Majors: Environmental Studies and Studio Art
ENVS Experience: This winter, I began a long-term project titled Decomposition Dance as part of the Health Safety and Sustainability award. I am growing, sculpting, and painting mycelium and using culinary fungus with the intent to create outdoor installations in collaboration with ecosystems. So, all my materials are biodegradable! The project's experiments are centered around five chronological phases: creation, growth, response, conversation/play, and independence. The resulting forms are records of communication between the fungus and me. I have long been a lover of fungi and the wood-wide web, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to incorporate these materials into my artistic practice.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite ENVS related course so far was The Greening of Art: Ecology, Sustainability, and Sculpture Since 1970. It expanded my understanding of environmental art and challenged my preconceived notions about how someone could study the environment.
Advice for other ENVS majors: My advice would be to take as many ENVS related courses in other departments as are available and offered. Environmental studies is a far-reaching field and can be studied from all angles. There is always something new to learn and a new perspective or medium to see it from.
Majors: International Relations (Global Health, Nutrition, and the Environment) and Environmental Studies (Environmental Communication)
ENVS Experience: This past summer I worked for a non-profit organization that pushed for smart growth in the Boston area, mainly by pushing for affordable housing called Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. During my time at there, I assisted with many different projects and tasks. The best thing I probably did was research different reports on urban farming in order to find facts that were then put into our testimony on a bill to facilitate Urban Agriculture in Massachusetts at the State House. I made many different infographics for the organization's Twitter, helped make their newsletters, researched/created databases of potential donors and partners, and helped to begin the organization of one of their regional conferences on urban planning for water (specifically river) resource management relating to climate change.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite ENVS class so far would probably be Environmental Justice and World Literature with Professor Roy. It really opened my eyes to a lot of concepts and perspectives surrounding environmental justice that I had never though of or known about, and pretty much everyone in the class was amazing in group work and working together to not only understand the concepts, but go even further in asking questions on broader topics relating to the concepts.
Advice for other ENVS majors: My advice for other ENVS majors would be to connect with other ENVS students on campus and the ENVS staff. They can help you so much with figuring out exactly what in environmental studies you want to end up doing with your life (there are literally SO many different careers that have to do with sustainability and the environment), find internships, and give you advice for what to do and not to do along your journey.
Majors: Biology and Environmental Studies Track II (Sustainability, Policy, Equity)
ENVS Experience: This past summer, I worked as an events intern for a Mighty Earth and Green Corps campaign called Stop Don't Chop. The campaign focused on advocating for more sustainable food systems by holding the agribusiness giant Cargill responsible for improving sustainability practices along their supply chain. This was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience in grassroots organizing and environmental advocacy while working with a great team of organizers and interns. I was mainly responsible for organizing monthly virtual webinars for the campaign, as well as other tasks such as phone banking and leading core meetings.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite course so far was the ExCollege course "#outfitoftheday: Clothing, Sustainability, and the Global Implications of Getting Dressed." It was eye-opening to learn about the policy, sustainability, and environmental justice aspects of the fashion industry and all of the class assignments and projects were very practical and flexible to my interests. I definitely recommend this class if you're interested in going into a sustainability-related career in business or if you're just interested in fashion!
Advice for other ENVS majors: In my experience, it was helpful to explore a variety of topics, ranging from economics to anthropology to policy. I think having a well-rounded perspective and knowledge of environmental topics helped me figure out my interests and career path going forward. I recommend taking the ENVS lecture series as a class if possible, or just attending as many of those as you can to expose yourself to different topics and fields!
Majors: Environmental Studies (Sustainability, Policy, and Equity); Psychology
Minors: Drama and Dance
ENVS Experience: This year, I am coordinating the Eco Rep program through the Tufts Office of Sustainability after having previously been an assistant coordinator and Eco Rep! The Eco Rep program educates Tufts students about sustainable living on campus by hosting events, creating informational graphics, and leading other initiatives like Meatless Mondays and Green Room Certification. Although the program looks very different this year, I am proud to have created an online sustainability certification training, partnered with JumboVote to promote environmentalism and civic action, and to have hosted discussions amongst other schools at the Student Sustainability Leadership Symposium. Apply to be an Eco Rep for the spring!
