My roots are in the rolling hills, green pastures, and black Angus cattle of rural Maryland, where my both sides of my family have multi-generational farms. From Maryland, I moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Pennsylvania and completed my B.A. in English from Dickinson College with a thesis examining war memory and medieval animal studies in The Lord of the Rings. My post-graduate years took me back to the land, beginning with working sheep, cattle, and hens at the Dickinson College Farm. My interest in writing and agriculture then took me further east, where I spent two years teaching in Thessaloniki, Greece at the American Farm School, on the coast of the Thermaic Gulf under the watchful silhouette of Mount Olympus.
I've now swapped coastal regions for the mountains, as my search for a more sustainable relationship between environmentalism and livestock farming led me to the Environmental Humanities. My focus continues to be the literature, communication, and cultural history surrounding animal production.
Jazmine Lopez is from a small mountain town in New Mexico. She received her Bachelors of Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Psychology from Northern New Mexico College. She loves writing and being in nature and hopes to share stories about Place. Jazmine is also a potter and has a love of working with clay. She hopes to incorporate her art into her Environmental Humanities studies.
Fiona spent many of her childhood years exploring her backyard in the suburbs of Chicago searching for bugs, climbing trees, and observing the green spaces around her. Transplanted to Michigan for undergrad at Kalamazoo College, her curiosity surrounding plant biology and land management flourished. Fiona found her niche in field work after working in several labs ranging from biochemistry, dog behavior, plant genetics, and finally ecology. Her senior thesis Distribution Analysis of Invasive Plant Species in the Kleinstuck Preserve investigated the influence of abiotic and biotic factors on the presence of invasive plant species populations using GIS. While at the University of Utah, she hopes to investigate how citizens and the surrounding community can inform and contribute to scientific processes. When she is not out and about in the field, she can be found spending time with friends, rock climbing, painting, or collecting bugs!
I’m originally from the southern California coast and have lived in many places across the U.S., primarily in the west, before moving to Utah. I’m a first-generation college graduate, receiving my degree from Southern Utah University in Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies. After graduating, I worked for Salt Lake City doing communication outreach and public engagement.
Having grown up around the ocean, beautiful mountain ranges, and Utah’s iconic red rocks, I’ve always loved the outdoors. I’ve found in navigating outdoor recreation and trying new activities however, it can sometimes be intimidating and frustrating being the only person who looks like me. A week-long river trip helped me realize I wanted to pursue my love for the environment while helping marginalized communities have more access to the outdoors. I’m beyond grateful and excited to be a Mellon Community Engagement Fellow and partner with a local organization to pursue my research interests in environmental equity, water conservation, and creative community engagement.
When not in school I can be found reading, writing, enjoying a lot of tea, adventuring, or still mourning the retirements of Carli Lloyd and Drew Brees.
Amelia Diehl (she/her) is a writer and community builder originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She studied English and Environmental Studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin and was lucky to study abroad in New Zealand. After graduating, she walked 200 miles solo from Paris to the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, where she protested with US youth organization SustainUS. This experience helped solidify a commitment to the climate justice movement: she sees the climate crisis as fundamentally a spiritual crisis, and that addressing it must be grounded in collective liberation.
Before coming to Utah, Amelia worked in the community media and journalism ecosystem in Chicago, and organized with Great Lakes-based climate justice campaigns, especially grassroots direct action and oil pipeline resistance. Concerned about mainstream media’s limitations, she’s invested in using different kinds of storytelling to historicize and make visible people’s resistance movements, especially those that are often overlooked. Her writing has been published in outlets such as In These Times, Belt Magazine, Chicago’s South Side Weekly and climate magazine, The Trouble.
After spending most of her life in the Great Lakes region, she’s excited to learn more about and from this part of the country – and also dig deeper into new materialism, ecocriticism, and queer ecology theory. She also makes music, enjoys long runs and long walks, and drinking coffee.
I grew up in California, where I spent my most of my weekends camping with my family in Yosemite, Death Valley, and Sequoia National Park. These early outdoor experiences drew me to the field of ecology, which eventually lead me to pursue a degree in Environmental Systems at the University of California, San Diego. After taking an environmental justice class in undergrad and working with invasive species for a couple years, I realized that science alone cannot address the most pressing environmental issues as they intersect with race, gender, and class. I am interested in researching unpaid labor in conservation science as well as the role of invasive species rhetoric in developing integrated pest management strategies in the United States.
I’ve lived in Utah with the Wasatch mountains as my backdrop and muse for most of
my life. I attended Westminster College where I studied Arts Administration, Visual
Art, and French, and my capstone research explored how interdisciplinary art is uniquely
situated to offer risky and imaginative solutions to environmental problems.
My EH Master’s thesis continues this thread of generative imagination in the context of Just Transition, as I study the labor and environmental history of the mining ghost town of Lark, Utah, it’s former residents’ diaspora at the hands of Rio Tinto Kennecott Copper Mine, and the possibilities of community in a post-extraction world. Before coming to EH, I’ve lived and worked as an educator in France for two years, an environmental educator at Red Butte Garden, and a volunteer coordinator for Kimball Art Center. When I’m taking a break from schoolwork, I love hiking, camping, gardening, and consuming music, movies, and art.
