Ana Little-Sana: Our first high school essay contest winner!

At the age of 8, she was dialing local politicians in a phone banking campaign.


Today, she wields her megaphone at protests, rallying the San Diego community to push for environmental justice.


But age does not deter Ana Little-Sana, a 15-year-old sophomore at e3 Civic High School, from engaging in community activism. To her, practicing true advocacy can be something as simple as “asking questions and discovering more.”


This spirit of inquisitiveness and passion shined through in Little-Sana’s winning entry to the first annual Saltman Quarterly Essay Contest hosted by the Saltman Quarterly Community Outreach Committee in December 2014. In her first-place essay, titled, “Biology and Green Justice”, Little-Sana expressed her interests in pursuing interdisciplinary law and utilizing a multi-sector approach involving the sciences and humanities to eradicate injustices in our communities.


“I was really happy [to hear about the essay contest] because I often submit content that are not necessarily rosy,” said Ana, reflecting on her critical essay about intersectionality, environmental oppression, and the integration of biology in activism. “It was really refreshing to be published despite pointing out the issues.”


When asked about her involvement in the sciences, Ana admitted she did not identify as a “huge science person”, but considered ecology and environment as her niche in the subject of biology. And within Ana’s community of politicians and community activists, she is an outlier. “Congress is full of climate change deniers. This is the product of people not being science-minded. Our political climate should have more equal opportunity and science-minded people,” said Ana, pointing out the lack of scientist scholars in the political arena.


Ana is an ally and exemplar to our community of scientists. She has recognized the connections between her identity, community, social justice, and science to advocate for comprehensive and sustainable changes in San Diego. In the future, Ana hopes to interact with more scientist and educator-politicians and shift the current political environment to be more science-conscious.


The winning essay is found at:

The runner up essay written by Sandra Nguyen can be found at:

We would like to thank participants from the following high schools:

e3 Civic High School

Mira Mesa High School

Hilltop High School

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