Return to Headlines

Recent grad chosen as UCSC Doris Duke Scholar

Posted on June 7, 2018

Becca Becca Lumbantobing, class of 2017, was one of only 20 students recently accepted into the University of California-Santa Cruz Doris Duke Scholars Program. She says she is really excited to have the opportunity to learn alongside an incredibly inspiring and diverse group of peers, professors and career practitioners in this program, which is dedicated to inclusivity and equity. It aims for the field of conservation biology to reflect the diverse cultural backgrounds and identities needed to tackle complex, global issues. She will have the opportunity to learn and conduct research in a variety of California’s national parks and experience an immersive internship opportunity to gain hands-on independent and collaborative research experience. 

Lumbantobing is pursuing a double major in Biology and Environmental Policy, with an African American Studies minor. During her time at Riverdale she teamed up with fellow student and teacher to create and facilitate a course on identity and equity. “Navigating the world (including conservation biology) is impossible without understanding the history and experiences many people face as a result of colonization and institutional racism,” says Lumbantobing, who is originally from Indonesia. 

As for her time at Riverdale, she says, “I am incredibly grateful to Mrs. LePore and Ms. Keldorf for encouraging me to explore the topics I am interested in. In Zoology and Issues in Biology with Mrs. LePore, I first became interested in global warming, rising sea levels, climate change refugees and coral reefs. Mrs. LePore gave me the freedom to explore any range of topics of my choice, and provided me with resources and enthusiasm that stoked my own excitement. In Senior Exhibition [with Ms. Keldorf], I researched and presented on the extent to which resource mismanagement in the presence of climate change is an instigator of conflicts, such as the Syrian Civil War, and conflicts in Yemen and Sudan.” 

Note: Senior Exhibition serves as the capstone of the Riverdale education. All seniors complete an extensive interdisciplinary project – crafting an essential question, conducting research, connecting with an expert working within the area of their research, writing a lengthy academic paper and, finally, presenting their findings to an audience of teachers, students and community members. Curious what topics this year’s seniors chose? Take a look.