Introducing Difference Maker Mentor: Aalyah Contreras

Hello everyone! My name is Aalyah Contreras and I am happy to be a part of UCONN’s NRCA program for the year 2023-2024 as a Difference Mentor Maker (DMM).


I am a first generation student and a senior majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), my academic path has been both challenging and rewarding.  Something that helped me get through these 4 years is yoga. I started doing yoga at college and it has been a great help in de-stressing my body and mind.


 I am originally from Hartford, CT. At home, I have 2 yorkies Luna & Caiman and a cockatoo named Bella. When I’m not working or studying, I love to go out and try new things, especially dishes. Recently, driving up to New York has been one of my favorite things to do with family or friends. I love to be out and discover new things. So for a change I wanted to go out and try something new outside of the city.


Becoming a Difference Mentor Maker was a decision I took to come out of my comfort zone. Usually I stay within my comfort zone so I wanted to shift my focus outward and engage with the world around me in a more hands-on and impactful way. Being part of NRCA’s program gives me the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful. It’s a chance to contribute to my community, make connections, and make a positive difference in the lives of others.


 Being a Difference Mentor Maker, I am able to mentor and guide young individuals who are very passionate about helping the environment. I was able to collaborate with high school students from all over CT in a natural resource program that provides an opportunity to educate the next generation about environmental issues, sustainability and conservation.


NRCA’s Conservation Ambassador Program (CAP) and NRCA’s Difference Maker Mentors (DMM) program are currently supported by a generous 5-year donation from the original private family foundation and from a grant (WAMS-2021-38503-34817) from the USDA Women & Minorities in STEM Fields.