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Alexandra Crilley

1115

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

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Winner

Bio

I am an environmental science student at the University of Michigan, focusing on what I can do to help combat the climate crisis and fight for environmental justice.

Education

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

    -
  • Transfer schools of interest:

    -
  • Majors of interest:

    -
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Environmental Services

    • Dream career goals:

      -
    • Summer Intern

      GreenTown Los Altos
      2019 – 2019
    • Summer Intern & Adventure Guide

      Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
      2022 – 2022

    Sports

    Swimming

    Club
    2006 - Present18 years

    Research

    • Environmental Design

      Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Independent academic research
      2022 – 2022

    Arts

    • independent

      Photography
      2015 – Present

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      California Youth Climate StrikeCreative Director
      2019 – 2020
    • Advocacy

      Sunrise Silicon Valleyco-lead
      2019 – 2020
    • Advocacy

      Los Altos Youth Climate Action TeamFounder & President
      2019 – 2020
    • Advocacy

      Fridays for Future Ann Arborco-founder and Vice President
      2021 – 2022
    • Advocacy

      Environmental Justice CoalitionSocial Media Director
      2021 – 2022
    • Advocacy

      Students for Clean Energy at UMPolicy Director
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Environmental Stewardship Award
    Winner
    The climate crisis is upon us, and with it comes the existential question of how to power our future. In order to combat climate change — to prevent global average temperatures from reaching the point at which the negative impacts are completely irreversible — it is vital that swift and transformative mitigation and adaptation initiatives are enacted across all scales. According to the recent data from the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, released in 2023, we have only a few years left to eliminate carbon emissions in order to keep warming below 1.5 degrees celsius. Among academics and activists alike, clean energy has become widely accepted as a necessary response to climate change. By shifting away from the fossil fuel sources of coal, oil, and gas, replacing them with renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, we have a powerful opportunity to decarbonize our energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long run. Corporations cannot be allowed to continue burning fossil fuels — endangering human and ecological health, putting our planetary systems in peril. The extractive and polluting nature of this industry is the antithesis to sustainability; action must be taken to hold these entities accountable. Measures must also be in place to ensure that no one is left behind in our just transition to clean energy, as the effects of climate change have been far from equally distributed. The communities who contribute the least are often hit the worst by the impacts. Climate justice is social, economic, and political justice on all fronts. It is racial justice, it is gender equality, and it cannot be achieved without addressing the complex systems of oppression in our society. Every voice matters, and now is the time to speak up for the planet and all of its people.
    Muir Way Scholarship
    Nature has always been my ultimate inspiration. It was my playground as a child, my refuge as a teenager. I fell in love with the deep green of the valley oak leaves, the vivacious yellow of the mustard flower, the rich copper of the towering redwoods. I felt simultaneously insignificant and empowered — to be part of this eternal cycle, beautiful and serene and vicious — I felt safe in the open arms of our planet. The environment had always been my protector. I had no idea that a time would come for me to defend it. But by the time I was in high school, global average temperature had already risen a full degree. Extinction rates were at an all time high, storms were increasing in severity around the world, and wildfires were tearing through my home state. As I began to understand how dire the situation is, I understood that I couldn’t not do something about it. My fight for the planet started small, and it started conventionally. I joined my school’s green team, volunteered and interned for sustainability nonprofits, and co-founded an environmental education project. I did what I could to make myself and my community more sustainable — but it didn’t feel like enough. So I pushed further; I organized and spoke at climate strikes around the Bay Area, I formed a student advocacy group to push for environmentally beneficial legislation at the local level. I was thrilled to make tangible change through these means, drawing media attention and public awareness to environmental issues, meeting with local officials to encourage stronger legislative action. I quickly found myself rising to leadership in a way I had never expected or asked for, but not once did I consider shying away from the challenges. Over those few months, one thing had become increasingly clear to me: this is exactly what I’m meant to do. And though life is unpredictable, I decided that was what I wanted to do with the rest of mine. Entering college, I chose to major in environmental science to gain a stronger understanding of what I advocated for. My classes at the University of Michigan have provided me with a thorough comprehension of our planet’s biological systems and ecological challenges, the law and policy tactics used