Spotlight Story

14 June 2023

Mireya Bejarano: A Latina Making her way in Wildlife Conservation

Category: Spotlight Story

Mireya Bejarano always knew she wanted to work in wildlife conservation. Born and raised in Los Angeles to two Mexican immigrants, she always felt inspired by her upbringing and the influential figures that pushed her to pursue her dreams. Focused on her aspirations to land a job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she worked hard to create her path, which included participating in different research opportunities, fieldwork, and an internship with Hispanic Access Foundation which was the ultimate stepping stone for achieving her goals.

After completing her degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from UC Davis, she looked for internships and job opportunities in her field, realizing these are limited, and many Latino folks fight even harder to get these opportunities. That’s when she discovered Hispanic Access Foundation and the MANO Project, which encompasses different internship programs within a range of federal land management agency partners.

When Mireya saw an opening with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she felt it was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to apply and start her much-desired career in wildlife conservation. She completed her MANO internship at the Ventura Office for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During her practical, hands-on experience, she polished crucial skills that she now uses in her current role as a Renewable Energy Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

“I got to write species profiles, which are an overview of the natural history of different threatened and endangered species in the Ventura Office. It's written in a way that members of the public can understand it.”

While in her internship, Mireya received ongoing support from Hispanic Access Foundation. Once completing the program, she received a Public Lands Corp non-competitive hiring status that she used when applying for her current position. “I feel like that certificate made me stand out amongst the crowd. I have been applying for opportunities via USAJobs since I graduated, and it was rare to even get any type of callback. After I uploaded my certificate, it made things a lot easier. That certificate helped me land the job I am now.”

Mireya has worked for the Reno and Southern Nevada Office in Las Vegas since March, working on renewable energy projects. She has been able to transfer her writing and data management skills to her current duties. All the background information she learned throughout her internship was helpful for Mireya to understand the necessity and standpoint of the role of a section seven biologist.

“The educational impact that the MANO Project had on me was helping me complete the internship at the Ventura Office, where they helped me develop these writing skills and data management, a foundation that I needed and that is relevant to where I am now.”

Mireya has been passionate about conservation and wildlife issues since childhood, and she values the path that led her to where she is now. While in college, she would often look at other conservation students and realize she was one of the few Latinas in a wildlife classroom, despite UC Davis having a high Latino demography, and that represents a lot for her.

“As a Latina, it feels like I’m being part of that representation, and that is a powerful feeling. Many conservation issues are very complex, and we need to look at other people's experiences and knowledge because we can see a new side to whatever complex conservation issue we’re facing. It's really empowering knowing that I am serving as a representation for conservation and just for being a Latina for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in general. It makes me proud. I know it makes my parents proud.”

To learn more about the MANO Project and to see what positions are currently available, visit  

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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