Darlene (Mika) Munoz
Mika Nava Muñoz is a Master of Environmental Science and Management student hoping to combine her work in construction with sustainability while focusing on environmental justice. She graduated in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies with minors in Latin American and Latino Studies and African American Studies. After college, Mika enrolled in a program that helps women enter labor unions. The experience led her to working in steel mills, oil refineries, and water reclamation centers which inspired her to pursue an education in environmental science and engineering. She used her construction skills to start a small business called the Welding Witch to support underserved communities with building projects. Working with her local Chicago community she built garden beds, set up composts, facilitated water and soil testing and a refrigerator shelter for free fresh produce. In 2021, she worked as a resident builder to support renovations at Shelterwood Collective, a 900-acre project by and for Black, Indigenous LGBTQ land stewardship. Mika is specializing in Pollution Prevention and Remediation at Bren to gain the technical skills to combat the climate crisis in communities impacted by environmental racism.