Student Resources

Welcome to the Cal-IPC Student Section

Student Liaisons Amanda Swanson and Marina LaForgia meet with Board Member Laura Pavliscak at the Cal-IPC Symposium

Student Liaisons Amanda Swanson and Marina LaForgia meet with Board Member Laura Pavliscak at the Cal-IPC Symposium

The Cal-IPC Student Section is dedicated to expanding opportunities for students interested in invasive plant research and management. We serve as a voice for students within Cal-IPC and work to connect them with each other as well as with professionals. As a part of Cal-IPC’s mission to protect California’s wildlands from invasive plants now and in the future, we need the next generation of weed warriors to get involved! Whether you’re a current student, recent graduate or early career professional, if you are interested in land management and invasive speices, join our student mailing list to hear about internship opportunities, student funding, and symposium-related events!

Join the Student Mailing List

Most of our events take place at the annual Cal-IPC Symposium. Each year, we organize a variety of networking events including a Career Panel for students to learn more about careers in weed management with representatives from a variety of fields including non-profits, academia, consulting and the government. We also kick off every symposium with a Student Mixer to bring together all the students at the conference.

In addition to these events, there are also various funding opportunities and awards available to our student members. We started offering Student Travel Awards in 2017 to help offset travel and registration fees; we look forward to offering these every year. Students can also compete for cash prizes by participating in the annual Student Paper and Poster contests.


Job, Internship, and Funding Resources

Cal-IPC Student Section Job and Internship Board

Looking for research opportunities, seasonal work, internships, or more permanent opportunities in the field of invasive species and restoration? Check out current opportunities across California now on our Job and Internship Board, updated weekly!

Other Useful Resources

News & Events

November 2018

2018 Cal-IPC Symposium Networking Lunch Panel

The symposium is just around the corner and we are excited to introduce this years panel for the networking lunch event. It includes an array of professionals from different disciplines including state government, environmental consulting, non-profits, and many more! Check out our panel of superstars below:

Tim Buonaccorsi, Associate Botanist, RECON Environmental, inc.

Tim currently acts as manager of northern California operations at RECON Environmental, Inc. in Berkeley, CA. Since graduating from Humboldt State University with a B.S degree in Botany, Tim has been managing habitat restoration and weed treatment projects for over 9 years. His experience includes working in landscapes ranging from The Algodones Sand Dunes near Yuma, Arizona to the great basin sage scrub near Mono Lake, CA.

Korie C. Merrill, Preserve Manager, Center for Natural Lands Management

Korie works as a Preserve Manager for the Center for Natural Lands Management, a non-profit land conservation organization. She has worked effectively on land conservation and restoration projects in challenging environments such as Togo and the California Channel Islands. Her primary focus is native habitat restoration and preservation in urban landscapes through projects such as research on invasive ant ecology and eradication, wildlife monitoring, invasive plant management, and rare plant surveys. Korie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, and a Master of Science in entomology from the University of California, Riverside

Milan Mitrovich, Science Director, Natural Communities Coalition

Dr. Milan Mitrovich’s background is in conservation science, with an emphasis in landscape and wildlife ecology. Over the last 12 plus years, Milan has served in research and advisory roles for several public and private sector organizations, including Solution Strategies, Inc. an environmental consulting and strategic advisory firm based out of Los Angeles; Western Ecological Research Center of U.S. Geological Survey; and Orange County Great Park Design Studio. In his current position, as Science Director for Natural Communities Coalition, Dr. Mitrovich works with the organization’s directors and officers as well as representatives from partnering organizations to direct and fund science and management initiatives associated with protection and recovery of sensitive plant and animal species found within a 208,000-acre planning area in coastal and central Orange County, California. Milan holds a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from University of California, Davis, and San Diego State University.

Hannah Wallis, Agricultural Programs Biologist, Monterey Co. Ag. Commissioner’s Office

Hannah Wallis holds the position of Agricultural Programs Biologist for the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. This is a multidisciplinary applied biologist position in charge of Plant Pathology, Entomology and Invasive Plant Management on behalf of the Commissioner. Specifically, she screens seed crops for export, ensures the host cycle is broken for significant agricultural pathogens of local commodities, identifies pests, runs the invasive plant management program, runs the Monterey County Weed Management Area, helps plan the Central California Invasive Weed Symposium and acts as a scientific resource and liaison to the department, public and outside agencies, among other things. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and 9 specialized state and federal certificates and licenses required to work for the Agricultural Commissioner in this capacity.

Jen Funk

Jennifer Funk is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Chapman University. Her research focuses on identifying characteristics of invasive plant species and using that information to restore native plant communities.  She is particularly interested in how invasive species out-compete native species for resources in arid and nutrient-poor habitats. She has worked extensively in Hawaii and all five Mediterranean-climate ecosystems.

