An interview with Devyani Kumari

Name: Devyani Kumari

Current Job: PhD Candidate

Scientific Discipline/Field: Climate Policy, Energy Access, Environmental Finance

Country: Canada

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q,+, etc.): L


Twitter or other social media handle: @Kumari_Devyani

What does your job involve?

I work with local communities to work on energy access issues, and climate policy. Currently, I am investigating the impact of woodfuel extraction on forest sustainability and climate change. in my other life, I also work on payments for ecosystem services looking at topics such as carbon Finance and REDD+

How did you get to this job (education etc.)?

I have an MBA (Finance) and worked in Corporate america for a few years. Once I was done selling my soul, I decided to take leap of faith and enrolled in an MSc (Environmental science). realizing my love for climate and nature, I went on to pursue a PhD (Forest Resource Management) where I am currently looking to defend this winter.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

When I was working in corporate america, I was forced to quit my job because of my orientation, and I was not protected by the state back then. I have had many similar issues in my corporate career. However, in academia I have been accepted without question and met many successful LGBTQ scientists who have once again given me the drive and hope to work towards a greater good.

Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?

Currently, my department has many LGBTQ individuals as graduate students and professors. Being queer is a non-issue in Forestry it seems, and the faculty itself has done amazing outreach events, such that our University President recently tweeted about the efforts of forestry to be inclusive (not just queer but race and ethnicity as well).

Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated.)?

I have always wanted to be a scientist, and Jane Goodall was one I heard of a lot in India. I also read every issue of National Geographic and WWF who had a huge part in my career decision of a climate sceintist (I know not scientists, but they had good environmental science in their journals).

What are your plans for the future?

I LOVE research and want to continue working on Climate Policy. I am not fully inclined to a tenure track position, but open to research in any form – post doc, consultant, assistant, scholar, think tanks etc. As long as I get to do good science and make a difference.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I really hope that all of us continue to do our bit to work towards climate mitigation. we do not have a lot of resources nor time left. and for our greed, it is the innocent species who pay the price of extinction.


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