Master of Environmental Studies

Alumni Profile

Kathleen Saul, MES 2009, Nuclear Power & Energy Issues

What drew you to the MES program at The Evergreen State College?Kathleen Saul, MES Grad 2009
The study of the environment and environmental problems from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Who has been an inspirational individual in your life?
Prior to Evergreen: A friend of Martin Luther King I met during an "urban plunge" experience in St. Louis MO during my college years. He told us all that we didn't need to work in the ghetto or give up everything in our lives to have an impact on people. (We can't all be Dr. King.) We should do whatever we chose as a profession or path in life to our very best ability and that would be enough. At Evergreen: Dr. John Perkins, my main thesis reader and colleague and good friend. He opened my eyes to the importance of energy in the broader scheme of environmental problems during our trip to Chernobyl, Ukraine. That trip changed the direction of my studies in MES, and now, has influenced my choice of PhD programs.

How has MES influenced how you view the world around you?
Nothing is as simple as it looks on the surface! I am much more aware of different aspects of my world and more concerned about how little some people care about their impact on that world. That in turn fires my passion to make a difference, to have an effect, to influence peoplet to make changes.

What advice would you give future MES students?
Study hard and learn as much as you can from your faculty and fellow students. The result will be very personally rewarding. Also, dare to try something new--take a class in a subject you had never before considered. You might be surprised how it inspires you. Don't expect the faculty to put all the pieces together for you. Use your own brains and experiences to make the connections.

What was your thesis topic?
The reasons for the interest in building new nuclear power plants in the US in the 2000s.

Where have you done and/or where have you worked since graduating from the MES program?
Adjunct/Visiting/Temporary Faculty: The Evergreen State College Now in a PhD program at the University of Delaware, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.

What skills and knowledge did you gain from MES?
An awareness that environmental issues are at the same time political issues, economic issues, business issues, social issues, and technological issues. At any given time, one or the other may dominate, but all influence each other. 

How has having a MES degree helped you since graduating?
The degree took my life in an entirely new direction, but one that actually incorporated many of the different avenues I had pursued previously. The program and the degree brought it all together for me. 

And anything super interesting you think prospective and currents students should know about you!
You can start over in a new career and can pursue advanced degrees at any age if you set your mind ot it!