2018-19 Community Resilience Fellows

Please join us in welcoming the 2018-19 Community Resilience Student Fellows.


Navjyot (Navi) Gill

Navjyot Gill is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Criminology, Law and Society department at UC Irvine and a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow. She graduated from UC Berkeley with Honors and received her B.A. in History and Ethnic Studies. Her research examines neighborhood change, social and economic inequalities in racially segregated neighborhoods, historical and racial violence. Navjyot is also interested in how environmental issues and neighborhood segregation intersect and how these issues are experienced by low-income communities and communities of color. Outside of academia, Navjyot enjoys working with middle and high school students and currently supports an organization called Leaders in Life in Kern County as an advisor. Navi is a 2018-19 year-long fellow through the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Her work with the Community Resilience Co-lab will be anchored at the DREAM Center.

Emanuel (Manny) Preciado

Manny is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Urban Planning and Policy focused on community-driven planning, urban sociology, social movements, and community-based research. As an urban planner, he is most interested in the spatial politics of low-income communities of color. Currently, Manny explores how urban gardens can revitalize communities and their food systems by providing healthy food at a low cost, assisting communities to reconnect with nature, recreate homeland, and create spaces of refuge and resistance. He looks at ways that urban gardens empower low-income communities of color by reclaiming communal space as a collective expression of a community’s political power asserted through the demand for public space to support the community and gain autonomy. Manny completed a 2018 summer fellowship through Community Resilience Projects with the CRECE Cooperative in Santa Ana.

Karen Valladares

Karen Valladares is a fourth-year first-generation undergraduate student majoring in Public Health Policy. She was inspired to go into public health after understanding the numerous events she had witnessed growing up were inhumane and unjust. Witnessing her mother’s unpleasant experiences sparked her passion to be a voice for those who cannot speak up.  Public health encompasses her passion for prevention, health promotion and social justice. Through her education at UCI, she has been able to see the staggering social inequalities in health care, education, jobs and housing. She has also learned that low-income and minority populations share an unequal burden of environmental health problems; this resonated with her because communities and community members may not be aware of or in control of these issues. She was inspired to work with UCI’s Community Resilience Projects because of their shared goals in understanding the problems that our communities face and the collaborations that must happen in order to find solutions.  



Esmeralda Hic

Esmeralda Hic is a third year, first generation college student at UCI. She is working towards her B.S. in Earth System Science and her B.A. in Chicano/Latino Studies.  She is passionate about environmental justice and working with communities that face environmental inequity and hopes to use her degrees to problem solve issues in climate change science and social inequality. Her passion grew out of the environmental and social issues her community in the Coachella Valley faced from poor air quality caused by the deterioration of the Salton Sea to other pollution issues caused by the carelessness of corporations. She aims to work towards a future where access to a healthy environment is not just a privilege granted to those who have the social and political power to afford it but rather that everyone, regardless of race, income, ability, or gender, has access the the clean air, water, and land that they deserve.

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