to seek solutions, the psychology of communicating difficult subjects, and the technical skills required to be successful in each of these areas. From becoming proficient in GIS to memorizing legal cases, I have dedicated myself to my studies over the past three and a half years. I’m currently in my senior year, and will be continuing my education next year with an accelerated master’s degree in sustainability and development. With a scientific background and a holistic understanding of the challenges we face, I will be equipped to create the maximum possible positive impact in my field. I hope to work on environmental policy at the national and international level: advocating for and eventually creating legislation that advances environmental justice, ecological conservation, renewable energy, and sustainability on every possible front. I strive to make a difference in every possible aspect of my life, from tiny daily habits to long-term career goals. Whether it is carrying reusable utensils, organizing climate strikes, or pursuing a career in environmental policy, the environment is at the center of my beliefs and actions. I refuse to be complacent in the systems that have created the climate crisis and put our environment in peril. Wherever this life takes me, I know my love and respect for nature will drive me to do the most possible good.
    Ventana Ocean Conservation Scholarship
    Growing up in coastal California, I was always drawn to the ocean. It was a thing of wonder to me: so impossibly vast, intricately beautiful, dangerously powerful. I would spend hours watching the waves, pondering what creatures lived in the depths beyond. Eventually, I learned to swim and surf, ever longing to be closer to the ocean. When I began pursuing Environmental Science, I learned about the vital role our planet's oceans play in ecosystem and climate regulations. I marveled at the range of biodiversity in coral reefs and deep ocean trenches; I was amazed by the complex flow of elements that controls weather patterns and global temperature. I was absolutely horrified as I started to understand the extent of the damage caused by human industrial activities. Water is life; oceans are life. We constantly depend on our oceans — for fresh air, water, food, transportation, and countless other services — and yet we only seem to inflict damage rather than show gratitude. Our ever-increasing carbon emissions continue to cause sea level rise, warming waters, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching. Unsustainable resource use and destructive harvesting techniques are destroying entire ecosystems, and there will likely be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. I still can't entirely believe how humanity has let this happen, but I am determined to be part of the solution. My journey as an environmental activist started about four years ago, when I interned with a local sustainability nonprofit. At GreenTown Los Altos, I led a campaign to reduce single-use plastic in my community. This included creating and sharing educational content on the detriment that plastic causes in our oceans, as well as visiting forty local businesses to help them switch to biodegradable alternatives. My experience was profoundly eye-opening, and I felt empowered to contribute more to the environmental movement. I began getting involved in climate justice groups and organizing protests, soon rising to leadership positions in a number of organizations and founding a youth action team for my city. We continue to pressure those in power to declare a climate emergency, and to create legislation that will reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment without leaving our oceans behind. Currently, I am part of the University of Michigan’s interdisciplinary Program in the Environment, studying everything from ocean conservation to energy economics. I’m specializing in policy, hoping to one day be a decision-maker on how we combat the climate crisis and protect our oceans. I dream about implementing bans on microplastics and harmful chemicals, strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and holistic ecological remediation plans. I know I have a long way to go in my educational journey — and although I’m entering my final year of undergrad, I don’t ever want to stop learning about our planet’s natural wonders and how to effectively protect them. Outside of the classroom, I am still a passionate activist for environmental protection and climate justice, perpetually fighting to maximize my positive impact on the planet around me. The ocean has been an intrinsic part of my life for as long as I can remember, shaping me into the person I am today. I try to give back to it however I can, even if it’s piece by piece, picking up bits of plastic from the sand. With my degree in addition to my determination, I am certain I will greatly expand my power to protect our amazing oceans.
    Ventana Ocean Conservation Scholarship