Gina Darin

Gina is a Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor in the Division of Environmental Services at the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento with over 10 years of experience working on invasive plant management in California. As part of her duties at DWR she oversees technical staff dedicated to the Fish Restoration Program and California WaterFix. Gina serves as co-chair to the DWR internal Invasive Plant Working Group and represents DWR on the Delta Interagency Invasive Species Coordination Team, the Interagency Ecological Program’s Aquatic Vegetation Project Work Team, and the California Interagency Noxious and Invasive Plant Committee. Prior to working for DWR, Gina worked at the CA Department of Food and Agriculture in the Weed Management Area (WMA) Program. She has a B.S. in Marine Science from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL and an M.S. specializing in Weed Science with Dr. Joe DiTomaso from UC Davis (2008).

Rich Thiel

Vegetation Manager and Invasive Plants Specialist, Sequoia National Park, CA

Eric Wrubel

Eric is a  Plant Ecologist/Botanist, for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA. He has over ten years experience in vegetation resources in California.

August 2018

Congratulations to our 2018 Student Travel Award winners Rebecca Serata (UC Davis), Madeline Nolan (UC Santa Barbara), Michala Phillips (UC Riverside), Jade Blennau (Stony Brook University), Mika Hozawa (Kyoto University), Lindsay Marks (UC Santa Barbara), and Temitope Borokini (University of Nevada, Reno). Looking forward to hearing about your projects at the Symposium!

May 2018

Get ready for the 2018 Cal-IPC Symposium!
Do you have a topic to present? Join us in Monterey, November 7 – 10, and share your research. Abstracts are due June 1st. This year the Student Section will be offering Travel Awards to offset costs for attendance as well as monetary awards for top Student Talk and Student Poster. We will also be holding a Student and Early Career Professional Networking Lunch. Check back soon for more details on Student Section events and award deadlines and go to the Symposium page to submit an abstract!

February 2018

Launching Cal-IPC Student Section Job and Internship Board

We just launched a job and internship board full of current opportunities in the fields of invasive species and restoration research and management! We’ll be updating it weekly.

January 2018

New Student Liaison
We welcome Guy Hernandez and Marlee Antill, both Master’s students at Cal Poly Pomona, on board as a Student Liaisons. Look out for us at the upcoming CNPS conference in LA at the end of the month!

October 2017

Cal-IPC Symposium Career Panel

Symposium 2017 Students 1 by Marina LaForgia

Students gather at the 2017 Symposium to review and discuss posters.

For the Career Panel at the 2017 Cal-IPC Symposium, we brought together a stellar group of professionals working for the government, non-profits, and in various academic-related positions. Our panelists included:

  • Heather Schneider, a Rare Plant Biologist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
  • Judy Perkins, the Mojave Desert Native Plant Coordinator at the Bureau of Land Management
  • Travis Bean, the Cooperative Extension Weed Science Specialist at UC Riverside
  • Jutta Burger, the Managing Director of Science and Stewardship at Irvine Ranch Conservancy
  • Jennifer Funk, Associate Professor at Chapman University.

Panelists talked about work-life balance, skills necessary to obtaining a job in their respective organizations, the two-body problem, and the winding path that took them from graduate school into their current careers.

Student Paper and Poster Contest
Congratulations to our 2017 winners and runner-ups:

For a full list of past Student winners, visit the Symposia Awards page.

September 2017

New Student Liaison
We welcome Noah Teller, PhD student at UC Riverside, on board as a Student Liaison. We look forward to working with you to expand our student section!

Student Travel Awards
Congratulations to the first round of student travel award recipients:

  • Karen Tanner, UC Santa Cruz
  • Noah Teller, UC Riverside
  • Brooke Pickett, UC Riverside
  • Monique Silva Crossman, Humboldt State University

Student Liaisons (full bios on Directors & Staff page)

  • Marlee Antill, Cal Poly Pomona (2018 – Present)
  • Guy Gabriel Hernandez, Cal Poly Pomona (2018 – Present)
  • Marina LaForgia, UC Davis, (2014 – Present)
  • Noah Teller, UC Riverside (2017 – Present)

Past Student Liaisons

  • Amanda Swanson, UC Riverside (2016 – 2017), Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Wyoming
  • Justin Valliere, UC Riverside (2014 – 2016), Postdoctoral Researcher at UCLA
  • Bridget Hilbig, UC Riverside (2012 – 2014), Assistant Professor at Weber State University
  • Meghan Skaer Thomasen, UC Davis (2012 – 2014), Resident Ecology, Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research, USDA
  • Kai Palenscar, UC Riverside, US Fish and Wildlife
  • Chelsea Carey, UC Merced, Senior Soil Ecologist for Point Blue
  • Heather Schneider, UC Riverside, Rare Plant Biologist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
  • Sara Jo Dickens, UC Riverside, Ecologist and Science Communicator at Ecology Bridge LLC
  • Mike Bell, UC Riverside, Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Irvine

Join the Student Mailing List