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May 24 14

Goodbye Stony Brook! Thanks for the memories!

by creed

As a member of the Class of 2014, I would like to wish everyone farewell.  It has been an amazing 4 years and I will miss everyone and everything so much!  Yesterday’s graduation could not have been better. For all the graduates – good luck! For all current students – keep it up (you will be graduating in a blink of an eye!).

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I was so happy to take pictures with all of my favorite professors and say goodbye to all the friends I have made over the years.  I will remember all the friendships, lessons, cultures, feelings, and literatures that I have encountered and experienced.

Though I may have gone a bit overboard with graduation ceremonies! I attended the Cultural Analysis & Theory graduation (I am one of three graduating Comparative Literature majors). I was awarded the “Honors Award” in addition to receiving departmental honors for my thesis. I also attended the European Languages and Literatures graduation for my minors in Classical Civilization and Medieval Studies. Finally, I ran and made it to the end of the English graduation (yes I have a third minor in English…) and was able to take photos with my English professors and my graduate student mentor!

Thank you Stony Brook for making such a positive impact on my life…I will never forget this.

Signing off ~

Caterina Reed (official alumnus) <3

May 17 14

Ending on the Right Foot

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

Despite the finish line finally within my sights, it’s hard for me to grasp the fact that I am officially no longer an undergraduate here at Stony Brook University. Graduation is just a week away, yet I feel as though it was just yesterday that I was frantically scanning a crumpled campus map in search of my freshman-year Psychology class (which was in Javits. The fact that I could not find it is still slightly embarrassing). My four years at Stony Brook University have SPED by faster than Usain Bolt dashing down the track in a 200-meter race (admittedly, this is only 19.19 seconds. But still…).

And today was my last “day” of school…

After a morning spent at the gym, eating scrambled eggs, proofreading, dog walking, and checking social media, it was finally time to head to The Brook. After stepping my 45-minute commute from Centerport, I slowly stepped out of my Hyundai, stretched my legs, and looked around South-P. “Will I ever see this parking lot again?” I wondered.

After the Express bus ride to campus, I went to visit Dr. Harold Walker, Professor and Civil Engineering Program Director. Dr. Walker had helped me develop and execute a Senior Environmental Studies major Honor’s Thesis research project on people’s environmental attitudes, awareness, and behavior (it’s pending approval!), and I wanted to thank him for all of his help. We discussed what I had learned from the research process (arduous, but worth it overall), graduation plans (brunch afterwards with the family), and my goals for the future (SBU’s MS in Journalism specializing in science and environmental reporting). I left feeling very nostalgic yet excited for the next chapter of my life to begin.

Next up, it was to room Chem. 370, the de-facto Sustainability Studies Program film theater for Dr. Heidi Hutner‘s SBC 325: Environmental Literature and Filmmaking class’s Final Exam/Film Festival. As one of the class TA’s, I was eager to see all the students’ hard work! Fellow TA Justin Fehntrich did an extraordinary job of piecing the films together and creating an awesome intro/ending to the series. Justin also made it easy for viewers to follow along with the films, listing the titles of the individual films and their respective student filmmakers in a stack of nifty little pamphlets that had an ornate green tree with a curlicue root system on the cover of each. It was very professional. I thought, “That guy thinks of everything.”

The films were more incredible than I could have ever imagined. The students’ passion–extended over myriad environmental topics, from fracking to farming–shone on-screen! These films are soon to be uploaded to YouTube, so I will provide you with the link when they go public. Student blogs, which are as awe-inspiring as their films, can be found here.

After class I stopped by theSustainability Studies Program offices to meet with the program’s hardworking Program Coordinator Ginny Clancy. I just had to thank her for everything she has done to help me achieve success! Which is a lot.

