We’re excited to begin another great summer of conservation work and fun with a new batch of Path of the Jaguar interns from Mexico and the United States. Our paid internship brings together past interns, Sky Island Alliance staff, and conservation partners through the region for a unique summer experience. Our interns share their own cultures and perceptions of the borderlands with one another, gain firsthand experience setting wildlife cameras and surveying springs in the field, go on a camping trip together, and build community connections that will support them as they forge new career paths in conservation.
Learn more about each of these bright lights of the future below — and stay tuned for updates from this summer’s cohort.
Doris Duke Conservation Scholars
Hello, I’m Taylor Lo! I’m a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar and am originally from Massachusetts. I go to school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and am double majoring in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Conservation, with an Asian Studies minor. I was introduced to the Sky Islands through Doris Duke and SIA, which has given me a great admiration for this unique region. When I’m at home I love going to the beach, but being here has given me a great appreciation for the mountains.
Hi, my name is Samai Bhojwani. I am originally from Belize City, Belize, but I go to school at North Carolina State University where I’m studying Fisheries Wildlife Conservation Biology with minors in Arts & Design and Animal Science. Through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, I have become interested in the flora and fauna of the Sky Islands and feel fortunate enough to work with an organization whose conservation values and moral interest align with mine. One of my favorite places in nature is the barrier reef off the coast of Belize. It feels like a completely different world below the surface!
My name is Nadira Mitchell, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I’m a rising senior at the University of Arizona, majoring in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Wildlife Conservation and Management. Ever since I was a child, I have been in love with the Sonoran Desert. My passion for the environment and wildlife started early when my mother encouraged me to explore out in the desert. She instilled in me that in our Navajo (Diné) culture we respect the land and all beings. I would spend my time in the front yard sitting in mud puddles, collecting snails, tasting the sweetness of dried mesquite pods, and seeing the clouds forming during monsoon season. Observing and interacting with the natural world inspired me to pursue a career in conservation and management of the environment and all that inhabit it.
University of Sonora
My name is Alejandra Tanori García, I’m from Hermosillo, Sonora, and I’m currently studying biology at the University of Sonora. In 2019 I had the opportunity to participate in a field school organized by Borderlands Restoration Network. There they talked about the Sky Islands and their ecological importance. It caught my attention that despite the fact that much of the islands are on the Mexican side, very few people know of their existence and information about them is scarce. One of my favorite places is the sea. It brings me tranquility, and its spaciousness makes me think that there are still many things to explore.
Hello, my name is Bryan Torres. I’m 18 years old and originally from Sahuaripa, Sonora. I’m currently living in Hermosillo where I’m in my third semester studying environmental science engineering at the University of Sonora. I got interested in Sky Island Alliance when I was in college and they visited us and gave virtual talks. They explained to us about the internship they do year after year, and I had the opportunity to sign up. Some of my favorite places are the mountains of the Sierra as well as the views of the sea.
My name is Paola Edith Rodríguez, and I’m originally from Hermosillo, Sonora. I’m currently in my fifth semester studying environmental science engineering at the University of Sonora. I got to know Sky Island Alliance through my teacher Elia, who taught us about environmental conservation and introduced us to the group’s “Coffee Break” meetings, where we were able to learn from professionals taking action for the benefit of the environment. This encouraged me to be more involved in conservation. One of my favorite places in nature is the beach. I really enjoy sunsets and starry nights. I am starting this internship confident that I’ll learn a lot this summer, and I’m excited to create new experiences that will positively change my ability to take action on environmental conservation issues.
University of the Sierra
My name is Dalia Guadalupe Lugo Lozania. I’m from Agua Prieta, Sonora, and I’m currently in my seventh semester studying biology at Universidad de la Sierra. I became interested in the Sky Islands when people from Sky Island Alliance came to my school and introduced me to them. And I realized that they’re important to the world because they’re places where there’s a great diversity of animals and plants and that some species do not exist anywhere else in the world. We must find a way not to destroy this type of habitat. I really like any place where there is a body of water, such as the Bavispe River that passes through Granados, Sonora.
I’m Jimena Ballesteros, I live in Moctezuma, Sonora, and I study biology at the Universidad de la Sierra. My interest in Sky Island Alliance started from the first talk that some staff members gave at UniSierra on conservation and their internship. I really like my career and enjoy it very much, but my interest in the field is much broader. I live in a village where I see plants and animals up close every day, and it makes me want to learn even more about them. My favorite place in nature is anywhere near a river. It’s very relaxing. I’m excited to be part of the summer internship and expand my knowledge of wildlife.
My name is Jesus Javier Noriega. I’m from Moctezuma, Sonora, and I’ve always had a great curiosity about nature, especially animals — how they behave and relate to the environment and other species. This led me to pursue a degree in biology at Universidad de la Sierra, where I am about to complete my fifth semester. Being part of this internship is a great opportunity to learn about species and ecosystems. Nature conservation is an important issue today, and being part of this internship is an opportunity to get involved in projects that are necessary for humanity. My favorite place is the family ranch, where since I was a child I had the opportunity to observe animals and nature. This aroused in me the curiosity to study biology.
My name is Ana Paulina Gamboa Navarro, I’m 20 years old and I’m originally from Hermosillo, Sonora. I’m studying biology at the Universidad de la Sierra in Moctezuma, Sonora. Thanks to talks and workshops given by UniSierra, I came to know Sky Island Alliance. We were invited to be part of the next internship and from that moment on, I got excited by the the idea of participating. I am a very active and practical person. I like to know and do new things, travel and immerse myself in new places, traditions and cultures. One of the things that most catches my attention are natural places. Starting in 2022, for example, I had the opportunity to visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the Sierra Chincua of Michoacán, Mexico. And a couple of years ago, I visited the towns of Viñales and Pinar del Río in Cuba — two places I’ll never forget for their natural beauty. My experiences are few, but my desire to learn and discover everything the world has to offer is great.
Tohono O’odham Community College
My name is Rosalyn Jackson; I also go by Rosy. I’m from the Kwatsan tribe in Winterhaven, California, right by the Yuma border. And I’m also Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico. I was born in Shiprock, New Mexico, and have lived and gone to school most of my life in New Mexico and Arizona. I currently reside in Chandler, Arizona, near the Gila River Reservation. Currently I’m pursuing my associate’s degree in Life Sciences at Tohono O’odham Community College. My goal is to obtain a career in either physical therapy or sports medicine so I can aid in human and/or animal rehabilitation. I’ve always had a passion for wildlife and the natural environment in which we live, and one of my favorite places in nature is the mountains. My friends, family and I go hiking quite often and enjoy spending time outdoors. I’m thrilled by this opportunity to be part of this internship and contribute to its Indigenous studies.