Fighting for Our Future: Student Summit

April 27, 2024, 9:00 am

High school and college students in the Inland Empire are invited to register now for the interactive “Fighting for Our Future: Student Summit”.

The dynamic event will serve as a platform where students can engage in meaningful discussions, share innovative ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of the climate crisis and what they can do to help. The summit endeavors to equip participants with valuable insights into various avenues for environmental action, including activities and breakouts with mentors in various career paths addressing climate change: Engineering, Emergency Management, Environmental Policy, Sustainable Transportation, Climate Science Research, Risk Communication, Renewable Energy Development and more.

Learn more about technical solutions from various fields to many climate change challenges and how you can personally make a difference.


Dr. Lucy Jones

Dr. Lucy Jones is the founder and Chief Scientist of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities, and a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech. With a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT, Dr. Jones has been active in earthquake research for decades, furthering earthquake risk reduction, including 33 years of federal service with the US Geological Survey.

Rosanna XiaRosanna Xia is an environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she specializes in stories about the coast and ocean. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020 for explanatory reporting, and her coverage of a toxic dumpsite in the deep ocean has been featured in the “Best American Science and Nature Writing” anthology. Her first book, “California Against the Sea,” examines the future of our vanishing coastline in the face of rising water.

Dr. Sahar DerakhshanDr. Sahar Derakhshan is an Assistant Professor of Geography, at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is a civil engineer (B.Sc.), has received her doctorate in geography from University of South Carolina, and holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from University of California, Berkeley. Her work experience extends from industry to research institutions including projects for the World Bank for risk assessment and National Academy of Sciences (Gulf Research Program).



Leslie Luke

Leslie Luke Leslie Luke is the Deputy Director of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, Office of Emergency Management. As Deputy Director he oversees the day-to-day activities of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), whose Operational Area includes 88 cities, over 200 special districts and a population of over 10 million residents. Mr. Luke joined Los Angeles County in 2013 after spending 25 years in San Diego County where ten of those years were with their Office of Emergency Services.

Ashley Jackson, with a BA in Environmental Science and Religious Studies from Willamette University, advocates for interdisciplinary solutions to environmental challenges. Their college years revealed the nexus of science, politics, and society in environmental dialogue. Ashley aims to engage communities through holistic solutions and public education, narrowing the gap between researchers and citizens. Her commitment extends beyond academia, having volunteered extensively at the Sacramento Zoo to promote wildlife conservation. Currently, as a California Climate Action Corps Fellow at UC Riverside, she frontlines community engagement for the Inland Southern California Climate Collaborative (ISC3), striving for impactful change throughout the IE.

Bekah EstradaBekah Estrada is the Southern California Director for California Interfaith Power and Light. Before joining CIPL, she served as the Director of Christian Life at the University of Southern California and pioneered a new role on campus as the first Eco-Chaplain at USC. Bekah grew up on a farm in Earth, Texas, where her favorite summer activity was canning corn with her family. In her spare time she also enjoys yoga, gardening, listening to music or podcasts, and grabbing coffee with friends.

Jennifer Medina is the Hydrogen Engineering Team Lead for SoCalGas.  She joined the company in 2011 after graduating from California State University, Long Beach with her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.  Before joining the hydrogen engineering group, Jennifer was involved in gas storage and transmission projects, leading testing efforts during the commissioning stages for the company’s Pipeline Safety Enhancement Program projects.  She joined the hydrogen team in 2020 where she works with engineers internally and externally to help design new hydrogen and hydrogen blending station projects.  She was the lead engineer for the [H2] Innovation Experience project that was commissioned in January 2023 and currently is the managing operator of the facility.

