Our Team

keiara auzenne profile image

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.

Community Engagement Fellows

Julia Chavarry

Julia Chavarry is a second-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. She hopes to focus a significant portion of her time as an EDI fellow engaging with underrepresented San Diegan students in STEM through the DEEP connections initiative to increase student access to science and research opportunities. During her free time, she loves to scuba dive in kelp forests, snuggle her cat, Sebastian, and play the ukulele.


Erica Ferrer

Erica Ferrer

Erica Ferrer is a fourth-year PhD student in marine biology where she studies small-scale fisheries ecology in Baja California, Mexico. She is interested in various interdisciplinary topics related to marine conservation, climate change, and social-ecological wellbeing. She sees them as inextricably linked to systemic issues of advancements in equity, diversity, and inclusion--within academia and society at large. 


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, where she participated in a STEM diversity program known as ACE—which provided her with a solid group of friends and connected her to a community of diverse scholars whose research interests ran the gamut. Furthermore, she learned how important it is to have mentors who can help guide one’s path into professional STEM. What’s more, she felt very lucky to participate in undergraduate research. Eventually, she learned how to scuba dive for science, something she also does for fun. Now at Scripps, she is excited to contribute to the EDI team as a Community Engagement Fellow, and one project she’s particularly jazzed about is DIVERsity: a program designed to increase access to professional dive training for Scripps students from diverse backgrounds.


Danielle McHaskell

Danielle McHaskell

Danielle McHaskell is a second-year PhD student in marine biology studying how invasive seaweeds species may impact the native community within our local temperate ecosystems. She started her academic journey at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) before transferring to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP) to complete an undergraduate degree in biology with a zoology option. At Mt. SAC, a foundational biology course sparked her interest leading her to pursue undergraduate research during a REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) and an independent undergraduate research project at CPP that later developed into her master’s thesis. Successfully earning her master’s and bachelor’s degrees can largely be attributed to the multiple forms of support from the RISE-MBRS-NIH fellowship

Her experience in RISE as well as her four years of teaching experience at CPP and Mt. SAC solidified her career goal in academia where she hopes to provide support to underrepresented groups in STEM and share her enthusiasm for marine ecology as a professor. There were many instances in which she faced systemic barriers, microaggressions, and discrimination as a first generation, low-income, Black-biracial woman pursuing a STEM degree so as an EDI fellow, she hopes to work towards removing these barriers and helping create an inclusive environment. When she is able to make time for rest and fun, Danielle enjoys snorkeling, taking dance classes, tidepooling, reading, pressing seaweed, and wrestling her Gerberian Shepsky, Tiramisu (aka Cake-Dog).


Ivan Moreno

Ivan Moreno is a third-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.   

Anaí Novoa

Anaí Novoa is a fifth-year PhD student in marine biology who received her bachelor’s degree in biology from 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. For her dissertation research, Anaí 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.


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




Lily Jorrick

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

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. 



Nilusha Wanniappa

Nilusha Wanniappa is a third-year undergraduate student in environmental systems 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 

Prior Community Engagement Fellows


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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. 

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.

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.

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.