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AB SITE LEADERS

Liz Andrusenki

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

Hey! I'm Liz and I am a second year transfer/fourth year Geography/Environmental Studies major with a minor in Geospatial Information Systems and Technologies and Geology. I have grown up around animals my entire life and even volunteered at an aquarium and zoo (so if you want some random animal facts I'm your gal) and eventually I would like to go into conservation. Even though our Wildlife Preservation trip didn't happen last year, I learned so much about the importance of helping species within the U.S. and close to home as well as how many things can really impact the survival of a species. The I can't wait to lead a site this year on the importance of environmental rights for the National Parks Services and surrounding inhabitants.

Jonathan Chang

Site Leader

He/Him/His

I am a third year Human Biology and Society major with a minor in Biomedical Research. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies, going to the beach, and playing with my 3 dogs! I joined AB last year but unfortunately was not able to go on my spring trip due to COVID-19; however, prior to spring break I learned invaluable lessons about society and social justice issues, which have ultimately shaped my point of view today. Through AB, I had the opportunity to learn about mass incarceration and speak 1-to-1 with inmates about their experiences with the criminal justice system and hear their stories. I am excited to be leading a site this year alongside my co, Kathleen, and am looking forward to introducing new faces to AB!

Emmi Deckard

Site Leader/SDS Committee

She/Her/Hers

I grew up in Corona, CA and am now entering my third year studying Bioengineering with the hopes of attending medical school in the future. During my first year with AB, I traveled to New Orleans to learn more about Community Rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This year I will be one of the site leaders for the Mass Incarceration trip. I will also be helping other site leaders develop their sites as part of the site development committee. I am passionate about issues such as disabilities rights, access to healthcare, gender equality, and mental health. If you’re part of my site you can look forward lots of baked goods to our meetings. Aside from AB, you can find me working at Kerckhoff Coffee House or playing soccer.

Alejandrina Lopez

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

I am a third-year majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish. I hope to become a family medicine physician to help alleviate health inequity in low-income and underrepresented communities. Due to COVID-19, I was unable to go on my AB trip to Seattle to learn more about the complexity of youth homelessness. Nevertheless, I decided to return because I admire the sense of community at AB filled with some many individuals that all share the same passion of social justice. I am very excited to be leading a site with my co, Cossette, in which we will be delving into the topic of immigrantion rights. Being in quarantine has given me the opportunity to pursue my interests of listening to podcasts, reading self-improvement books, and doing flower pressing art.

Sarah Payne

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

Hi! I am a fourth year Geography/ Environmental Studies major with minors in Geospatial Information Systems and Technologies and Conservation Biology. My first AB trip was way back in 2018 where we spent a showerless week in Joshua Tree National Park focusing on environmental conservation. From this trip, I fell in love with AB and its pillars of education, service, and reflection, ended up switching majors, and now, maybe not so coincidentally, I have spent a little over a year researching environmental change in desert ecosystems. I went on to lead the 2019 trip Climate Change/Environmental Justice in North Carolina and this upcoming year I am extremely excited to be leading the Climate Change trip with my fAnTaSTiC co-leader Joanna! In my free time I enjoy lengthy walks, boogie boarding, and playing with my rabbit Fozzy.

Cossette Perez

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

I am a third year Cognitive Science major at UCLA with hopes of attending graduate school and completing psychology programs abroad. I grew up in the Chula Vista/Tijuana border area, crossing the border very often. I love going on night hikes, the beach, watching horror films, and doing makeup. This is my second year being part of Alternative Breaks and I am passionate about helping preserve wild life and protecting immigrant rights, as both form a large part of my identity.

Natalie Quah

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

Despite missing out on going for the Spring site to Alaska, AB has presented me with a chance to create more opportunities for incoming participants to learn alongside me. Born and raised in the tropical island city of Singapore, I’ve grown up in a place where culture, nature and development co-exist with a strange tension that beckons for us to discover more. Finding these same themes arising as I stepped into the US, I wish to go on a journey with everyone to uncover these hidden stories together! As a rising Sophomore currently pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science, I hope to add to both my participants’ experience and learn from them as we spend our time curiously exploring and serving in the places we go!

Kathleen Vidanes

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

Hi! I am a 4th year Physiological Science major and Global Studies minor from West Covina, CA. I joined AB last year as a participant on the first-ever MLK weekend trip to Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row that focused on homelessness in LA. Although the trip only lasted 3 days, it left an impact on me that I’m sure will last a lifetime. I learned about the intersectionality of homelessness and how it stems from issues such as poverty, inaccessibility to education, domestic violence, the criminal justice system, and more. I also gained lifelong friends who have shared plenty of wisdom and laughs with me! As a site leader, I hope to delve more into these topics but am also always open to new adventures and lessons! I love to sing, travel, eat, hike, go to the beach, and spend time with family, especially my dog.

Tyra Wallace

Site Leader

She/Her/Hers

I am a 4th year Political Science major/African American Studies minor student at UCLA. During my third year, I was a part of the group studying mass incarceration in San Francisco. Although our trip was cancelled due to covid-19, I had such an eye-opening experience during our pre-service trip to the California State Prison. I always knew I wanted to center my career around the issue of mass incarceration, and because of my experience with AB, I was able to speak directly with the individuals affected by our broken criminal justice system. I will always keep the faces of those men and their words in the back of my mind as I pursue my career.

Joanna Yang

Site Leader/SDS Committee

They/Them/Theirs

I'm a rising junior studying Materials Science & Engineering with the ultimate goal of a career in sustainability. My first year with Alternative Breaks (AB) saw me learning about community rebuilding after natural disasters in New Orleans and green spaces in growing cities in Grand Rapids. I decided to lead a trip alongside Sarah exploring climate change as a social justice issue, and we are so excited for y'all to embark on an educational journey about any of these topics with us! Outside of AB, I am currently involved with Renewable Energy Association and Game Music Ensemble, and Women in Engineering Academies at UCLA. I love making art, interviewing friends, meeting new people, and playing viola and tennis.

Alternative Breaks at UCLA 2020

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