My passion for environmental advocacy was ignited in kindergarten, when I co-founded
“The Bug Club” and rescued injured insects from the playground with my best friend,
Alexander. After studying environmental science at the University of North Carolina–Asheville
and teaching ecology in Maine, Colorado, and California, I arrived in Arizona where
I developed a deep commitment to the Southwest and discovered my passion for grassroots
organizing. I began to organize regionally and nationally with youth-led climate justice
groups, including Uplift and the Power Shift Network, and spent four years coordinating the Rising Leaders Program at the Grand Canyon Trust, where I facilitated political education and community organizing workshops for young
My EH thesis asks the question "what mobilizes young people in the Southwest to become climate justice activists?" and my research findings will inform a climate justice training program that I am collaboratively building with a coalition of local high schoolers.
Growing up in northern Colorado, I was raised on weekend camping trips to the Rocky
Mountains. I received my undergraduate degree in communication studies with minors
in Spanish and international development from Colorado State University in 2019. After
graduation, I decided to hike 491 miles on the Colorado Trail. It was during this
backcountry adventure that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the field of
My EH thesis project seeks to explore the social and ecological impacts of long-distance thru hiking looking specifically at the Colorado Trail corridor as a site for identity expression, community formation, and place-based meaning making. During my first year in EH I also began working as the Equity and Inclusion in Visitation Management Project Intern for the National Parks Conservation Association.
I grew up along the coast of central California but was slowly drawn to Utah since childhood. Among the things that prompted me to move to Salt Lake for college was a history of family river trips through Desolation Canyon and slickrock scrambles in the southern Utah. I graduated from the U in 2019 with a degree in Communication Studies, completing an Honors thesis that utilized qualitative interviews to explore the intersections between gender, health, and outdoor recreation. Currently, I'm working as the graduate fellow at Torrey House Press and I'm slowly chipping away at my thesis, a creative nonfiction project that blends personal and ecological grief as I explore multispecies entanglements (in other words, I'm spending a lot of time geeking out over birds).
In EH, I seek to fuse my interests in writing, education, and plant ecology to help children build stronger relationships to land in their communities. I’m particularly interested in story-telling from plant perspectives. Native education and literature have informed this interest, and I’m excited to share my projects with children through my fiction-writing as well as place-based interdisciplinary lessons. In my second year, I’ll be working with Tree Utah, STEMCAP, and local schools to help students write creatively about plants and plant agency.
I’m originally from Portland, Oregon and hold a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of Oregon. My thesis attempted to construct an Indigenous perspective on the 2016 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge using decolonizing methodologies and contemporary media sources. Before coming to Utah, I spent two years an environmental educator with the Multnomah ESD Outdoor School teaching fourth-sixth graders from all over the Portland Metro area along the banks of the Sandy River and on Mount Hood. My current research interests are in the relationship between public lands in the American West and Indigenous peoples. Specifically, I’m interested in how creating climbing spaces interfaces/conflicts with Indigenous notions of many of those same spaces as sacred. As one of the inaugural Mellon Community Fellows, I look forward to utilizing this opportunity to collaborate with community partners and align my work to produce convivial relationships beyond the University of Utah.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio, raised in a rural county a bit north, and Columbus became
home when I found community through activism. At the U, I am a Mellon Community Engagement Fellow, and I am partnering with the Mobile Moon Co-op, a collective of women and queers that strives to practice community care through
ecological engagement, education, empowerment, and botanical stewardship. I also collaborate
with the Salt Lake Community Bail Fund and Decarcerate Utah, working against cash bail and pre-trial detention by facilitating bail funding for
individuals in need and educating the public. I organize police surveillance, media
accessibility, and community security commons back home. I'm interested in militant
ecology, abolition, queer ecology, transformative justice, food sovereignty, People's
movements, and mycology.
Originally from the Seattle, area, I completed my BS in Biology at Brigham Young University.
Doing fieldwork in tidepools, next to river beds, and on mountainsides sparked my
desire to write more than it did scientific inquiry, so I shifted my focus to the
humanities. I hope my writing can reconnect urban audiences with the natural spaces
and ecosystems right in their backyards, so to speak, challenging the notion that
“going into nature” means driving far away from “civilization”.
For my thesis, I am exploring the relationships between women and urban waterways under colonial rule in Park T’ae-won’s 1938 novel Scenes from Ch’eonggye Stream (천변풍경). When I'm not studying, I enjoy reading, watching K-dramas and international films, trying out new recipes, walking or biking by rivers, and spending time with my rough collie.
I received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the Clark Honors College at the University
of Oregon in 2018. While there, I published a research paper about the role of religion
in snow leopard conservation and completed a thesis on international indigenous land
rights and public lands.
My EH Master’s project involves creating and implementing Indigenous history programming at Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake, which lies within the traditional territories of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute and the Northwest Band of Shoshone Nations.
