Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Gianluca and I will be graduating in the Spring of 2021 as an ES major with minors in chemistry and biology. As a first-generation American born and raised in NYC, I had very few opportunities to experience the natural world while growing up. Through a slew of educational, research, and internship experiences while at NYU, I discovered a passion for ecology and the environment. My main areas of interest are marine ecosystems and biogeochemistry. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed working out and playing sports like soccer and swimming. During the pandemic, I have been enjoying learning how to cook and grow my own vegetables/flowers.
What initially attracted you to NYU’s Environmental Studies program? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
When I first entered NYU, I came in with the intention of applying to veterinary school after I graduate. I decided to major in ES so that I could take my pre-requisite science courses while also having the flexibility to find additional interests. I was attracted to the department's curriculum approach through interdisciplinary coursework that allowed me to learn all aspects of the environmental movement. Through courses in science, sociology, politics, and economics, I sought to deepen my understanding and gain a new perspective on everything going on in the world.
What do you love most about being in the major or minor?
The faculty and students! The faculty has been so helpful in guiding my education and fleshing out my future aspirations. If I ever needed to reach out to a professor with general questions or for advice, I knew that I could count on them. As for students, we all have similar interests, hobbies, and passion for the environment, so it has been quite fun meeting my peers and collaborating on projects and assignments.
What is your most memorable moment while in the program and why?
There are plenty of moments to choose from, but I fondly remember presenting my final paper in the Internship in Environmental Studies course during my junior year. That semester, I started an internship at The River Project, a marine biology field station based in NYC where I took part in a decades-long ecological survey of the aquatic life found in the Hudson River Estuary. I also led tours of the facility and represented the lab at the 2019 SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival, where I provided fun environmental education to young children from the area. It was an excellent experience and I enjoyed telling my peers all about my time there. Many excellent questions were asked and I received great feedback from Professor Schlottmann.
What was your favorite class?
Environmental and Molecular Analysis of Disease with Professor Killilea and Biogeochemistry of Global Change with Professor Paltseva! In both of these courses, I got to incorporate my interests in the sciences with my newfound passion for ecology and environmental conservation. I was able to connect my coursework to real-world applications and see first-hand how vital this knowledge is in the field.
What do you hope to accomplish with your major or minor?
My ultimate goal is to contribute to work or research that promotes the protection and restoration of natural areas and animals. I want to implement my knowledge in the sciences toward industries that are detrimental to natural species and areas with the hopes of preventing irremediable harm.
What is next for you? What do you plan to do after graduation?
I will be pursuing a Master's Degree in Aquaculture at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences this upcoming fall. I will be learning about sustainable aquaculture methods and the fisheries industry in the United States. After my Master's, I hope to further pursue a career in research and/or apply to Ph.D. programs to study marine ecosystems (coral reefs)!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Don't be afraid to reach out to professors for help and/or advice! Getting to know your professors and letting them get to know you can lead to interesting opportunities in the future, especially if they are in the field you are interested in pursuing. Secondly, keep an eye on the work, internship, scholarship, and fellowship opportunities on the department blog! There have been countless opportunities I have found out about and successfully obtained from the blog. Lastly, apply to as many scholarships/internships/grants as you realistically can! There are many opportunities to help offset the costs of your education, so long as you can take the time to search and apply for them.