What is your previous work experience?
I founded a Los Angeles-based lifestyle company called Improper Etiquette. Improper Etiquette’s mission is to practice environmental sustainability to support homeless people. We make clothes and surfboards out of upcycled materials, recycled plastic, or organic fibers and allocate all profits to various impact projects in Skid Row. Improper Etiquette’s work in Skid Row ranges from delivering hygiene products, food, and mattresses to sitting down and sharing heartfelt conversations with these people.
I created a weekly tutoring program in a disadvantaged part of Los Angeles that assisted struggling students in their learning endeavors. Given the unfortunate reality that low-income communities and communities of color are underserved in educational and developmental spaces, I sought to instill lessons in these children that would empower them to overcome their unjust circumstances.
I recently finished an internship with TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit organization with the mission to harness the power of nature-based solutions to make Los Angeles a more sustainable and equitable city. My research was published in a report examining the cost-benefit analysis of increasing the urban forest in disinvested Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
The Nicholas School offers the best opportunity to pursue environmental science through both the public and private sectors. The Nicholas School’s resources, faculty expertise, and integration with other schools at Duke offered the unmatched possibility to explore all of my academic interests and get the most out of my degree.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I am excited to learn from the diverse perspectives of my fellow Nicholas classmates. I am eager to immerse myself in an environment that utilizes education as a tool to solve global problems. I look forward to applying what I have learned at the Nicholas School to my Master’s Project and using the practical skills gained during the MP process to solve environmental problems in the real world.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I am interested in environmental solutions to social issues and health problems. Such challenges are quite interdisciplinary, and remedial routes to attack these obstacles are many. I want to learn about the scientific, economic, and political contexts of environmental injustices and environmental health concerns to equip me with the knowledge to combat these problems.
What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
I want to pursue environmental justice and health through science, business, and creativity. I plan on researching diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa, running a business that seeks to curb homelessness in Los Angeles, and telling stories about both of these developments through photography and shorts films. Ultimately, I wish to harness my various interests into a career of championing the downtrodden through nature-based solutions.