2023 Bullitt Prize Winner Kristina Chu   2023 Bullitt Environmental Prize Winner Examines the Environmental and Health Risks of Urban Community Gardens and Farms   SEATTLE – The Bullitt Foundation is awarding the 17th annual Bullitt Environmental Prize to Kristina Chu (they/she), a master’s student at the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. Chu’s work examines the environmental...


Bullitt Trustee Erim Gomez Moves to University of Montana Bullitt Trustee and former Bullitt Prize winner Erim Gomez has accepted a position at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, one of the nation's top Wildlife Biology Programs.

Environmental Fellowship

A New Home for the Bullitt Prize

An Update to the Bullitt Prize's Administration

We have transferred responsibility for administering the Bullitt Prize to a superb environmental nonprofit that the Bullitt Foundation has supported for the last half-century.

Going forward, the Bullitt Prize will be hosted by the Washington Conservation Action (WCA) Education Fund. The Foundation has awarded WCA a substantial endowment to assure that the Prize will continue in perpetuity. WCA’s involvement will assure that the Prize continues to support prospective environmental leaders who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

WCA will release the 2024 Bullitt Prize application in March. Stay engaged with the organization via its website as plans continue to evolve.


Past Award Winners
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Kristina Chu - 2023

Kristina Chu (they/them) is in their second year of the University of Washington’s Master’s in Social Work program. They grew up on the east coast in New York as a second generation immigrant, then moved to the Pacific Northwest to expand their AANHPI community and to be amongst lakes and mountain kin. With a BS in Environmental Engineering from Tufts University, they initially worked in environmental litigation for a few years. Finding the consulting, profit-focused work morally challenging and misaligning, Kristina sought out community-based and climate-related justice and advocacy efforts. They were a youth representative on the City of Seattle’s inaugural Green New Deal Oversight Board from 2021-2023, supporting the board’s mission, vision, and values development and its annual budget recommendations. Simultaneously, Kristina worked as an environmental justice (EJ) community organizer and educator on the Fix the Harm campaign, an initiative to fight against the SeaTac airport expansion and mitigate for the extensive, existing noise and air pollution impacts from aviation.

Kristina took interest in their local community garden's 2022 soil sampling results, which was how they were introduced to Dr. Melanie Malone’s "Uprooting Garden Contamination" research. As a part of the project team, Kristina developed, manages and oversees the distribution of the community gardener survey that assesses their understanding of concepts like exposure and risk. They also engage in the creation and strengthening of authentic, collaborative partnerships with urban community gardens (UCGs) and local EJ organizations. The project aims to improve UCGers' health by increasing their understanding of risk, advocate for more readily available and accessible soil and plant testing, and disseminate key risk mitigation knowledge.

Knowing today's extractive, imperialist policies and structures harmed and continue to harm the earth and her inhabitants, Kristina is committed to collective liberation from systemic oppression. They believe in the power of community and movement building, policy advocacy, and an intersectional lens in the fight for a Just Transition towards centering those who historically have not been centered--for example, BIPOC communities and the earth.

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Axcelle Campana - 2022

Axcelle (he/him, they/ them) is a Ph.D. student in the Earth, Environment, and Society program and is concurrently earning a masters degree in geography at Portland State University. They grew up in northern Georgia and have deep ancestry in Southern Texas (with Black and Tejano parents). At PSU, they serve as the program coordinator for the LSAMP-ISS Climate Resilience Internship Program and conduct research as a part of the Political Ecology and Urban Resilience Lab (PEARL). In their research, they focus on community-based and participatory approaches to solving social-environmental problems like inequities in urban tree canopy cover and urban heat. Axcelle, as a survivor of domestic violence, works to catalyze intergenerational healing and call in the just transition needed to sustain life on our planet. Before coming to PSU, they worked in education, with a special focus on culturally specific participatory psychoeducation with diaspora communities of color, and as a training facilitator in JDEI (Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Their hobbies are sailing, water polo, partner dance, and triathlon, and their core values are empathy, clarity, and forward movement.