Favorite ENVS course: Environmental Humanities my first year was amazing!! Also literally anything in the UEP program (I've taken Housing Policy and Intro to Urban Studies). Also EC 30 Environmental Econ. Too many to choose!
Advice for other ENVS majors: Don't stress about choosing a track; take the classes that interest you and see what it adds up to! Also go to as many events as possible. I find it so exciting how I can constantly learn about the environment at Tufts even if I'm not taking any ENVS courses.
Majors: Environmental Studies (Environmental Science) & Biology
ENVS Experience: For my ENVS internship I spent a summer working in the Crone Lab studying Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies. I followed the butterflies through their life cycle; mark-recapturing adults to determine the population size at three different sites, analyzing the nectar availability in their meadows, and identifying their nests as caterpillars. It was fantastic to work with everyone in the Crone Lab and inspiring to go out into the field and see it bursting with life.
Favorite ENVS course: Tropical Ecology! It's offered every other year and If you're someone interested in field work I can't recommend it enough. I learned so much about ecology and going through the whole scientific process from the start (picking a study species and reading the literature) through conducting the experiment and writing up the results was incredible.
Advice for other ENVS majors: Go to talks if you have the time! Also, if you're missing the HoCu lecture pizzas like I am, the pineapple pizza order is pineapple/mushrooms/caramelized onions from Pini's Pizza Somerville.
Majors: Biology, Minor in Food Systems and Nutrition
ENVS Experience: This year, I am a co-leader of the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative (TFRC) Family Meals Program. With my co-leader, Alexandra Wolf, and a cohort of about 30 volunteers, we are working together bridge the gap between surplus food on the Tufts campus and local food insecurity. To do so, TFRC members volunteer in Carm and Dewick every day of the semester to package food, that would have been wasted, into high-quality meals. Then, our partner non-profit Food For Free (in Cambridge, MA) distributes these meals to food-insecure Boston neighbors. Last semester, we rescued over 1200 meals from the dining halls! Interested in learning more? Sign up for a shift in Fall 2019 here.
Favorite ENVS course: First, I highly recommend ENV 009 Food Systems to anyone in ENVS. It is taught by Cathy Stanton in the Anthropology department, and it is a great way to learn how essential it is to think holistically when considering issues in our food system. Second, as a biology major, I loved taking ENV182 Food For All: Biotechnology, Ecology, and Sustainability with Sara Gomez and Colin Orians. In this class, you are forced to think outside the box about how we can use biological systems to create food more sustainably going forward.
Advice for other ENVS majors: Take advantage of events happening on AND off campus! This is a great way to make connections with people that are doing great work… don't be afraid to talk to them and learn more!
Majors: Environmental Studies (Science Track) & Political Science
ENVS Project: This past summer I interned as a Tisch Summer Fellow with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). I worked closely with CHEJ's founder Lois Gibbs to develop strategic communications for the 40th anniversary of the tragedy of Love Canel. I also researched specific bills related to Lead in Schools and Super Fund then wrote bill histories that were used in the planning of a nationwide campaign. Through this experience, I was fortunate to learn about the environmental health and justice movement from one of its founders. I also saw how to efficiently communicate and empower grassroots communities who saw real impacts in their community with the help of CHEJ.
Favorite ENVS course: It's hard to pick just one class, but I am currently taking Occupational and Environmental Health with Dr. Gute and I have loved the course so far because it combines all of my environmental interests. The themes of the course include environmental justice, toxicology, primary prevention, and environmental policy. I would highly recommend this class for anyone interest in environmental health and justice!
Advice for other ENVS majors: Take advantage of the wide range of classes that are offered throughout the major, to me that is what makes our major so special. We are able to take classes in philosophy, biology, English, or political science. Environmental problem solving is incredibly interdisciplinary, so taking a wide range of classes helps to prepare us to make a real difference in our field in the future.
