MEET THE STUDENTS
Ava McLeod is a current junior at Eckerd College with a double major in Marine Science and French and a minor in Math. She was raised in Dallas, Texas where she enjoyed hobbies such as nature walking, singing, and acting. Since being at Eckerd, Ava has participated in many clubs and student organizations that have enabled her to improve her leadership skills, including being the first ever Culture Council Liaison, the President of ECOS, and now, an Eastman Scholar. For the Eastman Program, Ava's discovery plan focuses on climate gentrification in St. Petersburg and how we can either prevent it from happening in the first place or prevent it from progressing. In order to fulfill this project, she plans on collaborating with politicians and various organizations in St. Petersburg and studying how other cities and areas are addressing climate gentrification.
Andrew is a junior at Eckerd College majoring in Anthropology and Animal Studies, with academic interests in addressing how disability and capitalism intersect, as well as accessibility within higher education. He currently works as the Co-President of Eckerd’s Disability Advocacy Coalition and with ECOS as the Building and Grounds Liaison with hopes to make Eckerd’s campus more accessible for disabled students. In his free time, Andrew enjoys birdwatching, volunteering at Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary, and visiting coffee shops and museums around St. Pete!
Isobel Morton (she/her) is a junior Environmental Studies major. She previously served as the Grassroots Coordinator for FL PIRG Students’ 100% Renewable Energy campaign where she advocated for the installation of solar panels across campus. She now serves as the FL PIRG Students Chapter Communication Coordinator for Eckerd College. She is also a work-study employee for the Armacost Library. Her academic interests include advocating for environmental policy and social awareness, which will be embodied in her Eastman program work, advocating for sustainable sanitary products for low-income women.
Katya Tjahaja is an International student from Jakarta, Indonesia. She is currently studying Biology with minors in Creative Writing and Chemistry. In the future, she hopes to be working in the biomedical field, either as a practicing doctor or researcher of tropical diseases. Through the Eastman Program, Katya hopes the tackle issues of medical racism by incorporation of statistical data and interlacing personal accounts from both patients and practicing doctors. On campus, she is an active journalist for The Current, Student Coordinator on the Academic Honor Council, member of EC-ERT and research assistant for Professor Dobrin’s Honeybee Neurobiology Lab. Katya is excited to continue her academic journey at Eckerd and pace through challenges whilst accepting rigorous opportunities that come her way!
Kayla (she/her) is a junior Biology, and Environmental Studies double major. She is also currently a first mate on the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team (ESCAR), where she assists the boating community of Tampa Bay, motivating other crewmates on the importance of leadership and education through service. In the Eastman Leaders program, Kayla’s focus involves engagement with the Diversity Leadership Scholars to recreate and redefine what leadership means for people of marginalized communities. Aside from class and the busyness of college life, Kayla enjoys drinking coffee at a local coffee shop or hanging out with friends, hopefully before getting a case call.
Jerome Uy (he/him) is a senior at Eckerd College where he is majoring in Marine Science and Environmental Studies. As a plant dad, he is growing over 100 plants in his dorm room that range from caudiciforms to carnivorous plants. He's also interested in ethnobotany, the study of how humans use indigenous plants for a wide variety of applications in their culture. Jerome's focus in the Eastman Program is to use ethnobotany as a central tool in science outreach programs to show the intersectionality between humans and the environment.
Love is a senior at Eckerd College obtaining a major in Communication with minors in Japanese and Human Development. She plans to pursue work in humanitarian/ community aid and empowerment following graduation. Her interests are in addressing child trafficking in Cambodia, as well as the prospect of empowering youth via the transformation of conventional education into a holistic and interpersonally empowering model. She strongly believes these two things have much to do with one another and has developed her individualized discovery plan with this idea in mind. Out of class you can find her being silly with her dog-daughter, Violet.
Sofie Alexander is currently a senior at Eckerd College, majoring in Political Science and studying Chemistry. Her academic interests include the long-term effect of Trump's presidency and American voting policy on environmental chemistry and the extraction of microplastics from the ocean using analytical chemistry. She is passionate about proper consent education and the protection of a person’s bodily autonomy from any sexual harm or violence. In the Eastman Program, she focuses on better consent education and consent training on Eckerd’s campus, she plans on doing this with her club’s help and influence of her club, Generation Action. Outside of academics, Sofie loves taking photos of Eckerd’s beautiful campus and going on adventures with her seven roommates.
Zachary Franco is a senior majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Journalism. Zach is interested in pursuing how to use storytelling as a tool to create community, to empower and craft a more representative narrative. As the Managing Editor and Photo Editor of The Current, Eckerd's Student Newspaper, he is passionate about finding effective ways to co-create a more representative narrative about the campus and community we live in. Outside of class, he enjoys finding adventure wherever he can, whether that be through meeting new people, exploring different parts of Florida or trying to find the best cup of coffee wherever he is.
Katie Genovesi is a graduate of Eckerd College where she majored in Environmental Studies and Political science. She is a passionate advocate of an intersectional approach to climate change policy, and her academic interests ranged from storytelling for effective change-making to using horticulture as a way to teach the importance of diversity, community, and food security. In the Eastman Program, Katie’s focus was on climate change communication through the lens of transformative justice in hopes to spread hope and information about a sustainable future. In her free time she loves to spend time hiking, swimming, and mingling with the other creatures on this Earth.
Alex (she/her) is a graduate of Political Science and Environmental Studies. She was a student organizer with Eckerd's Florida PIRG Students Chapter where she spent most of her time mobilizing young people to take action on the issues they care about. Her academic interests focused on environmental justice and policy and her projects through the Eastman program worked to uplift storytelling as a tool for organizing within the Environmental Justice Movement.
Leah Totman (she/her) is a graduate of Eckerd College who majored in Women’s & Gender Studies and International Relations & Global Affairs, with minors in Spanish and Political Science. Her academic interests ranged from Latin American politics to the intersections between capitalism and gender to graphic design. For the Eastman program, Leah focused on the use of digital media as a tool for empowerment, which allowed her to explore all of her passions in a cohesive way. Her hobbies include visiting the St. Pete Cat Cafe and listening to her partner talk about bees.
Summer Vishnu (she/her) is a passionate graduate of Eckerd College who majored in Environmental Studies and Sociology. Her academic interests included food equity, social injustice issues, and sustainability. In her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors and works on increasing her knowledge about foraging and how to live a more low waste life. For her work in the Eastman Program, she focused on community food equity movements and issues of food access.