My name is Madison Bigham and I’m a junior at the University of Arizona studying French and Natural Resources with an emphasis in conservation biology. I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but I’ve found a home here in beautiful Tucson. I hope to highlight this city’s wondrous biodiversity through my studies as well as learn more about how to protect it going forward. After I graduate, I plan to continue my studies in a graduate program in the biological sciences. Although I love the hard sciences, I’ve always been interested in environmental journalism and its role in environmentalism. My dream is to work in the realm of conservation, specifically dealing with endangered species, and I hope that my understanding of journalism will help me in my career path. Outside of academia, I enjoy playing tennis, reading mystery novels, and engaging in a low-waste lifestyle.
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My name is Kim Blashak. I’m a 25-year-old part-time student majoring in natural resource management and wildlife conservation. In order to pay the bills I work full time at a retail store fulfilling online orders and shipping them out. I have three pets: two old cats and a senior cockatiel who has been with me since I was three. Animals are my life and I definitely prefer their company more than other people most of the time. Surprisingly it isn’t difficult to keep a small bird and cats at the same time. Both cats are terrified of the scrawny old bird and will instantly back off if he hisses at them. I’m not sure exactly what I’d like to accomplish careerwise at this point, but I do know it will have something to do with trying to protect wildlife. I have a soft spot for apex predators, especially gray wolves. It has always been a dream of mine to observe them in the wild, and I hope I can one day help show the world just how important they are. I would love to spend some time working in Yellowstone so that I might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse into the lives of its most elusive residents. I’m also fascinated with big cats, crocodilians and sharks, though that might just be a side effect of growing up in Florida where rumors were often spread about the illusive Florida Panther, alligators could be found in just about any residential neighborhood and sharks were always being spotted at the beaches (though usually they were just babies). I believe a large part of my love for wildlife came from growing up in a place so rich in species.

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Vianney Cardenas is a 22-year-old Tucson native. She is currently an undergraduate senior at the University of Arizona, double majoring in journalism and Latin American Studies. Cardenas comes from a Mexican-American family and is the middle child out of three. Her favorite time of the year is during the holidays, when her family comes into town and she gets to spend quality time with them. During this time, she cooks homemade food and uses it as a way to bond with her family. During her free time, she likes to watch the news and read about the hot topics impacting her community, country and world. Her favorite pastime is listening to podcasts of all kinds, investigative, horror and (of course) comedy. Cardenas is passionate about journalism and hopes to pursue it past college. While she loves reporting and print journalism, she hopes to move over to digital journalism. She would like to create documentaries about issues that affect people in Latin America. Cardenas is interested in United States politics and government, but has more experience with Latin America government and U.S.-Mexico border issues.

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My name is Jenna Christensen and it is my fourth year in school at the University of Arizona. I am studying environmental science with an emphasis in leadership, sustainability and communication. I currently work at PetSmart and Rover but am looking into possible careers in national park services or conservation law – but I’m keeping my eyes open to everything. For the last four years, I have been in an honorary music and service sorority, Tau Beta Sigma, and in the Pride of Arizona Marching Band. Some things I like for fun are painting, playing video games, hiking, camping, listening to music and attending music festivals.

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Karolina Delgado is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona studying natural sciences, specifically ecology, management and restoration of rangelands with a minor in Spanish. Delgado was born in Houston, Texas, but moved to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico where her family is from. After elementary school she and her family moved to Arizona where Delgado finished middle school and high school. In high school she her extra-curricular activities included: cheer, dance, winter guard and color guard. In college she marches color guard with the Pride of Arizona and is part of a non-profit organization called Lepas for Lives dance company. Delgado is a color guard/winter guard/dance instructor at a high school and has filled related leadership roles since high school. She enjoys the outdoors, learning new things, speaking up about what she believes in, helping out, performing and spending time with her three-year-old brother and her two dogs Schnooky and Penelope.

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Shannon “Shay” Harris was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. She is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in creative writing with a minor in environmental studies. Prior to the University, she attended Pima Community College and spent time volunteering in her community. She has been published in the Pima Community College literary magazine, Sandscript. She is currently an intern with Make Way for Books and is waiting for her script Penelope Perch to be published on their mobile app. Shay will graduate in the fall of 2020 and is looking to pursue a career in writing and has an interest in working for an environmental non-profit or a community organization.

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Nina Kolodij is a second year science and environmental journalism Master’s student at the University of Arizona. Her interests include science journalism and communication, historical journalism, geology, environment and conservation, photojournalism and travel. In her spare time, she is an avid reader, artist, equestrian and ballroom dancer. After growing up in suburban Pennsylvania, Nina decided to explore her passions in Tucson, Arizona. She received her B.S. in geology with a minor in planetary sciences in spring of 2018. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Nina decided to stay in Tucson to combine her love of science and writing in the form of a master’s degree. Her master’s project focuses on the science of science of communication. Through a series of interviews, she is collecting perspectives from “stakeholders” involved in communicating science: scientists, science journalists, policy influencers and the public. The interviews will be published on a website called Speaking Science-ese in an attempt to analyze the issues present in science communication, as well as to present ideas and opinions on how to better communicate science. Although Nina’s ultimate goal for the future is to pursue a doctorate in either earth science or science communication, her main objective right now is to gain experience as a science writer. After spending time interning the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Nina realized that working for an organization that shares and encourages her love of the natural world is incredibly important. Because of this, her dream job would probably involve working at a zoo, aquarium, museum, national park or something along those lines.