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Chris Cousins - 2021

Christopher Cousins is a PhD student in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. He earned his first college degree at Lane Community College, completing a watershed science technician certificate before being encouraged by his instructors to continue on to Oregon State University, where he completed a bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science. A first generation PhD student, Christopher knows what it’s like to grow up without scientific role models and is passionate about finding ways to increase STEM communication and outreach, particularly to underserved communities. To that end, Christopher is part of a team producing children’s books to share scientific information and provide STEM role models to local communities that have often been overlooked. The first book the team has produced is titled “Nuestra Casa / Our Home”, and is written in both English and Spanish, utilizing amphibian narrators to explore themes of belonging, stewardship, and home. A Mexican-American and dual national, Christopher grew up in a household that spoke both English and Spanish, and he is passionate about increasing opportunities for families to communicate in multiple languages.

Christopher’s research is focused on identifying and validating climate refugia, which are locations on a landscape that will provide refuge from climate impacts. His focal species, torrent salamanders, are highly sensitive to changes in water temperature and availability, both of which are projected to change drastically in the future. Using climate and habitat variables, Christopher is working to find places where this species can persist, in order to hep managers prioritize conservation efforts. Part of his research involves using emerging techniques like environmental DNA, where samples of water from streams can be tested for DNA from specific species. This makes it possible to determine if species live there without actually finding them in the field. His experience in genetics started from a federal work study position in Oregon State University and working to make more paid opportunities available in conservation work is also something he’s passionate about.

Wildlife has been part of Christopher’s life for as far back as he can remember. Born in San Diego, his parents would take him to San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, fostering an early love of animals. He moved to Japan as a child, living there the majority of his childhood. He often spent his time in the streams and rice paddies near his home, catching frogs and newts. Growing up on military bases, Christopher was never exposed to biologists and scientists, and it wasn’t until his 20’s that he realized it could be a viable career. As he works to increase the understanding of and protect amphibians in the Pacific Northwest, he focuses on his broader goals: to break down barriers to accessing STEM education, to increase outreach to historically underserved communities, and to use his privileged position to help others work with the environment in any way that they choose. Christopher is incredibly humbled by being included as a winner of the Bullitt Fellowship, and grateful for the support that the Foundation provides to help him achieve his goals.

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Patience Malaba - 2020

Patience Malaba is the Director of Government Relations and Policy at the Housing Development Consortium, and also attends Seattle University as a graduate student in the Masters of Public Administration program. With a decade of experience in community development, policy advocacy and organizing, she works tirelessly to advocate for the housing needs of everyone. Prior to joining HDC, Patience managed Seattle for Everyone, a broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor organizations, environmentalists, and urbanists to advance the first-ever comprehensive package of affordable housing policies in Seattle, known as the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Early in her role with Seattle for Everyone, Patience worked with Futurewise, a statewide growth management and civic planning organization, on promoting equitable, environmentally sound housing and land use policies. On behalf of HDC, she serves on boards and committees that include the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)’s Growth Management Policy Board and the Washington Low Income Housing Public Policy Committee. Patience is passionate about working with the HDC membership and association to create a strong united voice for a King County that is affordable, equitable and livable for all.

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Maria Blancas - 2019

As the proud daughter of hard-working farmworker parents, Ms. Blancas is committed to ensuring farmworkers and their families are safe and healthy. Her lived experiences have laid the foundation for her academic pursuits, which she is now furthering through a Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Ms. Blancas highlights community resilience within farmworker communities through her research, including community-academic partnerships with organizations such as Community to Community Development, the WA State Promotores/CHW Network, and the Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees. Her dissertation entitled, “Re-Storying Community Environmental Assessments,” uses participatory research methods to assess environmental concerns of agricultural communities in Skagit and Whatcom Counties.

