Carly Rose, 2018 Cohort

Leading up to this program, I have worked with people and organizations to build knowledge on various topics related to environmental studies – those topics include wild and native plant identification, edible and medicinal plant use, Pacific Northwest mycology, sustainable building with cob and straw bale, and organic gardening – to name a few. I completed a summer internship at the High Desert Center for Sustainable Studies in Colorado when my son was a baby. I value environmental education for individuals of all ages, which was why I volunteered to teach at the High Desert Center. I wanted to gain knowledge and skills in environmental studies to pursue my greatest interest and to open up possibilities for a career in the environmental sector. So, I returned to school to gain natural science prerequisites in Botany and Geology, and applied to the MES program with an essay titled “Protecting water resources in western Washington via the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.” The rest, as they say, was history.

Woman smiling with forest background

During my time at MES I hope to build expertise in Environmental Sociology, with a special focus on environmental justice and community planning. I am exploring different electives through MES such as Restoration Ecology, Urban Ecology, and GIS to further this goal. I will combine my background in Sociology with these topics to further develop my knowledge of Environmental Sociology. I am also interested in supplemental courses through the Master of Public Administration program. These include Politics & the Nature of Leadership, Resilient Organizations, and Community Planning & Development. In MES, we have the unique opportunity to apply up to 8 credits of MPA courses to our degree. This is an excellent option for me, as I am interested in public administration as it applies to environmental sociology and justice. I hope to build skills and professional connections regarding these areas of study and plan to pursue a PhD in Environmental Sociology upon graduation.

Through lectures, coursework, and hearing from other students I’ve been surprised by a lot of random things. Such as: much of the phosphorus utilized by plants in the Amazon comes from nutrient rich dust from the Sahara Desert. What?? I have learned so much, and especially through the research of my cohort. We all conduct research of interest and present at the end of each class, and I have learned about so many different environmental topics this way. I especially appreciate that we come from a wide range of interdisciplinary backgrounds; it is truly an amazing experience to combine the knowledge of marine biologists, ecologists, social scientists, etc. in our learning process. So far one of the best memories in MES was the field trip in first year that gave our cohort an opportunity to connect and get to know one another. I think my favorite part of MES is the smaller cohort and the relationships that we build with one another throughout classes. We all bring something important to the class. Every cohort will be unique based on the student membership, and that is exciting and amazing! The program evolves each year with its students.

My first year in MES taught me what a huge time commitment grad school is. It is challenging to balance work and school sometimes, especially if I am working over 25 hours per week, and especially near the end of each quarter. I also raise two children so you can imagine the commitment it takes. However, it is possible to achieve a degree even with such commitments, and I look forward to the moment when I graduate with a completed thesis. I don’t think anyone knows yet, but I’m going to walk with my kids at my side at graduation (…the secret’s out now). It’s hard work, so choose topics to study that interest you! You will invest in your education if you focus on research that drives you forward in pursuit of your personal goals.