Austin Mendoza (he/him/his) is a Master of Public Policy student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, concentrating in environmental and social policy. His research interests include environmental and climate justice, immigration, and racial inequity in California, with a particular focus on Los Angeles. In particular, he is passionate about creating research and communications in partnership with local communities in order to bring lived experiences and accessible storytelling into the realm of academia. Austin is originally from San Diego, and received a B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA. Before joining ERI, Austin developed his interests through a variety of policy-related internships. At a local think tank in San Diego, he worked as a Policy Analyst Intern and conducted policy research on local and statewide ballot initiatives. While interning at the federal level with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department, Austin focused on research and programmatic analysis for climate adaptation and climate justice work being done in local communities in Namibia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Senegal. Ultimately, Austin plans to work on fighting inequalities in Los Angeles through a community-based research and communications lens. He hopes to use his time at ERI to continue gaining research skills and working on a local level to pursue that goal, and to expand his horizons on the amazing work being done by communities and organizations throughout the region!