Profile for Raynelle Rino
San Francisco State University
BS Biology, MS Ecology (in progress)
I am a Filipino-American Ecologist born and raised in San Jose, California. I obtained my BS in Biology at Humboldt State University and am working towards my MS in Ecology at San Francisco State University. My hopes are to go into science writing, ecology education, and program managing. I'm fascinated by the sometimes, mysterious processes of plant-animal interactions. I began studying ant ecology at Humboldt State University and received opportunities to do field research in places like Humboldt County, Southern Oregon and Tennessee. I am currently working on my MS Degree at San Francisco State University studying sawfly galls on Arroyo Willow. I also developed a passion for science communication and education to the general public, especially under resourced communities. I managed an environmental education program called, The REAL Program (Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership; http://www.stanford.edu/group/therealprogram/About%20REAL.html) at a local continuation high school. I am continuing my efforts to expose and educate youth and communities in which ecological literacy is not normally available by introducing my concept of Critical Science Outreach.
The summer of 2004 was a defining time for me as I began my involvement in SEEDS with the amazing Calgary field trip and annual meeting in Portland. Without any expectations, except for meeting other promising minority ecologists, I wasn't prepared to witness such empowerment and validation for my position in ecology at that time. Sitting at the opening dinner in Calgary I was introduced to the diversity and difference in perspectives of students around the nation. A certain level of comfort and reassurance settled in the room after dinner, then a discussion about our environment and sustainability ensued. As Dr. Joseph Fail (Johnson C. Smith University) took the role of the devil's advocate, the discussion quickly shifted into a heated debate about our fight for environmental justice in our local communities. I was humbled by another student's viewpoint as she explained the injustice she felt in Californians being able to water their lawns and wash their cars weekly, while her being from El Paso Texas, water is such a precious resource that water wars were a common battle. The ability and opportunity to give students a platform for a voice remained integral in the annual meeting in Portland that followed the Calgary trip when another student stood up to the microphone during a question and answering workshop and quickly relinquished a member's notion that students pursue ecology for the money. I was completely hooked after that; to my fellow students and the organization of SEEDS. In my opinion, exercising our voice and self identity remains a characteristic of a SEEDS student to this day.
The pursuit of success in any career will always remain so long as there is both a global and pragmatic advantage. Often times the structures of systems, institutions, or even human nature may cloud your drive to go on. This is where the SUPPORT and OPPORTUNITY must come in and fulfill their obligation. You have these resources in the SEEDS organization whether it be in the staff, students, alumni, and even participating ESA members. Utilize them; it is their obligation, both globally and pragmatically.