Ms. Blancas' prior experience includes working alongside Promotores de Salud and Farmworkers to help work towards health equity. During her time working with the Quincy and Moses Lake Community Health Center Outreach Department, the Promotores de Salud Program received the 2014 Sister Cecilia B. Abhold Award from Health Outreach Services Inc. for their excellence in Farmworker Health Outreach Services and was recognized as a 2015 Health Champion: Building Broader Connections, by the Washington State Public Health Association for advancing health equity. In 2016, she was selected as a National Migrant Health Scholar by the National Center for Farmworker Health. Maria’s vision is to continue to work alongside Promotores de Salud and community organization to further serve the Migrant Seasonal Farmworker population in Washington State.

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Nicola Smith - 2018

Nicola Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in Marine Biology with the Earth to Oceans Research Group at Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada. She earned an Honors B.Sc. with High Distinction from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, where she double majored in Zoology and English. She obtained a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia, where her thesis focused on invasive and native reef fish colonization of human-made structures in coastal waters. Her current research interests include invasive species, coral reef fish ecology, and data-poor tropical fisheries.
Most of Nicola’s work to date centers on evaluating the ecological effectiveness of strategies to control invasive, Indo-Pacific lionfish populations on coral reefs in the Caribbean. Her scientific contributions in this area include several peer-reviewed publications in the journals, PLoS ONE, Biological Invasions, Frontiers in Marine Science, and the Journal of Fish Biology. From 2010 to 2013, Nicola was the experiment coordinator for The Bahamas Lionfish Control Pilot Project. The project was part of a regional initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility/United Nations Environment Program (GEF/UNEP), and aimed to build capacity in the Caribbean to address the threats posed by invasive species through information sharing and the development of country-specific pilot projects.

Nicola is also known for her work on reconstructing unreported fisheries catches in The Bahamas, her home country. Her research on the issue was published in the journal, Fishery Bulletin, and was featured in the TV documentary, “An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch,” which premiered on the Smithsonian Channel in 2017. In 2016, Nicola was a part of the official delegation from The Bahamas at the 32nd Committee on Fisheries (COFI32) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. Nicola was a speaker and panelist at a COFI32 side event on “Reliable Fishery Statistics and Importance for Food Security Assessments,” where she presented her research findings on unreported recreational fishery catches in The Bahamas over the last half century.

Recently, Nicola was selected by the Royal Society, London, as an “Outstanding PhD Student in Biology from the Caribbean” to attend the 2017 Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including: a Professional Development Grant from the Society for Conservation Biology, Latin America and Caribbean Section (2017), an Organization of American States Graduate Scholarship (2015-2017), The Bahamas Ministry of Education Graduate Academic Scholarship (2013-2016), the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Graduate Scholarship (2013-2015), Simon Fraser University Provost International Fellowship (2013-2015), the University of British Columbia Graduate Fellowship (2008), the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (2007-2008), Trinity College Scholar for Outstanding Academic Achievement (2006), and the George Gray Falle Scholarship for High Achievement in English (2006). In 2013, she was featured in The Tribune Newspaper as one of The Bahamas’ brightest “40 Under 40, Bridge to the Future,” as part of their 40th Independence Celebrations. Nicola hopes to work in academia as a Principal Investigator or to work as a regional head of an Inter-governmental Environmental Organization. She enjoys reading, swimming and snorkeling in her free time.

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Cornelius Adewale - 2017

Cornelius Adewale is a PhD candidate at Washington State University (WSU)’s School of the Environment. A native of Ilesa, an agricultural-based community in Nigeria, he began weeding and harvesting cocoa with his grandfather at the age of six and his interest in agriculture has grown ever since.

In Nigeria, Cornelius earned a Bachelor degree in Agricultural Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). During this time, he became the national leader of all agricultural students in Nigeria. The position exposed him to the enormous environmental and economic challenges farmers face in Nigeria, and the potential to engage more people in agriculture. He saw how farmers lacked access to information, tools, and resources for sustainable farming and decided to spend his life and career helping to foster sustainable food production in Nigeria. After graduation, he began a successful organic vegetable farm and began to wonder if he could quantify the positive environmental impacts of sustainable farming. After three years, he pursued a graduate degree focused on building models and creating practical tools to promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

For his Master thesis in Soil Science at WSU, he worked with farmers in Washington State to examine different soil testing methods that best suit organically farmed soil. Today, he is a fourth year PhD candidate and together with researchers and farmers, he has developed a practical model for estimating agricultural ecosystem services and impacts called OFoot, which is a publicly available website application which can be used to calculate farm greenhouse gases, carbon sequestration, nitrogen leaching, and carbon footprint.