Sustainability Studies Program Peeps! (From left, SBC 325 co-teacher and filmmaking expert Dave Chameides, Professor and Director of Sustainability Studies and SBC 325 professor Dr. Heidi Hutner, SBC 325 TA Justin Fehntrich, Sustainability Studies student and soon-to-be graduate Shameika Hanson (back), ME (SBC 325 TA and soon-to-be graduate), and Sustainability Studies student Cory Tiger!

Sustainability Studies Program Peeps! (From left, SBC 325 co-teacher and filmmaking expert Dave Chameides, Professor and Director of Sustainability Studies and SBC 325 professor Dr. Heidi Hutner, SBC 325 TA Justin Fehntrich, Sustainability Studies student and soon-to-be graduate Shameika Hanson [back], ME [SBC 325 TA and soon-to-be graduate], and Sustainability Studies student Cory Tiger!)

Believe it or not, by two o’clock, my day was not over yet. Over to the School of Journalism I was to go to interview as a graduate school candidate. With my application all set, the interview was the next step, hopefully bringing me closer to a coveted spot in the SBU MS Journalism program. Yet as soon as I stepped foot inside the Library: BEEP BEEP! The fire alarm sounds. Of course.

Finally, about twenty minutes later, I made it to the School of Journalism. After apologizing profusely for my tardiness (fire drills happen), I met with Professor Elizabeth Bass, Professor and Graduate Program Director Richard Ricioppo, and Dean Howard Schneider. I got an awesome tour of The Newsroom, with its cutting-edge technology and access to breaking news 24/7. My heart was pounding. I knew this was where I was meant to be; learning, hands-on, all the essentials and more to environmental and science reporting. Fingers crossed, I hope I get accepted!

At approximately three-thirty pm, classes and interviews and tours and talking and smiling and thanking and reminiscing were over, at least for the moment. It was time for me to call it a day–my last day as an undergraduate–and head home to do a couple of dog-walking jobs. It was really difficult to leave. 

Resigned to the fact that it was finally all over, I took an Express bus back to South P and climbed back into my Hyundai. My drive home was spent thinking about the day and the past four years of my life as an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University… Next Friday, I’ll graduate with an Environmental Studies major focused in Environmental Law and Policy, and a minor in Environmental Humanities focused in Environmental Writing (and, hopefully, with Honor’s credit as well).

Though I’ll miss the fun of my four undergraduate years at Stony Brook, I am truly thrilled with the prospects of a future in science and environmental journalism…and, if I am admitted to the MS Journalism program here, I actually won’t be leaving so soon after all!

However, in regard to my last day, I am confident that I ended on the right foot :)

Congrats to my fellow graduating SENIORS OF 2014!!!!!! WOOT-WOOT.

See y’all in your caps and gowns ;)

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

 

May 3 14

Finals, Term Papers, Graduation?!

by creed

Hi Everyone,

As you all know…classes are coming to an end and the end of semester jitters are sky-high.  Because of all the snow days, M/W classes are officially ending on Monday, May 12th, but some professors are not following that mandate. So for some of you, last day of M/W classes are May 7th!

I wish everyone luck with their papers and finals, and most importantly, I hope those who are graduating are able to get into the graduate school of their choice…or have a job lined up!  It’s a bit stressful to think of papers, finals, job applications, and graduating all at the same time, but I know that as Stony Brook students we have been prepared for everything!

If you one of those graduating seniors, like myself, here are just some tips:

  1. Classes are almost over, don’t let that senioritis control you…go to class!
  2. Make sure you have your cap/gown, commencement tickets and/or senior ball tickets
  3. Thank your family, friends, advisors, professors, or anyone else who has helped you on your college journey
  4. PREPARE and EDIT your job or graduate school applications in advance and make sure someone looks it over to eradicate mistakes
  5. IF you haven’t already…visit the Career Center for all your career concerns (resume, cover letter, interviews, business cards, networking, graduate school…and more!)
  6. RELAX – you did it! Graduation in 3 weeks!

Woot! Go SBU Class of 2014!

May 3 14

Sustainability Studies Spotlight: Presenting Dr. Jesse Curran!

