Meet Oya, natural resource specialist park ranger

"My name is Oya they/them and I am a non-binary Natural Resource Specialist Park Ranger with the US. Army Corps of Engineers. I earned a B. Sc. in Geology studying geomorphology and atmospheric science, and I am currently working on My M. Sc. in Hydrology and Water Security. My fascination started in the third grade when I witnessed a tornado create a path through my DMV area neighborhood, and since then I have always been fascinated by how geological and atmospheric processes form the earth and other terrestrial satellites. My experience through university was not easy. I had professors not want to work with me on research projects, I had an incredibly racist field camp experience in Montana, and I had a professor tell me that it would be better to change my major completely my last year. That experience painted the worst picture for graduate school, and in that moment I decided that after I graduate I would not go into geological research. My second-to-last semester I got an internship with The Greening Youth Foundation that would ultimately change my life. I was very fortunate to intern with multiple public land agencies through the Greening Youth Foundation, and I learned that I can intersect my understanding of geological principles with ecology to proctect and conserve natural spaces for all species. I also realized how I can use this knowledge as a way to uplift my people. I take a lot of joy in the current work that I do as Natural Resource Specialist. I can go from looking at lacustrine erosion to doing bald eagle surveys to doing search and rescues. I want to see a world where there are more black and brown people in this field. There is so much I had to overcome to even be in my position, and it is more than just the structural barriers that keep people like me out. It is my mission in life to assist in creating a society that is anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and pro-earth.

"All that you touch You Change, all that you Change changes you, the only lasting truth is Change" - Octavia E Butler"

- Oya (they/them)

Instagram: @thatblackscientist_official

Twitter: @BlackScienceish