Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Claire McNulty and I plan to graduate in the fall of 2020 with an Environmental Studies major and an English minor. I am interested in a wide range of environmental issues, but am particularly drawn to questions of equity and justice among frontline communities. I have held a variety of internships throughout my time at NYU, including at a land conservancy and a green design firm. I’m currently writing a thesis on climate change and adaptive capacity in the Bolivian Andes. In the future, I hope to practice environmental law.
What initially attracted you to NYU’s Environmental Studies/Animal Studies program? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
Initially, I was drawn to the program’s wide range of courses, which would allow me to explore a variety of topics. I have always held a deep concern for many different aspects of environmentalism, and believed that pursuing a degree within NYU’s ES department would position me particularly well to advocate for environmental issues throughout my career.
What do you love most about being in the major or minor?
I love the flexibility that the ES major affords its students. My peers and classmates have a broad range of interests that all fall under the ES umbrella, and I find that I am always learning from them both inside and outside of the classroom. Being among people with such diverse academic interests pushes me to constantly engage with new materials and ideas.
What is your most memorable moment while in the program and why?
While this isn’t one specific moment, particularly memorable for me has been the process of writing a thesis. I’ve especially enjoyed being able to take on my own research project, as well as work alongside peers who are passionate about a variety of environmental challenges.
What was your favorite class?
I’ve enjoyed a lot of classes, but one that stands out was Climate Change with Professor McDermid. She is a skillful professor, and always goes out of her way to ensure that you are able to comprehend the material. I’ve always felt more of an inclination toward the humanities, so it was a very empowering experience to go through the class and feel confident in the content.
What do you hope to accomplish with your major or minor?
I hope to develop through my major a complex understanding of environmental issues in the United States and the world. Ultimately, I hope to practice environmental law, and I believe that my combined ES major and English minor has pushed me to think critically about many aspects of environmental challenges.
How do you hope to combine your majors/or major and minor?
I have chosen to major in Environmental Studies and minor in English because I think that they represent distinct ways of understanding the world. Minoring in English has pushed me to think critically about the ways in which issues are represented in media and public discourse. I believe that focusing on both has given me a unique perspective on environmental challenges.
What is next for you? What do you plan to do after graduation?
This summer I will intern with an environmental law firm in the city, and I hope that doing so will illuminate for me the day-to-day work of an environmental attorney. After graduating, I hope to work with an NGO or environmental advocacy group to get more experience in the field. Eventually, I intend to go to law school.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Do your best to reach out to faculty and current students in your field of interest to get a sense of their priorities. Building relationships with the faculty in the ES department has been among the most rewarding aspects of my time as an undergraduate; be sure to take advantage of their expertise and eagerness to help you learn.