Current Graduate Students

Image of David Cowman, one of Dr. Russell's graduate students, conducting fieldwork in the forests of California.

Please click here to learn about our alumni, their research experiences as graduate students, and their respective careers paths after graduating from the ENVS program at San Jose State University.

Alumni Student Stories


Annie Ahmed

I was born in Pakistan and moved to the US at the age of 1. I was raised in the small town of Livingston, CA where everyone knows everyone.


Gwen Barry

I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the redwood forests.


David Benterou

I spent my childhood Summers dipping in creeks and playing among oaks and sycamores in my hometown of Livermore, California.


Sky Biblin

I spent most of my childhood in Ojai, a small town in southern California. This is where my love for nature and outdoor recreation began, hiking and exploring the surroundingmountains.

Maya Briones

Maya Briones

I thrive on two passions: ecology and environmental justice. While seemingly different, these two fields are the core of who I am and summarize the worldview by which I live.


Ramiro Brown

I grew up in Hayward, Ca. and moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to attend UCLA where I got a B.A. in Anthropology. During my undergraduate career, I took many hybrid courses within the Anthropology department. Through these courses, I was introduced to conservation and ecology.


Rachael Burnham

I was the type of child who consistently brought home stray animals, raised snails and crickets in the backyard, and read books about animals.


Nicole Chen

I grew up in the Bay Area and have always loved the great outdoors. I enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, campervan trips, you name it and I love it or I'm down to try.


Isabelle Cojocaru-Durand

I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. I speak French at home but went to school in English.


Claudia Damiani Fontana

I was born in Peru and moved to the Bay Area five years ago.


Kristy Doerr

I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have always had an immense fascination with animals.


Stephen Doyle

I was born and raised in Upland, California. Growing up, I discovered my love of the outdoors during visits to national parks, natural history museums, and aquariums.


Naseem Fazeli

I was born and raised in southern California. Growing up I had many different interests and hobbies, so I was always changing my mind on what I wanted to be when I was older.


Kinsara Garg

I was born in a small town in the northern part of India. I grew up as a shy teenager with a lot of dreams encaged inside as a little girl.


Eric Goldbeck-Dimon

I grew up in San Francisco and since childhood I have relied on the greenbelt of the San Francisco peninsula as a respite from the busyness of the city.


Esther Haile 

I was born and raised in the small sleepy town of Dixon, CA.  A lot of my childhood was spent watching nature shows, camping in the woods, running around beaches, and being fascinated by animals.


Jessica Gonzalez

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and I graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S.


Landon Guzman

Hello everyone! My Name is Landon Guzman, I am from Stockton, California. For my undergraduate degree, I also studied in the bay area at SFSU, where I graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies.


Padmaja Iyer

While it might seem a little strange, I am both a lecturer in the Environmental Studies Department at San José State University and I am enrolled as a graduate student.


Daniel Jacobson

As a Philadelphia native, I have spent the majority of my life in the Northeast. With family up and down the west coast, however, I have always loved the environment in California.


Spencer Klinefelter

As a child, I spent much of my time outside hiking, climbing, and playing in the open spaces around my home on ancestral Nisenan lands in the Sacramento Valley and foothills of the Sierra Nevada.


Sarah Knott

I grew up in Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County, California. I studied Geoscience at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and received a B.A. in Earth System Science.


Christian Knowlton 

I was born in Riverside C.A snd currently reside in Santa Cruz.  I spent eight years in the U.S. Army with multiple deployments over seas, before returning to school and earning my B.S.

Erin Lacour

Erin Lacour

I grew up in a small town in Ventura County, just a short walk from a little-known regional park where I have spent countless hours exploring.


Christine Lopez

Hello! My name is Christine Lopez and I have been living in the San Francisco Bay Area my whole adult life, but mainly from the East Bay.


Lily Law

I was born in Hong Kong and immigrated with my family to the US when I was 10. I was fascinated by the strong environmental focus that San Francisco has for many aspects of city life.


Mojgan Mahdizadeh

I was born and raised in Tehran, the capital city of Iran. While living in Iran, I was able to obtain a B.A. in Economics from Azad Tehran University.


Lindsey Marsh

My name is Lindsey Marsh and I am a San Jose native. I didn’t go camping or hiking often growing up, but I do have fond memories of getting together with my extended family at our local parks.


Emily Matthews

I was raised in a small rural town in western Sonoma County, surrounded by a mix of cattle fields and open spaces. From a young age, I loved animals and the outdoors.