Cornelius plans to further expand his research and develop a technology and research-driven tool farmers can use to manage soil quality in Nigeria. His research will foster the adoption of environmentally conscious farming practices and reverse soil degradation. The research also will explore and document the effects of soil testing and soil management on productivity and farm profitability in the area. Following his PhD, he plans to focus on leveraging technology as a tool for sustainable food production. When he is not working, Cornelius enjoys reading, hosting cook-outs and taking road trips with his wife and son.

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Carol Bogezi - 2016

Carol Bogezi – the 10th winner of the Bullitt Environmental Fellowship – is a doctoral student at the School of Environment and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. Raised on a farm in Uganda, Bogezi has long looked for ways to reduce conflict between people and wildlife.

As the oldest child in a large polygamous family, Bogezi honed her diplomacy skills early. And as a Ugandan woman, she has had to overcome social pressures against education for girls. At age 22, Bogezi lost both parents in a six-month period, leaving her responsible for four younger siblings. Once again, she had to overcome social barriers against women to take control of and manage her family’s farm. Through these challenges, Bogezi never lost her passion for science and conservation.

After college, Bogezi worked as a field research assistance and later senior field officer with the Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS). In 2012 she received the WCS Beinecke Africa Wildlife Conservation Scholarship to pursue a PhD. She chose to come to the Pacific Northwest because there are large mammals in close proximity to fast-growing cities. Her current research focuses on interactions between people and carnivores in Washington State.

In the future, Bogezi plans to apply her experience to wildlife conservation in Uganda. Ultimately, she wants to establish a scientific research center in Kidepo Valley National Park. She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources, both from Makerere University in Kampala. When she is not working, Bogezi enjoys reading, hiking, wine-tasting and road trips with her husband.

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Dr. Heather Fowler - 2015

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Dr. Heather Fowler always knew she wanted to grow up to become a veterinarian. Dr. Fowler, like many aspiring veterinarians, planned to work in small animal practice and own her own clinic. As she got older however, her interest in veterinary medicine slowly evolved as she realized her true passion was to work in public health keeping both people and animals healthy. Now as a PhD student at the University of Washington she plans to work in the emerging and transdisciplinary field that brings experts from human, animal, and environmental health together, i.e. One Health, to help solve the world’s most difficult and complex problems.

Dr. Fowler possesses a veterinary medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s of Public Health from Yale School of Public Health. She has experience in public health practice having worked as a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow at the Minnesota Department of Health from 2011-2013. Dr. Fowler is currently a full-time student and BEBTEH (Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Bioinformatics Training in Environmental Health) Fellow in the School Of Public Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences working toward a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene. Her dissertation will focus on identifying and addressing major occupational hazards experienced by individuals that work with animals in a variety of workplace environments. In addition, she will work with stakeholders to create a model for a One Health dairy here in Washington State and the Cascadia region. Following her PhD, Dr. Fowler plans to remain in academia as an educator and a mentor.

Dr. Fowler is the Associate Director of Animal Health for the Center for One Health Research and a student member of the diversity committee in her department. In her free-time she enjoys teaching and interacting with minority youth with the goal of encouraging them to pursue the sciences as well as volunteering at the Doney Memorial Clinic, a free veterinary clinic for Seattle residents that are homeless or low-income.

