Summer 2017

28 interns from twelve UCSD programs (Global TIES, an engineering major; the Global Health major / minor; the Public Health major; the Human Rights minor; the Sixth College practicum; the Public Service minor, based in Thurgood Marshall College; Partners at Learning, an Educational Studies major; the Urban Studies and Planning major; the Earth Sciences major, based in Scripps Institution of Oceanography; the Environmental Systems major, of the Division of Physical Sciences; Structural Engineering; and Public Culture), plus three students from across the UC-system (UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles) participated in the 2017 Blum Summer Field Internship.



Alon Ankonina | Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts (ICAM)

As an ICAM student, I study the history and theory of intersections between culture, art, and technology. Through this lens, I see the role of art and technology as tools to destabilize our notions of the individual, communal, and societal. The BLUM internship has allowed me to learn from and contribute to projects that are truly effective in that respect. These are projects that are involved in community engagement, education, technological literacy, advanced energy infrastructure, and combatting the difficulties of an urban food desert. The only way to begin to solve these problems is through a multi-layered approach that examines the individual, communal, and societal. What was special about these community projects was the care and attention given to ensuring that these initiatives were coming from the bottom-up. These are long term endeavors, and their successful integration requires a dedication and commitment to the community they serve. Making sure that the community itself has a participatory and developmental role in these projects is key to serving the Chollas EcoVillage. This experience has already been influential in the way I regard my studies in social art practice and technology culture.

Aaron Barrall | Urban Studies & Planning

Spending summer mornings at the Earthlab was a wonderful way for me to connect my academic passions to real world settings and applications. Throughout the internship, I was able to practice simplifying and explaining the material I learn in my Earth Science major for elementary school students. Doing this allowed me to experience different teaching methods, to see which activities kept students engaged and those that required lots of guidance.   Teaching in the DEEP and Science Academies gave me tools to employ when managing high energy students.  Listening to the children re-explain the lessons was particularly eye-opening for me.  Their answers revealed clues as to how they reason and analyze material, which in turn informed different strategies I used during lessons and can use in the future as an environmental educator.

Kim Do | Conservation & Resource Studies, minor in Global Poverty & Practice and Teaching at the University of California – Berkeley

Hi! My name is Kim Do, and I am pursuing a bachelor’s in Conservation & Resource Studies and minors in Global Poverty & Practice and Teaching at the University of California - Berkeley. Before I entered the BLUM internship this summer, I knew only one thing: I wanted to save the earth. Throughout high school, I explored the myriad of ways that I could contribute to environmental conservation - working with City Council to create public policy, volunteering at creek clean-ups, and teaching STEM to youth, etc. I entered college with this same open mind, unsure of any particular career path. This summer, working with EarthLab and Groundworks allowed me to explore different sectors of conservation from learning about renewable energy sources to observing teachers develop an outdoor education curriculum. What struck me as shocking was seeing how, as an intern, I could contribute to Groundworks’ master plan for a net-zero Energy community with no background in engineering but a brief understanding about solar energy. I see now that entering the green industry does not have to be limited to particular areas of expertise but that many professional paths overlap. My career plans remains open, but I am considering entering renewable energy through the lens of community outreach as I did this summer. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to learn about and partake San Diego’s green initiatives!

Kara Lu | Literatures in English Major, Environmental Studies/EDS minor

I’ve always known I wanted to make a positive impact on future generations. My passion for education started early, when I realized that my teachers played a huge role in my own personal and intellectual development. After a summer working at EarthLab, I feel inspired by the commitment and hard work of teachers and community organizers who dedicated their energy towards improving the quality of education available to kids in the Encanto region. I loved watching the students grow their passions and capabilities while they learned about science and the environment. Along the way, I also learned a great deal about how educational programs are built and all the resources that are needed. I have a better understanding of the all the resources and coalitions needed to bring a program to life, and I am energized by programs that defy the restrictions of the public school infrastructure and traditional classroom standards. Working with the children has given me a lot of motivation to continue supporting the growth of educational programs in San Diego, especially those that enrich the opportunities available to underrepresented communities. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Masters in Education and obtain a teaching credential. In addition to teaching, I hope to explore how I can contribute to educational administration or non-profits.

Aya Rosenfeld | Environmental Chemistry

This internship was an extremely gratifying experience for me. When I applied for a position at the Earthlab, I knew nothing about the EPIC project, but that project was what has helped me understand how I’d like to use my major in the real world. Although I enjoy studying the chemistry of the changing environment, I would feel unfulfilled in a career if I didn't connect that research to issues of social justice. The EPIC project serves to alleviate climate change while also helping an underserved community, which has shown me that I can use science to help make the world a better place. After this summer, I feel like I have a better idea of how I can work to stop climate change while also targeting global poverty and injustice.

