Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tess von Kleist, and I’m an Environmental Studies student from Monterey Bay, California. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY and work in the Office of Sustainability at NYU and the Global Research Initiatives in the Provost’s Office. Outside of school and work, I enjoy exploring new parts of Brooklyn, running in Prospect Park, and thrifting whenever I can.
What initially attracted you to NYU’s Environmental Studies/Animal Studies program? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was originally planning on being a Politics major with either a minor in Environmental Studies or Philosophy. I tried to complete my requirement for both minors by taking Ethics and the Environment with Dale Jamieson, and fell completely in love with the department.
What do you love most about being in the major or minor?
My favorite part about the Environmental Studies major is how incredibly dynamic it is. Being in the major allows you to approach the Environment through any focus that intrigues you. This makes classes so interesting because you’ll have different students answering the same question, but one from an environmental justice perspective, one from an international relations perspective, one from a philosophical perspective, and so on. The diversity of thought in Environmental Studies pushes all students to think outside of their own box, and truly try to think interdisciplinary or “Trans-disciplinary.”
What is your most memorable moment while in the program and why?
My most memorable moment actually happened very recently when I was awarded the Moore Scholarship from the department. Not only was it incredibly generous, but it was also a moment where I felt recognized and appreciated by the department I have come to love.
What was your favorite class?
This is pretty difficult for me, honestly. I would probably have to say my Urban Greening Lab with Professor Anne Rademacher where we spent the semester studying Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It completely shifted my perspective on Urban Green Spaces, and even led me to my honors thesis focus.
What do you hope to accomplish with your major or minor?
Mostly what I want to accomplish from my major and minor is being able to learn the most I can while studying at NYU. Outside of that, I would really love to get to a place where I could help, through research or legislation, in adaptation in coastal cities like Monterey-- where I’m from.
How do you hope to combine your majors/or major and minor?
I hope that by both understanding the science behind Climate Change and the mechanics of politics, I’ll be able to make a greater impact in shaping our adaption going forward. I believe that each area of study bolsters the other, and gives me the ability to try and help the best I can.
What is next for you? What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation I plan on volunteering— at an organization like American Conservation Experience— for a year before applying to a graduate program in Coastal Science and Policy.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
I would say that students should try to experience that interdisciplinary aspect of Environmental Studies as much as they can. The range of classes allow you to explore so many different concentrations that I would encourage students to step out of their focus for one of their electives, and try something new.