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Lilia Yumagulova - 2014

Lilia Yumagulova was born and raised in the Soviet Union, in a marginalized community prone to recurring floods on the outskirts of a large urban centre. It was witnessing these regular ‘disasters’ affect her community year after year that influenced her choice of profession. Lilia holds degrees in Engineering in Emergency Management from Russia and a M.Sc. in Risk Analysis (King’s College London, UK). Currently, she is a PhD Candidate at the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia. Her research looks at urban and regional planning for risks, disasters and climate change. Metro Vancouver, Canada is her current laboratory in her search for resilience. Lilia plans to expand her work to the Pacific Northwest by creating a network for addressing regional climate change adaptation planning.

Lilia's interdisciplinary academic path combines engineering, social science, public policy, international relations and planning. Throughout her academic career Lilia was fortunate to study and work at the University of Toronto, Canada; York University, Canada; University College London, UK; Lund University, Sweden; UFZ, Germany and the Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University, Australia among other institutions. In her academic work, she emphasizes the value of bringing together academia, practitioners, policy-makers, planners and media for reducing environmental risk in cities. Lilia is particularly interested in the resilience of marginalized communities.
Lilia has worked in the media, government agencies and NGOs in Europe and North America. These experiences gave her solid evidence for her belief in the transformational power of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional networks. She is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Risks and Hazards Network where she chairs the Young Professionals Committee. She is a founding member of the Young Researchers Urban Resilience Network and a Research co-Director for the Crisis Resilience Alliance. She is also a Member of the International Federation of Journalists and she is an international outreach coordinator for organizations working with orphanages, indigenous communities and independent documentary filmmakers.

Lilia believes that the Bullitt Environmental Fellowship will play a pivotal role in her career at this stage to facilitate the expansion and exchange of the knowledge and capacity developed in British Columbia on climate change adaptation to the wider Pacific Northwest region. Lilia’s international experience puts her in a unique position to address cross-border regional planning synergies and interdependencies. She intends to build a collaborative knowledge exchange network that would 1) facilitate creation of a regional approach to hazard management and climate change adaptation; 2) identify core critical interdependencies between the regions, and 3) facilitate active mutual learning. She intends to accomplish these goals by building strategic alliances with diverse organizations in the Pacific Northwest region whose work contributes to building resilience capacities in the region.

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Amber Heckelman - 2013

In 2013, Amber Heckelman became Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia and set out to cultivate a deeper understanding of the Philippine peasant experience. She was especially drawn to working with peasants because they are extremely marginalized in the Philippines, yet they are a major source of food security, as well as engage in highly sustainable agroecological practices.

Today, Amber is a Ph.D. student in Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems. As global food insecurity intensifies due to ecological degradation, so does political instability often resulting in wars, diaspora, and the dissolution of economies. Amber’s research aims to participate in the effort to mitigate this vicious cycle and restore food security and sovereignty by exploring and documenting the affects of MASIPAG agroecological practices. Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) is a cooperative of peasant farmers that work with both scientists and NGOs to (re)implement traditional and sustainable farming methods. Amber’s research contributes to the growing efforts being made around the world to consult with peasant farmers as a means for mitigating hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation, as well as strengthening resilience to climate change.

Amber grew up in a community afflicted with gangs, drugs, and violence; and in an environment that reared generations of children who grew increasingly aggressive, defensive, and misguided. For Amber’s single immigrant mother and older brother, there were no resources, assistance, or structural support available, making life difficult and often lonely. But these vicissitudes have nurtured Amber’s humility and have given her the capacity to contextualize the experiences of other marginalized communities. Moreover, they have given her the drive to make a difference. For the last decade, Amber has served the communities she’s lived in, from mentoring at-risk youth near her hometown in San Diego, CA; to completing 3 years of service as an Americorps volunteer; to conducting a workshop for the Philippine American Student Association at WSU, covering profound challenges facing Philippine peasants; to developing a food justice workshop for “low status” and underserved youth in Vancouver, WA. Amber will continue to engage in community service projects as a means for ensuring that families, like her own, have an alternative experience. One in which isolation is replaced with relationships, segregation is replaced with community, and aggression is replaced with compassion.

