On behalf of the Texas Regional Conference for Campus Sustainability (TRACS ) planning board, we are excited to host our second Virtual Student Summit on November 14th at 12:00-4:00 p.m. that is centered around Work Equity and Social Justice. This free conference is created by students, for students.
Lewis Maltby is president of the National Workrights Institute (NWI). Before founding NWI, he was Director of the ACLU’s national employment rights office. Maltby has testified before Congress numerous times on a wide variety of employment issues. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, as well as appeared on television shows from 60 Minutes to Oprah. He is the author of Can they do that? Reclaiming our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace
Michelle Ramirez, LMSW serves as the current Education Coordinator at the Gender and Sexuality Center at UT. As an alum of UT Austin, Michelle earned their Bachelors and Master’s degrees from the Steven Hicks School of Social Work. In addition to being a double Longhorn, Michelle is also an alum of the GSC (Peers for Pride) and the MEC (QTBIPOCA) from 2012-2015 and had experiences as a student leader on campus. Michelle continued to do advocacy for young people and mental health in non-profit and education settings in the Austin community in the last 8 years. Michelle also is a passionate cook and baker, a member of the ATX Gay Football League, and avid swimmer and explorer of nature.
Vasu Reddy is the Senior Policy Counsel for Economic Justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she serves as a legal and policy expert on policies that improve the lives of workers and their families. She helps policymakers and advocates across the country craft and enact strong, inclusive policies on paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, and other policies that empower workers and family caregivers. Prior to the National Partnership, Vasu’s work focused on domestic violence, reproductive rights, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. She received her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and her bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College. Vasu is a native Texan, currently residing in Washington, D.C. She enjoys cooking, watching scary movies, and spending time with her husband and young son.
Students were invited to virtually present on the topics of workforce equity and/or social justice, as well as the impact they are making on their campus in relation to these issues.
Anya is currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin studying Environmental Science. She is interested in the intersection of social justice issues and the environmental movement with a focus locally on campus as co-director of the Environmental Justice Collective. She discussed the importance of a grassroots way for students to engage with environmental justice issues. She is passionate about science communication, telling BIPOC stories, and planning for sustainable and resilient change.
Alexis King is a senior Communications Major and Business Minor at Texas A&M University. She serves the Aggie community as the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Student Council of Arts & Sciences and as a member of the Student Government Association Legislative Relations Commission. Alexis is passionate about Child advocacy, having volunteered six years with the Collin County Teen Court Program and currently as a Family Care Volunteer with Scotty’s House in Bryan, TX. After graduation, Alexis plans to attend law school to pursue a legal career in child advocacy
Yaniris De Los Santos Lara and Cody Sanchez from ENACTUS
ENACTUS at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a student-led organization that uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a compass to tackle issues within the region. Their mission as servant leaders is to achieve sustainable economic growth in their community by developing strong partnerships. They have developed several projects that range from feeding 1,600 families in need during Thanksgiving, to teaching financial literacy concepts to students and their community, and lastly preparing autistic talent to enter the workforce. ENACTUS’s goal as an organization is to improve social economic conditions through entrepreneurial action and education in our region.
Paige is a senior Environmental Geoscience student at Texas A&M University. Throughout her college career, she has spent equal time working in environmental research and sustainability work. She worked for the TAMU Office of Sustainability for three years as their Outreach and Education Intern. She has now moved on to working for NASA’s Earth Science Division as an intern in their FireSense program, where she focuses primarily on fire ecology and prescribed burning resources. She is planning on graduating in December, where she will be continuing work with NASA in a fellowship position before starting graduate school in Colorado in August 2023.
The Texas A&M University Women’s Resource Center will lead a salary and benefits negotiation training to close out the conference.
STUDENT PLANNING TEAM:
Samara Zuckerbrod, University of Texas at Austin
Samara Zuckerbrod is an undergraduate student from the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Sustainability Studies and English. She has a strong desire to further the environmental movement with a particular interest in public policy, environmental research, and communications. She previously served as the Co-Director of UT Austin’s Campus Environmental Center, the university’s oldest and largest student-run environmentalism organization. Additionally, she served as the Vice-Chair of UT Austin’s Green Fund Student Committee, reviewing sustainability-related projects proposed by university members. In her free time, she enjoys being in nature either by volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center or bringing a book out to the patio.
Paige Wirth, Texas A&M University
Paige Wirth is a senior Environmental Geoscience student at Texas A&M University. Throughout her college career, she has spent equal time working in environmental research and sustainability work. She worked for the TAMU Office of Sustainability for three years as their Outreach and Education Intern. She has now moved on to working for NASA’s Earth Science Division as an intern in their FireSense program, where she focuses primarily on fire ecology and prescribed burning resources. She is planning on graduating in December, where she will be continuing work with NASA in a fellowship position before starting graduate school in Colorado in August 2023.
Yumiko Balotro, Mathematics and Science Academy
Yumiko Balotro is a high school senior attending the Mathematics and Science Academy (MSA), an award-winning program that allows high school students to take UTRGV courses taught by the university’s professors. She looks forward to graduating in 2023 and is excited to pursue a career in Computer Science. In addition, Yumiko is employed as a Web Developer to UTRGV’s Office of Sustainability. Through her leadership positions in NHS and Student Council, she aspires to be a mentor for students and provide others with opportunities to succeed. In her free time, Yumiko keeps active by rock climbing and practicing Jiu-Jitsu at her local dojo.
Hayley Jarjoura, Texas A&M University
Hayley Jarjoura is an undergraduate student from Texas A&M University majoring in Industrial Distribution. She is passionate about supporting women in STEM and has showcased this by founding the first social and professional sorority for women in STEM at Texas A&M University, Alpha Omega Epsilon. She has served her sorority for three years in executive leadership positions, and has continued to dedicate her time to the sorority by volunteering on an international level as well. Additionally, she has taken part in various activities on campus such as being an Ambassador for the Women in Engineering program, serving as a Counselor for first generation students through the Regents’ Scholars program, and as a Committee Member of the Professional Association for Industrial Distribution.
Carolina Parra, University of Texas at Dallas
Carolina Parra is a junior Marketing and Global Business student at The University of Texas at Dallas. She’s a believer in the power of community service and outreach, and has participated in many service organizations over the years, including leading the Service section of the Leadership Planning Board of events for UTD’s Undergraduate Success Scholars for two years, and engaged in the week-long Alternative Spring Break program helping restore and preserve Texas’s bay area with the Galveston Bay Foundation. Currently, she has been employed as the Marketing Eco-Rep for UTD’s Office of Sustainability for the past year. You’ll find her biking at her local parks, thrifting at small businesses, and trying out new baking recipes in her free time.