Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in eastern Massachusetts and learned to love nature by exploring the small slice of forest (maybe 10 acres) behind our house and the duck pond by the town hall. I spend my time in New York (when not doing research or schoolwork) playing basketball, walking aimlessly, and getting distracted by sparrows while in the middle of conversations. Over the past three years, I’ve worked as a teacher at a nature education center on the beach in northern Massachusetts, conducted fish behavioral research on the Hudson River, studied terrestrial turtle movement ecology while living in the Hudson Highlands, and, most recently, worked on research about cellular seafood with an environmental nonprofit for my senior thesis.
What initially attracted you to NYU’s Environmental Studies/Animal Studies program? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I always knew I liked animals, I always knew I liked trees, and I always knew I liked New York– and I didn’t know much else. I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I was getting into; this just made sense for me and it worked out fantastic.
What do you love most about being in the major or minor?
Having the opportunity to work with brilliant professors and contribute directly to fascinating research. Every professor in ES/AS approaches environmental problems from an incredibly creative perspective – if you get involved as a research assistant, it is certain to be an exciting experience.
What is your most memorable moment while in the program and why?
Walking around the spillway at the New Croton Dam in the middle of a torrential downpour as part of a field trip for New York Underground. It was such a bizarre experience – and one of thecoolest things I’ve experienced at NYU.
What was your favorite class?
Animal Welfare and Behavior, and Marine Ecology and Conservation.
What do you hope to accomplish with your major or minor?
I hope to pursue a career in primary ecological research that approaches biological systems from an integrated social-environmental perspective. Ultimately, I want to do work that advances our fundamental understanding of ecological systems while simultaneously developing realistic conservation solutions.
How do you hope to combine your majors/or major and minor?
Through Environmental Biology I’ve gained ecological knowledge that can help ground my work in core scientific principles and methodology. Conversely, Environmental Studies has
provided me with insight into how ecological research can be tailored in such a way to create real world change.
What is next for you? What do you plan to do after graduation?
I’m headed up to Maine to join the salt marsh ecology team at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge for the summer, then I plan to travel around the country picking up seasonal field
research assistantships for a year or two. After that, grad school!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Take advantage of this opportunity to learn technical skills! Take Mary Killilea’s GIS class; take Katie Schneider-Paolantonio’s field methods class; join a lab and get involved in data collection; apply for a DURF FAST grant and teach yourself STATA on the university’s dime. Having the technical abilities that people need will provide you with tremendous opportunities to do some of the most impactful (and fun) work possible.