Wildlife Vocalizations: Maria F. ‘Masi’ Mejia

Wildlife Vocalizations is a collection of short personal perspectives from people in the field of wildlife sciences.

Diversity is intersectional. As a woman/ female as well as Hispanic and Latina, I am an underrepresented individual. While I was an undergraduate, I felt there were lots of spaces where I was the only woman, the only Latina—or both!

During a “Skins and Skulls” presentation at our annual “Behind the Gates” event in 2017, Majia and others educated over 1,500 eighth grade students on East Foundation Ranchlands. Credit: East Foundation

As I progressed into graduate school and as an early career professional, mentors that ‘looked like me’ were few and far between. There has always been a delicate line to walk in balancing my diversity within the field, as racism and sexism still exists.

During a seminar at the Texas Association for Environmental Education Conference 2019, the group Artist Boat took urban youth out into the Galveston Bay to learn about seagrass and the benefits of the land around them. Credit: Masi Mejia

The most powerful advice I was given was to work twice as hard at whatever I am trying to accomplish. I am grateful for that advice, because I believe it has led me to be a well-established early career professional where the line that was once delicate to walk is all encompassing who I am as a professional. My diverse background allows me to bring diverse solutions to whatever task is at hand.

Learn more about Wildlife Vocalizations, and read other contributions.

Submit your story for Wildlife Vocalizations or nominate your peers and colleagues to encourage them to share their story.

For questions, please contact Jamila Blake.

Header Image: Masi Mejia found herself having to work twice as hard as an underrepresented individual. Credit: Masi Mejia