Nathan SmithNathan Smith is an energy industry professional who believes in making a difference in his community. After finishing high school Nathan enrolled at Howard University located in Washington, District of Columbia, and received a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  After graduating and starting a sales career with Nestles, Nathan relocated to Los Angeles, California.  He soon enrolled in the California State University at Dominguez Hills, where he received a master’s in business administration with an emphasis on International Business. Eventually an opportunity came up to join Southern California Edison (SCE).  Nathan planned to learn a few quick things about electricity, and then go back to work with Enron within a year or so.  Twenty-eight years later, Nathan continues to work for SCE.  He has discovered SCE is his real ‘dream job’. Nathan’s current role is interconnecting new renewable energy power plants and battery storage systems to the SCE electrical grid.  Nathan drafts and negotiates the contract that spells out the cost, specification, and schedule to extend the SCE electrical grid out to the new power plant.

Eric Calderon is the Assistant Director of the Center for Social Innovation (CSI) at the University of California, Riverside’s School of Public Policy. CSI provides a credible research voice that spurs civic leadership and policy innovation. The Center integrates researchers, community organizations, and civic stakeholders in collaborative projects and long-term partnership that strengthen the shared values of resilience, inclusion, sustainability, and equity (RISE). Eric also helps lead the Inland Southern California Climate Collaborative, a diverse, cross-sectoral network of agencies, organizations, companies, and institutions working together to advance equitable solutions to create a resilient and thriving Inland Southern California. In his role, he helps with Center operations, research, communications, and engagement. A SoCal native, Eric earned his Associate of Arts degree in Sociology at East Los Angeles College and his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside. He is passionate about all things that impact community engagement and well-being and has spent most of his time working on issues surrounding climate, education, health, housing, and transportation.

Mark Cloud is a lifelong resident of the Inland Empire, a region of the state he has great affection for. After earning a degree or two here and there, Mark began his career as director of communication for The Arc of Riverside County, an organization that provides services and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. In 2010, Mark joined the community relations team at Riverside Public Utilities, and in 2016 was hired on at Southern California Edison to manage public affairs for the company in the Inland Empire. For years, Mark has been active in his community, serving on boards and volunteering for a number of organizations. And while he enjoys serving, his favorite role is husband to Giselle Cloud and father to Charlie, Miles and Marigold – the apples of his eye. When they’re not working, Mark and Giselle stay busy writing children’s books.

Thomas Chan holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UCLA, a Masters of Business Administration from Cal State Fullerton, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate. He has over 13 years of experience in Oil &Gas, Utility, Government industry with focus in business development, engineering, construction, and project management of large capital infrastructure projects. Since joining SoCalGas in 2014, Thomas has held increasing responsibilities as a Project Controls Engineer, and is currently a Project Manager in SoCalGas’ Business Development department, overseeing technical and commercial feasibility studies for carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and other carbon management project initiatives. Prior to SoCalGas, Thomas worked as a Civil Engineer in Caltrans, responsible for overseeing field engineering and construction inspection of freeway projects.

Maria MohammedMaria Mohammed joined Structural Focus in 2013 after graduating from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2012 and an M.S. in Structural Engineering in 2013. Maria is a licensed Structural Engineer in California and has extensive experience working on the retrofit and renovation of historic structures and existing buildings, as well as the design of new buildings. She has worked on significant projects at Structural Focus, including Google LA HQ, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, CBRE Masonic Temple, and several projects on the Paramount Studios lot, among others.

Ariel RaymondAriel Raymond is a middle school science teacher and coordinator of the Earthquake Fellows summer program at Caltech. She received her BS in geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pursued a career in teaching by achieving her Master of Arts in Teaching, granted by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It was during her master’s degree that she realized how important it is to teach younger generations about climate change, and uses her geological perspective to enhance the understanding and communication of the climate crisis.

Annie Ng holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from UC San Diego, and a P.E. license in Mechanical Engineering. She has over 12 years of oil & gas industry experience spanning multiple disciplines such as engineering, operations, and construction. She started her career as a Process Engineer with Fluor, an engineering procurement and construction company, and eventually served as an Offshore Facilities Engineer with ExxonMobil Upstream Production. Since joining SoCalGas in 2020, Annie has held multiple positions in the Construction department such as Project Manager and Team Leader. In her most recent role as Clean Energy Innovations Project Manager, Annie is responsible for multiple engineering feasibility studies for SoCalGas’s Angeles Link project.

