The Ridge to Reef Program has been a wonderful opportunity to meet scholars doing impressive research in the environmental sciences. In my cohort alone, we have specialists in sustainable energy, atmospheric studies, and marine ecology. All of my colleagues have expanded my understanding of the environmental challenges that lie ahead. As the first and sole participant from the School of Humanities, I have also been able to add to the conversation, particularly regarding questions of environmental justice and the empowerment of disadvantaged groups facing environmental crisis.
Thanks to the Ridge 2 Reef Program, and the National Science Foundation, I have the opportunity to learn side by side environmental scientists and add historical perspectives to ongoing environmental crises.
R2R is not, however, just a training program. As R2R fellows, we receive financial support to develop partnerships with community organizations beyond the university walls. In my case, R2R has provided me a year of funding to develop a collaborative project with Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ) and a team of scientists at UCI. The purpose of this project is to uncover the historical sources of metal contamination in the city of Santa Ana. R2R is a terrific professional network, from which multidisciplinary projects will surely emerge.