Nervana Fadle

Name: Nervana Fadle
Major and current year at UCI: political science and environmental science and policy 4th year
Hometown: South Bay region of Los Angeles county

Why did you decide to come to UCI, and what prompted your dual majors?

I wanted to attend an undergraduate institution that challenged me that provided me access to the resources that would contribute to my academic, professional, and personal development. I decided to pursue my current field of study because I wanted to take an interdisciplinary approach to learning and develop a diverse academic understanding in fields of study related to law, governance, urban planning, environmental analysis, public policy, and research design.

Tell us about your honors research.

I am currently in the process of completing my honors thesis for the Department of Political Science where I have conducted research on the role of neoliberal austerity conditions and structural adjustment policies have resulted in the exploitation of labor and political destabilization, particularly in the mining industries needed for clean energy, (i.e. tantalum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and lithium mining in Bolivia). I have also contributed to published research under the supervision of professor Nicola Ulbarri, urban planning and public policy, where I conducted a systematic review of over 1500 academic journals for the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative team and evaluated equitable and transformational adaptation in policy to determine how climate adaptation responses are occurring globally.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’ll be attending UC Berkeley and pursuing a master’s degree in city planning in fall 2022.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment at UCI?

My biggest accomplishment at UC Irvine would be contributing to a published research paper in determining how responses to climate adaptation are occurring globally.

What awards and scholarships have you received while in pursuit of your degree?

I will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall as an Arcus Social Justice Fellow. I am in the Political Science Honors Program and have been on the Dean's Honors List each quarter since spring 2020. I was a finalist in the Washington Media Scholars Competition in spring 2021 where I worked on a team of two to create a strategic media plan based on a hypothetical public policy issue. I have also been awarded the School of Social Sciences Order of Merit Award for 2022.

Outside of the classroom, what’s kept you busy during your time at UCI?

I worked as a CalFresh Advocate at the FRESH Basic Needs Hub 2019-21. I did research in the Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy Department where I worked on the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative Team led by Professor Ulibarri in winter 2021. I served as a Global Service Scholar throughout the 2020-21 academic year, where I completed an internship with the South African Urban Food and Farming Trust. I worked with the UC Irvine Humanities Center as a Black Panther Party Community Research Fellow for the Oakland Community School Project. I have worked as an intern for the California Coastal Commission as a Coastal Planning Research Intern from winter 2021 to present. And I am also currently working as a Political Science Student Assistant, and am the Executive Marketing Chair of the UC Irvine School of Social Sciences Dean's Ambassadors Council.

Who’s has played an important role in where you are today?

Someone who has played an important role in my life would be my grandmother who passed away during winter quarter of my freshman year of college. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer two weeks after I moved into the dorms. We lived together and shared a room my entire life. It’s been especially difficult navigating college without her, but her memory serves as a constant reminder of the endless love and support I have received from her throughout my life.

What unique circumstances and life experiences stand out for you as having had an impact on who you are today?

I think navigating grief has been a new obstacle that I have never had to learn how to manage until I started undergrad. It’s definitely had a drastic impact on my perspective and outlook on on my day to day life, and influenced what I want to pursue in my future. My identity as an African American growing up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles have also influenced my decision to pursue a career in planning. My pursuit for a masters degree is motivated by my experience growing up in the South Bay, and being impacted by the deliberate efforts through governance and private interests in promoting injustice by targeting communities of color when developing high-polluting and environmentally hazardous industries. During my graduate studies, I plan to investigate the solutions for spatial injustice in the urban environment by determining how inequitable distribution of space and segregational practices perpetuate the systems of isolation that push a city’s most vulnerable members to the margins.

Any other tidbits you would like to share?

I would like to share my favorite quote by Audre Lorde: “The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.”


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