Meet the Staff

Internship opportunities for the People of Color Sustainability Collective are offered for the academic year. Interns work collaboratively with other campus Resource Centers and specifically with the AIRC Team. PoCSC student interns learn about and engage with environmental issues while gaining leadership, facilitation, event planning, project management, and research skills. If you have any questions about internship opportunities, please contact us at

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    Chris Lang, Graduate Student

    Hi! I grew up in Woodside and Redwood City, CA, and I identify as biracial/Black (Black/white). As a 4th-year grad student in Environmental Studies and an intern for the POCSC, I hope to shift narratives around sustainability to provide alternative strategies for eco-social wellbeing. In my own research, I study the relationships between consumer behavior and environmental injustice and uplift BIPOC vegans who strive for zero waste livelihoods.

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    Jemzi Ortiz

    I am a proud mixed Cheyenne and third-generation Mexican American woman and first-generation college graduate. I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Human Biology (Class of 2019). I was affiliated with Merrill College and participated in many campus organizations during my undergraduate career. I was an intern at the American Indian Resource Center for 3 years and wanted to continue working with Dr. Hernandez as the program coordinator to support and advocate for the Native American students on this campus and in our community. Working at the Ethnic Resource Centers was one of the best experiences I had at UCSC and I wanted to continue to grow, give back, and learn in this space. Areas that I am passionate about are decolonizing health and health inequalities, Indigenous people in STEM, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and urban Indian related issues. I love to hang out with my partner and family, dance, go to concerts, watch movies and reality shows, read, travel, cook, nap, and watch basketball! I also love to meet new people and talk with others so please come visit me at my office at the ERC! 

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    Valeria Mena, POCSC Lead Intern

    Hello hello! I grew up in a city southeast of Los Angeles called Huntington Park, CA. I later moved to the city of Fresno, CA. I am a first-generation student with the goal of making my parents proud by getting a higher education. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with the AIRC and PoCSC this year. From my experience working in the SEC, doing research with faculty, and creating my own projects at UCSC I've gained so much insight and skills that I am excited to apply and continue learning during my time with the AIRC/PoCSC.

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    Joseline Villagrana, POCSC Intern

    Hi! I'm Josy! I'm a first-generation college student from East Oakland, CA. I am really passionate about making a change in my community by trying to solve social and environmental issues. Because of this, I created my own zero-waste business and it's called Claiming Our Future. I offer environmental education via social media videos and posts while offering zero-waste products. Santa Cruz is such a good fit for me in the environmental aspect, and I'm so glad that I was able to join POCSC and continue to learn about environmentalism.
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    Azarely Bedolla, POCSC Intern

    Hello, I’m Azarely! I love being present in the outdoors and for that reason I decided to study Environmental Science because I enjoy learning about environmental issues and I have an interest in finding ways to solve them. I am mostly interested in climate change impacts on the environment and vulnerable populations. A few things that interest me are rings, painting, and playing the ukulele. I am very grateful to be interning for PoCSC because it is one of the first steps that can be taken to bring more awareness to the inclusivity that should be present within the sustainability and environmental Movement!