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Laura Yesenia Perez Oliveria

Laura Yesenia Pérez Olivera is an undergraduate student with a major in Genetics & Plant Biology and a minor in Xican@ Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a migrant from la costa de Oaxaca, where she grew up until the age of 7 before moving to Selma, California, a small rural town in the San Joaquin Valley. Memories of the motherland were expressed in the cooking, medicine, and stories of Laura’s ma, and today, are reflected in her own practices of this knowledge.

Bridging her studies in Plant Biology and weaving her story as an AfroOaxaqueña & PanIndigenous migrant, this summer Laura returned to the San Joaquin Valley to focus on her McNair Scholars project, an ethnobotanical study on the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) manifested in the creation of home gardens of Oaxacan Indigenous migrants.

Her passion for botany coexists with her cultura Oaxaqueña and the resistance that cultural and Indigenous knowledge of our environment and flora bring to Indigenous migrant communities and communities of color in the U.S.