Wilson Tan | Physiology & Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Global Health

Wilson is a fourth year student at UCSD studying Physiology & Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. He was born in Massachusetts before moving to and being raised in Southern California. Working at the EarthLab station, Wilson realized the importance of community engagement and experiential learning in underserved communities. The BLUM Summer Field internship affirmed his belief in preventative education and awareness in affecting health and socioeconomic disparities. With the skills and knowledge he gained, Wilson aspires to become a primary care physician or psychiatrist, in hopes of forming longitudinal relationships with his future patients.

Warren Yee | Environmental Engineering

As an Environmental Engineering major, I’ve been fascinated with learning about renewable energy so that in the future we can develop an economy and society based on clean energy and mitigate climate change. Working as a BSFI intern this summer has given me a first-hand experience with seeing how the transition to renewable solar energy can take place at a massive community scale, from not just an engineering perspective but also from the perspective of communities undergoing this transition and from a legal perspective. BSFI has given me invaluable experience about the current and future stages of solar energy and has enhanced my understanding and pursuits for different and possible career paths concerning renewable energy.



Francisco Durán | Speculative Design

Francisco Durán is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego majoring in Speculative Design. He is a visual artist whose work explores how design can be used as a tool in formulating ideas that improve people’s lives. In addition, he is interested in creating physical objects utilizing a human-centered design approach. Francisco was born in Mexico and immigrated to the US at the age of four. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and then lived in Los Angeles for several years. San Diego is now his home and has quickly captured his heart with its amazing beauty, climate and people. In his spare time Francisco likes to cook, travel, visit museums (especially ones with free admission) and explore the world around him. He hopes to become better acquainted with the San Diego-Tijuana region and develop strong ties with these communities that will empower him to create positive long-lasting change.

Alexandro Enciso | Earth Sciences + Urban Studies and Planning

Alexandro is a second-year transfer at UC San Diego. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Earth Sciences and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning, he is interested in projects that involve the application and integration of social and natural sciences. In the future, he would like to become a civil engineer and combine his set of knowledges to urbanization and development projects. Alex was born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, meaning he grew up in constant interaction with the advantages and disadvantages present on the border region, which is why he is interested in helping enhance and connect both communities. He is a big soccer and tennis fan, enjoys traveling and trying new food, as well as spending time with his family and friends.

Jonathan Gonzalez Padilla | Physiology and Neuroscience + Chicanx Studies

Jonathan Gonzalez Padilla is a fourth-year UCSD student majoring in Physiology and Neuroscience with a minor in Chicanx Studies. He was born in San Diego but raised in Tijuana, adapting both sides of the border as his home. His life and career plan is to attend medical school where he can use my passion for medicine to help marginalized communities in Mexico. During his time at UCSD, Jonathan has been involved in community as a member of MEChA de UCSD, a student run organization emphasizing the need for equitable resources and higher education for students of disadvantaged backgrounds. Jonathan has also served as an intern at the UCSD Cross Cultural Center where he conducted workshops and facilitated discussions on social justice and systems of power and oppression. Jonathan is a huge fan of the Xoloitzcuintles soccer team of Tijuana, and trying out new coffee shops and food places in San Diego and Tijuana.

Jessie Hernández-Reyes | Political Science + Chicanx Studies (UCLA)

Jessie Hernández-Reyes is a third-year undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, double majoring in Chicana/o Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Education Studies. Born and raised in the border town of San Diego, California, Jessie is interested in community organizations and larger social justice work centered around helping immigrant communities and families. Moreover, through her journey in reaching higher education as a first generation college student, Jessie has found a passion for creating educational equity for every student, regardless of age, ethnicity, income, or status. She currently serves as a Resident Assistant at UCLA and is one of four co-founders of Latino Leaders of Tomorrow of UCLA, a student-run organization aimed at helping undergraduate UCLA first-gen and students of color navigate higher education spaces and develop professionally through its four pillars of service: networking, professional, academic, and personal development. She hopes to pursue her interests in immigration, education, and larger social justice efforts through the creation of public policy in the near future.

Ify Okwuosa | Public Health

Ify Okwuosa is a fourth-year Public Health student at the University of California San Diego. She was born in Nigeria and moved to the Bay Area in 2013 where she started as a Biology major but transferred into the Public Health program at UCSD. Ify’s interests in community health, access to health care and health policy in underserved populations led her to work with East County community members under the Patient Health Improvement Initiative program of the Multicultural Health Foundation in San Diego to develop more adequate social and preventive health services. Her career goal is to become a primary care physician in the near future with a focus on working with marginalized communities and providing holistic health care.

Shane Reed | Public Health

Shane Reed recently obtained his bachelor’s degree from UCSD where he studied political science. He is currently employed at REI, an outdoors shop in San Diego. In his free time, he enjoys bodysurfing, reading, and hiking through local trails. He hopes to continue his studies as a law student somewhere in California. Long term, he intends to focus on immigration or civil rights law. Shane has past experience in community work through Border Angels, leading group water drops into highly trafficked migrant routes in the desert.

