Dragonfly Diversity Cafe Virtual Talk & Discussion: Overcoming Personal and Professional Struggles as an Asian American in Conservation

Dragonfly’s tenth Diversity Cafe will take place on April 21, 2022, and features Katie Leung, a Miami University graduate student in the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP). The emergence and spread of Covid-19, which led to an uptick in violence and negative sentiment directed toward the Asian American community, inspired Katie Leung to shift her focus toward understanding why this occurred and, importantly, why these acts of hatred and violence continue. While grappling on a personal level with immense concern for her and her family’s personal safety, she learned much about her identity as an Asian American and how her identity connected and intertwined with her evolving interests in conservation. In this talk, Katie will dive into:

  • The importance of mental and emotional health and how we must all honor ourselves during these difficult and divisive times;
  • How the rise of hate crimes toward Asians and Asian Americans impacted her work and passion in conservation;
  • How being in the time of Covid-19 made her realize she needed a career change to readjust her focus and how the master’s work she developed influenced this decision;
  • Why acknowledging and breaking old habits are important to maintain one’s personal integrity.

As a master’s degree candidate with Project Dragonfly’s Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP), Leung participates in experiential learning through the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Leung has focused her academic work on plastic pollution in New York City, where she serves as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Riverkeeper, coordinating the Sweep, Riverkeeper’s largest day of service. She sees her position as a way to expand the scope of her AIP master’s degree. Before Riverkeeper, she served as a field technician with New York City Parks’ Wildlife Unit, in which she led a raptor nest monitoring community science project to study nesting behavior and to help NYC agencies make informed decisions on rodent management. She graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a B.S. in Conservation Biology and centered her interests around wildlife conservation. Since then, her understanding of conservation has broadened as she has learned that environmental and social issues are interconnected, and she aims to involve more people in conservation to address these issues

  • “Overcoming Personal and Professional Struggles as an Asian American in Conservation”
  • Thursday, April 21, 2022 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET
  • Note: This talk may be recorded.

This Dragonfly Diversity Cafe is part of a developing series of virtual talks focusing on international conservation, urban and rural ecology, inquiry-based education, nature connections, and other relevant topics. Our Diversity Cafes aim to elevate marginalized perspectives on diversity, equality, and inclusion-related topics in an environmental and conservation setting. The invited speakers explore topical ideas, research, and experience in the first half of the Cafe hour. In the latter half, the Cafe will open up for discussion and audience participation to engage with the speaker(s) and their ideas.