Nikki Prado-Solano

What are your majors? Geography with certificates in environmental studies and Chican@ and Latinx studies

Expected graduation: December 2021

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? In a way, being raised Catholic and Mexican rooted most of the things I’ve done to the Earth, the environment, and my community. We grew vegetables and herbs every year, took care of the land, and took care of those around us. From recycling to thrifting and re-using different items, my family was environmentally conscious years before I even had the vocabulary for it.

My family and culture show love through food so I’ve seen how food is such an easy way to build community and have been able to be a part of that community-building on my own for some time now. I’ve been interested in environmental community work for as long as I can remember and as I continue my education at UW, I continue to research the effects and intersections between community work, the environment, and public health.

I want a career where I’m able to work toward sustainable solutions. I want future generations in Milwaukee to be able to go on walks through beautiful parks, take bike rides through paths that cut through the city, and be able to walk to grocery stores packed with fresh food. I want more for my community and environment and I hope to help make the changes necessary to achieve it.

What would you say (or do you say) to other students about CESP and the Nelson Institute? Apply! Not only have I met some amazing people through CESP, I’ve also been able to build a small community of others who often share knowledge about topics I’m interested in through a different lens than I would’ve initially (all of us have environmental studies backgrounds, but with an emphasis on different things). It’s a lot of fun!

Something few people know about you: I love to build things with my hands! My dad and uncles love to put things together and have all of my life so when I’m home, you can catch me in the backyard with them, wielding a power saw and tool belt. My partner is also an amateur woodworker, which makes our date nights a blast.