Born in Texas, Ari Espinosa made the leap to the West Coast in 2021 after receiving a scholarship for Washington State University. During the summer of her freshman year, Ari had the opportunity to explore conservation through a MANO internship, where she connected with many like-minded peers and mentors. Ari spend the summer with a variety of species ranging from the endangered Umtanum Desert Buckwheat to the beautiful Island Marble Butterfly, developing a range of new skills while deepening her own passion for conservation. Since then, she has begun work at her university's entomology lab, assisting with research on plant diseases such as PEMV (pea enation mosaic virus) and BLTVA (beet leafhopper-transmitted virescence agent). Ari will be spending her second summer with MANO as a Directorate Fellow in California, where she will be monitoring at-risk species and writing her own species status assessment for the Fish and Wildlife Service. On the days she isn't in a lab coat or studying, you will find Ari drawing, walking her dog (Booker), or practicing her management skills on digital farming games.