Cohort 3

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Meet Cohort #3!

Megan Capobianco

Megan Capobianco

Megan Capobianco currently works as a middle school science teacher at David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center in North Miami. She enjoys sharing her passion for environmental science with her students, and hopes to encourage them to be active particpants in caring for our planet. She is a volunteer at the South Florida Wildlife Center, where she helps to rehabilitate native species for release into the wild. Megan's main environmental interest is conservation, whether it be wildlife or botany species, and she looks forward to joining the field after completing this program.

Max Carfagno

Max Carfagno

Benjamin Chiszar

Benjamin Chiszar

Richard Collins

Richard Collins

Native of Salem, Oregon USA. Relocated to Miami Area 2016, as a Cohort 3 for a 16 month PSM-EPM program at Florida International University. Undergraduate Educational background: B.S. Integrated Natural Sciences -Western Oregon University, Award for Academic Excellence - Phi Kappa Phi, Member: Nation Honors Society, Brief Internship: OR. Department of Environmental Quality. Trainings and Certificates: OR; DEQ, F-EPA, OR-OSHA. Worked several years for and with small industrial companies to update the company’s site environmental management plans.

Today, the FIU PSM-EPM a perfect program for some including myself to enter new areas of work and application. Many of the program courses are the exact the same undergrad courses only at an advanced level. The PSM-EPM program is very applicable for today’s changing workforce. Mr. Collins plans contribution through volunteering and or work back to the Florida Community hopefully somewhere in the everglades and beyond, which includes “garbage pickup on the beach, every other week.”

Anthony Cosio

Anthony Cosio

Anthony Cosio is a native to Miami, FL where he has lived his entire life. He graduated with a B.S. in Geoscience with an Atmospheric Science concentration from Florida International University in 2012. Anthony has always had a passion for the weather and climate as well as a love for the environment. In the Summer of 2012, he was given the opportunity to conduct research on tropical cyclone dynamics at the Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) at the Foothills Campus of Colorado State University. It was there where he witnessed first hand the implications of the management and policy failures regarding climate and the environment. The state of Colorado had its worst fire season on record sparked by climate change and exacerbated by poor environmental management. Afterwards he continued to study the interconnection of environmental systems and eventually came to the conclusion that he would use his multi-disciplinary background to enter the realm of policy where he could make a difference in tackling the daunting task of combating climate change and its implications. He hopes to one day put himself in the position to influence policy at the highest levels of government.

Karina Da Luz

Karina Da Luz

Karina currently works as a Senior Planner at Broward County, FL; while pursuing her Professional Science Masters in Environmental Policy and Management (PSM-EPM) at Florida International University (FIU). She seeks to help to solve some of the environmental issues faced today by enforcing regulations and enhance her professional career while educating the public. As such, the academic experience and knowledge developed throughout the Master’s Program will enable defined environmental applications shared with the public and in some instances local planning departments. Her previous work experience includes a summer internship with the engineering and planning divisions of the City of Lauderdale Lakes, and subsequently worked as a Planner for the City of Hollywood, FL. Additionally, Karina studied Civil Engineering for four years at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), which resulted of an eight-month internship with a national geotechnical consulting firm; later acquiring her Bachelor Degree in Urban Design from FAU.

Michelle Jimenez

Michelle Jimenez

Michelle Jimenez is a Miami native and a middle school science teacher at Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy in Key Biscayne where she brings her passion for the ocean environment into the classroom to inspire her students to take action to conserve and protect the environment. She graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs and Ecosystem Science and Policy in May 2016 and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Science in Environmental Policy and Management. Her family has worked in the fishery industry for over 20 years and she hopes to use the knowledge and experience gained in this program to manage and conserve global fisheries for bluer, healthier oceans.

Gabriela Ojeda

Gabriela Ojeda

Gabriela Ojeda, born in Bogotá, Colombia, moved to the U.S in the year 2000. She completed her B.S. in Environmental Studies at Florida International University where she also interned at the Sustainability Department, conducting an independent study of the ecological footprint of FIU students to better understand the effects that the University has on the environment, and designed a plan to reduce the footprint. She also assisted in the design process of a choice experiment for a National Science Foundation for the Everglades Restoration project. Currently, she works as a Pollution Control Inspector for Miami-Dade County at the Division of Environmental Resources Management. Gabriela’s interest in completing the PSM-EPM program is to better prepare to advance in her career in the environmental field, as well as to pursue her passion, which is to work in conservation projects with organizations in the Amazon.

Bryan Palacio

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Leif Rodney

Leif Rodney

Leif is a native of Detroit, MI. Joining the program while working full time at Pine Environmental Services in Davie, FL. A graduate of Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, HI with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and full-time student athlete (Men’s Basketball) he was fortunate enough to experience a culture with deep-rooted ideology and concern for the protection and conservation for what this planet provides. Having the opportunity to work for Dr. Dustin Moss at the Oceanic Institute in Waimanalo Hawaii, he received experience with aquaculture research on Shrimp and Tilapia in an effort to present aquaculture as a sustainable model and reduce dependence on the damaging modern fishing industry. Interest in conservation is pulling him towards opportunities where humans have a significant impact on the environment. The program has exposure to the fields of Natural Resource Management, Deconstruction, and Planning. Added experience with equipment used in Environmental Monitoring, Health and Safety, CEMS, Non-Destructive Testing, Remote Visual Inspection and Telemetry has allowed for a deeper understanding of applications. Such experiences have led to the pursuit of a degree in Environmental Policy and Management at Florida International University. Along with the professional credentials, it is his mission to be able to one day apply all these tools back in Detroit, Michigan and change the city of blight to one of sustainable insight.

Yael Ruiz

Yael Ruiz

Maria Serrano

Maria Serrano

Maria Constanza Serrano, born in Bogotá, Colombia, moved to Miami at age 18. Serrano has an associate’s degree in mass communication from Miami Dade College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in marketing at Florida International University. In 2014, she was recognized as the Next Top Intern at FIU by the SCRIPPS Howard Foundation. She worked with Univision as an editor and has been published in the Miami Herald, the Beacon and South Florida News Service. She was also the lead-producer of the documentary “Sea Level Rise Impact: Canary in the Coal Mine” and is now a fellow for RISE NEWS and an implementation manager for Meltwater News. Producing that documentary and covering other environmental stories led her to join the third cohort of this program. In the near future, she plans to become a multimedia news producer focused on the environment.

Rachel Tonia

Rachel Tonia

I'm originally from New Jersey. I moved the Florida to pursue my B.S. in Environmental Science from Nova Southeastern University. After graduating I began working for the Seminole Tribe of Florida and am now continuing my education with the FIU EPM-PSM program.