Native American Profiles in STEM

Devon Parfait

Profile
Tribe: Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw
Occupation: Geoscience/Geospatial Science student at Williams College; Future Chief, GCD Band of Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw
Interview

How did you become interested in STEM?

I became interested in the Geosciences when I got invited to go to a Geoscience conference in Seattle. I met so many people who were so passionate and engaged in the work they were doing. I eventually worked my way into getting into Williams College from my community college in Louisiana. I learned that I could use geoscience as a way to learn and also give back to my community by doing research on how coastal land loss is affecting my tribal community.

Who are your mentors?

My two main mentors are my chief, Shirell Parfait-Dardar and Ronadh Cox who is a Geoscience professor here at Williams. Ronadh is the person who got me to the conference and helped me on my journey to Williams. They have both been there every step of the way helping me to improve and grow.

What words of wisdom would you give to students interested in STEM? 

Science can be a very intimidating thing to learn, and sometimes it can feel like a big mountain to climb, like a lot of things in life. But every step gets you closer, and the more steps you take, the more you begin to learn and make connections. Don’t be afraid to charge right through a door of opportunity, you never know what waits for you on the other side.

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