Majors: Environmental Studies (Food Systems, Nutrition, & the Environment Track) and Biopsychology
ENVS Experience: I am a junior studying Biopsychology & Environmental Studies (Track IV: Food Systems, Nutrition & the Environment). In my time at Tufts, I have been a member of SEA, worked for three semesters as an EcoRep, and most notably, served as a coordinator of LCS Food Rescue. In this role, my co-coordinator Grace Schumaker and I managed a rotating group of about 15 volunteers in completing seven weekly food pick-ups from supermarkets in the Greater Boston Area. The TFRC delivers food weekly to food pantries, rehabilitation centers, elderly care facilities and domestic violence crisis centers with the goal of providing fresh foods free of charge and reducing supermarket waste. The TFRC is one of several organizations that work together in the Greater Boston Area to combat the issues of food waste and food insecurity. This semester I am headed to Madrid to study abroad and the new coordinator of TFRC LCS Rescue will be Lucy Simon. Lucy is incredibly qualified, smart and passionate about food systems and I cannot wait to see what the TFRC gets up to in my absence.
A note about food rescue: In an ideal world or a more perfect food system, there would be no need for 'filler' organizations like the TFRC. While we at the collaborative are incredibly proud to combine the issues of food waste and overproduction with food insecurity, the two issues are not causally linked and need to be addressed upstream a more macro level by corporations and governments. However, as long as disparities in nutrition and access to fresh and varied foods exist, the TFRC and partner food rescue organizations will be here to help mitigate this issue and reduce food waste.
Favorite ENVS Course: During my time at Tufts as an ENVS student, one of my favorite classes has been Food Systems (ENV09) with Professor Cathy Stanton. In this eye-opening survey course of food systems, Professor Stanton helps orient students and sorts food fact from food fiction in an incredibly helpful and clarifying way. The course is an excellent introduction to the study of food because it designates the food system as a 'wicked problem,' one for which each solution brings up a whole new slouth of complications.
Advice for ENVS Majors: To any students considering pursuing a degree in ENVS from Tufts, I would recommend taking one such survey course from the department and attending ENVS weekly lunch & learns as well as other events put on by the department. The Tufts ENVS department consists of a diverse group of experts on environmental science, policy, economics and engineering and it has been an honor to be a part of this ever-evolving group of people who care!
Majors: Double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science, Minor in Philosophy
ENVS Experience: I interned for Moms Clean Air Force at the Environmental Defense Fund, and I advocated on the hill for 100% clean energy. I also worked on preventing the mercury and Air Toxics rollbacks by the EPA.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite course was PHIL 91 Climate Change Ethics because it really made me think about the problem of climate change through a moral lens. I had thought about it through a scientific lens and a policy lens, but not yet through philosophy. I think we should try to look at the issue in as many different ways as possible.
Advice for other ENVS majors: My advice is to make sure you give yourself the time you need to heal from the sometimes difficult reality of learning about environmental issues and to not give up hope because so many people care just like we do!
Majors: Biology and Environmental Studies (Environmental Science track)
ENVS Experience: My summer scholars project, which was also the start of my senior thesis, is looking at the incidence and severity branch dieback in Arabica coffee plants. This research takes place on coffee farms in Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica, and will combine fieldwork on the farms with farmer interviews to hopefully determine which factors--whether they're rooted in the environment, farm management, or the plants themselves--play a role in branch dieback. From here, I aim to see if/how sustainable farming practices can be used to help decrease the risk posed by dieback.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite course thus far has been BIO 185 Food For All, with Dr. Gomez and Dr. Orians. It was an interesting look into farm management, food security, and biotechnology from a number of different disciplines, and as a discussion-based class, it fostered a lot of interesting conversations about important issues. There were also some great guest speakers! I'd recommend it to anyone, regardless of what they study.
Advice for other ENVS majors: If you can, get to know the people in your classes. Even if we all share the common thread of being interested in ENVS, everyone I talk to wants to apply that interest in a different way-- I've learned a lot about the various facets of environmental studies through meeting people. It's a remarkably interdisciplinary department, and that's one of my favorite things about it.