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Ricardi Duvil - 2012

Ricardi Duvil is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, a fellow of the National Science Foundation. His research involves using nitrate as a remediation technique to prevent methylmercury contamination of freshwater biota in lakes, contamination that can cause severe heath effects in wildlife and humans.

Ricardi plans to investigate the dynamics and mechanisms of nitrate control on mercury cycling in surface waters, as well as policy and management implications of using nitrate to ameliorate mercury contamination of aquatic biota. This research will combine lab studies, field studies, and microbial ecology studies to illuminate the dynamics, mechanisms and effectiveness of nitrate control on methylmercury cycling at the sediment-water interface of lakes. Results of this work could contribute to the form and content of new regulatory action towards mercury contamination, the acceptance and use of new technology, and the development of alternative ways to implement policies that effectively mitigate mercury contamination in freshwater life.

His pursuit of higher education began at Boston's Suffolk University, where he earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering. He decided to study environmental engineering because of its applied nature and strong connection to public health. Following graduation from Suffolk, he went on to earn a M.S. degree in Applied Geosciences from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

His academic achievements, work experience, and passion for research have prepared him to become a leader in preventing environmental degradation linked to human health problems, especially in developing nations such as Haiti, where people suffer unimaginable heath problems from everyday exposure to environmental pollution. Throughout his career, Ricardi has served as a role model and encouraging minority high school students to pursue their dreams of being a scientist or engineer and protecting the environment, despite obstacles along the way.

Ricardi’s goal is to make a significant contribution to the scientific and engineering knowledge of mercury pollution and water resources problems in Haiti and across developing nations. With his doctoral degree, he is confident that he will become a leader in solving water-related health problems and preventing the unnecessary destruction of lives and the environment, degradation that he encountered first-hand as a young man in Haiti. After earning his PhD, he plans to continue with research, teaching, and community outreach at the university level. He is optimistic that with his vision of making a real difference and protecting human and environmental health will become a reality.

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Erim Gomez - 2011

Erim Gomez is a Ph.D. student in Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. He is deeply interested in environmental and non-profit organizations, having formerly served as Co-Director of Southern Oregon University’s Ecology Center of the Siskiyous and on the Board of Directors of Oregon Stewardship. His research interests include the conservation of endangered species and the ecology and sustainability of freshwater ecosystems.

As an undergraduate he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and minors in Economics and Political Science because he sees the urgent need for connecting environmental policy and science. He believes scientists should be effective communicators with the public and policy makers, while understanding complex economic and political influences on environmental issues. He believes that the more lenses through which we can see the world, the better able we are to solve the pressing global environmental problems faced by society.

Gomez has been active in wildlife conservation and research efforts across the west, including work in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California on water quality and the ecology of lizards, aquatic insects, crayfish, amphibians, salmon, and other fresh water fish. His master’s research focused on exploring ecological factors that determine diversity and abundance of amphibians in Palouse Prairie wetlands in eastern Washington. For his dissertation he plans to conduct wetland ecology research in the Moses Lake area of central Washington, and produce conservation and management plans, which he hopes may be used to save the state endangered Northern Leopard frog from extinction.

Erim is devoted to encouraging students from under-represented groups in science to pursue higher education and frequently gives presentations to high school students, mentors undergraduates, serves on advisory panels, and gives educational workshops to students. Gomez frequently is asked to share his experience as a first generation college student to encourage others to continue with their education. He plans to pursue a career as a professor because he is passionate about teaching, having volunteered as an environmental educator for youth science programs and serving as a graduate teaching assistant. In the future, he hopes to continue his teaching and research career while working with non-profit organizations and natural resource managers to help produce ecologically sound environmental management and policy.

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Tracy Fuentes - 2010

Tracy Fuentes is a student in the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. A third generation Mexican-American, Tracy is the first person in her family to attend college.

She has a B.S. in Botany from the University of Washington and an M.S. in Plant Biology from Arizona State University. Tracy’s master’s research focused on understanding the role that fire and a fungal disease play in the population dynamics of longsepal globemallow (Iliamna longisepala), a rare plant found only in two counties in eastern Washington State.

