Shannon Taylor, White Mountain Apache & Navajo, resides on the ancestral lands of her mother’s people, Dził’łigai Sí’áń Ndee (White Mountain Apache), in northeastern Arizona. She is a first generation and non-traditional student in her family. Shannon is currently a Junior pursuing her Bachelors of Science degree in Geographic Information Systems Technology (GIST) and Minor in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona (UA). At UA, Shannon is involved with the Arizona Institute for Resilience Earth Grant Program, as well as Planet Forward & Ilíiaitchik: Indigenous Correspondents Program (ICP).
Prior to transferring to UA, Shannon graduated with an Associates of Arts Degree from Northland Pioneer College in 2012. She also graduated summa cum laude with an Associate of Science in Natural Resources and Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Tohono O’odham Community College in 2023. She interned for two years at American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), where she worked with climate change and energy data to develop adaptation and renewable energy strategies. Shannon cites the Traditional (Indigenous) Environmental Knowledge (TEK) passed on to her growing up has a significant influence on her environmental understanding and practice. After graduation, Shannon’s career goals are to apply her knowledge of GIS and digital map-making, as well as advancing the representation of Indigenous peoples and knowledges in environmental decision making and Indigenous data sovereignty.
Through the Indigenous Correspondents Program, Shannon hopes to highlight the importance of TEK in western science. She believes that becoming a steward of the land will ensure that the traditional stories, knowledge, practices, ceremonies and language of Indigenous peoples will live on.