Julie and Jim Lin Environmental Justice in Underserved Communities Award

Image: Kassandra Valladolid, inaugural 2021 Awardeee

Many communities are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards and lack of access to the decision-making processes necessary to sustain a healthy community and planet. In order to promote environmental justice in underserved communities, we must not only reduce ecological harm but also ensure that environmental laws, regulations, and policies uplift the voices of all people regardless of race, income, or other forms of bias. This award is intended for a student who is committed to helping underserved populations mobilize, sustain, and protect their communities in the face of our current climate crisis.

Each academic year, UCSD Muir College awards one $1,000 award to a undergraduate student who is passionate about helping underserved communities in the area of environmental justice. The award is available to all registered UC San Diego undergraduate students with at least junior standing and who plan to graduate during academic year of the award

View full eligibility details and application instructions here.

James Lin is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at UC San Diego and was Acting Provost of John Muir College in 2013. Julie Lin's love for the outdoors and the environment was nurtured by her early experiences working at Yosemite National Park for three summers. She believes that a healthy environment is a basic human right. A retired teacher, Julie currently spends her time volunteering, hiking, traveling, and playing the cello. Jim and Julie established another scholarship in 2016: the Jim and Julie Lin Breaking Barriers Leadership and Scholarship Award through the Cross-Cultural Center

Current Awardees

2023 Awardees

Antonio Catanzarite

Antonio Catanzarite is majoring in Environmental Systems - Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at UC San Diego. graduated from Palm Desert High School as a teammate on Varsity Swim and Water Polo. He is an Eagle Scout for Boy Scouts of America, and an experienced actor.

Leave only footprints. As part of Boy Scouts, we learn to treat the land with respect and to function sustainably.

Now more than ever our environment is threatened by human encroachment, much of which is irreversible. It pains me this year to look at photographs of the scorched foothills of California, landscapes I had once hiked as a Scout. My cosmos is threatened, and I fear if humanity continues on the path we have chosen, future generations will be unable to experience the same treasures that have enriched me.

It is my duty to give back to the biosphere. By gaining a better understanding of our impact on Earth, I want my career to help steer humanity toward achieving harmony with the planet that raised me.

While at UCSD, I am focused on my growth as a scientist and reaching out to engage with different communities. I have become the Director of Community Relations and Development for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and an Intern for CALPIRG at UCSD. Over the summer, I previously worked as a Conservation Intern at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens as a primary caregiver of endangered pond turtles and desert tortoises. As I approach my third year at UCSD, I hope to gain as much experience as I can so I will be better prepared to engage with the real world.

Julianne Luong

Julianne Luong is a 4th year ESYS Environmental Policy major and Urban Studies and Planning Minor with a passion for all things food! Her journey in food justice, sustainability, and environmental justice started when she worked at 7th Market, got a taste of the food industry and was shocked at how much waste it produced. 

From then on, she worked with the Student Sustainability Collective, a commission under Associated Students, to address several issues within the food system as the Director of Food Justice. With help from her team, she created and is still running a Food Scrap Drop-Off Program, where she gives students buckets to collect food scraps in their dorms, organize volunteers as the labor to transport organic material from food scrap drop-off stations to student gardens, and create resources to increase overall knowledge around waste sorting. Other parts of her job at the SSC include promoting sustainable food consumption, working to amplify food security student organizations, creating food resources (like SSC's resource map!) and advocating for sustainable food policies and infrastructures around campus.

In this upcoming year she plans to work with the University on expanding composting, both pre-consumer and post-consumer, and support the USP Department in creating a center where all food justice learning can be in community, share resources, and collaborate on efforts for a more just and sustainable food system. 

Julianne was a part of the 2022-2023 Rachel Carson Council Fellowship Cohort, and is also currently working for the City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department. 

Follow Julianne's environmental justice project Student Sustainability Collective on Instagram

Past Awards

2022 Awardee

Jesus Gallegos-Munoz

2021 Awardee

Kassandra Valladolid 

Kasandra Valladolid has been an activist in binational issues since the age of 16.  Kasandra has experience in community  service and in the legislative branch as an intern, where Kasandra has the opportunity to develop skills in problem-solving, field research, bilingual communications, and volunteering. Currently, Kasandra is a senior majoring in Political Science with a focus on International Relations and Affairs at UC San Diego and will start law school after graduation.

Follow Kasandra's environmental justice Proyecto Tlali on Instagram

2021 Honorable Mentions

Kortni Washington

Kortni Washington is an up-and-coming senior at UC San Diego. She is studying Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management, and she has a minor in Healthcare: Social Issues. Growing up in the inland empire, an area known for multiple environmental injustices, she found her passion for public health through the lens of environmental justice. While unaware of the terminology, she knew that exposure to air pollution from manufacturing and transportation created a healthy environment where unsafe ozone was a norm. 

She first began involved in climate justice work at the Center for Diverse Leadership in science. Here she explored the field of environmental justice through the field of geoscience and engaged in K-12 outreach in Los Angeles. Recently, she has served in the student government as the Associate Vice President of the Office of Environmental Justice Affairs. In this position, she has been able to lead a team responsible for educating and informing the campus of environmental justice issues through various programming and content. 

She also has been a Fair Housing and Community Development Intern for the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. In this position, she is involved in research and writing processes for evaluating and recommending fair housing strategies. This summer, she will be interning with the Boston based non-profit Climate Exchange, where she will be a State Climate Policy Fellow. Following the completion of her bachelor’s, she hopes to eventually apply to law school. She wants to use the law as a tool for policy change in the fields of both public health and environmental justice. 

Prasadini Gross

Prasadini Gross is a graduating 4th year with a major in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies from John Muir College at UC San Diego. When Prasadini is not studying you can find her reading Toni Morrison under a tree on a sunny day or painting or tending to my plant babies. Prasadini was born and raised in San Diego, where the Kumeyaay people are the original stewards of the land. Her aspirations (personal and professional) are always centered around fostering community care. Prasadini firmly believes that liberation and empowerment come only when the earth, the most disenfranchised human and non-human beings are centered, empowered, and liberated. Organizations that she has been involved with that center environmental justice are the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program @ University of Washington; the Office of Environmental Justice Affairs @ UCSD; and the Forterra- Land for Good.