Olivia Lopez

Class Year: 
2020
Current Position: 
RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow
Current Organization: 
Ocean Conservancy
Location: 
Washington, D.C.

Olivia Lopez, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, developed a special relationship with the environment while spending summer after summer exploring the shores of Lake Michigan. She went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies, as well as a minor in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Through her courses, concentrated on topics related to environmentalism and Afro-American history, Olivia came to recognize her passion for environmental justice. At UW-Madison, Olivia found community in the Multiracial Student Union and facilitated conversations surrounding identity, social justice, and equity on campus during annual Social Justice Leadership Retreats. 

A scientist at heart, Olivia kept herself engaged in research. Throughout her years at UW-Madison, she conducted research on Puerto Rican soils in the Marín-Spiotta BiogeoLab, and in the Spring of 2019, she accepted a Holstrom Environmental Research Fellowship. A semester spent in Panama led Olivia to study the experiences of the Ngäbe People living in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. While abroad, she advocated for raising the voices of marginalized people disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. Olivia shifted her focus to aquatic research while participating in an REU affiliated with the Maryland Sea Grant. While in Maryland, she conducted a cutting-edge experiment that aimed to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Olivia is excited to return to the east coast and work closely with professionals at the Ocean Conservancy! Ultimately, she hopes to use her background in environmental justice to work with and advocate for underserved coastal populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

In her spare time, Olivia would rather be outdoors where she can chill in the sun. She also loves watching Planet Earth (and Blue Planet of course), singing in the car with her sister, and promoting a low-waste lifestyle.