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Alum of the Month: Genora Givens '09
By Priscila Martinez '15, Advancement Department Intern
Our latest Alum of the Month is taking a new look at how our cities prepare for major water events, while also working to foster greater diversity in her field.
A 2009 graduate of SJND, Genora Givens recently received her Master’s Degree in Water Resource Management from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies - one of the top schools in the nation for environmental science studies.
Originally a media studies and rhetoric major during her undergraduate studies at Willamette University, Genora was taking introductory environmental science and ethnic studies classes and noticed a lot of overlap in environmental and social justice issues. Discovering a new passion, she switched her major and dove head-first into a new area of focus.
“I just love the science. I love chemistry and the the physical way water works, but also thinking about how we prepare our cities for a change in climate... And also thinking, as we do this redesign [of water flow], how can we keep a justice lens and ensure that we’re designing cities that all people can enjoy and benefit from?”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Genora participated in AmeriCorps during which she worked with a an environmental education non-profit called EarthForce, before deciding to continue her education at Yale.
As a graduate student, Genora noticed a lack of diversity in her program and field, and as a result, helped co-found a student group for Black American students. The group, called Roots, centers around community-building, programming, fellowship, professional development, recruitment, retention, and mentoring of Black students in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Today, Genora is based in Washington, D.C. where she continues to work with Roots as they aim to become a 501(c) organization and create a scholarship fund for students, while also completing a summer fellowship with Clean Water Action.
“The East Coast has its charm and it’s bustling, but I definitely miss the West Coast and I’m trying to make it back that way!”
Congratulations, Genora! The SJND community is excited to follow your successes.