Leon Sanchez Reyes | Cognitive Science + Human Cognition

Leon Sanchez Reyes is a first-generation college student starting his fourth year at the University of California, San Diego. He is pursuing a major in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human Cognition. He was born and raised in San Diego and has been involved in a community organization, Latino Youth Council- now referred as ACE- a youth council run by youth to help change the perception of drugs and alcohol among teens. Leon is interested in getting involved with and conducting field research on the advantages and disadvantages within cross border communities. He’s interested in the study of neurological disorders and mental disorders, along with studying how to maximize cognition retention.

Laura Santos | Political Science + Chicanx Studies

Laura is a fourth-year student at UCSD, double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Political Science with a minor in Chicanx Latinx Arts & Humanities. Laura is a first-generation Latina student from Corona, CA; her parents immigrated from Mexico at an early age. This sacrifice by her parents empowers her to keep pushing forward in her academic career and be involved in providing solutions to the struggles that face the Latinx community. On campus, she is involved in Students Against Mass Incarceration, Phi Lambda Rho sorority Inc., and MEChA; off campus she is involved in California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP). Laura strives to work with the community to collectively find solutions to the issues that are affecting their youth and their everyday lived experience. Laura’s academic ambition is to attain a masters and a doctorate degree; her career aspirations are to work in a non-profit to eventually holding a position in the government. She enjoys spending her time horseback riding, going to cultural events, and being with her family.

Tokio Shimamura | Environmental Systems/Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

Tokio is a pre-medical student studying Environmental Systems with a focus in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at University of California, San Diego. He was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan until the age of 8, when he moved to Palos Verdes, California with his family. He aspires to be a primary care physician, and believes in providing a community-centered care that addresses the problem to its environmental, racial, and political roots. During his time at UCSD, Tokio has worked with Intersectional Health Project, San Diego (IHPSD) to research the effect of economic and environmental displacement of the most marginalized groups in the San Diego county and share their experiences using a multimedia approach. Last Summer, he interned in Fukushima, Japan as a data analyst to investigate the effect of the March 11th Tsunami on the livelihood at a small-scale fishery operation. He also serves as VP of Risk Management for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. In his free time Tokio can be found exploring San Diego’s multicultural culinary scene, getting into impromptu dance parties with friends, and hosting BBQ’s at his home.



Jahaziel Aguilera | Computer Science

Jahaziel was born in Baja California, Mexico and came to the United States when he was seven years old. He witnessed the struggles that low-income families in a cross-border dynamic face, as his dad worked in the United States, crossing the border back to Tecaté every day for years. Once his family moved to San Diego, he started elementary school without knowing how to speak English fluently, learning the language as time progressed. He plans to graduate from UCSD in the Fall of 2018, and is grateful for all the experiences, opportunities, and people he has met in the course of his university career.
He decided to join the Blum Summer Field Internship from a sense of empathy for the experience of housing, food, and transportation issues that families in low income communities face. Through the 2017 internship, he focused his efforts on the study of housing insecurity in San Ysidro, partnering with Ashley Doung to document the stories and accounts of San Ysidro residents concerning housing security and access.

Jorge Arana | Literatures in English, Education Studies Minor (PAL)

Jorge Arana is a UCSD student, majoring in Literatures in English and minoring in Educational Studies. He was born in San Diego, but raised, and currently lives in the city of Tijuana, Baja California. A frequent border crosser, his life has involved a daily commute between spaces of urban conflict.
Through the Blum Summer Field Internship, he dedicated time to researching how the community approaches pedagogical and educational conflicts in San Ysidro, specifically focusing on college awareness. Specifically, he explored the possibility of creating a college center within a forthcoming multiple-use architectural project that comes out of a partnership between Casa Familiar, the Center on Global Justice, and the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, under the moniker of Living Rooms at the Border, in order to provide a space where workshops about higher education and tutoring by subject may be provided to the community for free.

Ashely Doung | Literary Journalism + Philosophy (UCI)