Majors: Environmental Studies (Environmental Science Track) & International Relations
ENVS Experience: This summer, I worked in the Helmuth Lab at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center researching the acclimation capacities of the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) in order to further investigate their resilience to extreme heat waves. When I wasn't working on my research, there was always something interesting happening on the campus, from PhD defenses to sampling trips with the Mass Department of Marine Fisheries. Therefore, the best part about this project was getting to spend time working and interacting with people who are as interested in our oceans as I am!
Favorite ENVS course: I have been so happy about the opportunities I've had to learn how to better handle data. For example, last semester I took both Advanced GIS (UEP-0235, an ENVS elective) and Environmental Data Visualization (ENV-0170), one of which helped me learn more advanced analyses techniques with spatial data, and the other of which helped me learn how to apply and communicate data generated from these skills in a useful way. For my ENV-0170 final project, I was able to compare a commonly used climate change resilience metric to physiological data that I helped collect over the summer in a public StoryMap visualization (viewable here).
Advice for other ENVS majors: Have meaningful experiences with nature outside of schoolwork! Whether it is a job, volunteer work, or just paying attention to the world around you when you go outside, there are so many moments that can provoke illuminating ideas - as long as you just get out there and enjoy the natural world!
Environmental Studies & German | Norton Nickerson Internship Award recipient
I am incredibly grateful for my time at Groundwork Somerville this summer. I worked as a youth leader for the organization's "Green Team," a youth empowerment program that operates in the fields of environmental justice, professional development, and civic engagement. The Green Team program traditionally takes place at an urban farm and includes a few hours of farm work every day, but due to Covid-19, the program was moved completely online this summer.
The Green Team program was the perfect complement to my coursework at Tufts as it tackled environmental justice in a nuanced, progressive, and intersectional way. For example, while discussing the importance of sustainable farming techniques like permaculture, my supervisor (the director of the program) was careful to recognize that many of these techniques have been practiced by indigenous people, a fact that the sustainable farming movement is often slow to admit. In another instance, we had a candid conversation with the youth about how the conservation movement has long been a majority-white space and how more work needs to be done to engage people of all backgrounds and identities. Throughout my time on the Green Team, moments like these helped to deepen my understanding of environmental studies and pushed me toward open-mindedness and away from black-and-white thinking. Finally, I am grateful for an opportunity to work alongside many of Somerville's current and future community leaders to make my city a more just, greener, and equitable place.
Majors: Economics and Environmental Studies (Double
Major/Environmental Science Track)
ENVS Experience: For the past two summers, I've worked in sustainable investment research at asset management companies, leveraging my role as an investor to help promote corporate sustainability. Through researching and benchmarking companies based on their sustainability performance and engaging with the companies that have room for improvement, I helped strengthen sustainability policies at companies such as Aramark, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Darden, Kroger, and more. Money talks, and it is a useful tool for incentivizing companies to reduce their environmental footprints. Awardees will be chosen on the basis of a written essay, not more than 500 words, and the applicant's resumé and transcript. Tell us what you want to do and how you propose to do it.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite ENVS-related course was EC-008, Principles of Economics with Environmental Applications, taught by Brian Roach. This class inspired me to double major with Economics and Environmental Studies because it showed me how market forces and environmental policies are often completely intertwined. Professor Roach is excellent at breaking down difficult economic concepts and contextualizing them within contemporary environmental issues.
Advice for other ENVS majors: When I wasn't chosen to be an Eco-Rep as a first-year, I was really disappointed. But instead of dwelling on the rejection, I joined
several environmental clubs on campus. Now, I am one of the leaders of Tufts Climate Action, an intern at the Office of Sustainability,and a weekly volunteer with Tufts Food Rescue collaborative. If you want to get involved in the environmental scene on campus, don't take no for an answer! Also, MassCEC is an amazing resource for finding paid internships.
Majors: Sociology and Environmental Studies double major, Urban Studies Minor
ENVS Experience: Last semester, for my Advanced GIS course, I did a project around finding suitable locations for dedicated bus lanes in Philadelphia, PA. It was a super interesting project because I realized how critical buses are for addressing problems like climate change and how much potential there is to fight the climate crisis with improvements in public transportation. It was also awesome to learn how to use GIS to do a lot of different things.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite ENVS-related course that I've taken at Tufts is UEP 194 Urban Design & Retrofitting the Suburbs. It was an incredibly interesting class because not only did I learn many design techniques, I also learned them in the context of climate change and sustainability. The course focuses on how we can redesign our communities to not only be more environmentally sustainable, but also to be more equitable and walkable. I highly recommend it!
