Nature-loving meteorologist Stevenson takes LBC crown

Stevenson is currently working on a documentary about people of color in nature and conservation.

Legion of Black Collegians Homecoming queen Maiya Stevenson can be found on KOMU every Thursday discussing the weather.

Stevenson, a senior, studies atmospheric science.

"I want to be a weatherwoman on TV," Stevenson said. "I’ve had internships in Atlanta, Fox 5 and WSBTV. Hopefully this next summer, I’ll be at the Weather Channel in Atlanta. It’s looking pretty good."

Stevenson came to MU to become a journalist. During her initial college search, Stevenson found three random schools. One day, she was talking with her dad, who told her to look at the top-10 journalism schools. At the top of the list was MU.

"It was kind of like a no-brainer,” Stevenson said. “It would cost me more to go to school in-state in Georgia than come out here to go to school. I eventually changed my major, but it’s still really great for what I’m trying to do. It’s top-10 for meteorology here."

Stevenson said she also “mentors atmospheric science majors who primarily want to be met meorologists on TV.” Her first mentee told her that she wanted to report the weather like Stevenson did.

"(The mentee) just came out with me one day, and now she's on TV doing the same internship that I'm doing," Stevenson said. "She's going to have an internship this summer at a TV station in Kansas City."

Stevenson also works for Think Outside the Box, a student organization on campus aimed at helping students think creatively when it comes to their future careers. Currently, the group visits Belton Elementary School every Monday.

"Every week we have a new presentation with an organization on campus that's kind of out of the norm," Stevenson said. "We want to get kids out of that (saying), 'Hey, I want to just be a football player.' Let's have some kids saying, 'Hey, I want to be a meteorologist,' or, 'I want to study plants.'"

Additionally, Stevenson is the president of a organization that called the Ivy League Innovators.

"Basically, we're just going to do workshops to help people with networking,” Stevenson said. “We're going to go out to middle schools and high schools to help them out with college searching.”

Stevenson is also involved in her free time.

"I always say I want to be a meteorologist, but one of my real passions is exploring nature," Stevenson said. "I guess my dream job would be to work for the Weather Channel and be a meteorologist, and have my own show where I explore different nature areas and tell people about different environmental issues."

Starting small, Stevenson works a blog titled "Nature November," on which she photgraphs her weekly adventures to local nature spots.

"It’s going to be a visual kind of pictorial of my journey of my day in nature, just so I can get more people exposed to that,” Stevenson said. “I feel like a lot of people of color don’t get out in nature enough.”

Never one to think too small, Stevenson is also creating a documentary.

"I’ve been working on it for about a year, and essentially it is going to advocate for more diversity in nature and for awareness on different types of environmental issues," Stevenson said.

Stevenson hopes to receive the National Geographic Young Explorers Grant, which would give her $5,000 to use toward her documentary.

“I’ve been through National Geographic’s process for Young Explorers grants twice, and this last time I made it to the last 10 applications,” Stevenson said. “I’m in the process of getting my proposal done so I can apply again, and I think the third time is going to be the charm.”

Stevenson said that returning home this summer sparked her into action this school year.

“One thing is my sister and, actually, like the whole homecoming thing, I really did that for her,” Stevenson said. “She really wanted me to win. She recently got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, ... so it’s just kind of motivated me to really get things done and stop playing around with school.”

Stevenson admits to being a competitive person, stating that when she was told she made the Homecoming court, she was ready to go all out to win.

“It’s better exposure and for what I’m trying to do,” Stevenson said. “I couldn’t believe, like, ‘Wow, I actually won something.’ I love everyone who voted for me. I didn’t make it happen. The other people made it happen for me.”

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