2021 Summer Work Experience Program

2021 Summer Work Experience Fellows

The UCGHI Planetary Health Center of Expertise Summer Work Experience Program helps UC students gain valuable work experience by pairing them with host mentors from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California Department of Conservation, and the California Department of Public Health. Students gain hands-on experience by working in programs involved in conservation, natural resources, agriculture, policy, nutrition, and health.

Please join the PHCOE in congratulating the 2021 Summer Work Experience Fellows!


Leslie Alfonso
UC Berkeley

I am currently a fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in U.S. Environmental Policy & Management and minoring in Food Systems. I am devoted to increasing the social and environmental integrity of industries that have had a detrimental effect on climate change and have contributed to environmental racism. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the agricultural industry through hands-on field work research that will enable me to better discern and implement the policies and regulations within my future career.

Laurel Denyer
UC Davis

I have been a research assistant with Dr. Jennifer Falbe in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology studying food and beverage policies for over two and a half years, including my senior capstone project. I was a physical well-being peer educator with UC Davis Student Health & Counseling Services for the 2020-2021 school year, where I created and promoted food insecurity and physical activity resources and educational materials. I am excited to apply these skills to the fellowship. In my free time, I enjoy being active and getting outside through hiking, camping, and backpacking - and the occasional REI trip to outfit my endeavors.

Cole Jenson
UC Davis

My greatest interests lie at the intersection of ecosystem health, climate health, and human health. I believe regenerative systems, especially in agriculture, are the best avenue to approach this nexus from. Outside of work, I can be found mountain biking, bouldering, hunting, or playing board games. 

Elijah Liedecker
UC Santa Cruz

I am graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Community Studies, and a special emphasis on film and its intersection with social justice. I am particularly interested in ethnobotany and the interactions between humans and plants in both archaic and novel forms. Additionally, I am an active mixed medium artist.

Cooper Limon
UC Berkeley

I am a rising junior at UC Berkeley studying Global Environmental Politics and Public Policy. This semester I served as a Planetary Health Student Ambassador for the Berkeley campus and was fortunate enough to witness the research and outreach that the UC system is doing to benefit the health of all people across the globe. This summer I am interning for the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SAREP) doing agritourism outreach and support for farmers in California, and with Dr. Sarah Light on soil health research and farmer networking. I am very excited to gain hands-on experience with researchers, policy-makers, and government workers and gain insight into how professional connections are made and sustained and what is being done to ensure sustainable approaches to the farming sector. 

Rory O’Toole
UC Davis

I am currently a fourth year UC Davis environmental science and management major with a focus in climate change. Working at the student farm is what sparked my passion for agriculture and climate change. With this internship I hope to learn as much as possible about conducting research, interacting with farmers, and pursuing a masters' degree. This fellowship opportunity is giving me the chance to experience hands-on field research which is something I am beyond excited about! 

Karah Pedregosa
UC Irvine

I use the pronouns she/hers and am an incoming fourth year at UC Irvine. My past experiences with planetary health include my positions as the 2020-21 SLICR Coordinator (Student Leadership Initiative for Climate Resilience) for UC Irvine's Sustainability Resource Center and a UC Global Health Institute Planetary Health Ambassador. Through my experience at UCI, I co-taught a weekly class empowering students to develop personal and collective resilience and educating them about the intersection between environmental and social justice issues, and am excited to return to the SLICR Program as a Mentor for the 2021-22 school year.

Monica Quezada
UC Davis

I am a second year Masters student in International Agricultural Development. My undergrad was in Economics but after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea in West Africa, I became interested in agriculture. The aspects of planetary health that most interest me are agricultural water management, water resources management, and agricultural models that are more environmentally and socially sustainable. Through the PHCOE fellowship, I hope to put my experimental design and statistical analysis skills to use and to better understand how field trials are conducted. I'm also very excited to interact with farmers as my career goal is to work in extension and outreach. 

“This fellowship will further my career goals by allowing me to gain greater experience in science communication, as well as strengthening my media and journalism skills. These skills will serve me well in my future career as I hope to continue educating others about pressing global health issues and empowering them to advocate for change.”
– Karah Pedregosa, 2021 PHCOE Fellow

“Working with the Nutrition Policy Institute and CalFresh Healthy Living will provide hands-on experience before I apply to Master in Public Health programs.”
– Laurel Denyer, 2021 PHCOE Fellow