzing a rich campus conversation, fostering alignment, and building campus momentum to address actively the root causes of environmental, social, and racial injustice. The Fellow will support co-lab participants in designing and carrying out a range of actions that build community resilience, including mobilizing student capacity to reclaim and create systems and cultures of collective action that lift up cultural relationships to the earth and land. This fellowship is a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity to develop and practice a range of skills essential to building community resilience in the context of furthering our campus’s climate and sustainability goals.

 Bo Daraphant is a third year student studying International Studies at UCI. In addition, he is an artist and an activist. He immigrated to the US at the age of 13 and has lived in his newfound home in LA since then. Outside of school, Bo has spent his college years advocating for immigrant rights, writing poetry, and creating artwork. Building on his experiences in advocacy from working with the White House Initiative on AAPI, National AAPI DACA Collaborative, and UPLIFT LA, Bo hopes to become a social entrepreneur creating sustainable programs that will help developing countries and underserved communities. Bo uses his art as his healing process by expressing his emotions, ideology, and story within his creations.

Campus and Community Collaborators

Faculty Advisory Group

Shirleen Achieng

Sameer Ashar

Sameer M. Ashar is Clinical Professor at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine and co-director of the UC Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic. He served as the Associate Dean for Clinical Programs at the CUNY School of Law and has also taught at the University of Maryland and NYU School of Law.

Professor Ashar focuses both his clinical practice and scholarship on how law can be used to support racially and economically subordinated communities. He has defended individuals before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fifth Circuits. He has represented immigrant workers in litigation against exploitative employers in state and federal court, as well as before the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Professor Ashar has worked on policy advocacy and community education projects with numerous immigrant organizations including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, UNITE HERE Local 11, Warehouse Workers Resource Center, Orange County Immigrant Youth United, RAIZ, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, Domestic Workers United, Andolan Organizing South Asian Workers, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Families for Freedom, and the Workplace Project.

Professor Ashar has published commentary and articles in Clearinghouse Review, Law and Society Review, Journal of Legal Education, Clinical Law Review, California Law Review and Connecticut Law Review. He serves on the board of the Clinical Law Review.

He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College.

Shirleen Achieng

Seth Davis

Prof. Seth Davis is an expert on federal litigation and public administration. His scholarship focuses upon the hard choices that we don’t acknowledge or hope to avoid when we create rights of action and allocate lawmaking authority. Substantively, he focuses upon these hard choices as they arise in federal litigation, federal administrative law, and federal Indian law on the one side and property and tort on the other. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in leading law reviews, including the Columbia Law Review, the California Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Boston University Law Review, and the Notre Dame Law Review, as well as in leading specialty law journals, including the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Prof. Davis is also a co-author on the forthcoming 2017 supplement to Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Professor Davis clerked for the Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Following his clerkship, Prof. Davis served as a volunteer legal intern at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and then as a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he specialized in appellate litigation and financial services regulatory law and also developed a pro bono practice working with Indian Nations and intertribal organizations.

Shirleen Achieng

Alana LeBrón

Alana LeBrón, Ph.D., M.S., is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, her M.S. in Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her A.B. in Gender and Women’s Studies from Bowdoin College. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan.

Dr. LeBrón’s research focuses on the (re)production of social inequalities that shape inequities in health and opportunities for intervention to promote health equity. Much of Dr. LeBrón’s scholarship centers on the intersections of race, socioeconomic position, immigrant generation, citizenship status, and gender with health inequities, with a focus on the health of Latina/o communities. She engages a community-based participatory research approach to her research projects seeking to understand and address the structural determinants of health inequities. Her areas of research include the health equity implications of policies and ideologies pertaining to immigration, government-issued IDs, and health care and social service access and utilization. 

Shirleen Achieng

Valerie Olson

Valerie Olson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focus is the sociocultural processes that remake what counts as the “human environment.” Her projects are concerned with how social groups use the system concept to perceive, organize, and control spatial relations, particularly on large and complex scales. This focus allows her to examine how and why people create ways to relate to spaces, things, and processes they do not experience directly and which they categorize as “extreme” or “beyond” human.

Olson is involved in UCI’s inter-school environmental research, education, and community engaged programs as a key part of her research program. She serves on interdisciplinary teams and campus initiatives such as Water UCI, the Salton Sea Initiative, and the UCI OCEANS Initiative.

Shirleen Achieng

Mojgan Sami

Dr. Mojgan Sami, PhD, has worked on socially and environmentally sustainable planning, public policy, and research in partnership with both community and intergovernmental organizations for over 20 years. These institutions include the Asia-Pacific Resource and Research Center on Women (ARROW), the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Government of Denmark.

