San Francisco / Oakland cohort
Ami was born in Tijuana, Mexico, raised in Los Angeles, and currently lives in the East Bay in Northern California. She is a first-generation college graduate, earning a BA in Dance from one of the top 3 schools of theatre & dance in the nation, UC San Diego. She is a certified yoga instructor, California Naturalist and Interpretive Guide (CIG). During her time working at a performing arts center, she was privileged to meet and hear first hand stories of several National Geographic photographers including; Ami Vitale (best known for her People’s Choice Award for her photo of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino), Cristina Mittermeier ( who is protecting the world’s oceans through storytelling via her NPO, Sea Legacy), and Joel Sartore (who battled depression by starting a personal photography project that evolved into the Photo Ark, the subject of the TV series RARE). Their stories inspired her to make a career change towards animal care, education, and conservation. While attending a BIPOC Meditation Retreat at a Zen Buddhist Monastery, she was introduced to mindfulness and fell in love with the practice. Ami has regularly staffed seasonal mindfulness retreats there for children, teens, and young adults for 4 years. These days you will find her volunteering at the renowned Oakland Zoo, caring for endangered giant fruit bats, river otters, and a room filled with ambassador animals rescued from negative human impact. She is expecting to hear from Miami University’s Global Field Program in March ‘21 in hopes of pursuing a Masters in Biology.