Nya Batson: The Badass

Photo by Tate Gasch

By: Osmara Rodriguez-Aimerich, Donna Diaz, Lucinda Dorrance, Hannah Posner and Emily Diaz Reyes

Nya Batson is a BADASS – all caps. 

That’s how science teacher Nya Diggs describes her, at least. 

“Nya is overall incredible,” Diggs said. 

When students returned to in-person classes after COVID, Batson was interested in learning more about neuroscience and rebuilding Riverside’s Black Student Union. Diggs, who knew a little bit about both things, offered to help.

‘’She was the only teacher I had in high school that wanted a relationship with me,” Batson said. “I TA’d for her class. She was like a mentor to me.’’

Batson assisted Diggs’ environmental science students with their lab work and graded assignments. And Diggs guided Batson through her journey at Black Student Union. 

“[Diggs] kind of brought me out of my shell,” Batson said. “I knew that she cared about all of her students, and not just the ones that… made themselves larger in the classroom.” 

When Batson first decided to help rebuild the Black Student Union, it only had a few members.

“The club was structured around discussion, which is good,” she said. “But discussions are boring. People don’t want to leave class to go sit and have academic discussions during their free time.”

Batson added community-building games such as Jeopardy and Family Feud to club meetings. And she helped improve the BSU’s social media to advertise activities and attract new members. 

Next year, Batson will attend UNC Chapel Hill. She wants to study the human brain and eventually pursue a career in medicine. 

“With me and neuroscience, I knew that I wanted to do it since I was probably five-ish, when I first got a book of the brain,” she said. “I was like, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”

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