Her doctoral research will explore how land use and land use changes affect plants at the local, watershed, and regional scales. Many ecology and natural resource programs do not include specific considerations of people and land use in habitat restoration or species conservation. She plans to work with tribes, land managers, and plant resource professionals throughout the Puget Sound, but will have a specific focus on land use change, priority habitats, and plants in the Snohomish River Basin.

Developing more integrated conservation tools and techniques will allow botanists, weed managers, and other plant resource professionals to more effectively protect and restore habitats. This will include linking field observations to remotely sensed data, identifying land use patterns that most affect vulnerable plant species and communities, and assessing how people directly and indirectly spread invasive plants.

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Juan Mario Michan - 2009

Juan Mario Michan, a postgraduate student at the University of British Columbia, was selected to receive the third annual Priscilla Bullitt Collins Environmental Fellowship. Mr. Michan, a native of Colombia, South America, has had an interest in science, technology, and the environment from an early age. Being from a disadvantaged family limited his opportunities of obtaining postsecondary education, but obligatory military service opened the door to college and training that eventually led him into a job in the marine industry implementing systems to prevent and clean pollution caused by freighters and port equipment.

Due to personal circumstances caused by violence in Colombia, Mario was forced to flee, arriving in Canada as a convention refugee. He soon found work as a bicycle mechanic while completing night school and learning English. He has since become a Canadian citizen, completed an Engineering Physics degree, researched physics, optics and nanotechnology, and worked as an electrical engineer designing hardware and software in high-tech companies.

Mario’s master’s research focused on electron emission from carbon nanotubes, which are tiny tubes made of carbon several times smaller than a DNA strand. Due to their molecular configuration, carbon nanotubes are stronger than steel and can conduct much more electric current than copper. This research investigated a mechanism to extract electrons from their tips by applying electric fields.

Mr. Michan’s doctoral research will investigate techniques to use carbon nanotubes to remove air pollutants from the environment. He theorizes that electrons generated by nanotubes could be used in industrial applications to start chemical reactions that will remove air pollutants that cause acid rain, smog and global warming.

Mario feels very fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, a region he believes is a hub for technological innovation and environmental leadership, and he is proud to call it home. He seems destined for an important role in solving the environmental challenges confronting us.

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Clarita Lefthand Begay - 2008

Clarita Lefthand Begay, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington has been selected to receive the second annual Bullitt Environmental Prize.

Ms. Lefthand, who is fluent in Navajo, is deeply committed to serving her community. Raised in a culture in which pursuit of a doctorate in a scientific discipline is highly unusual, Clarita intends to apply environmental health science to reservation problems and to serve as a role model for younger Native Americans.

For her master’s thesis, Clarita tracked microbial sources of fecal contamination for the Tulalip Tribes in the estuarine waters of Tulalip Bay, conducting the research in ways that directly addressed tribal concerns. Her work was selected for presentation at national meetings of the American Society for Microbiology and the National Environmental Health Association.

Ms. Lefthand’s doctoral research will attempt to advance techniques to distinguish viable pathogens from nonviable detritus in the environment—increasing the accuracy of predictions of risks to human health from aquatic ecosystems. Her research interests are summarized on her Web site at:

At the University of Washington, Clarita is a member of the Planning Committee for the Environmental Health Research Experience Program. She has represented the Department of Environmental Health at the last two annual meetings of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. She is a key member of the local chapter of Native American Students in Advanced Academia and she spearheaded that organization’s 2007 national meeting on the UW campus.

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Aimy Bazlak - 2007

The first Bullitt Environmental Prize was awarded to Aimy Ming Jii Bazlak Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto.

A daughter of Chinese immigrants, Aimy has already done research in plasma physics, nanotechnology, microfabrication and computational fluid dynamics. She gives frequent lectures on energy and climate change to school audiences and business organizations.

Aimy plans to devote her career to improving the performance of fuel cells, facilitating the transition to a hydrogen-based economy. Her doctoral thesis focused on microscale fuel cells. Her research is presented on her Web site at: