Our Team

Keiara Auzenne

Keiara Auzenne, M.B.A., J.D.

Director of Diversity Initiatives
Office: Eckart 102
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

Keiara Auzenne is the Director of Diversity Initiatives for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In this position she is tasked with improving campus climate and addressing issues of equity, diversity and inclusion for students, staff and faculty at Scripps.  Keiara formerly worked as the San Diego County Director for the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO).   She is also the co-founder and director of a monthly Clean Slate Clinic that provides assistance formerly incarcerated individuals seeking to expunge their criminal records.  She serves on various UC San Diego campus committees, including the VCEDI Advisory Committee, the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women, and the Chancellor's Childcare Oversight Committee. She is also a member of the AGU Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee. In 2020, she received a UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions in support of UC San Diego’s commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity.

She is a San Diego native and a member of the California Bar, American Bar Association, San Diego Lawyers Club, and San Diego Chapters of the ACLU and the NAACP. Keiara obtained her JD from UCLA (specialization in Critical Race Studies). She also holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and BAs in Political Science and Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara.   She enjoys spending time with her partner and their two daughters.

 

jennifer mackinnon

Jennifer MacKinnon, PhD

Associate Dean for Faculty Equity
Office: Keck OAR 260
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

In February 2019, professor and physical oceanographer Jennifer MacKinnon was appointed as the Associate Dean for Faculty Equity at Scripps. This newly created role is part of the institution’s commitment to instill equitable practices for recruitment, retention, and evaluation of professors and researchers, leading to diverse and inclusive faculty and researchers.

In this role, MacKinnon will work collaboratively on recruitment to ensure that Scripps maintains the ability to recruit and retain excellent faculty, and evaluate them in a fair and equitable way. This includes providing implicit bias training for hiring committees, advising on fair and equitable hiring practices, reviewing candidates contributions to diversity statements, and more.  The position will also work closely with Scripps’ Director of Diversity Initiatives Keiara Auzenne to coordinate on institutional initiatives that involve faculty.

MacKinnon was also the recipient of a UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award in 2018, which recognized her extraordinary mentorship to underrepresented scientists through her participation in the program Mentoring Physical Oceanography Women to Increase Retention.

 

Carlene Burton

Carlene Burton

Research Data Analyst
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

Carlene Burton, (she/her, hers) Ph.D. candidate, is a research data analyst at the University of California San Diego. Mother, Jamaican, lab manager, and a member of the URGE (Unlearning Racism in Geoscience) leadership team are other hats she proudly wears. She spent half her adult life following her passion for STEM education in underrepresented communities. Carlene has trained middle school science teachers and administrators on using student-centered pedagogies such as Project-Based Learning and Maker Space Learning to teach and generate interest among underrepresented students in science. In the distant future, Carlene wants to be a fun-loving grandma that she believes is achievable by enjoying the lighter side of life and being a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) warrior with a focus on increasing diversity in geosciences.

 

Community Engagement Fellows

Noreen Garcia

Noreen Garcia

Noreen Garcia is a third-year marine chemistry and geochemistry PhD student. The focus of her research is to study isotopes that reveal a snapshot of ocean chemistry. The information gathered from the isotope data is used to understand and depict past chemical, physical, and biological cycles. Garcia is currently studying carbon-13, oxygen-18, and carbon-14 signatures from planktonic and benthic foraminifera that are preserved in sediment layers through time. The isotope signatures will hopefully give a better picture of the ocean circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum which will then help us understand future changes to our ocean today. 

Prior to starting her career at Scripps Oceanography, Garcia obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry and Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. Her journey as a first-generation Salvadorian-American has led her to pursue work that would help students who identify as BIPOC reach similar goals. She grew up in inner city Los Angeles where the resources were very limited and had an abundance of obstacles, but with the help of organizations and individuals she was able to push her way through her time as an undergraduate and is currently pushing through graduate school. Garcia said that throughout the majority of her time in STEM, especially in geosciences, she has been the only person of color. Because of her background and struggles she has felt as if she was put in a box with people telling her she is incapable of achieving her dreams. Garcia wants to work towards building a more sustainable and long-term source of resources for BIPOC students who haven’t had many opportunities to explore oceanography. She hopes to become  a professor of paleoceanography so she can open doors for BIPOC students who come from low-income areas and give them opportunities that they would not otherwise have. Garcia’s experiences growing up in low-income L.A. have instilled a drive in her to pursue work in equity, diversity, and inclusion. During her free time she loves to go on hikes, do arts and crafts, and go on long walks on the beach while listening to a great podcast.

 

Danielle McHaskell

Danielle McHaskell is a third-year marine biology PhD student and is a second-year Community Engagement Fellow. She studies invasion ecology and community ecology with a particular focus on seaweeds and how they may impact the native community within our local temperate ecosystems. She started her academic journey at Mt. San Antonio before transferring to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to complete an undergraduate degree in biology with a zoology option and a master’s degree in biology. 

With four years of teaching experience, McHaskell has solidified her career goals in academia where she hopes to provide support to marginalized people in STEM and share her enthusiasm for marine ecology as a professor. There were many instances in which she has faced systemic barriers, microaggressions, and discrimination as a first-generation, low-income, Black-biracial woman while pursuing both of her degrees. Unfortunately, she continues to face these challenges at Scripps along with fellow students, staff, and faculty members who may experience different forms of oppressions (e.g., racism, transphobia, ableism). Last year, she found the community meet-ups to be the most fulfilling. She has learned that having access to community and safe spaces in the place she works is important to her emotional well-being which increases her productivity. The faculty, staff, and fellow students she has connected with give space to process current events, offer requested advice, and share her joy. When she is able to make time for fun, McHaskell’s long-term hobbies include snorkeling, taking dance classes, tidepooling, reading, and pressing seaweed though she has recently picked up skating and surfing. She also spends time with her furry best friend, Tiramisu the Gerbarian Shepsky, who frequently is spotted at Scripps. 


Anaí Novoa

Anaí Novoa is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the marine biology program and a second-year Community Engagement Fellow. For her dissertation research, she is investigating the interplay between parasitism and host biogeography. She is particularly interested in understanding how parasites are distributed throughout the geographical ranges of their hosts. Novoa received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the UC Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in marine science from the University of San Diego, where she conducted a spatial and temporal assessment of bivalve community changes in southern California and northern Baja California estuaries. Her dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion is grounded within her intersectional identity as a neurodivergent woman of color belonging to an immigrant working-class community. Novoa fully embodies sustained commitment to build a more equitable and inclusive climate for all minoritized groups in higher education and the biological sciences.

She was raised in City Heights, a San Diego community known for its ethnic diversity. Novoa’s experiences as a first-generation Mexican-American and first-generation college student have shaped the kind of scientist and aspiring professor she is working on becoming. She is deeply committed to fostering minority student participation with opportunities and exposure in academia, and is excited about the direct application of the work she will be doing as a fellow. During her free time, Novoa loves to spend time with her family (cooking Mexican dishes and laughing), playing with her pitbull Kylo Renaldo Novoa-Rosales, mentoring students from her community (as part of Ocean Discovery Institute’s programming), and practicing martial arts. 

 

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS:

Adeline Liem

Adeline Liem

Adeline Liem is a second-year undergraduate student at UC San Diego. She was born in Berkeley, Calif., before moving to San Diego to study cognitive science with a specialization in design and interaction. Inspired by individuals with a diverse collection of interests, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives, Liem pursued her passion for social justice with the guidance of mentors in both high school and college. 

As she furthered her academic career, Liem recognized critical disparities in the classroom regarding cultural representation, especially in the STEM field. The conversation surrounding racial justice has become inseparable from environmentalism, highlighting the need for adequate cultural representation in the scientific world. In becoming a Community Engagement Fellow, Liem seeks to actively cultivate her own understanding of the intersections of racism and the environment while also amplifying BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented communities' voices. She is excited to continue pursuing her studies and incorporate her interest in sustainability with her career goals in web and product design. In her free time, you can find Liem engrossed in a book, discovering new music, and spending time with her friends.

 

Elizabeth Thanh Tam Nguyen

Elizabeth Nguyen

Elizabeth Thanh Tam Nguyen is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Marine Biology. Growing up in San Diego, CA, she has always been a 20-minute drive away from the beach, and would try to go as often as she could. In high school, Nguyen volunteered at the Birch Aquarium which introduced her to marine biology and science communication. Since then, she has been interested in the intersection between marine science, community engagement and education, motivating her to engage more with the SIO community and San Diego County. As a Community Engagement fellow, she hopes to help create a safe environment for and reassure there is space for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and other minority groups to exist and belong at SIO. In her free time, she likes to make images for photography projects, hanging out at the beach, and going to thrift shops.

 

Nilusha Wanniappa

Nilusha Wanniappa is a fourth-year Environmental Systems undergraduate student with an interest in the interactions between coastal communities and marine ecosystems. She grew up exploring the beaches of Southern California and is happy to pursue a career learning about and protecting the ocean and its inhabitants. She plans to continue her studies in marine biology, environmental justice, and the effects of climate change on highly impacted communities after attaining her undergraduate degree. During her time at Scripps, she learned a lot about the intersection between social equality and the environment, and different barriers to STEM. She is incredibly interested in helping to make science and the ocean accessible to everyone, and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellowship is a brilliant way to work on this at Scripps Oceanography. She spends most of her free time in the ocean, where you can find her surfing, scuba diving, or swimming!

 

Ideas, suggestions or feedback?  Email us at scrippsdiversity@ucsd.edu 

community engagement
Scripps Community Engagement Fellows 2017-2018 Osinachi Ajoku, Alyssa Griffin, and Lynn Waterhouse.

Prior Community Engagement Fellows

ajoku profile photo

Osinachi Ajoku

SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2018-2020
PhD Candidate 2020 - Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography (CASPO)
Pronouns: he | him | his

Osinachi Ajoku received his PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Spring 2020. Ajoku’s research focused on the impact biomass burning produced aerosols pose on West African monsoon dynamics. During his studies, he also pursued a passion for a topic personal to him: equity, diversity and inclusion in academia. As one of only a handful of male, African-American PhD recipients at Scripps Oceanography and one of several few in his field, he sought to gain a deeper understanding of why this is so. As a Community Engagement fellow, he learned the important factors that go into creating a diverse student boy, namely recruitment and retention. With the opportunity to give implicit bias workshops, he has learned how to enlighten his peers on the various struggles persons of color face in academia and society as a whole. He will now take these experiences forward as he moves to the National Center for Atmospheric Research as a postdoctoral researcher. 

 

Julia chavarry

SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2020-2021
PhD Candidate
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

Julia Chavarry is a third-year PhD student in biological oeanography with an interest in how human impacts and environmental change affect marine food webs. She primarily grew up in New Jersey before moving to Baltimore to start her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, where she double majored in earth & planetary sciences and behavioral biology. As a student, she began to recognize the interwoven and complex relationships between humans and the ocean. During her undergraduate research experiences, she developed an interest in the intersection between marine science and policy. 

Developing a science-based policy to manage ocean resources and ecosystems is complicated: this process necessitates the collaboration of diverse researchers, policymakers, and community members, each with their own unique and valuable experiences and perspectives. She was drawn to the EDI Fellowship because she recognized the need for increasing the number of people from different backgrounds and cultures in the scientific process, and specifically in oceanography to accomplish the goals of marine conservation in an ethical and just manner. Alongside the other community engagement fellows, she primarily worked on the ACCESS Justice InitiativeScripps Anti-Racism Reboot, and the Chat with a Scripps Scientist Program. Her role within each of these programs varied, including teaching, leading workshops, gathering information about effective strategies in EDI work, and supporting the broader needs of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Scripps. During her free time, she loves to scuba dive in kelp forests, snuggle her cat, Sebastian, and play the ukulele.

 

Erica Ferrer

Erica ferrer

SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2020-2021
PhD Candidate
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

Erica Ferrer is a fifth-year PhD Candidate in Marine Biology, studying small-scale fisheries ecology and the manifestations of climate change in our oceans. She is interested in various interdisciplinary topics related to conservation, "global change", and social-ecological wellbeing. She sees these topics as inextricably linked to systemic issues and advancements in equity, diversity, and inclusion -- both within academia and society more broadly. 

Prior to beginning at Scripps, she completed a B.S. in marine biology and a minor in chemistry at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she participated in a STEM diversity program known as ACE, and benefited from a few highly formative research experiences. Her time in ACE and at UCSC connected her to a community of diverse scholars whose personal backgrounds and research interests ran the gamut. While there, she learned how important it is to have mentors who can help guide one’s professional path into STEM. Eventually, she learned how to scuba dive for science, something she also does for fun. Now, as a PhD student and former Community Engagement Fellow, Erica is working with the Scripps Office for EDI, former Community Engagement Fellow Dr. Alyssa Griffin, and members of the Scripps' Dive Office to launch DIVERsity: a program designed to increase access to professional dive training for UCSD students from diverse backgrounds.

 

Alyssa Griffin

Alyssa J. Griffin

SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2018-2020
PhD Candidate 2020 - Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry (MCG)
Pronouns: she | her | hers 

Alyssa earned her bachelor’s degree in Geology and Religion (double-major) from Temple University in 2010. She began research in carbon mineralization as an undergraduate and continued this research as a Master’s student, also at Temple University. After completing her Master’s degree in 2012, Alyssa received a position as a Staff Geologist for an environmental consulting firm in Brea, California. It didn’t take long for Alyssa to fully recognize her irrefutable passion for scientific research and education, which prompted her swift return to academia in the Fall of 2014. While pursuing a PhD in Marine Geochemistry, Alyssa has combined her interest in dissolution kinetics, mineral surface processes, and carbonate minerals to study the effects of ocean acidification on biogenic carbonates. As a female and minority scientist, she has experienced the lack of equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM firsthand and is passionate about changing these experiences for future generations of scientists. Her ultimate goal is to be a visible example and mentor for women and minorities who wish to pursue careers in science