Ashley Duong is a rising junior at UCI, double majoring in literary journalism and philosophy. She was born and raised in San Francisco and is a first-generation college student. She’s also a compulsive podcast-listener and Netflix-binger, and enjoys spending her free time listening to episodes of This American Life and watching breaking-of-the-fourth-wall programs on television, like Parks and Recreation. Many of her life goals and dreams have been informed and shaped by the art and literature that she was exposed to growing up. She spent a lot of time in libraries after school, given her parents’ work schedule, and so she would often pass the time by reading whatever she could get her hands on; and, from those hours scouring book shelves, she developed a deep love and keen appreciation for prose and writing. In this way, she hopes to pursue a career in journalism, aspiring to either become a producer on This American Life, or a staff writer for The New Yorker, often feeling inspired by the narratives she reads and hears from those publications. She believes that one of the most effective ways to encourage others to develop and build empathy and compassion is through storytelling and narratives. When people are presented a diverse array of perspectives and can see beyond their own subjective realities, we are able to begin to have productive discussions as a society that can listen to and understand one another.
She applied for the Blum Summer Field Internship because she felt it aligned with her personal goals in life. She saw it as an opportunity to contribute to fighting for global justice and to help shed light on the struggles and obstacles of people that are not usually paid attention to by mainstream media. As such, she sought to gain a better understanding of the challenges that the communities near the U.S.-Mexico border face through documenting experiences of housing insecurity in San Ysidro, preparing a written narrative with the aim of helping to advance a local agenda toward gaining the quality of life that residents deserve to have access to.

Cynthia Frausto | Public Health

Cynthia Frausto is a fourth-year UCSD student, majoring in Public Health with a minor in General Biology. In addition to the Summer Field Internship, during summer 2017, she interned in Tijuana at a free clinic, and worked at Moore’s Cancer Center as a research assistant conducting evaluations from clients enrolled at CA Smokers Helpline.
Being a first-generation college student and the eldest in her family, she has always felt this need and desire to prove to her parents that their efforts and sacrifices have been worth something, hoping to inspire her younger siblings through showing how, with education and drive, one can accomplish what one has set their mind to do. Prior to the 2017 summer field internship, Cynthia studied abroad in Oaxaca and Mexico City where she participated in field work, clinical rotations, and worked alongside a non-profit organization. Through her experiences of daily life in Mexico, she had the opportunity to analyze first-hand how health outcomes are largely influenced by socio-economic factors--our politics, culture, history, environment, and economy. Her experiences in Mexico and San Ysidro, in addition to her Public Health studies, have pushed her to become more involved in these social issues, in order to have the background knowledge necessary to support her future career as a Physician Assistant.

Sara Lucero | Anthropology + Microbiology; Global Health minor

Sara Lucero is a UCSD undergraduate, double majoring in Microbiology and Anthropology with a minor in Global Health.  She was raised in an immigrant household with divisive cross-cultural conflicts, that, at times, felt seemingly impossible to mediate.  She's motivated to pursue Global Health by the personal struggle she faced growing up, seeking resolution between traditional Asian culture and the modern, boasting ideals of North American society.  She aims to analyze the structural systems that intensify immigrant insecurities to help deconstruct them and, in this way, promote healing.
Following her university career, she plans to establish a clinical system that practices medicine from an anthropological perspective rather than strictly on the basis of biomedical epistemology. In this current day and age there is such a great divide between people; and, ultimately, we need to rediscover how we are all human. Sara seeks to increase empathy across these social and ideological divides and heal the rifts, understanding that healing is more than biomedicine and chemicals. True healing stems from compassion and an intimate understanding of the human psyche and the way it interacts with society and history. With this interpretation, we can apply the term healing to not only the body, but also to fragmented societies. This way healing can branch beyond the hospital and the clinics. We, as doctors, as students, and as humans, are here to fight apathy and close-mindedness. We are here to teach the rewards of pursuing equality. We are here because love overcomes one’s misfortune. We are here to heal.

Anika Ullah | Human Biology + Interdisciplinary Computing in Visual Arts

Anika Ullah is a Human Biology and Interdisciplinary Computing in Visual Arts student interested in the intersection of scientific exploration, community health, and activism through multimedia storytelling.
As a participant of the 2017 BSFI cohort in San Ysidro, she directed and produced a documentary about border pollution, environmental justice, and respiratory health in San Ysidro in the context of impending expansion of the border and increase in border security. The documentary exhibition and post screening discussion invited attendees to take part in community advocacy for specific issue mitigation strategies during a meeting of the San Diego-Tijuana Air Quality Task Force, convened by Frontera2020 (a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
Anika’s previous experiences span scientific research, activism, and the arts. She spent 5 years researching the digestive tract and its diseases at Stanford University, with a focus on creating low cost therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease. Since 2016, she has worked in the U.S-Mexico border region and has led a variety of community-engaged health projects through Intersectional Health Project San Diego (IHPSD), an undergraduate-driven multidisciplinary initiative she founded to investigate overshadowed public health issues in San Diego's communities and mobilize collaborative student-community problem solving for such issues in collaboration. She has also participated with Rob Knight Lab and Pieter Dorrestein Lab, as the principal investigator of a multi-omics clinical study on the viability of natural remedies for female urinary tract infections. Her passion for science communication and community engagement has influenced her intention to create a post-study public art installation using data visualizations from study data to engage with the public on complex interactions of the urinary microbiome from a systems-level perspective.