Maddie Hansen ('13)
October 1, 2012
Why did you choose environmental studies for your major?
Since elementary school I have always been involved with the environment, going to nature camps or being recycling captain. In high school, I received a scholarship and raised money to spend one semester in the Bahamas at the Island School. The school was powered completely by wind and solar power. The goal was to develop young leaders in sustainable development. While I was there, I studied marine biology, became scuba-diving certified, and worked with research scientists on an archeology project. It was a life changing experience! I came back knowing that I wanted to make a difference, especially with climate change.
What has been your favorite environmental studies class and why?
My favorite course was Tropical Carbonate Ecology. I was able to return to the Bahamas for spring break and study the marine ecosystem of the Caribbean and do a research project. However, I've loved all of the classes I took.
What is the best part about being an environmental studies major?
Having class outside! Everyone is jealous of environmental studies majors! We get to go canoeing during labs, visit power plants, garden, and work in the Arboretum.
What advice do you have for future students?
Work to see how environmental studies can fit into your other areas of interest. If you are thinking about graduate school, check out requirements early enough to fit them into your schedule.
Where did you go for spring break?
I did Sea turtle research and studied rainforest ecology in Costa Rica over spring break.
Did you study abroad?
I went to Chile, where I lived with a host family and had courses in Spanish at a Chilean university. The public transportation was really great! I was able to go anywhere in the country with it.
Where did you complete your internship requirement?I worked in the Twin Cities for two summers with Summer of Solutions, a by-youth, for-youth social entrepreneurship venture. I interviewed restaurant owners for the Latino Economic Development Center on reducing water and energy use. I was also involved in a community garden. This past summer I was a research fellow for Dr. Troy Knight, who specializes in dendrochronology. We went to Colorado for ten days and collected core samples from pinyon trees. We then analyzed the tree rings from these samples. The oldest living tree we found dated back to 1340! It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it.
What kind of research are you working on for your senior thesis project?
I am currently working on my senior thesis, which will be about winter greenhouses. About ten students including myself have been involved in getting permission, funding, and support to build a passive solar green house at Saint Ben's. We are just waiting on the building permit to be approved. It will be called the Full Circle Greenhouse.
What are your future plans and goals?
I am looking at attending graduate school, possibly Western Washington University or University of Miami for coastal ecology and sustainability.
Environmental studies and Hispanic studies double major