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

I don’t know about y’all, but I am so excited that it finally feels like springtime around here at the Brook! Bluejays and robins are singing, the sun is shining, and daffodils and tulips are blooming…

Flowers always remind me of gardening–something that I’ve always loved but never have really had a knack for (as a licensed wildlife rehabber, I am much better at tending to the needs of animals than the needs of plants). But, as a student in the Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program, I have learned that spending time outside in the dirt–amongst fruits and veggies and flowers and worms and mud and rocks and microbes–is inherently healing and healthful, no matter what you are (or aren’t) able to successfully grow in the ground. I learned this both in the field–by working in the Stony Brook Heights Rooftop farm a few semesters back as well as volunteering at a local organic farm–and also in the classroom, namely, by learning from Sustainability Studies Program professor Dr. Jesse Curran.

As a student in Dr. Curran’s SBC 203: Interpretation and Critical Analysis class last year, I remember our many meaningful discussions on the more philosophical side of the environment. Among the many things I learned–the physical interaction of the human body with and within the  environment can lead to a greater understanding not only of one’s physical self, but of their psyche and the whole universe that spins around them. Dr. Curran is a huge advocate of getting out in nature as a means of finding oneself–namely, through gardening/farming and yoga.

Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program professor Dr. Jesse Curran exercises her green thumb installing home organic raised-bed gardens with her husband Dylan...all over Long Island!

Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program professor Dr. Jesse Curran exercises her green thumb installing home organic raised-bed gardens with her husband Dylan…all over Long Island!

Recently, I asked Dr. Curran to elaborate on her green thumb–it turns out that she and her husband own, literally, a home-grown small business–and on the connections she sees between yoga and the environment (she is an expert yogi!). Dr. Curran’s detailed responses to my dual inquiries can be found below–they’re well worth the read!

Dr. Curran on growing a sustainable business:

When I studied abroad in Italy, Lena Buroni, the lovely elderly lady I lived with, had what she called her orto. “Orto” in Italian refers to a kitchen garden, and because Lena lived in an apartment complex, she had a little square of earth elsewhere where she did her gardening. Years later, while Dylan (my husband) and I were travelling through Japan, we noticed how yards were used; lawns were non-existent and even the smallest spaces were converted into kitchen gardens. And so, HOGS: Home Organic Gardening Service actually began over a dinner conversation. In the spring of 2011, Dylan and I were musing on our travels, bemoaning the shady-yard of our apartment, and were still on the wait-list for a community garden in Huntington [in Suffolk County on the North Shore of Long Island]. We love talking big ideas and found ourselves saying how “someone should really start a company that installs gardens on front lawns…”  At that moment, I think, we both realized that we needed to be that someone.

The next day, we asked friends with homes and sunny front yards what they would think if we dug up the lawns for raised bed vegetable gardens, and they were enthusiastic, and HOGS was born. Dylan gave up his work doing foundation contracting in the city and dug in, literally, full time. He has a diverse background in construction, carpentry, landscaping, organic gardening, and tree-removal, and he put his skills, experience, and passion for doing something proactive in the face of our precarious environmental situation to work.

I was delighted because part of my dissertation work examined poet-gardeners and the importance of “living metaphors,” or poetic language that continues to open and make connections. Like a good metaphor or a healthy seed, HOGS grew by itself. People were interested—and Dylan has installed well over a hundred gardens, as well as a range of season-extenders, rain-catchment systems, and composting systems. And we always had (and have) the grounding sense that encouraging organic gardening was good in and of itself—that it is important work—and a way of contributing to the health of both people and place (and we continue to quote Thoreau’s virtue ethics from “The Bean Field” to frame these ideas).

Having a small business surfaces all kinds of interesting questions—most importantly, what type of business model is sustainable both ethically and economically? As a CCE master gardener, Dylan is very committed to service and outreach—and has done workshops at community centers, yoga studios, libraries, etc.—and he prioritizes working with clients who want to learn and get their hands dirty.