Aaron DyerAaron Dyer is the Senior Manager of the Program Design & Development team in Southern California Edison’s Customer Programs & Services organization. This team focuses on designing programs and services for SCE’s customers that will advance the deployment of clean energy solutions, with specific focus on transportation and building electrification.  Aaron is an engineer by training and, prior to joining SCE in 2019, he spent over a decade designing and installing emissions control systems for power plants and petrochemical facilities before going on to manage the development of multiple lithium-ion based energy storage products for Los Angeles-based start-ups.  He moved to California from Oklahoma in 2007 – to pursue a career related to environmental solutions – and has lived in Ontario since 2011.

Chanice Allen is a Project Manager for SoCalGas’s Angeles Link Project, supporting their Clean Energy Innovations department’s various engineering and technology studies. Chanice has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate along with 20 years of experience work for SoCalGas in project management, compliance administration, and permitting of natural gas facilities and construction. Chanice also held various positions with increasing levels of responsibility as an Environmental Specialist, Pipeline Integrity Project Manager, Pipeline Safety Enhancement Program Team Lead, and as the Gas Transmission Environmental Team Lead. Prior to being a Project Manager for the Angeles Link Project, Chanice previously held the position as the Emissions Strategy Program – Project Execution Manager where she led the Project Execution team in accomplishing SoCalGas’s emission reduction goals.

Kara CrohnDr. Kara Crohn is Director of Transparency & Insights at Center for Sustainable Energy, overseeing the Energy Research, Evaluation & Visual Analytics team. Dr. Crohn has 27 years of experience working with clients to direct research studies, visualize ideas and data, evaluate behavior change programs, facilitate strategic planning, and train research professionals. Dr. Crohn’s interdisciplinary expertise spans multiple sectors, including energy, technology, education, and the arts. Since 2009, she has focused on research, evaluation, and planning in clean energy, energy efficiency, and distributed energy resources. Dr. Crohn currently oversees research projects on topics such as solar on multifamily affordable housing and HVACR refrigerant handling. She also oversees climate, energy, and environment research and community outreach and engagement support for Thrive Inland SoCal, a community-driven, inclusive regional economic development planning group.

Alex Berberian currently serves as Grid Modernization Portfolio Advisor at Southern California Edison, where he works to advance and realize the investments and programs that enable our clean energy future. He has previously held roles within the  contract management, real estate / right of way, distribution planning and environmental teams from his time as an intern. Alex graduated summa cum laude from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. in Business Administration – Management & HR, where he also studied for his MBA. He is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate at Taft University, holds a PMP certification and teaches utility planning courses at his alma matter. Alex recharges by playing electric guitar within the company band and serves as President Emeritus of the Safety Ambassadors for Edison Business Resource group at SCE.

Dr. Daniel Mayo Dr. Daniel Mayo is the STEM-MESA director at San Bernadino Valley College. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry and B.S. in Physics from Shippensburg University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Miami University. He has worked in the California community college system for over 10 years mentoring and supporting underrepresented STEM students. He has a passion for bringing science to the community and making STEM exciting and accessible to everyone.

Reyna Baeza-Oregel began her career in transportation in 2007, shortly after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly Pomona; she also has an Associate degree in Environmental Engineering and a Certificate in Environmental Technology from Rio Hondo College. Reyna is a Licensed Landscape Architect and is the Sustainability Manager at Caltrans District 8 (San Bernardino & Riverside Counties), where she champions strategic initiatives focused on Sustainable Transportation efforts to advance Climate Action, such as Complete Streets, Wildlife Connectivity, Adaptation and Resiliency. In 2022, she completed the Climate Stewards Program at UC Riverside. Before Caltrans, she interned at the non-profit Amigos de Los Rios, the U.S. DOE Richland Operations Office of River Protection – Hanford Site Washington.

