I am a graduate of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. I received a Master of Arts in Global Sustainability from USF in 2013, a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy in 2016, as well as graduate certificates in Global Health & Latin American Studies and in Water, Health & Sustainability.

I currently am pursing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology with a concentration in Urban and Regional Planning at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida. I am also completing a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. My current research focuses on urban water management, sustainable planning, and the water and public health nexus.

Trista at SNRE.JPG

My Story

My first trip out of the US as an adult brought me to Ecuador, a country so rich with culture, delicious food, beautiful people and an array of breathtaking landscapes. On a bus from Quito to Baños, a small town alive with eco-tourism, I saw many signs written in spanish opposing the hydroelectric dams scheduled to be built. Local citizens were fighting big business in a last-ditch effort to preserve their flowing rivers. Once in Baños, I got the opportunity to speak with the community members about the environmental issues there and was moved by their stories, by their love of the land and by the respect they felt for their natural surroundings. I've been traveling and studying in Latin America ever since. 

Traveling has opened my eyes and my heart, revealing a space for me to be useful in my career. After seeing encouraging examples of communities coming together, I have been inspired to use my energy and knowledge to help others connect. My heart lies in engaging and organizing community participation to foster improved health of people and their environment. 

Baños, Ecuador