Jennifer Ho
SIO Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow, 2017-2018

My name is Jennifer Ho and I was born and raised in the Bay Area. I graduated from UC San Diego in 2019 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Sociology.  As a student activist, I am passionate about fighting social injustices and exploring the various ways of social interactions.  I became an Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow to obtain a better understanding of this community and help educate others on the importance of diversity and inclusion in order to inspire an environment where individuals can feel valued and welcomed in a successful work space.

Lily Jorrick
SIO Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow 2020-2021

Lily Jorrick is a fourth-year undergraduate student in marine biology with an interest in fisheries and sustainability. She is originally from Northern California and attended community colleges in both Northern and Southern California before transferring to UC San Diego. As an undergraduate, she participated in research in fish physiology and benthic ecology. After completing her B.S., she hopes to pursue a doctoral degree focusing on the impacts of climate change on fisheries, and the implications that climate issues have for environmental and social justice. The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellowship is meaningful to Lily because it enables her to examine and change the accessibility of science education and research to all demographics at Scripps, and she is incredibly excited to develop the initiatives involved with this fellowship. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming in the ocean, and hiking with her dog. 

 

Carmen Lopez
SIO Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow 2020-2021

Carmen Lopez is a fourth-year undergraduate student in environmental systems and Policy from the San Francisco Bay Area. During her time as an undergrad, she participated in community engagement related to sustainability initiatives at UC San Diego, as well as having hosted weekly discussions about different social justice-related issues. She is passionate about intersectional environmentalism which is about advocating for both the planet and the people who live on it. She believes that a better understanding of how systems of oppression have shaped our society can help create a more just and effective policy. Her dream is to do work related to international environmental policy, but she is still exploring different career interests. She is thrilled to be a Scripps Community Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellow because the intersection between environmental science and social justice is crucial in helping combat the climate crisis effectively. Her goal during this fellowship is to share her passion for environmental justice through community engagement with the students, staff, and faculty at Scripps. In her free time, she likes to play the guitar, practice Spanish, write, and hike. 

Shawnpreet Matharu
SIO Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow, 2017-2018

My name is Shawnpreet Matharu, and I graduated in 2019 from UC San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Law & Society. I plan on going to law school after I graduate.  One reason I was interested in becoming an Undergraduate Community Engagement Fellow was to foster a greater impact and understanding of what inclusion means in the UC San Diego Community. I hope to gain more awareness and promote more inclusion and understanding to the community around me.

 

ivan moreno

SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2020-2021
PhD Candidate 
Pronouns: he | him | his

Ivan Moreno is a fourth-year PhD student in marine biology studying the microbiology of thermophilic environments. More specifically, he looks at the temperature and ecological constraints of life in microbial mats found in terrestrial hot springs. Other scientific interests of his include astrobiology, geobiology and genomics of microbes. 

He finished his B.S. in cellular and molecular biology at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2018, where he did research in Dr. Karin Kram’s lab and was attending Long Beach City College prior to that. His hometown is Long Beach, California, and he grew up in North Long Beach. Being raised in North Long Beach meant attending predominantly minority filled home schools. Afterward, attending Long Beach City College and CSU Dominguez Hills felt like an extension of an environment he was already very familiar with. 

While he was aware of these demographics not being the norm at more wealthy institutions, the urgency to participate and become an advocate in this space for those with similar stories to his came out of his participation in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at Scripps back in 2017. Becoming an EDI fellow is one of the ways that he plans on creating a space for underrepresented students and faculty in STEM. When he’s not focused on science or EDI related issues, he enjoys playing with his dog, Lava.  

Lynn Waterhouse
SIO Community Engagement Fellow, 2017-2018

Lynn Waterhouse was one of the first graduate Community Engagement Fellows at Scripps. Lynn obtained her PhD in Biological Oceanography in 2019.  While at Scripps, she worked in Dr. Brice X. Semmens' lab doing research on stock assessment method development and improving efficiency and accuracy of fish population estimates.  Prior to coming to Scripps, Lynn completed a M.S. degree in Statistics at Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. in fisheries science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences at The College of William and Mary.  Lynn previously served as the co-organizer of WMIS (Women and Minorities in Science) group at SIO working to promote equity and equality across genders and minority groups in the sciences.  She was also the cultural events coordinator for the UC San Diego Graduate Student Association (GSA) for planning an organizing trips and tickets to local cultural events.