Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Student Profile: Natalie Isaksson

What has been your favorite class? Why?
I’ve taken many interesting classes as part of the Environmental Studies minor, most notably perhaps the Environmental Law and Policy class (as my first and probably only glance into US law and judicial procedures), and Bible and Ecology. The Bible and Ecology class has been particularly interesting because the professor (John Darr) is a biblical scholar and reads the Bible very much in the context of how, why, when, and where the Bible was written, which in turn is incredibly enlightening and refreshing. Other interesting classes included: Women, Nature and Ecology; Environmental Genomics.

A professor who has particularly motivated or inspired you?
Prof. John Darr, for the way he critically approaches religion and its texts, the questions he asks, and the way he encourages confronting the problems with a text instead of either shirking them or simply rationalizing them away.

What are some other projects/ clubs/ groups you are involved with at BC that enable you to put what you are learning as an ESP minor into practice?
I am involved in undergraduate government (UGBC) and as such get the opportunity to be involved in student initiatives associated with environmental issues, such as informing the student body about conflict minerals or bringing “environmental” artists to campus such as Climbing PoeTree.

What are some internships/ research projects/ labs you are working on or involved with at BC that relate to the ESP minor?
I work in a lab that I got into because of Environmental Genomics, and where I focus on what effects environmental stressors might have on the genomics of shrimp, and how shrimp pathogens such as Taura Syndrome Virus might reflect this.

Have you studied abroad, gone on an immersion trip/ alternative spring break in which you were able to address topics that you have studied as an ESP minor?
I am international student, so I consider myself “abroad” pretty much all the time :). But in the sense that this question is asking, then no.

How has your experience of the Senior Seminar been? What has it been like to be among so many other students from different departments and academic majors?
The senior seminar is very interesting and all the more so because it is very interdisciplinary. Many of the topics are controversial and have no easy answers, which makes the class intellectually stimulating. Interacting with people from all different majors makes approaching any topic very insightful because we all have different perspectives and bring different skills and mindsets to the table. In a way, this is reflective of the environmental movement in general and is conducive to productive discussions and dialogue where solutions to hard problems are sought.

How has your experience as an ESP minor prepared you to be a college graduate?
I think it has made me a more well-rounded, well-informed person who feels comfortable asking questions and taking the time and effort to ascertain whether the goods/services I am consuming are detrimental to the environment or not. I feel that many people are indifferent to issues which either threaten to take them out of their comfort zone and/or involve actual engagement with the subject (meaning: there are no easy answers to the problem and finding out the truth might be uncomfortable). The ESP minor has definitely left me motivated, interested, and aware of relevant issues and how I might make a positive difference. In terms of careers and such, taking the ESP minor has only solidified what I’ve known for a while, which is that I’d like to eventually pursue a masters in Conservation Biology and get involved on a scientific level with the environment and conserving it.

What do you wish you could have become involved with earlier in your time at BC as an ESP minor?
Probably organizations such as RealFood BC or Sustain.

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