It has been our honor to collaborate with three of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA's) brightest; Michael Flores, Haley Gunther, and Kazuo Harrison. The three students, each hailing from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, have displayed incredible work ethic and shown a resolute commitment to Environmental Justice. We at Ezrach applaud and support these three as they continue along their respective academic & professional paths.
Spotlight: Michael Flores
Michael Flores is a second year undergraduate student at UCLA. He is studying environmental science with a concentration in environmental engineering. His interest in environmental justice comes from his upbringing.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Michael was affected by environmental inequalities such as noise pollution, poor air quality, and lack of green space. Seeing the harms which his low-income neighborhood faced in comparison to wealthier areas, Michael found himself confused as a child. This division became even more noticeable for Michael once he moved to the Westside to study at UCLA. Experiencing the drastic differences in environments caused him to question why these disparities existed in the first place.
Through his education at UCLA, and with the collaboration project with Ezrach Brain Trust Association, Michael hopes to gain a better understanding of not only why these environmental inequalities exist, but how to dismantle them.
Spotlight: Haley Gunther
Haley Gunther is a dedicated environmental advocate with a passion for environmental justice work. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Engineering. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Environmental Engineering at UCLA.
Haley has extensive experience working in projects which overlap environmental studies with social justice. She is committed to using her knowledge and skills to address environmental issues that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. One of her most memorable projects was an international water research project in Rwanda, where she and her team worked with local farmers to establish efficient methods of water allocation.
She is interested in pursuing a career in environmental consulting after graduation. She hopes to use her expertise to help businesses and organizations implement sustainable practices and reduce their environmental impact. With her education and experience, Haley is dedicated to promoting environmental justice and making a positive impact on the world.
Spotlight: Kazuo Harrison
Kazuo Harrison is a second-year undergraduate from Pasadena, CA, studying Civil Engineering with a technical breadth in Urban Planning. He is deeply concerned about equity, sustainability, and safety in transportation & urban design in Los Angeles. He entered Civil engineering after learning about the racist and discriminatory practices in LA freeway planning.
Kazuo is incredibly excited to partner with Ezrach Brain Trust and looks forward to creating a detailed community air monitoring plan. He currently has involvement in student organizations such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) at UCLA, where he plans professional development events and workshops to connect those interested in transportation with industry alumni. ITE members have been instrumental in UCLA’s free transit pass initiative, which has been shown to decrease car trips and reduce pollution in the area.
This summer, Kazuo will travel to Osaka, Japan for an internship in the sustainability engineering field, and hopes to learn more about how different countries approach urban design, safety, and equity. In his free time, he stays active with basketball, soccer, the gym, riding Metro Bike-share Bikes, and reading the manga One Piece!