ESE Alumni

The Environmental Science and Engineering Program has awarded the Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering (D.Env.) degree to over 230 students.

The ESE program is one of the oldest, most successful applied environmental doctorate programs in the nation.  Founded by Nobel Laureate, Willard Libby, in 1973, the ESE program has produced over 250 graduates that have worked in senior leadership positions in places such as the USEPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Disney, California Air Resources Board, AECOM, MWH, Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. 

Our graduates have helped write laws and regulations that have changed the face of air and water quality protection.  They’ve greened Fortune 500 companies.  They’ve restored water supplies to communities that lost their water due to groundwater contamination. They’ve helped build sustainable developments all over the globe.  And they even helped create our nation’s first statewide network of Marine Protected Areas.  UCLA ESE graduates have made a difference for nearly 40 years: a difference you can see in the air we breathe and the aquatic environment we enjoy.

View full list of all ESE graduates here

ESE Alumni in the News

Scott Fruin, D. Env. received recognition in the LA Times last Thursday for his research on air pollution at LAX.
LA Times, May 29, 2014.
ESE Class of 2003.


Cris Liban, D. Env, deputy executive officer for the Environmental Compliance and Services Dept of the LA County Metro Transportation Authority (MTA), was appointed by Mayor Garcetti as one of the commissioners for the LA Board of Transportation.
Asian Journal, May 27, 2014.
ESE Class of 2003.


Environment Now Names Dr. Shelley Luce as New Executive Director.
Environment Now.org, May 29, 2014.
ESE Class of 2003.


ESE Alumni Spotlight 

Dr. Cara Augustenborg, a 2007 graduate from UCLA’s Environmental Science and Engineering program, is the first person in Ireland to become part of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.



Eduardo Behrentz, Class of 2005, has been appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.



Shelley Luce

Shelley Luce is the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, a state commission that facilitates collaborative efforts to protect and enhance the resources of Santa Monica Bay and its watershed. Shelley directs research and implements new initiatives for resource conservation and habitat restoration. Her work includes overseeing large-scale wetlands restoration projects; facilitating community-based greenway planning in dense urban Los Angeles; developing local water budgets and rainwater harvesting programs; and producing major planning documents such as the Green Solutions report.

Shelley has been a key spokesperson for major political campaigns supporting open space preservation and alternative energy in California. Her environmental policy expertise includes developing innovative policies and plans for water supply and conservation, marine protected areas, stream protection, and environmental justice. She also advises numerous scientific panels and groups in California and provides presentations and expert testimony on environmental issues to expert and lay audiences alike.


Mark Gold

Mark Gold is the Acting Director for the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Director of the UCLA Coastal Center.  Prior to working at UCLA, Mark was the Executive Director or President of the environmental group, Heal the Bay, for 18 years, and their first hire 23 years ago.  During that time, Mark helped author and pass over a dozen state and local water quality and environmental education laws, co-authored studies on the health risks of swimming in runoff contaminated waters and eating contaminated fish, created Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card, and worked on numerous local, state and national water quality and coastal resource management regulations.   

In addition, Mark is a former vice-chair of the California Ocean Science Trust and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.  He received his bachelors and masters degree in biology, and doctorate in environmental science and engineering, all at UCLA. He was the Executive Director of Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to clean oceans. When hired in 1988, he was the organization's first staff scientist. His dissertation (1994) evaluated the human health risk of swimming in Santa Monica Bay. During his tenure as Executive Director of Heal the Bay, he lobbied for legislation to protect coastal water quality and worked with government agencies to ensure proper enforcement of environmental regulations.


Barry Wallerstein

Barry Wallerstein is Executive Officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  Barry has two decades of experience in urban planning and environmental studies, with an emphasis in air pollution control and public policy development. He has been AQMD's Executive Officer since 1997, having served the agency in increasingly responsible positions since 1984.  Previously in his career, Barry held positions as an Environmental Control Administrator at Northrop and as a member of rule development staff at the California Air Resources Board.

As executive officer, he serves as chief of staff to implement environmental protection policies as approved by the agency's 13-member Governing Board, working proactively with state and federal regulatory officials, local governments, regulated businesses, and community stakeholders. In recent years, he has executed innovative programs to: achieve concurrent reduction of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, and air toxics for simultaneous progress toward public health & climate protection goals;  strengthen public-private investment in clean fuels and renewable energy technologies; address specific community and neighborhood environmental justice issues, including the evolving area of cumulative impacts; identify and reduce air toxics exposure (especially diesel particulate); and integrate voluntary cleanup incentives into regulatory structures.   During his tenure, there has been tremendous, measurable improvements in air quality in the South Coast Region, historically among the most polluted regionas in the nation.

During Barry's tenure, he has overseen the development and continuing implementation of the first local-district air toxics control plan in the United States, an outgrowth of the agency's Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Studies (MATES-II and III). Findings from these studies point to diesel engine exhaust as the primary contributor to community cancer risk from air toxics in Southern California - - especially in neighborhoods adjoining heavy diesel activity such as ports, freeways, and rail yards. As a result, Barry has also led implementation of AQMD's historic Clean Fleet Vehicle rules, which are achieving international recognition as a strategic model to accelerate the transition to clean-fueled fleets based on advanced technologies.


Ben Schwegler

Ben Schwegler is Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist of Walt Disney Imagineering R&D.  The Walt Disney Company is a diverse international entertainment company with a long-standing commitment and reputation of excellence in environmental management. Ben is responsible for Imagineering’s Sustainable Design and Engineering group; a multidisciplinary organization of engineers, architects, scientists and other design professionals chartered to understand the interaction of the built and natural environment, and to design infrastructure and buildings to minimize their negative impacts. 

A unique feature of this approach is that it merges innovations in productivity for the design and construction industry with more traditional scientific discipline approaches to sustainability, such as energy efficiency, ecosystem functions and services, habitat protection, and control of air, water and soil pollution. Explicit identification of ecosystem functions and their associated services establishes the scientific and engineering basis to integrate these data as part of typical business financial models.  This approach specifically enables the explicit linking of resources used in construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure to those of the “natural” environment.  

Ben is also a consulting professor at Stanford University, a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Technical Divisions Advisory Board, a winner of the Henry R. Michel Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers and a juror for the Sloan Prize for the best portrayal of science in a feature film at the Sundance Film Festival.  


Mark Sudol

Mark Sudol is Senior Ecologist and Group Manager at the Institute for Water Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  Mark was formerly the Regulatory Chief at the Los Angeles District USACE and the Chief of the Regulatory Program at USACE Headquarters in Washington D.C.  During his dissertation (1997), he evaluated the success of Army Corps mitigation action in Orange County. During his tenure in L.A., the Regulatory Branch dealt with several highly publicized and politicized projects such as the expansion of L.A.'s port.

For more info contact

Myrna Gordon
ESE Program Administrator
mgordon@ioes.ucla.edu
(310) 825-9901

2014-2015 Fellowship Awardees

Charles F. Scott Fellowship
Tiffany Ann Yap

Dissertation Year Fellowship
Shannon Louise Leavey
Setal Sridhar Prabhu
Amity Gayle Zimmer-Faust

Dr. Ursula Mandel Fellowship
Michelle Angela Thompson

Malcolm R. Stacey Fellowship
Kazue Kelly Chinen
Michelle Angela Thompson