What is perhaps most exciting about HOGS is the way it connects us to a network of other passionate agriculturalists on Long Island. We have also noticed how, within even one season, a well-planned garden can, in a very real way, contribute to the emotional and physical health and well-being of the gardenerand it teaches much about process-orientation, systems-thinking, and local economy. Over the past several years, we have become more interested in permaculture design and adapting sustainable systems for the suburban home. And this year, Dylan’s big initiative has been to plant edible perennials and fruit trees. HOGS keeps on growing!

Dr. Curran on yoga and the environment:

Yoga and environment! Wow, what a question. This is a topic I write extensively on—and one that figures much into my scholarly research on the relationship(s) between poetic language, ecological thinking, and meditative philosophy. And although I teach hatha yoga asana (or postures), I am perhaps even more interested in the yogic philosophy that surrounds the physical practice. In a 1849 letter to his friend H.G.O. Blake, Thoreau wrote “Depend upon it that, rude and careless as I am, I would fain practice the yoga faithfully. . . . To some extent, and at rare intervals, even I am ayogi.” Why did one of America’s most beloved environmental thinkers identify himself as a yogi?

Thoreau’s work at Walden involved intense self-reflection and practical critique of, and response to, what he identified as being awry in antebellum America. As many people know, more than the physical practice, yogic philosophy is an ancient system of self-discipline and ethical action. When we think about our environmental problems, many of them are rooted in out-of-control consumption patterns; hence, the need for self-discipline and ethical action.

Yoga and meditation offer opportunities to become mindful and aware of one’s own tendencies, which is the first step in changing and evolving one’s tendencies. As one of my favorite eco-theorists, Tim Morton writes, “Meditation is yoga, which means yoking: enacting or experiencing an intrinsic interconnectedness.” It seems to me that it is important to both enact and experience the “intrinsic interconnectedness” that underlies ecological theory. Yoga’s emphasis on breathing helps illustrate this point; we often forget we’re breathing, and so, perhaps we forget how intimately we are connected to theplanet and one another.

On a much more practical level, the physical practice cultivates a sense of grounded health and well-being, which I think is important for environmentalists and other people passionate about social justice. On a personal level, my yoga practice has helped me to gain confidence and perspective as writer, teacher, and as a participant in a community; daily, it allows me to practice social virtues such as gratitude, equanimity, patience, generosity, and compassion. As sustainability advocates, we often quote Gandhi’s powerful advice concerning the necessity of being the change one wishes to see in the world. Yoga, although by no means the only path, provides an integrative method for working with one’s mind and body in order to become an empowered, grounded, mindful, and compassionate human being.

Thank you, Dr. Jesse Curran! I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed hearing Dr. Curran’s reflections. A well-deserved #supergreenstatus for a supergreen person! 

Keep your eyes peeled for Dr. Curran’s classes in the coming semesters…sign up and I will guarantee you will come out a more grounded, balanced, and well-rounded person. Expect at least a couple of outdoor classes, deep discussions, great reading, and maybe even some yoga

All for now! Happy studying for finals ;)

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

Apr 28 14

One Month Until Graduation!

by creed

Hi again everyone,

For all those graduating in May…please read!  And for all those who will be graduating in years to come, you should still read below to see what you have to look forward to!

Dates To Remember:

4/28 – Senior Ball Tickets go on sale!

5/1 – 5/15 – Main Commencement Ticket Pick-Up in Wang Center

Schedule:

  • Thursday, May 1: 2pm to 7pm
  • Friday, May 2: 11am to 4pm
  • Wednesday, May 7: 11am to 4pm
  • Wednesday, May 14: 2pm to 7pm
  • Thursday, May 15: 11am to 4pm

5/22 - Baccalaureate Honors Convocation at 6:30pm

5/23 – Main Commencement at 11:00am

5/23 – Departmental Graduations (all-day: see department schedules; http://lnk.nu/stonybrook.edu/3edl.pdf)

The semester is coming to a close, but I hope everyone has made the most out of it!  We officially have two weeks left of the semester and almost four weeks till graduation!  Although everyone has senioritis and final exam jitters, just look forward to all the great events we have left for the semester – let your year end with a bang!

