Meet the Newest Faces of Trees Matter

Tue, September 18, 2018 1:51 PM | Ariel Stone (Administrator)

As our organization continues to grow, we continue to add more remarkable people to our Trees Matter family. This past month we have had a number of new faces join our team, and we would like to share in more detail with our community who they are, and the resources and knowledge they provide to our organization. We hope you enjoy learning about each person’s unique background, and please help us welcome them into our community!

E.J. Cochrum, Board Member


E.J. grew up in Conchas Dam, New Mexico which is a small town of about 200 people located in the Northeastern part of the state.  Growing up his family called him Jamie, however, in first grade a new student moved into town also named Jamie. His teacher decided to call him E. J. so that she would not get them confused. Ever since then he has been known by that name! He enjoys all things outdoors, especially going camping with his family. He also enjoys gardening and caring for plants and trees. He feels that one of the best things about gardening in Arizona is that you are able to do it year round. Having said that, gardening in 115 degrees can have its challenges! 

E.J. currently works in the vegetation management department as a utility forester for SRP. His job is to ensure that vegetation is kept clear of all SRP’s distribution and transmission power lines.  Prior to working for SRP he held the position of urban forester for the City of Denton, Texas. He has also held the position as a contact forester and a divisional forester for PNM Resources.  

He is currently a member of the Arizona Community Tree Council and a past board member of the Cross Timber Urban Forestry Council. He has a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Biology from NMSU. He also holds the credentials of a certified arborist and a certified utility specialist. 

One of his favorite trees is the Vitex agnus-castus, or the Chaste tree.  It is a wonderful drought-tolerant tree that thrives in the Valley, and also produces amazing purple flowers that continue flowering in the Phoenix heat. E.J. looks forward to being involved in Trees Matter and is excited to work with people who are just as passionate as he is to increase the tree canopy in the Valley!

Paulina Vu, Program Manager


Paulina was born in Arizona, and recently graduated with a concurrent degree in Sustainability and Global Studies. Her interest in sustainability in a local and global stage has led her to various projects, volunteering, and internships with organizations such as the Gaia Association, The International Rescue Committee, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Paulina is passionate about community engagement, and is excited to work towards a healthier, happier Phoenix. While at ASU, she was an intern for Trees Matter and is thrilled to join the team once again! She has always been in awe of nature and loves to hike, take photos, travel, and play board games in her free time. Her favorite tree is the Hong Kong Orchid. 

Kenny Tjong, Fall 2018 Events Intern


Kenny was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. He came to Arizona to pursue his bachelor’s degree and is currently in his last semester at ASU, studying Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Engineering Management and Mathematics. Apart from English and his native Indonesian, he can also speak Mandarin Chinese and is learning Korean. He likes cooking as a hobby because it’s fun and creative. During his time in the Valley, he has quickly realized that tree canopy is very much needed here to counter the heat. He sees the importance of trees and how they can positively impact the world, which brought him to Trees Matter. His future goal is to create his own company that runs on zero waste. He looks forward to learning about everything from event planning and nonprofits, to edible trees he can incorporate into his cooking! 

Randallyn, Fall 2018 Events Intern


Randallyn is a senior at ASU and will be graduating in the spring with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She was born and raised in Southern California, and decided to come to Arizona for the warmer weather. Something that stood out to her was the lack of trees throughout the Valley and is glad to work with an organization that will help with that! Upon graduation, she hopes to move back home to work with non-profits there. She's excited to join Trees Matter and learn about non-profits from a hands-on perspective and to apply what she's learned as a communication major to various events and projects! In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, learning about health and wellness, trying new food places, cooking, baking, and anything food-related. She's especially excited to learn about the edible trees of the Valley! Randallyn's favorite tree is the California fan palm, as it reminds her of home! 

Ronnie Pedersen, Fall 2018 Events Intern


Ronnie Pedersen was born and raised in Glendale, Arizona and is currently a sophomore at ASU, pursuing a degree in Sustainability and Business Entrepreneurship and working towards a certificate in International Business. Previously, Ronnie worked as a residential Vice President for Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, Vice President of the Barrett Sustainability Club, and also served as the entertainment chair for the NACURH 2018 International Leadership Conference. In his free time, Ronnie enjoys rock climbing and hiking with friends, or playing volleyball with his intramural team at ASU. His interest in combining Sustainability and business drives his dream to implement the efficiency of 1st world waste management into 3rd world countries with the goal of increasing economic prosperity, public health, and environmental protection within the selected communities. He hopes his internship at Trees Matter will give him experience with non-profits and implementation of sustainable solutions into large communities. He is excited to create impactful change in the Valley through an increased tree canopy. Ronnie loves the Palo Verde tree for its beauty and wonderful scent!


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