Before starting in the EH program, I worked on the Oregon Coast as a forest ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, taught English in southwestern France, was a summer naturalist in the Rockies with the Walking Mountains Science Center, and worked as a bartender in my hometown of Washington, D.C. I enjoy hiking and running (especially in the hills and mountains of Utah!) and baking desserts to share with friends.
Originally from Western New York, I received my undergraduate training from a stellar mix of anthropology, media studies, and art history professors at SUNY Purchase. My thesis was presented as a series of field guides to my hometown of Rochester, NY that blurred the lines between natural, industrial, and cultural histories. With the help of some oft-overlooked city residents (lilacs, peregrine falcons and one particularly-fraught highway to name a few) I advocated for an ecological understanding of post-industrial cities and the more-than-human communities they house. While at school I also lead a student environmental action group, the Green Team, and started the Purchase College FreeStore. Both positions broadened my understanding of 'justice' and strengthened my commitment to daylighting radical environmentalist legacies. Since graduating I’ve been making coffee and cocktails, unionizing my non-profit workplace, and thinking about queer ecological precarity.
I breathed my first air in Houston, TX, nearly died in Oklahoma, grew, grew, grew in Colorado, and have been trampin’ my way across all the borders of nations and states ever since. With a bit of fuzzy math, a safe estimation says my adult body holds more nights sleeping outdoors than indoors, soaking in stars. My university days took me through Colorado, Spain, Ohio, and Minnesota. I’ve since hustled a living here and there: distributing resources and skills to homeless humans as a social worker, guiding at-risk youth through therapy plans as a wilderness guide/experiential educator; listening to patients play guitar as a psych hospital tech; and howling for owls, gazing at golden eagles, counting (dead) birds, and looking for new growth as a wildlife biologist all over the American West. I am currently studying the social lives of our rattlesnake neighbors.
My passion for the environment began in earnest during undergrad when I stumbled out to the mountains to rehabilitate after a bad ankle injury. Because of this, my relationship to the land has always been grounded in relationship to the body. I hold a BA in Anthropology, Drama, Psychology, and Chinese from Rhodes University and a BA Honors in Anthropology from the University of Cape Town, both in South Africa. In the years since my undergraduate studies, I have spent more nights than not in a tent. I worked as an instructor and course director with Where There Be Dragons where I led and designed courses for high school and college students in southwestern China and the southwestern United States. Themes and experiences ranged from homestays, to backpacking trips, to explorations of social and environmental justice, and food sovereignty. When I wasn’t working, I spent my time thru-hiking more than 4000 miles on the Pacific Crest, Colorado, and Arizona trails. I’m most often found with a backpack, a book, and a box of dumplings on a train going somewhere.
I am thrilled to be shifting course to explore my interest in complex environmental and social issues in the Southwest through an academic lens. I look forward to seeing how my research interests evolve in the months to come.
Juan Camilo Perdomo Marin
I am an international student from Colombia and a Fulbright scholar. I have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Caldas. My thesis was a laureate research on the relation between indigenous perspectives on nature and the political dynamics of multiculturalism. After graduating I worked for three years as a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology of the same institution.
The intellectual, political and environmental challenges of our times led me to the University of Utah. The Master in Environmental Humanities is for me an opportunity to learn to listen to the world more attentively, to develop multiple skills to study and portray a reality threatened by climate change. Currently I am interested in comparing how nature has been understood through myth, politics and science, that is, identifying the particularities and similarities between these domains from art, literature and ethnography.
Growing up in a small farm town with the Uinta Mountains a short walk away from my backyard enlightened me to the natural world around me. Growing up, I spent all my free time hiking, snowshoeing, and boating, and that draw to nature led me to an internship at Jordanelle State Park. I interned as the head of Jordanelle’s Aquatic Invasive Species team in 2019, and this opportunity allowed my love for environmental education to blossom. This internship also helped further my undergraduate work at the University of Utah where I graduated in 2020 with an honors degree in Communication and minors in Linguistics and Spanish. Through my work with the Environmental Humanities program, I hope to continue to use communication as a tool to educate people about the world around them, break down anthropocentric worldviews about the environment, and cultivate a sense of environmental belonging between my communities and the earth.
After growing up in the Washington, DC area, I moved to Southern California in 2015 to attend Pomona College. While at school, I led backpacking trips up and down the west coast as an outdoor education leader, played drums in a campus punk band, and participated in the Pomona College Humanities Studio as an inaugural fellow. For my undergraduate thesis, I carried out a visual ethnography exploring public water as an issue of environmental justice in Rome, Italy. Using 8mm film, I researched the 2017 shutdown of Rome's public water fountains, il nasoni, in relation to the city’s infrastructure history, recent turn towards a populist government, and (mis)handling of the refugee crisis. After graduation, I moved back east to work at Phoenix Bikes, a community bike shop and youth education nonprofit in Arlington, VA.
Here at the U, I’m thrilled to continue using methods from anthropology, critical infrastructure studies, and cultural theory to examine issues of resource access and environmental health. As a Mellon Community Engagement Fellow, I look forward to partnering with a local organization to translate my passion for environmental and social justice into tangible work in the Salt Lake region.