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Dr. Luke Cole & Melissa Cordero

Luke is the director of the Santa Cruz River program within our Resilient Communities and Watersheds team. Luke joined Sonoran Institute in 2018 and manages the ongoing projects on the Santa Cruz River, working with staff and collaborators to restore and enhance this Living River in the heart of southern Arizona and northern Sonora. Prior to joining the Sonoran Institute, Luke worked for the Washington, D.C. city government tracking the District’s green infrastructure and water quality improvement programs with a focus on coordinating tree planting programs and policy. Luke has a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia, an M.S. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and a B.A. in biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Melissa Cordero, a Guam native and military veteran with 8 years of service, is a dynamic advocate for community empowerment. As the Marketing Manager at the Sonoran Institute, Melissa promotes sustainability by managing campaigns, handling social media, networking, and creating content. Melissa earned both a Masters in Business and a Masters in Psychology while in the military. Beyond her professional expertise, she contributes as a Board Member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, a Steering Committee member for Tucson Ward 1 Participatory Budget De La Gente, and a Social Justice committee member for Downtown Tucson Partnership. Melissa is dedicated to her community, aiming to make the world more inclusive and fair.  
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