I got to the MES program at Evergreen via a rather circuitous route.
Born in South Florida, I moved to Israel during my sophomore year of college and lived there for 11 years. I moved back to the States (Seattle) with my husband in 1991, and we’ve been residents of the Pacific Northwest (more or less) since then, with some times out for long-term travel.
When I began to realize I was ready for a change in career (after 25 years in nursing), I found myself deeply drawn to natural places--forests, mountains, areas that were more isolated and remote. Since being in the PNW, we’ve loved and spent a lot of time in Mt. Rainier, and I was always intrigued by the rangers’ job. I’d say I’ve been an environmental activist since I was a kid, and so with the urgency of climate change upon us, I decided that’s what I need to be doing now. I began looking at local environmental programs, and looked at the Evergreen website first. I have known about and been drawn to Evergreen’s alternative education system and when I saw the MES website, it just fit.
Initially my interests were all over the map. They included: citizen science as a concept and tool for research, effects of climate change on wildlife and wildlife conservation, environmental education, and also climate justice, including levels of toxics in the environment and the political reasons behind that, as well as the innumerable ways that globalization has inequitably affected the world’s poor.
Going into the second year (I’m on the 3-year track), I narrowed it down a bit, but was still debating between two subjects for my thesis topic: diversity and inclusion in the National Park Service and other public lands, and fracking and its effects on the neighboring citizens as well as on the workers. I did an ILC on fracking. One of the things I love about this program is the flexibility in being able to run with an idea and investigate it more thoroughly. I also did an internship during the summer at Mt. Rainier where I worked in the volunteer and outreach program, especially on outreach to diverse communities. Ultimately that was the topic I chose for my thesis, which I’m hard at work on now.
Outside of school, I love being in the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, biking, walking, or gardening, I love to read and learn, and am a serious meditator. I’m also an amateur musician--have played the flute since I was 11. (always looking for people to make music with!)
I’m so enthusiastic about the MES program largely because of its emphasis on interdisciplinarity. There’s so much room for creativity and creative problem-solving, especially in the context of working across disciplines. And that is the only ticket to our being able to solve the challenges of climate change, which will take nothing less than a paradigm shift. The program exposes us to radical and creative thinkers—and pushes us to be creative thinkers, to stretch our intellects and get out of our comfort zones. Evergreen is cutting edge in the world of environmental studies, and I can only hope to contribute even a fraction back to society of what I’ve gotten out of the program so far.
Welcome to all the new students, and to prospective students I say, come and be a part of this dynamic world!