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Nathan Martinez – No bio available 

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Denise Meeks – no bio available

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Pamela Pelletier has coordinated the outreach programming for the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research for the past seven years. She is currently a full-time Ph.D. student in Arid Lands and Art and Visual Culture. Pamela is interested in how visual imagery can be used to communicate science. She can often be found roping her two kids into doing some crafty project or DYI project in her backyard.

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Alexandra Sharon Pere is a senior at the University of Arizona studying journalism and religious studies for her undergraduate degree while also starting her master’s in science journalism. Alex is intrigued by the intricate ways in which human beings interpret the meaning of their world. She says she’s never felt a pull toward any belief system which makes her a great candidate to ask why people think the way they do (this goes for science and religion). She has a passion for science journalism because it’s something our world needs desperately right now. With new research coming out every day, Alex says we need journalists at the frontlines to examine and relay this information to the public. Science informs us, challenges us and protects us. Born in Louisiana, She’s a sassy Cajun with a big personality who loves hearing people’s stories. It doesn’t matter who you are or how simple you think your story is: she will listen. Journalism gives Alex the opportunity to listen. Asking smart people dumb questions is her specialty and she hopes her articles will inspire others to ask dumb questions. But more importantly, she wants her articles to help people find a relationship to nature. Environmental science continues to make her see the world through a lens of awe. Nothing is “normal” to her anymore. From the instinctive migratory paths of monarch butterflies, to the niche shifts in species interactions with climate change, she finds herself seeing the natural world as divine. These highly intricate systems may not exist anywhere else in the entire universe. Apart from all that cool stuff, she loves traveling, hiking and spending time with her partner and their dog, Luna. She looks forward to finishing her degrees and working with a non-profit news organization.

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Heather Peters is an environmental science student at the University of Arizona. Her goal is to promote an understanding of sustainability and eco-friendly practices and their importance in the community. Heather enjoys gardening and is passionate about encouraging others to grow their own food. She is starting her honors thesis project in the fall. Her thesis will focus on using photography to communicate the importance and relevance of sustainability initiatives in Tucson. The project’s main goal is to bridge the gap between scientists and the general public that is caused by complicated and confusing scientific writing.

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Matthew Roby is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment where he studies ecohydrology and land-air exchange of carbon, water, and energy. His research asks how water availability controls the uptake and release of carbon in semiarid ecosystems. The goal of his research is to enhance understanding and develop strategies to conserve plant, soil, and water resources in the context of global environmental change. As a Carson Scholar, he is interested in science communication and environmental writing. Matthew enjoys playing music, cooking and exploring western landscapes by bike, foot and raft.

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Nick Smallwood is a photographer, cinematographer and actor based in Tucson, Arizona. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where he is studying visual storytelling. When he is not busy working as a production technician for Arizona Public Media’s Emmy-award-winning television shows, Arizona Illustrated, and Arizona 360, as well as for the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts, Nick enjoys hiking, cycling and exploring the great outdoors. You can view Nick’s work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mr.nick1/ or on his website http://www.nicksmallwood.com.

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Brittany Uhlorn, Ph.D.*

I am a fifth-year cancer biology doctoral candidate at UArizona. My research focuses on the interactions between Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the innate immune system. HPV is the most commonly transmitted infection, and importantly, persistent HPV infections lead to 5% of all cancers worldwide. Through several techniques, I have discovered a novel regulatory mechanism of the innate immune system. I have also shown that HPV efficiently evades detection by the innate immune system during both initial and persistent infection. I am currently writing my dissertation and will defend in April 2020. I am also pursuing a graduate certificate in Science Communication. Following graduation in May 2020, I plan to develop a multifaceted career that supports the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of others. I hope to write journalistic pieces about the life and health sciences to make complex discoveries accessible by people of all identities and educations. Secondly, I am currently enrolled in a yoga teacher training course with a local studio. Following the completion of my certification in September 2020, I plan to teach yoga to support the physical and mental health of others. Lastly, I aspire to be a mental health advocate, especially for students. Following my comprehensive exam at the end of my second year of graduate school, I experienced a mental health crisis. I quickly developed an eating disorder as an unhealthy coping mechanism to protect myself from stress, anxiety and distress I experienced. Through three years of daily therapy and working with a dietician, I have been able to recover from my eating disorder and find balance in my life. I am passionate about denouncing the negative stigma surrounding mental health and desire to use my experiences and passion to support the mental wellbeing of others. In my spare time, I enjoy immersing myself in the beauty of my backyard – the Santa Catalina Mountains. I am an avid hiker and yogi, and I love experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. On a (rarely) cloudy day, you can find me curled up on the couch with my husband, coffee and a psychological thriller novel.

*Dr. Uhlorn successfully completed her Ph.D. dissertation defense in May 2020.

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Maury Urcadez is an aspiring sports journalist. She is a senior attending the University of Arizona and will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Urcadez came to UArizona as a transfer student from Pima Community College where she also played competitive soccer for two years. She has interned at two Tucson TV stations: KVOA and KOLD. She is currently a social media intern for the professional soccer club, FC Tucson. Urcadez is a Tucson native and dreams of becoming a sideline reporter for a major league soccer team. In six years, she sees herself as a reporter or analyst at the 2026 FIFA World Cup reporting in English and Spanish.

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Maddy Werbelow – no photo or bio available

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