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Meet Daijah Robison – Student Experiences Coordinator Botanical Maverick


Full of energy and passion, Daijah was born and raised in Columbus. Early on she and her twin sister attended Columbus City Schools and later attended Metro Early College High School where her mom used to work. Daijah credits Metro for sparking her interest in agriculture where she participated in a project to solve the problem of how to feed the world in 2050 given our anticipated population growth.


After graduating high school, Daija attended Central State University enrolling in agriculture with a minor in sustainability where she leveraged her passion for farming. Interested in plant therapy, she was able to teach with a school counselor.


As she talks about spending time in the greenhouses at CSU, her love for for them is obvious. Her goal is to one day have one of her own. She explains when she is in a greenhouse, it feels like she never wants to leave. In the meantime, she and her sister are working on projects supporting a sustainable garden effort in Linden, where they grew up.

 

Agriculture, something which she knew very little about helped her to realize that “life is so much bigger than what you might first see. It’s like you’re at the bottom of a mountain and you’re looking up to the top. There is so much more out there than I was aware of,” Daija explains.

 

When asked what brought her to PAST, she responds, “Working for a small non-profit, as a Student Experience Coordinator, you get to do a little bit of everything. I help with professional development for educators, develop questions for students and support them in them designing solutions, and I find myself constantly wanting to implement agricultural projects and talk about them. The end result is the beauty of how much can come out of these experiences.”

 

Prior to joining PAST full-time, she interned for two years, encouraged by her former Metro Early College High School Principal who is now Chief Strategy Officer for PAST. “I asked Marcy about opportunities at PAST and she said, yes please come! This was a 360 moment for me. My passion for agriculture surged the following summer at Mezzacello Urban Farm. I have had so many wonderful opportunities in my short time at PAST including working on the Science of Fragrance program with Bath & Body Works as well as presenting to the Ohio Farm Bureau alongside PAST President & CEO, Annalies Corbin.”

 

Daija’s advice is to “give your students your passion. Recognize that everyone has their own passion statement. Every student has the fruit, they need to plant the seed, and have support from others to help cultivate their passions.”

 

Looking to the future, there is so much she wants to do. Growing up in Columbus and being a first-generation college student, has opened her eyes to the possibilities including teaching and educating students about agriculture and creating sustainable gardens around Columbus. Daija speaks about expanding beyond plants to include animals because the world is interconnected as one large eco system. Tapping into each person’s individual passions has the ability to create life-changing moments which makes the world a better place for all of us.

 

Daijah’s metatitle is the Botanical Maverick. “I chose this title because botanical means, relating to plants. Every chance and opportunity I get to speak, some way and somehow, I always seem to use plants as an analogy or have participants do a hands-on activity with plants. Maverick means unorthodox or independent-minded. The way I express and teach my passion for agriculture is different. There aren't many African American representatives in my field so when I show up to events sometimes, I get overlooked but that never stops me from showing up. I know the plans and thoughts I have for agriculture and because of my spirit of resilience, I understand my practices are unlike others. However, I still try until I achieve the goal of the project.” 

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