Dr. Sami has a doctorate in Urban Planning, Policy & Design from UC Irvine with a specialization in healthy and sustainable planning process and public policy. She has been selected as one of the 25 “Empowering Sustainability” Fellows at UC Irvine in addition to conducting collaborative research with global institutions on informal settlements and global health. These institutions include the African Population and Health Research Council and the Institute for the Studies of Global Prosperity. Most recently, she has been working with the Indian NGO Living Farms on indigenous food systems.

Shirleen Achieng

Kristina Shull

Kristina Shull received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Irvine Department of History and currently serves as a lecturer. She has dedicated her scholarship to immigration detention, prison privatization, and anti-immigrant movements. Shull is the co-editor of an anthology of poetry and art by people held in immigration detention centers called Call Me Libertad: Poems Between Borders and has been a researcher for the Detention Watch Network and a graduate fellow at the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection.

Shirleen Achieng

Sabrina Strings

Sabrina Strings, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines how race, sex(uality), and class are inscribed on the body, such that the body itself can be marshaled to maintain social hierarchies. Her articles and essays are featured in venues including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Feminist Media Studies, Truthout independent news media, and The Feminist Wire. Her forthcoming book, Thin, White, and SavedFat Stigma and the Fear of the Big Black Body will be published by NYU press. A 200hr certified yoga teacher, Sabrina teaches donation-based yoga in community centers and community clinics. She is a co-founding editor for Race and Yoga journal, and has co-organized workshops and conferences on spiritual justice throughout California.

Shirleen Achieng

Geoff Ward

Geoff Ward’s research examines socio-historical relationships between race, crime and justice, including evolving dynamics of racial violence, conflict, and inequality; racial politics of youth justice; and social movement, labor, and policy efforts to advance racial justice. He is the author of the The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy and Juvenile Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2012), an award-winning book on the rise, fall, and complex remnants of Jim Crow Juvenile Justice. His new project examines historical racial violence, its contemporary legacies, and transitional justice remedies today.

Past Staff and Fellows

Javier Garay

Javier Garay was born and raised in Bell Gardens, California. Javier is currently a third year Environmental Science Major. He has worked with an environmental justice organization has assisted in identifying his passion for clean air, quality of life, and community. Outside of work and organizing, enjoys coffee, video games, joking around, and having fun experiences.

Adonia Lugo

Dr. Adonia Lugo is an anthropologist who studies our mobility experiences and expectations and an activist working toward inclusive and equitable sustainability. She has worked on bike equity, diversity, and inclusion at the national level and currently teaches in Chicana/o Studies at Cal State LA. Dr. Lugo serves on the advisory board for Multicultural Communities for Mobility and is a co-editor of the forthcoming collection Bicycle Justice and Urban Transformation: Biking for All? (Routledge 2016). She manages the Bike Equity Network email list and the Bicicultures academic network.

noemi linares-ramirez

Noemi Linares-Ramirez

Noemi Linares-Ramirez is a Latina-Navajo Ph.D. student studying Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She is an aspiring scholar activist interested in using her research to shed light on the continued oppression of Indigenous people. Her current research explores women’s role in Indigenous movements from Alcatraz to intra-tribal movements, as well as women’s role in sustainable development. At Smith College, Noemi founded Indigenous Smith Students and Allies (ISSA). This organization focused on inviting Indian scholars to campus, demanding more Indigenous studies classes, and recruiting at Indian boarding schools and reservations to increase Indigenous student representation on campus. She has not only involved Indigenous people in North America; she has also done research on the living conditions of Indigenous people in Brazil and in social welfare countries.  Through her fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago, Noemi became an activist in reproductive justice, creating resources that help women become self-advocates and producing material that list additional available resources to cope with different types of abuse. As the Indigenous Environmental fellow, she is committed to creating awareness and support for Indigenous environmental issues and to help with projects supporting the survival of sustainable Indigenous communities.

Kim Serrano

Kimberly Serrano is the coordinator of Community Resilience Projects specializing in data analysis, geographic information systems, and community engagement. From 2014-2016 she served as the Project Manager and Newport Beach Site Coordinator for FloodRISE (Flood Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainable Environments), an NSF-funded study of flood risk and community resilience.

Kimberly’s research background is broad, ranging from study of local concerns about backyard home policy in the City of Los Angeles to analysis of economic development potential around proposed high speed rail stations in California. She has held research positions with cityLAB at UCLA, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Sheridan/Hawkes Urban Design Collaborative, and PolicyLink.

As a socially-engaged scholar, Kimberly has worked with communities from East Hollywood to the Coachella and San Joaquin Valleys on issues such as urban greening and clean water access. Prior to her career as a research professional, Kimberly worked as an arts administrator for several Los Angeles non-profit organizations. Kimberly is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of UCLA, with degrees in Art History (BA), Latin American Studies (MA), and Urban and Regional Planning (MURP).