Meet the Organizers

 

Laura Diaz, Founder

Laura Diaz is an environmental justice activist and high school biology teacher, where she brings real-world, action-based projects to her classroom. Laura plays a proactive role in elevating the conversation around what teachers have to offer not only to students but also in the movement of social progression.

 

A former Microbiologist for the California Department of Public Health, Laura is the proud daughter of two immigrants and has been personally impacted by environmental injustices in her community. Her upbringing gives her a grounding perspective of the transformative role that education holds. Laura is particularly interested in the cross-section between educators, students, and the community using environmental justice and projects.

 

Laura is also a former professional salsa dancer and Latin jazz fanatic. Her favorite pastimes include rock collecting and hiking with her 4-year-old son.

 

Samrat Pathania, Co-Founder

Samrat Pathania grew up in India. His childhood love for science and mathematics culminated in a degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur (India). After working several years as a software engineer with various multi-national corporations, Samrat became a teacher and currently teaches physics, mathematics, and software programming courses at Wallkill High School. He is a member of New York State Master Teacher Program and was named the sole winner of the 2017 STEM Teacher Scholarship from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Samrat is former chair and coordinator of the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. He is also a Climate Reality Leader and currently serves as co-chair of the Hudson Valley/Catskills chapter of the Climate Reality Project.

 

Michelle Mazzeo

Michelle is an educator, social and environmental justice advocate who has worked in k-12 education for over 10 years. Michelle completed her Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has organized and facilitated design thinking and action focused workshops for educators focused on sustainability education. She is currently teaching elementary school in the Bay Area.

 

Michelle spends her free time singing and playing guitar, gardening and running!

 

Gabriel Trevino, Lead Youth Organizer

Gabriel Trevino grew up in the Bay Area where he developed a unique perspective on how environmental injustices impact lower income communities from something as simple as his drive to school everyday. A previous student of Laura Diaz, he got to learn from the master about project based learning. He aims to impact and teach others about the practicality it holds in solving real world issues. This is where his passion about sustainability and environmental justice was cultivated.

 

Gabriel was a presenter at the 2018 Drawdown international conference, has experience co-teaching AP Environmental Science courses, was a key member and founder of Youth Environmental Activists in high school, and is now studying Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo State University. His creative mind, combined with the careful guidance of caring parents and teachers, has allowed Gabriel to achieve one of his life-long dreams in being a part of a non-profit. Gabriel is interested in garnering community involvement and building the discussion around environmental justice. 

In his free time Gabriel enjoys being surrounded by nature at places like beaches or forests, is a runner, is learning piano, and loves getting to know new people.