Leyda was a graduate of our 4th Leadership Academy cohort.

How did you first hear about the Leadership Academy and what inspired you to apply for the program?

I heard about it online. I was inspired to apply because they were asking for Los Angeles residents to learn about local issues, run by individuals involved locally.

What’s the best thing you learned and/or what surprised you about the program or your work on the project?

I was surprised to be part of an organization and network that was involved in making the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument! I learned so much about the creation of national parks and politics. I was a high school senior and I was not aware about these things before. I was also surprised to actually bond with my cohort and still keep some type of communication over the years.

Did the Academy experience help you on your path? If so, how?

Yes, it did! I was already interested in environmental issues before I started, but joining the Academy made me aware of so much more. I was set to major in Environmental Studies in College. I loved being politically and socially involved. I would like to reconnect to continue my journey as an activist and pioneer of open spaces. 

What’s your favorite way to spend time in the San Gabriel Mountains?

Hike.

What followed your graduation?

I moved back to Los Angeles after finishing my undergraduate career at UC Santa Barbara. I am currently volunteering for the National Parks Conservation Association, part of the  LA Young Leaders Council. I am focusing on National Parks with the NPCA. Individually, I am also interested in environmental health issues. I am currently looking for a job in the environmental field (open to anything!).

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