Jamsheed Mistry

Jamsheed Mistry

My name is Jamsheed Mistry and I was born in Mumbai, India. When I was three, my family and I relocated to Toronto, Canada, where I was raised in a community surrounded by maple trees and snow!    


Gayatri Mujumdar

I am an Indian who has had the privilege of moving across India while growing up. I relocated to a new place every 2 years, changing schools, meeting new people, adapting to different climates, and connecting with diverse religions, cultures and demographics, all of which have played a great part in shaping me and developing my career.


Mai Nguyen

I grew up around areas of San Jose, CA for the majority of my life. Ever since my childhood years, being outdoors and exploring new places has consistently been a keen interest of mine.


Mayra Pelagio

I grew up in rural Mexico and migrated to the U.S when I was thirteen, I studied high school in East San Jose-Yerba Buena H.S.


Domingo Poggione

I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. I have always been passionate by our unique ecosystems. I absolutely love traveling and visiting new places, exotic cuisines, different cultures and people.


Raji Rajesh

I have always been passionate about nature. It began early in my childhood with my mother teaching simple practices she implemented around our house such as growing vegetables and fruits, reusing instead of buying new things and not wasting food.


Saara Ranabhat

It’s me Saara Ranabhat from the country of Mount Everest, Nepal. Growing up in a country with extremely rich biodiversity, my passion for nature and environment exists since my childhood.


Sherilyn Reinhart

I was born in rural Elk Grove and spent my teenage years in the small gold rush town of Placerville, CA. My four siblings and I spent the majority of our childhood outside tending goats, chasing roosters, fishing in the delta and seasonally hunting deer.


Diana Saavedra

I like to begin my story with my parents’ for theirs is such a huge part of my own. Born and raised in Guatemala, they were both forced to flee government corruption, poverty, and overall violence in the early 1980s.


Ingrid Salazar

I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, which most people simply call L.A. My parents are El Salvadorian and immigrated to the U.S. as young adults.


Mya Shiloh

Hi everyone! My name is Mya Shiloh and I have recently graduated from San Jose State with my bachelor’s in environmental studies accompanied with an environmental impact analysis minor.


Allison Solis 

I was born and raised in San Clemente; a sleepy beach town in Southern California. I graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S.


Matt Spadoni

Growing up in Upstate New York, I spent a lot of time gardening, camping, and fishing with my family.


Bradley (Brad) Speno

Hello, I’m Brad and I grew up in Gilroy and received my bachelors degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado.


DeNarae Stewart

Hi there! The name’s DeNarae. I was born and raised in Riverside County, CA and moved toSan Jose 5 years ago to get my BS.


Lacey Strong

I am a Wildlife Management and Conservation graduate from Humboldt State University. As an undergraduate I interned at two wildlife rehabilitation and educations centers: Wildlife Images in Grants Pass, Oregon, and California Wildlife Center in Malibu, California.


Jacqueline Taylor

I was born and raised in Watsonville, California. I grew up in the country with my two brothers and dozens of animals.


Olivia Trevino

Hello everyone! My name is Olivia Trevino, and I am a current graduate student in the Environmental Studies Program at San Jose State University (SJSU).


Ashari Taylor-Watson

I am from Williamsburg, Virginia and growing up there shaped my world view and values. Williamsburg being the birthplace of America, and a very important beginning to a great country, my experience was unique. I lived in a living museum.


Ram Thapa

I am from Nepal and currently residing in Sunnyvale, California. Nepal a country with rich natural resources and biodiversity. Of course, completely different geographical structure starting from the altitude of 50m from the sea level till the highest peak in the world, the Everest. 


Tam Tran

I was born in Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon), Vietnam. In 2012, my family moved to the United States. We settled in Southern California for the first few years.


Mitchell Victoria

My Name is Mitchell Victoria and I am about to begin graduate school after taking a short break during the pandemic. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies.


Kate Worrell

Hello! My name is Kate Worrell and I completed my undergrad degree at Cal Poly SLO in Environmental Management and Protection. With minors in Biology, GIS, Sustainable Environments, and Studio Art.


Dawnelle Wynne

After listening to many radio programs and reading articles that have sounded the alarm that immediate action is needed to reduce the human-caused degradation of the environment.


Mary Yan 

I'm a San Francisco native who moved to the South Bay on a whim for a change of scenery and to finish my BS in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology.


Kaitlyn Yee

I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Growing up here, I was fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds with the mountains and the ocean as my playground.