Join Canopy each spring for a three-part virtual speaker series featuring a diverse group of professionals in the environmental sector.
This is a unique opportunity for high school students to hear from and ask questions of industry professionals about their careers as they begin to plan their own. A range of panelists will talk about their work in fields such as environmental justice advocacy, landscape architecture, materials recycling, research, and education. You will hear about their workdays, likes and dislikes of their field, and what steps they took to get to where they are today.
Geared toward Bay Area high school students interested in environmental careers as they prepare for their next steps in higher education and the job force.
Don’t worry if you missed the live panel. Watch the recorded sessions on our YouTube playlist!
Email Canopy’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Juanita Ibarra, at [email protected] with any questions.
Session 1: Introduction to Green Careers - A Conversation with Canopy
Are you interested in a nonprofit environmental career? Join us as Canopy staff discuss their career stories and job responsibilities.
Indira Selvakumaraswamy (she/her) joined the team in August 2020 to oversee Canopy’s communications and volunteer engagement. She is a marketing and advertising professional with fifteen years of experience working with non-profits, social marketing firms, and with various clients from different industries, for their marketing communication needs. She also has extensive experience interacting, working with and managing people both in the non-profit and the for-profit sectors. She holds an MBA from Bharathidasan Institute of Management (India) in Marketing & Personnel Management and a Certificate in Strategic Marketing from the University of California, Berkeley.
Arlene Nuñez García (she/they) graduated from SJSU with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Restoration. Before joining Canopy, she worked with other nonprofits in the south bay on environmental issues related to local watershed health, food justice, and youth garden education. Throughout these programs, community engagement has been a key component in helping mobilize folks toward taking affirmative action within their own communities, regardless of the environmental issue at hand. Arlene was immediately drawn to Canopy’s Branching Out program because it encompasses more than just planting trees and instead calls for collaborative work with community-based groups, residents and governments in order to address barriers and reach an equitable urban forest. Arlene enjoys hiking, camping, crocheting, family time, and lying under trees.
Jonathan Villanueva Torres (he/him) joined the team in June 2018. He is from East Palo Alto, CA and is currently pursuing a Mechanical Engineer degree at the University of California Merced. He joined Canopy’s Teen Urban Forester Program as a TUF summer of 2018 and worked with Canopy until summer 2021 after graduating from Eastside College Preparatory School. When he is not taking classes, his hobbies are making music, fishing, drawing/designing, and walking around in nature.
Evany Wang (she/her) joined the Canopy team in August 2022 to coordinate tree planting and surveying in Palo Alto and Mountain View. Before joining Canopy, Evany was a seasonal crew member with the Santa Lucia Conservancy, where she worked on invasive weeds management and fuel management. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture, after which she became an AmeriCorps member, first assigned to Grassroots Ecology in Palo Alto, then Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in Seattle, WA. Evany enjoys scuba diving, rock climbing, playing video games and tabletop games, crocheting, camping, and amateur backpacking in her spare time.
Are you interested in learning about careers centered around inclusion and community involvement? Listen to a diverse panel share about their job roles and dedication to including community voices in their work.
Maya Briones (she/her) thrives on two passions: ecology and environmental justice. While seemingly different, these two fields are the core of who she is and summarizes the worldview by which she lives; that all life, human and nonhuman, deserves to live on a healthy planet. In order to live in harmony with the natural world, we must also live in harmony with each other, repairing the injustices committed by generations past and restoring our connection with nature. She is pursuing her master’s to better live out my mission of teaching all people about the environment through ecological projects. She hopes to gain experience in wildlife conservation to use this knowledge to conserve the invaluable ecosystems of our world while also having the opportunity to reshape local agencies and organizations to engage communities that environmental injustices have long burdened.
