Meet our new Botanic Garden Student Educators (BoGSEs)

About the BoGSE Program

The newly launched Botanic Garden Student Educator (BoGSE) program has been in development over the past few years in an effort to bring students more deeply into the educational initiatives of the Botanic Garden. BoGSEs are critical members of the Botanic Garden educational team, leading peer-to-peer workshops, hosting events, providing visitor engagement at our front desk, and co-leading our K-12 educational tours. BoGSEs introduce Smith students and visitors to the world of plants and they leave our program as skilled environmental educators with a deeper understanding of basic botany and science communication.

A special thanks to McKenzie Swart '21, whose work during her time as Education Intern has helped lay the groundwork for this program. 

Liliana Martinez '25

My name is Liliana Martinez, I use they/them/elle pronouns, and I am a first year student from South Texas. I am so grateful for the opportunity to become involved in the Botanical Garden; Smith has cultivated an incredibly special space and I am deeply excited to be part of it. I am eager to learn more about natural life and share the gardens with the student body and greater community. I especially look forward to connecting with people through the culture and healing this space has to offer. It is important that we properly honor the complex history of the Indigenous peoples whose lands we occupy.

Lizbeth Oquita '22

Hello! My name is Lizbeth Oquita, I use she/they pronouns and I am a senior here at Smith College. I am originally from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I am a Government and Study of Women and Gender double major. Outside of Smith, I am a board member of Mariposas Sin Fronteras, a non-profit in Tucson, Arizona. I am also a core organizer with the Trans Asylum Seeker Support Network based in Massachusetts, with a branch I co-lead in Arizona. I am looking forward to being a BoGSE because I will be able to learn more about one of my favorite parts about Smith which is the landscape and gardens. To add, I will be able to learn more about plants and share my love for them with others. Lastly, I am looking forward to leading student workshops that include making essential oil sprays, lip balms, and mini terrariums. 

Meredith Jones '24

Hi! My name is Meredith (she/her), and I am from Bangor, Maine. I am a sophomore student here at Smith College studying Sociology. I love listening to music, dancing, taking nature walks, making art, cooking, drinking earl grey tea, and taking naps in the sun and in the library. Last year I took a leave of absence from Smith to work as an early learning home visitor in Brooklyn. I am not sure exactly what I want to do when I graduate college, but it will probably have to do with social or environmental justice and advocacy! I am so excited to be working as a BoGSE. I feel passionately about creating inclusive spaces, and I am excited to work with people who love plants and make the botanic garden more accessible through outreach. I am also looking forward to learning more about plants while working here, as well as the context and history surrounding them.

Yasmin Mohamed '25

Hi! I'm Yasmin (she/her), a first year student from Boston, MA. I am really excited to be a BoGSE this year! I can't wait to learn more about plants and share what I love with the Smith Community. In my free time, I love to bake and learn obscure facts on the internet. So happy to be here! 

 

Meet our Education Intern, Jamila dePeiza-Kern '22, who co-facilitates the BoGSE program with the Manager of Education.

Jamila dePeiza-Kern '22, supports Botanic Garden initiatives that aim to connect our many stakeholders to the Botanic Garden and keep them returning again and again. She assists with the Botanic Garden Student Educator (BoGSE) program, co-develops and co-leads educational tours and workshops, and assists with efforts that help create a welcoming, accessible, and engaging experience for visitors to Lyman Plant House. As the semester continues, Jamila will also help to develop exhibits and interpretive materials. The Education Intern is funded by the Cary MacRae McDaniel '69 Internship Fund.

Learn more about Jamila and her own botanical pathway