Michelle Sevilla ’17
Environmental Studies

Originally born in the Philippines, Michelle came to Santa Barbara with her family when she was seven and has been here ever since. Her enthusiasm for learning earned her multiple research assistantships at UCSB.

Michelle has a research assistant position under Julie Maldonado, a Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Department. She works with Julie’s organization Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), which provides scholarly and networking resources for communities to be able to actively understand and respond to public policy.

This research assistantship is currently on hold as Michelle completes her senior thesis, which focuses on the challenges of maintaining the “Islander Identity” while the effects of climate change, namely rising sea levels, force islander populations to relocate to other nations.

Michelle is also a research assistant for Professors Matto Mildenberger and Leah Stokes in the Political Science Department, where she studies environmental violence. Using comprehensive online data sets, Michelle studies the patterns of violence against environmental activists by the government or large corporations.

In the future, Michelle hopes to attend Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Management and obtain a Master’s degree in Environmental Management, specializing in the Human Dimensions of Environmental Management. She wants to engage in human environmental rights law on the international scale to help people resettle or reclaim their rights to their own land. Ultimately, she wants to become a university professor herself, and give back to the communities that provided her education.

Her tips for anyone interested in pursuing research:

-Meet with faculty or graduate students in person because your visible excitement and enthusiasm for engaging in research is very persuasive.

-If you do land a research internship, write down everything you are doing on a document so you can add or remove details from your resume as you see fit when applying for jobs.