ASU alumni joins Conservation International

Jorge Ramos next to President Michael Crow during graduation greets audienceRecently graduated ASU student and Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) GRA, Jorge Ramos-Holguín, is the new Manager for the Oceans and Climate team inside Conservation International in Washington, D.C. Jorge graduated from the Environmental Life Sciences Ph.D. program in May, 2017, where he also worked in the Wetland Ecosystem Ecology Lab with Dr. Dan Childers. His investigation focused on quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions (methane and nitrous oxide) from a newly constructed treatment wetland in Phoenix, AZ. In his own words, Jorge shared an open letter about his experience working with CBO: You really never know what a new door that opens up in your life might lead to. Literally, that was the case with me and School of Life Sciences professor, Dr. Leah Gerber. Our office shared a hallway in LSA and we would always say hi to each other, sometimes even in Spanish. When the new Center for Biodiversity Outcomes started, their door opened literally next to my door. Within a year, I was walking through that same door as a CBO team member as a research assistant to help the center with outreach and education activities, and preparing scientific background for proposals. The short amount of time I worked with CBO was for sure an eye opening and incredible experience! Compared to the traditional (or I guess expected?) track of a PhD student, I had to be present in staff meetings that had to do deal with the strategy of the Center (e.g. developing mission and vision statements), setting up work plans, contributing to many proposals of up to $100 million, acquiring knowledge on current topics such as Sustainable Development Goals, Natural Capital, etc. I got to work with partners such as International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations. Even the use of my social media skills turned out to be a key component of promoting and communicating CBO's many accomplishments. In addition to my scientific background in wetland ecosystem ecology, greenhouse gas emissions and the outreach experience I acquired during my PhD years, my time with CBO enhanced my job prospects in many ways. To my new employer, my time with CBO probably showed that I was not only able to work individually and independently, but also as part of a team. It showed that I would not have to create and design every idea or project, but that I could contribute to others’ ideas and projects with my own strength and skills. It also showed that I am able to respect and work with colleagues from diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds, personalities, and time availability—just like in the real world. Lastly, it was through this job that I had to interact with many people from many different places. One of those people happened to be one of the first contacts that encouraged me to apply to my current job at Conservation International.  Now, I serve as the new manager of the Oceans and Climate team inside the Center for Oceans at Conservation International in Washington, D.C. I am in charge of managing the Blue Carbon Initiative, leading the International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group, and globally supporting both coastal adaptation and mitigation projects in the Americas division. This job combines both my technical and scientific expertise with my passion to communicate science, especially in Latin America!  So, next time a door opens in your life, literally or figuratively, walk through it and at least say hi to the person on the other side. The door won’t shut behind you, feel free to walk out if you don’t feel comfortable. Just remember, you never know, it might lead you in the next awesome chapter of your life.  Thanks Linda, Anahi, Amy, Anita, Beth, Abby, and Leah for the valuable experience at CBO and wish you much success! Jorge will be greatly missed at ASU. Yet, the CBO team couldn’t be more excited to see him launch his career with CI and look forward to many great collaborations to come! Listo! Photo credits: Sandra Leander