Julie RandallAn Oglala Sioux and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in South Dakota. Born and raised in the Bay Area, CA, Julie attended UCSC in 2001 pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. While attending UCSC, Julie was also a 3-year member of the women's basketball team, earning All-Independent achievements by the Association of Division III Independents and set a school record for most blocked shots in a season. Graduating in 2005 with a BA in Environmental Studies and an emphasis in Environmental Justice, Julie's research focused on uranium mining in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the environmental, social and health impacts to Lakota communities living on and off the reservation. Julie is currently working as an engineering technician for an environmental consulting company performing groundwater monitoring and sampling. She is also applying to graduate school to pursue a Masters degree in Environmental Science and Management.
Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D.,A writer, educator, researcher, and activist. Her work is dedicated to indigenous revitalization, environmental protection and restoration, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. She is a professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and received her doctorate degree in Cultural Ecology/Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received highest honors for her independent major in Integrated Ecology. She is also the president of The Cultural Conservancy (TCC), an indigenous rights nonprofit organization. Melissa served as TCC's executive director from 1993 to 2006. In 2005 she co-produced the award-winning documentary short film The Salt Song Trail - Bringing Creation Back Together and a musical CD, Songscapes of Native America. Her essays and writings have been published by Harvard University Press, MIT Press, University of California Press, and various academic and popular journals. Melissa is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe.
Claradina Soto (Navajo/Pueblo) was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She is a first year doctoral student in the Health Behavior Research program at the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MPH from USC. Mrs. Soto completed her field research for her undergraduate thesis in Shiprock, New Mexico where she conducted interviews with former Navajo uranium miners, millers, and families living in close proximity to un-reclaimed mines on the Navajo Nation reservation. Since then, she has continued to work with the American Indian populations in health promotion, access, and education. After graduating from UCSC in 1997, she worked for about 6 years in the field of case management and as a health education specialist where she provided information, health education and disease prevention to the American Indian and Alaska Native populations in California. Currently, as a doctoral student at USC, she manages a research project titled, "Culture and tobacco use among American Indian adolescents," to identify the general and cultural specific risk and protective factors for their tobacco use. In a previous grant, she coordinated and facilitated focus groups among Californian urban and rural American Indian adolescents to understand psychosocial risk factors and protective factors with tobacco use where study's findings have been presented at national conferences. She currently serves as an Advisory Committee member with the American Indian Tobacco Education Partnership and as a member of the American Indian / Native American Breast and Cervical Cancer Taskforce, Partnered for Progress. Additionally she has conducted tobacco control joint activities with the African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islanders populations. She strives to reduce the smoking rates among ethnic populations in California and nationwide as well as promote the well being of the diverse populations she works with.
Mischa PlunkettGraduated from UCSC in 2003 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. At UCSC she was a member of the Women's Basketball team and the Student Alliance of North American Indians. After graduating she worked in the Athletics Department for 3 years, spending 2 years as the Sports Information Director and Assistant Women's Basketball Coach. Mischa is currently pursuing her M.Ed in Sport and Recreation Administration at Temple University and plans on interning at Haskell Indian Nations University next year.