4/30 – URECA Symposium (all day in the Student Activities Center)

4/30 – Drive-in Movie (Fast & Furious 6) at 7:30pm

5/2 – Roth Regatta!

5/7 – Strawberry Fest!

5/19 – Senior Ball at Crest Hollow Country Club

Apr 17 14

Kerri Mahoney: Leading the Fight Against Cancer!

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

Ah, Spring on Long Island! Warm(er) weather, blooming trees and flowers, bike rides, beach days, sprawling out on the Staller Steps to soak up the sun…this swift change in seasons marks the end of yet another academic year here at SBU.

The end of the year means it’s the perfect time to celebrate all the goals we’ve met and the achievements we’ve made over the past 10 months or so (or more, if you belong to the “intersession intelligentsia”–you know, those of the “sleep when you’re dead” mindset) as well the accomplishments that span your entire academic career. One way in which Stony Brook congratulates amazing achievers is via its Undergraduate Recognition Awards.

This spring, the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program was lucky enough to have an outstanding undergraduate snag such an award! We’d like to extend a mean, green congratulations to graduating senior Kerri Mahony!

Kerri, who reports that she “always loved the environment and knew that it needed more care,” is majoring in Ecosystems and Human Impact (EHI) and is minoring in Geospatial Sciences (GSS). Her fascination between the intersection of human health and the environment was first inspired while she was a ninth-grader attending a two-week Brown University pre-college program. Kerri took a class on the environmental causes of human cancer and was truly inspired to help determine how to best prevent, identify, and treat the disease.

This past fall, Kerri created her very own event–the Kick Out Cancer kickball tournament. She created the event “to have an interactive way to raise money for the Stony Brook Cancer Center” while having fun! Students, faculty, and staff attended the event and raised over $600!

Kerri and Wolfie at the Fall 2013 Kick Out Cancer kickball tournament.

Kerri and Wolfie at the Fall 2013 Kick Out Cancer kickball tournament.

Ever since, she’s been dedicated to studying these connections more closely. After graduating in May, Kerri plans on pursuing her Masters in Public Health (MPH) and a Masters in Public Policy (MAPP) here at Stony Brook. Eventually, Kerri hopes to receive a PhD in Epidemiology so that she can focus on further discerning the connections between environmental toxin exposure and cancer in humans.

As Vice President of Clubs and Organizations for the Stony Brook University Undergraduate Student Government and an active member of several other on-campus committees, Kerri is a natural and effective leader. She further demonstrates her exemplary leadership skills as research team leader in Dr. Pochron’s Earthworm Ecotoxicology lab. Thanks to her valuable skills and efforts, both in- and outside the classroom, she was nominated to receive the Undergraduate Recognition award in Outstanding Achievement: Leadership!

Kerri was nominated by her favorite professor at Stony Brook, Dr. Pochron. Though she loves working in Dr. Pochron’s Earthworm lab, she says that her favorite class is Dr. Pochron’s EHI 340: Ecological and Social Dimensions of Disease class. Kerri took the class her sophomore year and served as TA the following year. Kerri was elated to receive the award. As she puts it:

I am honored to receive the student leadership award and I am thankful to Dr. Pochron for nominating me. I am happy that I could help bring positive experiences to other students on campus. Looking back to freshman year I would have never thought I would win this award because I honestly wouldn’t think I would be in leadership roles.  Receiving the student leadership award shows me that I have grown as a person during my time at Stony Brook. I am happy I could “leave” Stony Brook a better place than when I started.

We are so proud of Kerri for all of her hard work and dedication. In the future, there is no doubt she’ll serve as an amazing leader in her graduate studies, and, eventually, in a cancer research lab!

