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Avery Maltz

Holyoke Community College



Community College

Wells Fargo Scholarship

Avery Maltz is a genderqueer and neurodivergent biology student based in western Massachusetts. Originally from Manhattan, they struggled with undiagnosed learning disabilities and homophobic bullying in middle and high school. The impact of these struggles prevented them from succeeding in higher education and they spent their 20s working many jobs and building a career as a visual artist. After receiving an ADHD diagnosis at age 30, Avery returned to college to pursue a degree in STEM. Along with discovering their passion for academia, Avery has been deeply engaged in serving their community as the president and founder of the Neurodiversity Club, NSF STEM Scholar, biology peer tutor and supplemental instructor, and Vice President of Service in Phi Theta Kappa. Their academic research explores connections between the mutualism of complex forest systems and the potential for humans to embrace social structures built on mutual aid. Through interdisciplinary honors research on social movements, complex systems science, and tree communication, Avery studies the intersectionality of liberation from systems of oppression. Avery is also the caretaker of the Holyoke Community College greenhouse and their research has been greatly influenced by their work with the plants. They plan to continue their studies with a focus on ecology, while building interdisciplinary knowledge of social justice and an understanding of how different cultures relate to the natural worlds that they inhabit. Avery feels strongly about amplifying the voices of marginalized people and intends to leverage their passion for natural sciences towards a more accessible and just world.

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