    Growing up in coastal California, I was always drawn to the ocean. It was a thing of wonder to me: so impossibly vast, intricately beautiful, dangerously powerful. I would spend hours watching the waves, pondering what creatures lived in the depths beyond. Eventually, I learned to swim and surf, ever longing to be closer to the ocean. When I began pursuing Environmental Science, I learned about the vital role our planet's oceans play in ecosystem and climate regulations. I marveled at the range of biodiversity in coral reefs and deep ocean trenches, and was amazed by the complex flow of elements that controls weather patterns and global temperature. I was absolutely horrified as I started to understand the extent of the damage caused by human industrial activities. Water is life; oceans are life. We constantly depend on our oceans — for fresh air, water, food, transportation, and countless other services — and yet we only seem to inflict damage rather than show gratitude. Our ever-increasing carbon emissions continue to cause sea level rise, warming waters, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching. Unsustainable resource use and destructive harvesting techniques are destroying entire ecosystems, and there will likely be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. I still can't entirely believe how humanity has let this happen, but I am determined to be part of the solution. My journey as an environmental activist started about four years ago, when I interned with a local sustainability nonprofit. At GreenTown Los Altos, I led a campaign to reduce single-use plastic in my community. This included creating and sharing educational content on the detriment that plastic causes in our oceans, as well as visiting forty local businesses to help them switch to biodegradable alternatives. My experience was profoundly eye-opening, and I felt empowered to contribute more to the environmental movement. I began getting involved in climate justice groups and organizing protests, soon rising to leadership positions in a number of organizations and founding a youth action team for my city. We continue to pressure those in power to declare a climate emergency, and to create legislation that will reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment without leaving our oceans behind. Currently, I am part of the University of Michigan’s interdisciplinary Program in the Environment, studying everything from ocean conservation to energy economics. I’m specializing in policy, hoping to one day be a decision-maker on how we combat the climate crisis and protect our oceans. I dream about implementing bans on microplastics and harmful chemicals, strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and holistic ecological remediation plans. I know I have a long way to go in my educational journey — and although I’m entering my final year of undergrad, I don’t ever want to stop learning about our planet’s natural wonders and how to effectively protect them. Outside of the classroom, I am still a passionate activist for environmental protection and climate justice, perpetually fighting to maximize my positive impact on the planet around me. The ocean has been an intrinsic part of my life for as long as I can remember, shaping me into the person I am today. I try to give back to it however I can, even if it’s piece by piece, picking up bits of plastic from the sand. With my degree in addition to my determination, I am certain I will greatly expand my power to protect our amazing oceans.
    Environmental Kindness Scholarship
    My greatest ambition is to protect the planet and its people. As an environmental student at the University of Michigan, I have been fortunate to take classes on a variety of pertinent subjects including energy policy, environmental justice, conservation, and sustainability, in addition to my natural science courses. Through my studies, I have gained familiarity with technologies including GIS mapping, Excel, Rstudio, and Stella systems modeling, as well as a holistic approach to thinking about the existential challenges we are facing. Learning about our planet’s natural ecosystems and the various threats posed by climate change supports and inspires my work outside of the classroom. As an environmental activist, I constantly work to raise awareness about the climate crisis, to educate and inspire the community to take action, and to advocate for meaningful legislative change. By holding leadership roles in a variety of organizations, I have broadly expanded my organization, communication, and problem-solving abilities. I currently serve as the policy director of Students for Clean Energy, an organization at UM advocating for carbon neutrality efforts, and recently as the Director of Social Media for Environmental Justice Coalition, an international group dedicated to spreading digital awareness and advocating for intersectional climate justice. With these organizations, I spend my time facilitating collaboration among large groups, organizing direct action events, training new members on how to conduct effective advocacy, and creating campaigns to contribute to the just transition movement however possible. In these activities, I have worked with my community in mind — both local and global — because nature is an integral part of any community, and deserves to be treated with respect. I have dedicated myself to environmental action because I love this beautiful planet we call home, and I wake up every morning terrified of what the future may hold if we don’t take action immediately. However, I earnestly believe that if we act now, it will be possible to save our planet for the generations yet to come. I’m just doing my part. Over the past few years, I have come a long way on my journey. But it is by no means over. To have the greatest possible impact, I need a diverse and rigorous education. I want to learn as much as possible about the biological components of the climate crisis, the politics around it, and most importantly, what can be done to remedy it. On a personal level, I take every possible action to reduce my own carbon footprint and constantly inspire my friends and family to do the same - through being conscious about using energy, water, and other resources, limiting plastic consumption, eating lower on the food chain, avoiding fast fashion, investing in renewable energy, and always choosing to walk, bike, or use public transport whenever possible. I believe that my time on this earth is a gift, not a right. So, as long as the planet needs an advocate, I will continue to fight for it.