I was born in Mountain View, California, and my family moved to Plano, Texas when I was 6 years old. Fourteen years ago, Plano was not the bustling business and technological hub it is today. I remember seeing acres of grasslands and corn fields for the first time in my life, and I felt the crispest air, untouched by urbanization, fill my lungs. During the many years of landscape changes around my community, few areas remained constant in my life; however, there was always something I knew no one could take away from me– Texas sunsets.
My family and I are big road trippers. We’ve traveled on road to 37 of the 50 states, yet we’re still not done thoroughly covering the vast terrain Texas provides. Some of my favorite memories from our Texas road trips include those to Lake Austin, Hamilton Springs, and Enchanted Rock. Wherever we went, the pink and orange sunsets followed, and that was comforting. I became dependent on the outdoors, and along the way, I also became passionate about wildlife, cementing my goals of pursuing a career in wildlife conservation.
As an Indian American, my love for animals is confusing for many in my community because of their upbringing. I come from a community in which not many people celebrate pursuing a career in animal medicine or environmental health because they do not understand that both fields are just as critical to global health as human medicine is. After starting my college education at Texas A&M University, I learned that human medicine, veterinary medicine, and environmental health are all much more connected than most people think. Vector-borne illnesses, natural resource preservation, food insecurity, and many more are issues that must be addressed by all aspects of medicine in order to promote optimal global health.
I believe the biological “form fits function” concept is applicable to Texans. There is a direct relationship between the way Texans are raised and their affinity to stay and work in Texas. When I travel to other states, there is a part of me that always misses home. Perhaps it’s the land that keeps pulling me back. Or perhaps it’s the familiar sunsets. But maybe it’s been the Texan people all along. Meeting another Texan outside of Texas instantly makes me feel closer to home. Funnily enough, I feel the same way about meeting other Indian people when I am away from home. I’m comfortable knowing that my identity stems from being an Indian American raised in Texas. I feel that I have the best of both worlds, providing me twice the ability to connect with others.
Our future is dependent on the conservation steps we take. Texan by Nature works to create this future, forging relationships between businesses and conservation so that generations of Texans to come can enjoy our land as much as we have. I am excited to be a part of this mission and to help conserve Texas’ beautifully extensive environment.