As you can probably tell, I love chatting with folks about a variety of issues, like labor unions, climate and racial justice, urban ecology, and the various ways they all intersect. Below you will find some of the fun opportunities I have had to share my perspectives and learn from others. If you would like to chat, feel free to reach out through the Contact tab!

Panels and Discussions

“Climate Change and Community Action: Panel Discussion.” Sarah P. Duke Gardens. January 27th, 2022.

The impact of climate change is visible in our everyday lives, and many of us are seeking to focus national priorities on this challenge. Each generation will bring skills and priorities to the effort. I joined Jon Choi, fellow member Durham Hub of the Sunrise Movement, as well as Duke professors Dr. Megan Mullin, Dr. Nancy MacLean, and Dr. Ryke Longest to talk about the work of the Sunrise Movement, moderated by Duke Gardens staff member Kavanah Anderson.

“The New Corporation: Documentary Film Screening and Panel Discussion.” Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. January 20th, 2022.

The Kenan Institute for Ethics hosted a screening of “The New Corporation”, a documentary film examining how corporations brand themselves as socially conscious entities while contributing to climate change, inequality, and the erosion of democracy. Along with Duke professors Dr. Michael Hardt and Dr. Deborah Gallagher, I participated in a panel discussing the documentary, how it applies to our work, and shared reflections on its implications in achieving climate solutions.


“Green New Deal for Durham’s Town Hall.” May 13th, 2021.

+100 participants joined us in discussing what a Green New Deal for Durham could look like, how we’re going to harness our diversity, creativity, joy, and collective power to build the movement for a just, equitable, regenerative community together. Learn more about this coalition.

“Envisioning a Green New Deal in the Triangle.” TSURJ. April 28th, 2021. 

In my position as Hub Co-coordinator of the Durham Hub of the Sunrise Movement, I joined a fellow organizer from Durham’s People‚Äôs Alliance to speak about a Green New Deal for Durham. We discussed and envisioned what a Green New Deal is, how it is interconnected with racial justice, economic justice, healthcare, and carcerality, and how our groups are starting to work to make this a reality for Durham, with relevant ideas & concepts for across the Triangle. Learn more about the local chapter of TSURJ.

“Race, Gender, Invisibility in the STEM Fields: Stories of Action.” Duke University Center for International & Global Studies. October 7th, 2020.

As part of a rebroadcasting of a conversation between Duke professor Dr. Marc Anthony Neal and Duke staff member Dr. Rochelle Newton around invisibility in the STEM fields on race and gender, I joined a discussion with Dir. Douglass Coleman and Dr. Alicia Nicki Washington on our own experiences and perspectives.

“Walkout Wednesday Panel for Earth Day.” SEIU. April 22, 2020.

As part of the weekly #WalkoutWednesday series, which brought workers and organizers from across the country to discuss their experiences and perspectives on unions, I shared my perspectives on the intersection of racial, environmental, and labor justice. See this highlight clip and learn more about Fight For 15.

“Earth Day: Celebrating 50 Years of Activism.” April 22, 2020.

In the midst of a three-day Livestream schedule celebrating this day, I joined the panel “United in the Fight: Making the Connections Between the Labor and Climate Justice Movements” along with other organizers to bridge the experiences and learnings between the labor and climate movements.

Interviews and Podcasts

“Why we need intersectionality when addressing climate change.” Operation Climate. February 9th, 2021.

In this podcast episode, I shared my thoughts on the intersectionality of climate change with other issues like racism and inequality in my time with the Durham Hub of the Sunrise Movement. I made the case that only a transformative, ambitious climate plan aiming to build a green, equity-centered economy that can properly address climate change and its impacts.

“Fearless Voice interview: Renata Kamakura.” Colombia Land Trust.  June 12th, 2019.

As my time with the Columbia Land Trust came to an end before I started grad school, I sat down for an interview with Dez Ramirez, the Community Engagement Manager at the time.

Video and Article Features

To kick off the second summer fieldwork in Chicago, I lead a tree health monitoring training for 9 participants with Imani Green Health Advocates.

Sustainable Management of Duke’s Campus Trees. Duke University. April 22, 2022.

I worked with Roger Conner from Duke facilities management and Charlotte Clark and Tavey Capps’s ENV 245 Sustainability class to make a short video about Duke’s campus trees for Earth Day. Alina Taalman from the Nicholas School of the Environment’s communications department did the filming, interviewing, and editing for the project.

‘Urban areas are stressful’: Ecologist shares how to help trees thrive amid city life. Spectrum News. March 23, 2022.

On a trip with fellow lab mates and my PI, Jim Clark, I spoke with Rachel Boyd from Spectrum News about urban trees and some of the maintenance practices managers use to keep trees healthy in otherwise stressful urban environments.

“Duke Earns Tree Campus Honor for 14th-Straight Year.” Duke University. March 14th, 2022. 

We have been working with facilities management, specifically Roger Conner, to look at the health of trees on Duke’s Campus, and our research work satisfies one of the requirements for the Tree Campus Higher Education award they received.

“The 2021 Evergreen Gala: Virtual Experience.” The Morton Arboretum. September 18th, 2021. (4:40 mark)

As part of The Morton Arboretum’s annual fundraising event, our work measuring street trees’ health in Chicago in the summer of 2021 was featured. Learn more from a student in the project, Kamil Orozco, and the great research, outreach, and program work others are doing for trees in Chicago. Learn more about The Morton Arboretum.

“It’s Earth Day [sigh]”. SEIU. April 22nd, 2020.

As part of the Earth Day events SEIU put on for the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day and at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I shared some reflections about the importance of labor solidarity in the face of corporate greed, and how we need to harness that power into 2020 to transform dangerous, poorly-paid jobs into secure, middle-class work.

In my involvement with the Duke Graduate Student Union, I have spoken at events and rallies to demand improvements to our working conditions. In June 2021, we finally achieved dental coverage for Ph.D. students, and we won our union election in 2023, but our work is far from over. Learn more about Duke’s Grad Union.

Fun Conversations

“Wood Heart One-Shot.” Nature Check. February 13th, 2022.

I joined fellow graduate students and science communicators in a fun story-writing and map drawing game, joining host Sheryl on her channel Nature Check. We discussed interactions between humans and forests, the consequences of human actions, and fun science facts.

General background on me

Academic research interests

young people in vests looking at an apricot tree, two squatting down and one entering data in a tablet standing up

Technicians since 2019

Activism outside academic research

Interviews, podcasts, science writing, and more

Full academic CV