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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Interview with Ecologist: Irvine, California, USA


Interview with Ecologist: Irvine, California, USA
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Registered: December 2020
City/Town/Province: Irvine
Posts: 1
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Through studying attachment theory between low-income Latinx mother and child relationships in the THRIVE Lab under Professor Jessica Borelli at the University of California, Irvine, I was inspired to start my own research project. From self-studying an introductory college psychology course, I had learned about a phenomenon called the Pygmalion Effect, which states that higher expectations from an authoritative figure will lead to better results. From my experiences at the THRIVE Lab and knowledge regarding the Pygmalion Effect, I derived my research hypothesis; could the Pygmalion Effect explain the socioeconomic discrepancies that existed between racial groups in the United States? I extensively investigated the Pygmalion Effect from its origins to its applications in the current field of research. Then, I formulated a questionnaire that would reflect whether the Pygmalion Effect was playing a large role in suppressing an individual's self-confidence. After performing statistical analyses on my raw data, I found that there was a statistically significant difference between Latinx and African American groups with white and Asian demographics.
Originally, I had started this project to sate my hunger for exploring the field of research, but after obtaining my results, that hunger turned into a fervent flame. I was armed with this knowledge, but what was I to do with it?
I founded the Malion Circle, a nonprofit organization with the ability to catalyze the findings I obtained from my research. My Malion Circle peers and I understood the magnitude of this research at the early stage; by sharing my results, we could inspire the next generation of minority groups to thrive in a competitive society. Now, almost a year later, it is a state-wide organization that has growing chapters at UC Berkeley and Chapman University.
Each chapter of the Malion Circle has an additional project that they centralize as a part of their mission. For UC Berkeley, this project revolves around inspiring others to create beneficial, environmental change. The leading members of the branch facilitate the cultivation of environmental projects that are implemented near the Berkeley area. This is still relevant to the Malion Circle's overall mission as members would be able to see the impact of their project. Environmental volunteer activities like beach cleanups or holding interviews with individuals in the city government often reap visible, quantifiable results. In essence, environmental activism would be a great catalyst for raising the confidence of minority and low-income individuals if their project is successful. While this has been impedimented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found unique solutions that have allowed us to continue the program by moving it to a digital platform. By holding interviews with industry professionals and spreading awareness regarding climate change through media journalism and our social media platforms, we have been able to continue the members' environmental projects.
The guidelines created by the head of the UC Berkeley chapter, a professor in urban planning, and I are listed below:
Identify the Issue
What is the issue you want to solve in your community? What is the root cause? Can it be changed? How can it be changed? Advocacy work? Media coverage?
Research and Analyze
Gather information about your issue and begin to look into possible solutions. What can help you solve this issue? Are there existing groups that are trying to tackle this issue? Who is an authoritative figure that can help solve this issue? A politician? Who would oppose the change you're proposing? How would they react? How would you overcome their opposition? Decide if advocacy work is the best way to approach this issue. Consider media coverage, direct influencing, or mobilizing the public through campaigning.
Make a decisive plan of action. Is your main approach to this topic going to be media coverage, direct influencing, or mobilizing the public through campaigning? Create a plan that includes your objectives, hopeful results, means of measuring success, responsibilities, schedule, and your plan of action.
Put your plan of action into effect.
Reflect on your project. How did it go? What went well? What could you have done differently to achieve a better result? How are you going to modify your project? What didn't work well?

In order for our guideline to be applicable to any audience regardless of education and age, we realized that we had to create a plan that was concise yet effective. Thus, we utilized five steps, but in our UC Berkeley Malion Circle webinars, we elaborate upon the steps.

In 2020, the branch at UC Berkeley has inspired the creation of a dozen projects ranging from coastal cleanups to informing their community by utilizing the information in Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) documents.

Furthermore, for addressing more alarming issues like declining water supplies and health impacts in cities due to heat, the Malion Circle partners with global organizations like the Climate Reality Project. Through our partnership with the Climate Reality Project, we have been able to hold meetings with the City of Tustin's mayor; Letitia Clark. I have discussed the unrecognized impacts of climate change like insect outbreaks and increased wildfires and Tustin's current plans to combat these phenomena as they become more prevalent in the near future. We, along with the Climate Reality Project, have convinced her to take more immediate action regarding climate change, and it has been her campaign's cornerstone as she ran for office in 2020. I hope to continue to work with her in order to create a more green, sustainable future for the upcoming generations.

I have been incredibly fortunate to be in a position where I can impact the state's environment by inspiring other hardworking individuals. I am elated that my psychology research has given these individuals the platform to act upon their passions, and I am incredibly excited to see where these initiatives take the Malion Circle and its members.
Date: December 27, 2020 Views: 2989 File size: 8.7kb, 229.7kb : 3517 x 2071
Hours Volunteered: 800
Volunteers: 22
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 17-22
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