Alumni Feature- Keiko Mertz
Keiko is the Policy Manager for the South Yuba River Citizens League. In this role she leads advocacy campaigns in the Yuba watershed to protect salmon, prevent new dams, and to encourage environmentally friendly cannabis cultivation. She also tracks and engages in relevant policy issues at the local, state, and national level, and participates in other coalition-led efforts in the watershed. Her most recent engagement was authoring comments on the State Water Resources Control Board’s Proposed General Order to streamline permitting for restoration projects.
Keiko thoughtfully curated her skills throughout her career to prepare her for this role. She earned her B.Sc. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis in 2016. Afterward, she worked in fisheries biology in both field and lab capacities studying Central Valley Chinook salmon migration and floodplain rearing.
She then returned to graduate school and earned an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management. This program provided Keiko practical and invaluable job-relevant professional skills. The professional development seminars helped her network with environmental professionals and identify potential career paths. In each course she practiced public speaking and authored policy- and issue-relevant deliverables. She learned negotiation skills, built a working knowledge of environmental policy, and practiced working with outside organizations on real policy projects. Keiko feels like this program helped springboard her career, as she would not have the skills to work in her current capacity without completing the EPM degree.