Uriel Hernandez (he/him) was raised in East Palo Alto. He attended Green Oaks, Menlo Oaks, and Willow Oaks before attending Menlo-Atherton High School. After graduating with a degree in architecture, he worked at start-ups and interned at an architecture firm. During his free time he began volunteering at Canopy, and in 2015 joined staff to lead the Branching Out program. Since leaving Canopy staff, he has worked at the San Francisco Parks Alliance helping to green southeastern SF neighborhoods, at HortScience assessing trees and writing arborist reports, and at TRC assisting PG&E with vegetation management in high-fire threat districts. From 2017-2021 he was on the City of East Palo Alto Planning Commission, serving as Vice Chair and Chair. In 2021 he received a Master in Natural Resources Degree from Oregon State University. He currently serves on the board of directors for Nuestra Casa and Canopy.
Mary Anna Cazarez-Sterling (she/her), from Mexico, started her adventure in the food access movement with Fresh Approach in 2022 as a Community Ambassador for the San Jose and Sunnyvale area. She decided to switch careers from Silicon Valley tech jobs to nonprofits for social justice. She brings a deep passion for advocacy for Food Justice through Education, Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, Knowledge and Policy Change. Her motivation is to become a connector between local food growers and communities for a just food system. She brings experience in community organizing for equitable education and food justice for children and adults with a vision where everyone has a role in transforming communities and the local food system.
Vera Cordova (she/her) joined Fresh Approach as a Program Coordinator in 2020. She helps run the Redwood City Mobile Farmers’ Market, leads gardening workshops and workdays at the Collective Roots Community Garden, and aids in the Nutrition Education classes. Having lived in San Jose for most of her life, Vera has been focused on community-based service since high school. She is a previous Americorps member, fulfilling two service terms with an urban forestry organization based in San Jose, providing access to urban forestry education in Santa Clara County. Her background maybe in urban forestry but she currently uses her plant knowledge to empower others to grow their own food. She is currently working towards an Environmental Horticulture degree from Foothill College.
Session 3: The Power of Representation in the Field
Are you interested in environmental justice? Listen to a diverse panelists share their career stories while discussing the importance of creating an inclusive outdoors.
Andre Humphrey (he/him) is an expert in trauma-informed holistic wellness practices. His credentials include – Yoga Instructor E-RYT 300 from Aura Wellness, and Trauma Informed Training from Niroga Institute. He has been practicing these techniques for over a decade and has used them to aid his own healing journey from childhood trauma. His goal is to make the life-transforming tools of meditation and yoga accessible to inner-cities all over the world.
Juana Rosas (she/her/ella) grew up in a small village in Mexico called Zambrano, Guanajuato. In 1995 her family migrated to the United States. After graduating from college, I was hired as the Rural Coordinator for the Generation Green Program; my first permanent position with the Forest Service. I loved the fact that I was able to help youth like me to succeed and obtain careers in natural resources and educate our communities about the importance of public lands. In my current role as the Partnership Coordinator, I take pride in creating transformational relationships with non-profit and for-profit partners, including youth and parents in local communities. I love building relationships and a community of resources that can help us work together to co-manage our resources transparently.
Antonella De La Tore Marcenaro (they, she/ elle, ella)is a Queer, light-skinned, white-assumed Latine who is a first-generation immigrant from Quechua and Wari land known as Lima, Peru. They have lived in the United States most of their life and moved around a lot within the country in their youth. Their first language was Spanish, and Antonella grew up raised by a single parent in a collectivist culture. Antonella is able-bodied, neurodivergent, a college graduate and currently pursuing their master’s degree in Counseling Psychology to eventually integrate nature-assisted healing into the program they founded called PUENTES: a bilingual nature immersion program for young adults that identify as BIPOC and/or Latinx. They are based in south Santa Cruz county on unceded Amah Mutsun land and they get their joy from watching birds, playing music, spending time with loved ones, and being outdoors. Antonella has been working as an outdoor educator for ten years teaching natural history to folx of varying ages and abilities, and also as a farmer and land steward up until recently.