Alicia E Aroche

Alicia E. Aroche

Alicia E. Aroche


Environmental Science and Management – with a concentration in Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation
Urban Tree Stewardship co-coordinator, 2021-22
GATEways Outreach intern, 2019-20

Finding the Learning by Leading™ program during my time in college was critical to finding a sense of place and belonging within our enormous campus. The program is not only a welcoming space where you are encouraged to be silly and evermore observant in nature, but it also draws you into a tightly knit family that wants to see you thrive professionally. In this program I was constantly encouraged to ask questions, comforted by everyone when making a mistake, and motivated to evolve into my most authentic being. By having this community alongside me during my college journey, I was able to uncover what my interests are and define my passion along the way.

I was first welcomed into the Learning by Leading program as a GATEways Outreach intern where I first met Melissa Cruz Hernandez, the Outreach and Leadership Program Manager. It was in this team that I learned to find my voice and self-confidence. From bouncing ideas off of my peers, developing educational outreach materials, and eventually displaying our finalized projects to various public outreach events, Melissa helped me to bring my ideas to fruition. Her guiding words and constant encouragement have encouraged me to seek out and pursue my goals while finding joy in public outreach.

During my senior year of college, I was welcomed to the Urban Tree Stewardship team as a co-coordinator. Under the guidance of Emily Griswold and Abbey Hart, I learned how to manage a team of interns as we all grew a deeper understanding and appreciation for our campus tree canopy. When I was initially hired for this position, it was overwhelming to know I would help lead the program’s first in-person year after its inception during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, my experience working with this team highlighted to me what you can accomplish with teamwork. After tenaciously digging holes under the hot California sun and getting our hands dirty, this team successfully planted over 195 trees across the UC Davis campus. The networking and career exposure this team provides has sparked an interest in me to become a certified arborist and expand on the skills I have learned over the year.

Aside from the insurmountable skills I have gained during my time in this program, nothing trumps the memories and connections I have made at an individual level. Listening to the passion and nurturing advice of various staff mentors and sharing in the excited uncertainty of “life after college” with student peers, my time spent with newfound friends has been incredible. To say I’d miss riding around on a Gator throughout campus cruising past Learning by Leading teams working to make the campus more sustainable and resilient for generations to come would be an understatement. The memorable experiences we share have made a lifelong impact on how I view the natural world and I am forever grateful for the support every member has provided tome along the way.

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