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Center Staff

At the EHSC, our staff members are a diverse group of experts who bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to the table. They work collaboratively, bridging the gap between our scientists, stakeholders, and the community to shine light on some of the most pressing environmental health issues of our time. We invite you to explore our Staff Page to learn more about the individuals who make up our remarkable team. 

Our Staff

Mariela Alaniz

Research Data Analyst

Mariela is a UC Davis alumna with a BS in Environmental Toxicology and a minor in Statistics. After graduating, she returned to pursue an MS in Biostatistics at California State University, East Bay where she discovered a passion for data analysis and statistical programming in health care. It's always been Mariela's goal to work in a field where she can give back by helping others, and she is happy to share she has found a job that allows for that! After work, Mariela likes to spend time with family and her beagle, read non-fiction, write poetry and compose. | Contact Mariela for COVID-19 and Wildfire Research 

Angelina Angelo 

Editorial Assistant & Undergraduate Writer

Angelina is a current undergraduate student at UC Davis, studying Human Development with a minor in Education. With a passion for the written word, Angelina is an aspiring writer with a focus on science communication and hopes to one day publish a book of her own. Angelina joined the EHSC Staff as our editorial assistant and budding science writer in her second undergraduate year. At the EHSC, Angelina focuses on producing new articles and content related to environmental health concerns in the Golden State. She also runs our social media accounts and website. In her downtime, Angelina writes for the California Aggie, a student-run newspaper on campus. When not fulfilling her love of writing, Angelina enjoys creating bright flower arrangements at the Student Farm and teaching others about the importance of the agriculture industry. You can also find her you can find her reading in the great outdoors or hiking with her rescue pup, Sloane! | Contact Angelina for Website, News Articles, Social Media & Online Campaigns

Shosha Capps 

Associate Director, Community Engagement Core

Shosha is the associate director of EHSC’s Community Engagement Core. She’s a UC Davis graduate with dual MS degrees in International Agricultural Development and Community & Regional Development and a BS in Political Science from the College of Charleston. Before joining EHSC, Shosha worked for 15 years in sustainable food systems research and education, most recently as an analyst at the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, where she focused on racial and other structural inequities in the food system. Her role at EHSC involves building impactful, mutually beneficial research relationships between academic scientists and communities experiencing disparities in exposures and health outcomes across California. Shosha grew up in rural South Carolina, and currently lives in Sacramento with her partner and twin toddlers. She is a member of a neurodivergent, medically vulnerable family and is committed to the safe inclusion of disabled people and communities in all aspects of public life. | Contact Shosha for Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee (CSTAC), Community Research Priorities, Community-Engaged Research Project Development & Community Environmental Health Science Academy

Clarisse Céspedes

Communications Specialist III

Clarisse is a Spanish journalist and translator who has worked as a content specialist for 15 years, focusing on the US Hispanic audience and Health information. She has multimedia experience and worked as a writer and a newscast producer for Univision and Telemundo. Clarisse got her journalism degree from the University of Barcelona and started working for UC Davis as a communication specialist for the ÓRALE Covid-19 project in 2021.  | Contact Clarisse for Website or Spanish content support.

José López García

Staff Research Associate

José graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Global Disease Biology and a minor in Public Health Sciences. As an undergrad, he interned at the Environmental Health Sciences Center, helping with wildfire research for his practicum. Now on staff, he's also working on the WHAT-NOW-CA and the COVID-19 Survey for Workers studies. As the Spanish Survey Coordinator, he assists with the studies in both English and Spanish.José comes from a family of immigrant farmworkers and is a first-genDACAmented Mexican American college graduate. He's been hooked on public health since taking his very first course at UC Davis, especially learning how disease, environment, research and intervention can affect vulnerable and marginalized communities. When he's not at work, José enjoys gardening, reading, exercising, running and anything involving outdoor activities. | Contact For: Wildfire & COVID-19 studies  |  ¡Hablo español!

Alex Mendelmar, PhD

Program Director

Dr. Mendelmar comes to us from UC Berkeley where as the Director of Experiential Learning at the Fung Institute he ran a large, highly successful program for engineering graduate students. Alex's background is in qualitative research, social sciences and communications. He received his PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, after completing his dissertation on youth activism, political innovation and leadership. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Toronto. Alex's motivation for coming to UC Davis is his desire to make a difference locally. We think he definitely landed in the right spot. | Contact Alex for programs & planning, project partnerships, annual retreat, pilot projects, & seed grants.

Julianne Ng 

Student Assistant- Communications & Media

Julianne is an undergraduate student at UC Davis studying Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning and intends to minor in Technology Management. She holds a fervent passion for the environment and is interested in a career in helping companies adopt environmentally responsible practices. Julianne has recently become a student assistant on the EHSC Staff. Within this role, she creates articles delving into various EHSC projects, assists with the Pilot Projects Program, and contributes to social media analytics efforts. In her free time, Julianne enjoys swimming, reading, and baking sweet treats for her family and friends.

Addison U

Student Assistant- Contact Management 

Addison is currently an undergraduate Pharmaceutical Chemistry major at UC Davis. With a keen interest in pharmacy and a potential minor in public health, he is actively exploring areas such as scientific research, lab work, and other forms of science and healthcare as future career interests. As a Student Assistant at the UC Davis Environmental Health Science Center, he meticulously tracks grants, publications, presentations, and contact information for funded researchers, ensuring accurate and easy-to-access records for center staff and members. When he is not working or studying, Addison enjoys movie nights with friends, reading novels with a cup of boba, and making delicious food from various cuisines.

Ruth Williams 

Project Policy Analyst

As administrative chief, Ruth organizes meetings, projects and seminars for EHSC researchers and keeps all of our operations running smoothly. Ruth began her career at UC Davis in 2012 as an executive assistant in the Department of Public Health Sciences, but her interest in working with researchers began years ago when she helped manage an environmental science lab in the Bay Area. A problem solver at heart, Ruth loves her current job because she gets to facilitate research collaborations as they're developing. Ruth studied business and human resources at the University of Phoenix, where she also earned her Master’s in Business Administration. | Contact Ruth for AIMS review meetings & CLG meeting