Amaya Simpson (she/her) is beginning her M.A in Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California, where she will continue to pursue her passion for increasing accessibility of environmental stewardship within the BIPOC community. This journey started during her undergraduate courses where she noticed that she was the only Black individual in her classes. As an out of state resident from Baltimore City, a predominantly Black community, this was puzzling. The lack of representation in the room was further made evident by the one-dimensional curriculums being taught in her courses. The material taught often did not include enough representation from diverse communities. With the intent to change this, she ventured into different classrooms. She began in her hometown with the non-profit organization MERIT Health Leadership Academy (2018-2022), where she taught high school level courses on environmental justice and mentored underrepresented students. Concurrently, she worked with organizations such as USC ReadersPlus and the Garden School Foundation to create diverse curriculum materials.
While she loves going into the community, both at home in Baltimore City, and in Los Angeles, Amaya also has a passion for research. Her undergraduate research focused on investigating the effects that education and policy have on environmental justice; more specifically, some of her research projects have analyzed the effects of sustainability policy in an era of political polarization, specifically on the Black and Brown communities, the effects of managed retreat in Hispanic communities, and how manumissions have affected agricultural producers in the United States. In the future she hopes to continue her research, while also going out into the community to encourage environmental stewardship for the BIPOC community.
Fellow at a Glance
University of Southern California
Environmental Policy & Law