Team

Jella Tatil_Badge
  • Jella Balgos
  • Community Outreach Specialist

Jella Balgos has organized in her community since college, where she advocated for an intersectional climate justice and increasing equity for first-generation, low-income students. She has a B.A in Environmental Science with a focus on Public Health and a minor in Anthropology from Colby College. As Community Outreach Specialist at SERI, she is committed to ensuring that underrepresented groups have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. She empowers families with the knowledge to protect their loved ones from the dangers of lead exposure and connects members of the community to the resources provided by SERI and their program partners.


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  • Hilda Cortez
  • Environmental Justice Training Coordinator

Hilda Cortez, a proud Tucsonan, holds a deep commitment to the desert landscape and sustainable environmental practices for future generations. With a B.A. in Photography and a minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona, she intertwines art and cultural expression with her advocacy for environmental justice. As the Environmental Justice Training Coordinator at SERI, Hilda leverages her extensive marketing background and collaboration with the WEST Environmental Justice Center (West EJ Center) to develop and implement comprehensive training programs. These initiatives aim not only to educate but also to mobilize the community in safeguarding our natural environment. Hilda Cortez stands as a pivotal figure in advancing education, advocacy, and community engagement, empowering individuals to champion environmental stewardship.


Imelda Cortez
  • Imelda Cortez
  • Environmental Health Promotora
  • 520-262-7812

Imelda Cortez started as a volunteer at SERI in 2008 by visiting small business owners to promote occupational health and safety. As the Environmental Health Promotora, Imelda provides education and program services to support community health, the environment and a higher quality of life. She has a Business Administration certificate from Centro de Bachillerato Tecnológico Industrial and the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. During her time at SERI she has received certificates as a Community Health Advisor and Child Care Provider from Pima Community College and received been training on global warming from the University of Arizona.


Theresa Foley
  • Theresa Foley
  • Climate Science Specialist
  • 520-321-9488

Theresa Foley has been working with SERI since 2008 when she was awarded a NASA Space Grant to study air pollution in south metropolitan Tucson. Since then Theresa provides research for SERI to help mitigate climate change, especially in the underserved community of southwest. Theresa has a PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Arizona, a B.S. in Chemistry from Northeastern Illinois and a B.S. in Biology from De Paul University. She was awarded a fellowship with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) where she used GIS to verify the accuracy of weather forecasting in New Mexico. For 10 years she worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an Atmospheric Chemist and as a Landfill Specialist. She also did consulting work for the Lake Michigan Air Directors’ Consortium.


Palmira Henriquez
  • Palmira Henriquez
  • Senior Environmental Health Promotora
  • 520-403-6905

Palmira Henriquez has been working with SERI since 2008 as a Environmental Health Promotora and enjoys working with the community on addressing environmental health issues. Each day Palmira works with families to make their home environment safe and healthy. She has a Business Administration certificate and Accounting Certificate from the Instituto Tecnológico del Mar. During her time at SERI Palmira has received certificates as a Community Health Advisor from Pima Community College, Urban Forestry from Tucson Botanical Gardens and training on rainwater harvesting from Ethos.


Leslie Pilli
  • Leslie Pilli
  • Program Manager

Leslie Pilli grew up in Tucson and got her B.S. in Sustainable Built Environments with an emphasis in Sustainable Communities from the University of Arizona. She has previously worked on various sustainability focused projects over the past years with other organizations. Now as the Water Conservation Program Manager for SERI she hopes to help her community navigate environmental challenges and provide sustainable practices to low-income families through the various programs that SERI offers.


Flor Sandoval
  • Flor Sandoval
  • Program Director
  • 520-404-7369

Flor Sandoval started as a volunteer at SERI in 2009 and is now the Program Director. Flor oversees the day-to-day operations of SERI programs and projects. She enjoys working with the community in creating a sustainable and safe place for all. Flor has a B.S. in Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Global Business through the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. During her time at SERI she has received multiple trainings from various organizations including but not limited to HUD, EPA, OSHA. She also serves as the water conservation specialist at the Landscaping Advisory Committee for the City of Tucson.


Rachel Spitz
  • Rachel Spitz
  • Program Manager
  • 520-308-8462

Rachel Spitz is from Tucson and has a passionate for helping protect the environment and creating equitable communities. Rachel manages SERI’s branding and performs marketing campaigns for all programs. She enjoys building partnerships with community groups and organizations and performs education and outreach. Rachel leads SERI’s Fair Housing Education and Outreach Initiative Program that is funded by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Rachel leads the Marketing and Outreach team for the WEST Environmental Justice Center (West EJ Center). She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2016 with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Photography. From 2017 to present she has been involved in various professional organizations in the community including Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL), Tucson Asian Professionals, American Advertising Federation, and Tucson Young Professionals.