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Emily P

- Research Program Mentor

MS candidate at University of San Diego


Nature-based solutions, biological indicators, wetland ecology, fish biology


Hello, my name is Emily Parks and I'm currently a master's student in the Environmental & Ocean Sciences Department at the University of San Diego. My expertise is in wetland ecology, fish biology and human impacts in southern California region. Through my thesis work I have learned how to assess fish health (somatic growth rates, otolith increments, RNA:DNA index) and the importance of examining live organisms as potential biological indicators to evaluate the productivity of their surrounding environment. I have taken various environmental science courses from UCSB as a Biology undergraduate and as a study abroad attendee in the University of Queensland's UCEAP program with emphasis on terrestrial ecology & marine biology. My personal interest is learning how we can implement more sustainable practices in our daily lives and enforce these practices in larger companies. I'm really trying to be a life-long learner, so I enjoy reading self-help books and trying new activities out of my comfort zone (like a dance class)! I am also interested in being a mentor because I would really like to help the younger generation become independent thinkers and expose them to a potential career in research.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Environmental Infographic Design

This project entails a student to conduct literature review and relatable content for a certain environmental topic of interest (i.e., oil spills, sea level rise, carbon footprint). The end-goal is to have a thoughtfully-designed infographic(s) that the student will be able to clearly present and explain their advocacy for a cleaner environment.

Mini-Research Proposal

Creating a convincing mini-research proposal involves the basic understanding of how to effectively read journal articles and using your creativity to potentially answer big questions. This project idea would be good if you want to explore a new topic in-depth and enhance your professional writing skills to fully illustrate the implications of your proposed research project.

Advocacy in Environmental Policies

Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a detailed plan for measuring, planning and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and related climatic impacts. It typically includes implementation strategy that identifies required resources and funding mechanisms. Most major US cities have their own CAP and residents are welcomed to give feedback on these CAP drafts as a collaborative effort. In this project, the student will pick a local CAP and write a solid recommendation letter in how the specific goals/policies can be improved based on relevant research. There also might be an opportunity to directly speak to your local Climate Action Planning team during virtual public forum events! This is a great opportunity to see new local policies being enacted to combat climate change in your area and to learn how to effectively engage in public policy.

Teaching experience

As a graduate research assistant at University of San Diego, I have mentored undergraduate students in proper field sampling technique for ecological work in wetlands. I have also helped students conceptualize concepts related to geological oceanography, human impacts and terrestrial ecology.


Work experience

UCSB - Marine Science Institute (2020 - 2019)
Undergraduate Research Assistant
University of San Diego - Talley Lab (2019 - Current)
Graduate Research Assistant/Mentor


University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
General Biology
University of San Diego
MS Master of Science candidate
Environmental & Ocean Science

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