Our Team

Our staff is composed largely of recent graduates entering the field of conservation and who are at the beginning stages of their professional careers. SERG is invested in training and educating young scientists through various field tasks and graduate degree opportunities so they are ready for anything that their future brings them.

Principal Investigator

Tom Zink is a Professor at San Diego State University. His research largely focuses on the role of microorganisms in the nutrient cycling processes of arid and semi arid soils and its practical application in desert restoration. Tom is the Principal Investigator for SERG.

Program Director

Julie Lambert is the Program Director for SERG. She holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Laval University, Quebec, Canada, and has been working as an ecologist in southern California since graduating in 2000. Julie’s responsibilities at SERG include supervising all projects, writing and editing project reports, preparing project proposals, and creating and maintaining positive relationships with clients. 

Senior Project Managers

Jocelyn Diego Hernandez started off as a biology student with the intent of becoming a veterinarian. However, as she learned more about sustainable living, she decided that her true love was for animals living in their natural habitats. She wanted to incorporate this love for animals with a more conservation based approach. She realized that tackling impacted ecosystems would help native animals thrive in their natural habitats and thus became interested in restoration ecology. Jocelyn’s dream career is now to become a restoration ecologist. Today, she is a SERG Senior Project Manager.

Betty Lee joined SERG in 2019 and works in the San Clemente Island Botany Program. She manages the program, writes project reports, and provides support to the San Clemente Island field crews. Before joining SERG, Betty worked with native plant nurseries, Sierra wildflowers, and various bird species. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology as well as a minor in Landscape Restoration from the University of California, Davis.

Greenhouse Manager

Rebecca Hilterbrandt

San Clemente Island Crew Lead

Robert Kaaret graduated from Whittier College in 2018 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. He has been working at  SERG since August of 2018. He is one of the San Clemente Island Crew leaders. 

Project Managers

Lauren Lazos graduated from Humboldt State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology. Lauren loves working with flora and fauna in their natural habitats and contributing to their ecological success. Her passions include wildlife, plants, camping, and her dog. Lauren is now a Project Manager and part of the SERG San Clemente Island Crew.

Habitat Restoration Technicians

Ria Jarquin received her B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz after a life-long fascination with the natural world. From rearing lizards in the lab, protecting nesting sea turtles, to eradication of invasive ants (on SCI), and now she is working on conservation of endemic island plants on San Clemente Island with SERG. She loves painting and drawing, hiking, snorkeling, swimming with her dog, Lali, spending time by the ocean, making green-juice, making salsa, and spending time with family.

Alex Clark graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2019 with a B.S. in biology with an ecology emphasis. After graduation he worked as a restoration technician around the Chicagoland area. He enjoys hiking, movies, sports, and taking pictures.

Nico Tate is a proud member of SERG. He likes looking for bugs.