Angelly Tovar

First-year student Angelly Tovar selected as Ted Bradshaw Engaged Student Scholar

CalEnviroScreen is an important tool developed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment to identify regions impacted by pollution among other characteristics. According to CalEnviroScreen 4.0 results, over 90% of people in the top 10% of impacted communities are people of color. In contrast, people of color make up only 33% of the least impacted communities. Regarding air quality, legislation – like AB617 – have been implemented to address these disparities. Beyond legislation, capacity building within impacted communities will continue to be important in empowering at-risk and historically underserved communities. 

In January 2022, I became a Ted Bradshaw Engaged Student Scholar to gain more hands-on experience in such environmental issues. The program pairs undergraduate and graduate students with a university partner and project. For the next six months, I am part of the [UC Davis] Environmental Health Sciences Center’s team developing the Community Environmental Health Sciences Academy (CEHSA). 

Our goal is to work with community leaders to build capacity for community-partnered research and provide a space for two-way knowledge exchange between academics and community leaders. The focus for CEHSA 2022 will be air quality. So far, I have led research for curriculum development. In the first few months of the project, I assessed curriculum models from existing programs and identified gaps in current practices. Using this foundation, our team organized community focus groups to understand and discuss the needs of community professionals and academics in air quality and health fields throughout California. By the end of the project, I expect to create first drafts for our course modules and continue to produce reports from our discussions and findings from the literature. I hope to remain involved with the project and help facilitate sessions later this year. Through continued collaboration, we will produce an effective program that has positive, tangible impacts for our participants. 

Similarly, the Bradshaw Scholars program aims to increase student engagement by developing the next generation of translational researchers. While I primarily engage with my CEHSA team, I have Bradshaw program coordinators always available for support. I encourage my peers to engage in this program and others like it. The world needs more equity-minded researchers, I hope I can give back what I’ve learned as a Bradshaw Scholar to participants in CEHSA and beyond. 

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