Farrah Farzaneh, Director of Facilities Planning, Emergency Management, and Construction at the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD), brings over 16 years of expertise in the construction and sustainability sectors. A Certified Construction Manager, Design-Builder, and Envision Sustainability Professional, Farrah holds degrees from the University of Southern California and is pursuing a Doctorate in Public Administration at the University of La Verne. Her work integrates sustainability and DEIB principles into construction projects, advocating for the inclusion of local, minority, and women-owned businesses. Farrah’s active roles on the Construction Management Association of America’s Southern California chapter board and various advisory boards, including the Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit and the Women in Leadership Executive Program at UC Riverside Extension, reflect her commitment to shaping an equitable and sustainable future in construction and facilities management.

Cheryl Chesnut serves as the Energy Program Manager for the San Bernardino Council of Governments (SBCOG). In this capacity, Cheryl has primary responsibility for implementing the Inland Regional Energy Network (I-REN) Program in San Bernardino County.  She is the co-lead on Workforce Education & Training (WE&T) sector for the I-REN Program. Cheryl has over seven (7) years of experience within the energy efficiency sector, which includes experience on energy efficiency programs, energy data analysis,  providing energy efficiency presentations to stakeholders, and electric utility companies. Cheryl has experience in project management, program implementation and design. Cheryl is a doctorate student pursuing her E.d.D in Organizational Change and Administration from California Baptist University. She also has a Master of Science in Energy Management from Oklahoma City University, Master of Public Administration from California Baptist University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UC Riverside.

Fortino Morales III is the Sustainability Officer at the University of California, Riverside campus.  He received both his B.S. in Environmental Sciences and his Master of Public Policy from UC Riverside. He leads sustainability initiatives across campus including operations, academics & research, as well as climate engagement on and off campus. In coordination with the School of Public Policy, he serves as the co-lead to the Inland Southern California Climate Collaborative (ISC3), which is a network of organizations in the region working to take coordinated climate action.

Dr. Gina Oliver is a first-generation college graduate and the first in her large family to enter a STEM field and earn a PhD. As a scientist and inventor from the Inland Empire, her career has spanned from waiting tables at Chili’s Bar and Grill, working in cutting-edge science laboratories, teaching Oceanography at San Bernardino Valley College, and inventing new technologies. Today, she is the founder of From The Land, an agriculture technology startup and we have developed a climate-resilient indoor micro-farm. Oliver’s startup was created from her passion for Earth Sciences, concern for climate change, and love of food. Her innovative technologies are designed to enhance food security, mitigate climate change, and promote fair economic development.

Ana Villanueva is a Hazardous Materials Specialist III with San Bernardino County Fire Department Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). HHW provides safe and efficient hazardous waste management services to San Bernardino County residents. She received her BS in Microbiology from the University of California, Riverside in 2016. She began her career as an Executive Team Leader for Service and Engagement at Target and assisted with executing the Environmental Sensitive Item Management program. In 2019, she became a Hazardous Materials Specialist and has since conducted inspections of hazardous materials, written grant applications, obtained the Registered Environmental Health Specialist certification, and provided training on proper handling of hazardous materials.

Carol P. Parks was promoted to General Manager of EMD in August 2021, after serving as a senior emergency manager for 20 years with the City.  During her career, she has provided oversight for both long- and short-term executive-level citywide emergency management projects and programs involving department-specific and/or multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction coordination. This includes implementation and oversight of various ongoing citywide initiatives such as the execution of the automated external defibrillation program; tsunami evacuation route initiative, disaster service worker program; supply chain resilience pilot study; disability, access, and functional needs planning and training; homeland security grants; emergency management planning, operations, and facility contracts; and citywide community preparedness initiatives including the current Ready Your LA Neighborhood program.