As an ENVS major I have gained a wealth of experience and skillset that has prepared me to undertake my capstone project. ENVS 160 was where this journey started and I personally learned strong research skills, and the value of attempting to understand an issue from all perspectives. My fundamental assumptions about environmentalism and how to function for the collective good were challenged and built upon. ENVS 160 supported me in developing critical thinking skills and broad context for environmentalism. This has helped me evolve my ideas and thought processes. The skills I learned in ENVS 160 helped me build the foundation fo my capstone and identify what I wanted to study.
ENVS 220 was a very transformative class for me. I entered into it with a strong aversion to technology and little practical knowledge of it. In ENVS 220 I learned practical applications of technology and how to complete a research project. The experience with data collection and application that I gained in ENVS 220, as well as the documentation process was instrumental in the development of my capstone project. Documenting my process on my DS site was a valuable practice in self-reflection that helped me further my capstone.
This learning carried through into ENVS 295, which was my favorite ENVS course. The ENVS program is very focused on independent learning and development. This course was an opportunity to exercise this development and build my skills applying them. During this course I interviewed over 20 different land managers for my final project and learned a great deal about conducting phone call interviews, networking, and developing connections within the larger ENVS community. I conducted phone interviews for my ENVS thesis based on the skills I learned in ENVS 295. One of the most valuable thing I have learned in the ENVS program is how to work independently and be self-directed. This course gave me confidence in my ability to do so, which carried into my capstone work.
I decided to focus my capstone project on the intersection of art and environmental studies because I wanted to incorporate what I had learned in my studio art major. This was a very rewording experience, but I often found myself attempting to fit two subjects together into a framework they didn’t quite fit into together. I found it particularly challenging to pick a places to situate my research in. I struggled to talk about art in an academic context that isn’t art because it can be such an abstract subject. A large portion of the academic writing on art I found made abstract generalizations and assertions that I was hesitant to incorporate into an ENVS thesis. The independence and self-directed work style the ENVS program fostered prepared me to navigate this, as did the emphasis on interdisciplinary. Ultimately, I am confident that the skills I have developed making strong connections and working independently in ENVS will carry through into my work experience.