Advice for other ENVS majors: My advice for ENVS majors is to never forget to take care of yourself. Often, I've found it's very easy to get caught up and stressed in taking a very heavy course load, applying for a ton of internships, and figuring out what to do after graduation. But it's important to keep your well-being in mind, too. Everything will work out. It might look different than what you imagined, but everything will fall in place when it needs to!
Majors: Environmental Studies and Community Health, Master in Public Health
ENVS Experience: I created the Environmental Studies Major Guide as my final project for Special Topics in Environmental Education (ENV 195). In creating this guide, I hoped to include as many perspectives as possible, so I surveyed my peers about their experiences in the major. As the ENVS major evolves, I hope that this guide can serve as a resource for students making choices about their majors, concentrations, classes, or careers. I was also interested in looking at trends, particularly the breakdown of students in each track.
*The Environmental Studies Major Guide can be found here!*
Favorite ENVS course: I enjoyed Special Topics in Environmental Education (ENV 195) with Ninian Stein. As a part of this class, I was a teacher's assistant for Intro to Environmental Studies. It was interesting to step away from being a student and to consider how to effectively educate others about environmental issues. We also had the chance to work on independent research projects. For my project, I created two guides for students, one about general sustainability on campus and the other for ENVS students.
Advice for other ENVS majors: Work to create a balanced schedule and plan ahead. I would recommend thinking about your academic strengths and tailoring your schedule so it includes classes that are both in and out of your comfort zone. Try to balance both quantitative and qualitative classes, as well as writing-heavy or exam-heavy classes. It will make your workload much more manageable and also help you learn more. (In the guide, you'll find a course planning document as well as descriptions of the type of work required for many ENVS classes. Be sure to check out those resources!)
Majors: Applied Environmental Studies, Food Systems, Nutrition and the Environment track
ENVS Experience: I am the Specialty Recycling Intern for the Tufts Office of Sustainability, and this semester I am working to ensure that the many specialty recycling streams (which include textiles, plastic film, small electronics and more!) on campus are being utilized properly and are directed to their proper recycling destination. Another part of my job is to expand the reach of and participation with our specialty recycling streams on the Medford, Boston, and Grafton campuses. Right now I'm working on establishing a small electronics recycling program on the Boston campus and helping to support Carm and Dewick in their continued efforts to recycle the large amounts of plastic film that dining creates. To learn more about specialty recycling resources at Tufts go here.
Favorite ENVS course: One of my favorite ENVS courses (and one of the first I took at Tufts) Anthropology of the Environment, taught by Alex Blanchette, was very key in solidifying my interest in
Majors: Biology and Environmental Studies
ENVS Experience: I worked with NYC Audubon over the summer, mainly helping out with their Safe Flight program that is a bird collision monitoring project in the city of New York. I also helped out with the banding of seagulls and oystercatchers. As an extension of Project Safe Flight, they've asked me to do my own monitoring at Tufts and maybe try to have the Tufts Ornithological Society incorporate that into their activities.
Favorite ENVS course: My favorite course so far would be Animal Behaviour (BIO 130) taught by Professor Starks.
Advice for other ENVS majors: My advice would be to choose the courses that most interest you, not ones you think are easy, especially the electives, because they are really interesting and you learn a lot. pursuing the environmental studies major. The course's readings introduced me to a variety of challenging and thought-provoking perspectives on familiar and unfamiliar environmental concepts (what exactly is nature?) and as an anthropology class, it was a much different approach to environmental issues than your typical hard-science lecture class would take.
Advice for other ENVS majors: Try taking an ENVS course that may not be directly listed for your track or that's in a subject or department with which you're unfamiliar. You may find surprising connections between classes and personal environmental interests. Environmental issues are so multifaceted that this interdisciplinary approach is key to a deeper understanding of the problems and possible solutions!