Zachary is the Environmental Coordinator for the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in San Diego County, California. He is responsible for leading the efforts for tribal compliance with various federal regulations, like the EPA Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, as well as pursuing many different projects in natural resource management that the tribe may be interested in.
What are you up to now in your job? Any noteworthy projects to discuss?
Currently, my team is working on the EPA’s General Assistance Program for Tribes (EPA GAP). This grant is provided to tribes to conduct trainings, outreach, and education in order to build capacity for the tribe's successful environmental program management.
Can you reflect on your time and experiences at CSU and how it benefited you?
My experiences at CSU are directly responsible for my obtaining this position. Not only did the coursework provide me with the technical/scientific knowledge to effectively participate in conservation collaboration, but experiences like the SUPER undergraduate research program with Dr. Stacy Lynn and the ESS 440 capstone course, with Drs. Robin Reid and Julia Klein, gave me the hands-on experiences necessary to actively conduct environmental projects and take the lead in many natural resources management projects.
What led you to natural resources career/education?
I was originally a Physics major at CSU, but always had an interest in ecology and environmental protection. One day, I stopped by the ESS office to talk to (advisor) Nikki Foxley. After our short meeting, I signed the form to change majors to ESS, and I am so glad I did!
What advice do you have for current students or recent grads?
Find a project you are truly passionate about while at CSU and take the time to truly put your “all” into completing that project. Employers will see that you not only have the expertise to be successful, but they will be inspired by your passion. People want to work with others who love what they do.