Research Assistant: Kayla Villon 22-23

Photo of Kayla with shoulder length dark hair and a black and white patterned top, with arms folded.

Kayla Villon (She/Her) | Research Assistant 2022-2023

Project: Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: Narrative Analysis

Major: Environmental Science & Policy 

I chose to go through with this route because generally speaking I care about the environment and its betterment, but I also care for the people within it. I have come to understand that policy is a direct way to get involved with people and to make a difference, even if it is a small one. This major seemed to marry the two things I was looking for the best.

Why the Blum Center?  Throughout my time at UCI I have been unable to really get involved in anything outside of my own studying, when this opportunity was presented it caught my attention for a few reasons. It meant that I would be learning something new and potentially useful for the future (how to qualitatively code research), it also gave me the chance to work in a group setting and I believe that collaborative work is always good because it allows you to learn from others. Another reason why I was drawn to the idea was because of the topic of research.

Why this project? Culturally speaking, my family has always put value on the indigenous people of their countries, so growing up with the understanding that indigenous people are often cast aside and overlooked never sat right with me. I have always had a great respect for the indigenous groups of my area and in general. I really liked that part of this project was to gain a better understanding of the contribution, education, and impact of indigenous peoples within the climate change lens.  

What’s next? After undergrad I hope to find some experience, whether that is through internships or a career. I am not entirely sure what my life will look like a year from now. The way I see it is I would like to be able to use my degree and knowledge to be able to be part of a team that works with sustainable/green energy or even possibly surveying, and if I find that grad school would be beneficial to helping me reach success in that then I would heavily consider returning back to school. I plan to test the waters for about a year or two prior to making that decision, because at the end of the day who knows what sorts of things could come my way!