2011 Bullitt Environmental Fellowship Winner
Erim Gomez, a new doctoral candidate in Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, will study the conservation of endangered species and the ecology and sustainability of freshwater ecosystems in the Moses Lake area of central Washington.
Erim Gomez is beginning his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University in the fall of 2011. He is deeply interested in environmental and non-profit organizations, having formerly served as Co-Director of Southern Oregon University’s Ecology Center of the Siskiyous and on the Board of Directors of Oregon Stewardship. His research interests include the conservation of endangered species and the ecology and sustainability of freshwater ecosystems.
As an undergraduate he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and minors in Economics and Political Science because he sees the urgent need for connecting environmental policy and science. He believes scientists should be effective communicators with the public and policy makers, while understanding complex economic and political influences on environmental issues. He believes that the more lenses through which we can see the world, the better able we are to solve the pressing global environmental problems faced by society.
Gomez has been active in wildlife conservation and research efforts across the west, including work in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California on water quality and the ecology of lizards, aquatic insects, crayfish, amphibians, salmon, and other fresh water fish. His master’s research focused on exploring ecological factors that determine diversity and abundance of amphibians in Palouse Prairie wetlands in eastern Washington. For his dissertation he plans to conduct wetland ecology research in the Moses Lake area of central Washington, and produce conservation and management plans, which he hopes may be used to save the state endangered Northern Leopard frog from extinction.
Erim is devoted to encouraging students from under-represented groups in science to pursue higher education and frequently gives presentations to high school students, mentors undergraduates, serves on advisory panels, and gives educational workshops to students. Gomez frequently is asked to share his experience as a first generation college student to encourage others to continue with their education. He plans to pursue a career as a professor because he is passionate about teaching, having volunteered as an environmental educator for youth science programs and serving as a graduate teaching assistant. In the future, he hopes to continue his teaching and research career while working with non-profit organizations and natural resource managers to help produce ecologically sound environmental management and policy.