Kristen Torres Pawling ’09, M.U.R.P. ’12
Kristen Torres Pawling ’09, M.U.R.P. ’12, is the recipient of the 2022 Young Alumnus of the Year award for her outstanding commitment and service to UCLA and our community. In the decade since leaving UCLA, Pawling has made remarkable strides in advancing innovative solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time: protecting the environment.
At UCLA, Pawling was an engaged and active student: an Alumni Scholar, Bunche Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa and winner of UCLA’s freshman scholarship competition. She took advantage of numerous opportunities on campus, working as a Blue & Gold Student Assistant and participating with the University Catholic Center and UCLA Color Guard. Pawling earned her bachelor’s in geography/environmental studies in three years.
She earned her master’s in urban and regional planning at UCLA, traveling to Sacramento to serve as an executive fellow in the office of the chair on California climate change policy. She joined the Sacramento Alumni Network, helping to grow their young alumni program. Pawling continued to be involved in UCLA activities serving as community activities commissioner, communications director for the Graduate Student Resource Center and on the Urban Planning Admissions Committee.
In her professional career, she has worked tirelessly to develop and promote innovative solutions to the climate crisis. In previous roles, she joined the California Air Resources Board Transportation Planning Branch as an air pollution specialist, evaluating policies to achieve greenhouse gas reduction; led a team that developed policy recommendations as an associate regional planner for the Southern California Association of Governments Sustainability Department; and joined the Natural Resources Defense Council, Urban Solutions Department to implement their strategic plan in Los Angeles.
Pawling currently serves as sustainability program director for the County of Los Angeles where she is building a regional approach to countywide sustainability for the 88 cities of L.A. County. She continues to give of her time and talents to UCLA, as a scholarship reader for the UCLA Alumni Association, a Lew & Eddie Wasserman Grant application reviewer and a UCLA campus ambassador.