My connection to the protection of Mother Earth goes back many generations. On my mother’s side we are Zapotec and on my father’s side we are Ch’orti’. I belong to one of the strongest matriarchal indigenous nations and it is my inherited right to honor our indigenous kinships with Mother Earth. I always carried these cultural roots deep in my heart and consequently, when it came to studies, I decided to study marine and environmental sciences. Receiving a Bachelor’s in Marine Science (emphasis in ocean engineering + fisheries) and dual Master’s degrees in Marine Affairs and Forestry have allowed me to expand my scientific knowledge with courses, internships, and research. They have also allowed me to comprehend the importance of integrating indigenous and scientific knowledge to promote a healthier environment. Since I want to continue bridging the gap between environmental sciences and collaborative work with indigenous communities, I am currently seeking a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (UW)—College of the Environment.
YOU ARE ON INDIGENOUS LANDS: The University of Washington was built on indigenous lands and the shared waters of the Coast Salish peoples.
On April 12, 2018, I successfully defended my dissertation proposal, becoming a Ph.D. Candidate.
" I call on my ancestors & relatives who passed on every time I give a presentation or talk, as they are the reason why I can be standing where I am today as an empowered indigenous woman." Jessica Hernandez