Mylen Arias earned a Master’s of Science in Biology at The University ofTexas-Rio Grande Valley, where she led thornforest restoration research on refuge lands and more recently has been an AP High School Biology teacher for several years in the IDEA Public Schools system of Texas. Her leadership roles in curriculum development, learning delivery, community engagement, student achievement, and research will offer a holistic perspective to restoration efforts in the Rio Grande Valley. Her public-facing position focuses on advancing knowledge, appreciation and increased utilization of thornforests among that public through environmental literacy program development, community forest creation, workshops, and other methods.