Yamina (she/they) is a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Partnerships Manager at ELP. Inspired by her Puerto Rican heritage, lifelong residence in Newark, NJ and her time as a paraprofessional in both high- and low-income school districts, she strives for equity in education and conservation. They have been interviewed by various podcasts, education publications and newspapers about topics such as urban birding and biodiversity, redefining “the outdoors”, and equitable environmental education.
Before joining the RAY fellowship team, they worked at Audubon NY delivering education programs to NYC students and engaging various communities across the 5 boroughs. As co-chair of the Birds Fund, they are able to support BIPOC birders in STEM both financially and through networking.
Outside of work Yamina enjoys spending time with her Boston Terriers, birding locally, all things spooky, terrible puns, and consuming vast amounts of pop culture.
|ma (she/they), RAY Fellowship Partnerships Manager, is a halfrican and southern(US)-raised, western(US)-born environmental experientialist. Their current skill-set includes roles such as sustainability specialist, waste stream coordinator, program facilitator, and artisanal crafter. Her experiences have given her a well-rounded, socially-minded view of the environmental field -often with a focus on bolstering/involving/increasing the presence and capacity of historically excluded groups. That in mind, Ima seeks to incorporate humanist-naturalist-wholistic environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainability into much of their day-to-day life.
They have a bachelor's in Wildlife Conservation Biology from the Fort Valley State University and a master's in Natural Resources and the Environment with a focus on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan. She also has topics such as sustainable development, food access, and renewable energy "under her belt."
She enjoys reading and listening to a variety of media, dancing around her apartment and sometimes in public, volunteering with local community orgs, catching up on the latest news with family and friends, and trying to get in at least a small bit of nature daily.
Nia (she/they), RAY Communications Manager, is a proud Caribbean woman who calls both St. Thomas, USVI and Atlanta, Georgia home. Growing up with such a strong connection to her people, she always felt moved to fight for sustainable and equitable change in her community.
Her journey in communications began once she realized how the right messaging can move thousands to action. Upon receiving her degree in Communications: Public Relations from Columbus State University she understood where her newfound skills belonged. Nia has gained her experience working to amplify the voices of small business and nonprofits that aim to improve the position of Black people across the diaspora. In addition to her communications knowledge, Nia has spent time leading instruction in youth agricultural education programs in both Michigan and Arizona. This work led her to becoming a part of the RAY Fellowship team.
When she is not so busy, Nia enjoys painting and filling her home with colorful canvases, listening to music or podcasts, and exploring the world around her.
Chun-See Tsao (he/him), RAY Program Manager at ELP, grew up exploring the U.S. and Hong Kong countryside. Drawing from his experiences in the sciences and humanities, he is passionate about finding systemic, people-based solutions to ongoing challenges of climate change and environmental justice. He is committed to supporting emerging environmental leaders and shifting organizational cultures towards more just and equitable outcomes.
Chun-See is an ELP National Fellow (2021) and serves on the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition (MLTC) Young Lands Professionals Committee. He was also previously exhibition co-curator for Ecology in the Making: A History of Amateur Naturalists in Hong Kong; English editor for The Pulse of Nature – Mid-Levels West; board member of Madison Community Cooperative; and founder of community-led art-commissioning startup CrowdArt. He holds a B.Sc. Chemistry & Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.Sc. Environmental Management from The University of Hong Kong.
In his free time, he enjoys reading, drawing, birding, herping, volunteering on local lands and taking meandering side-adventures into cultural history.
Tia (she/her/hers), is a Black woman raised in a small town in Georgia, where sustainability was and is an integral aspect of her life. In fact, before the tagline of, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” was ever thought of, its components were already ingrained within the daily life of her culture. From utilizing every part of the animal to reusing containers, the objective from the start was to make every bit count, as in doing so commemorated the work and sacrifices that allowed us to have those items. As she’s matured and developed further into adulthood, Tia’s realized just how much of an impact she has in her community and has aimed to engage others in conversations around many topics.
With a background in management and library and information science and working as a Librarian at a public university, she couldn’t have been in a better location to actively participate in creating a more informed public. Knowing from experience that the most emphasized hindrance for wider participation was the lack of information, whether it be lack of access and/or them not knowing where to start, Tia’s goal as the head of her department was to understand those shortcomings and meet the students where they were. Being that most of her experience is with higher education and her local population, Tia has served a very diverse demographic. Being a researcher and learner at heart led Tia to the RAY Fellowship. Admittedly having a rudimentary understanding of clean energy and conservation; Tia hopes to gain a better understanding for the fellows and her community
Outside of the RAY Fellowship, Tia spends the majority of her time being bossed around by the 8 wild beasts in her home (her amazing, cute, and so so adorable domesticated wolves).
Mona (they/them/theirs) is a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Program Coordinator at ELP. They are a proud, black non-binary queer (with roots from Cuba and the Dominican Republic) who was born and raised in the Soundview/Parkchester neighborhood of the boogie-down Bronx. Growing up in a densely populated, urban community exposed them to the realities of inequity when it comes to environmental conditions and how it all ties in together with other socioeconomic realities. Through lots of time, research, and life experience in and outside of The Big Apple, they have discovered not only how to live life authentically but also how to find ways to build community and draw others together who are values-aligned to do the good work.
Mona has over nine years of professional experience and over five of those years working directly in non-profit organizations that focused on supporting the needs of marginalized communities. They previously helped launch and co-lead the RiseOut Activist-in-Residence fellowship program at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, supporting the needs of Black LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. This program was created in connection with RiseOut, The Center’s statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy initiative. Now located in Atlanta, Georgia, Mona continues to work in the nonprofit world to help ensure that BIPOC folks feel seen, safe, and empowered to become the next future leaders.
When not thinking of ways to build equity for all, you can find them tending to their three cats and a white tree frog, obsessing over the latest Star Trek episode, spending numerous hours farming on Stardew Valley, and most likely singing a song from Grease at karaoke.