Another day, another #supergreenstatus achieved.

The Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program is full of supergreen stars.

Join us and be inspired! Remember to follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook!

 

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

PS. Kerri will be presented with her award on the evening of Monday, April 21 at 7pm in the SAC Auditorium. Congrats again, Kerri!

Apr 1 14

Joy Pawirosetiko: Student Showcase at BNL Day-Friday, April 4

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

If you haven’t already heard, this coming Friday is BNL Admitted Students Day, to be held in the Wang Center from 10am to 11:45pm. It’s a day when admitted high school students and their families will visit campus to learn more about some of the exciting research and opportunities we offer here at SBU!

One such student is B.S Biology and MBA Healthcare Management dual-major Joy Pawirosetiko! Currently a senior here at SBU, Joy will be showcasing her studies on the long- and short-term effects of Roundup™ and fertilizer on earthworms, research that she conducted as a student in Dr. Sharon Pochron‘s Earthworm Ecotoxicology Laboratory class. For more info on this Sustainability Studies Program course, please see one of my pervious posts, “Digging for Answers.”

Joy was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, and moved to New York in 2001, graduating from Lindenhurst High School in 2010. Here at Stony Brook, she serves as President of the Commuter Student Association and participates in the Undergraduate Student Government. In her free time, Joy can be found with her nose in a book, traveling the globe, and testing out new activities–like indoor rock climbing (which she reports is harder than it looks)!

Recently, I interviewed this dynamic student to learn more about her Sustainability Studies Program research on earthworms. Excerpts from our conversation follow:

Erica Cirino (EC): I am really interested in learning more about your research! Could you sum it up for us, exactly what it’s all about?

Joy Pawirosetiko (JP): Farmers and growers desire for thriving earthworm populations because [earthworms] are a good indicator of soil health. Earthworms tend to internalize ecotoxins that are introduced to the soil through products such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. [My] study examined whether the addition of Roundup™ and fertilizer by many farmers and growers end up harming or hurting the earthworm population, and additionally harming or hurting plant growth.

EC: Wow, so great that you could research such an important topic! How would we grow food if not for earthworms? How would we have trees and plants and air to breathe? Could you please discuss your results?

JP: [My] results supported the hypothesis regarding the negative effect of Roundup™ on earthworm health and the positive effect of fertilizer on earthworm health. Weeding type (Roundup™ vs. hand-weeding) had short-term effects while fertilizer type (fertilizer vs. no fertilizer) did not. Fertilizer type had long-term effects while weeding type did not. This study could ultimately help farmers and growers maximize earthworm health, soil health, and plant growth.

EC: Awesome stuff. How did you like the Earthworm Ecotoxicology Laboratory class, may I ask?

JP: Taking classes with Dr. Pochron has always been such a great experience, and the lab is great. [Dr. Pochron is] definitely one of my favorite professors on campus.

EC: Though I’ve never taken a class with her personally, I have heard very positive things about her from other students as well. What makes her classes special?

JP: Dr. Pochron teaches in a way that makes normally difficult material more accessible. Both classes I’ve taken with her also required for a group presentation, an invaluable experience that is necessary beyond the classroom. Not only does she teach the class in an entertaining way, but she also provides advice and assistance for matters outside of the classroom. She encourages students who take her class to be proactive about their academic career. She stresses taking up opportunities and trying out for programs. She believes in the importance of research and is willing to help students who seek her assistance.

EC: So glad you could be a part of the Sustainability Studies Program even though you are not a major or minor in our program! We are so happy to have you conducting this important research. Do you plan on continuing working in a laboratory post-graduation?

JP: After I finish my B.S. I intend on finishing my MBA and expect to graduate by May 2015. After graduation I might look for a job as a lab technician, or something that still allows for research. I’m still a little unsure about my future plans, but it would preferably involve something in biology or healthcare (I think: you never really know where life will take you).

Be sure to stop by the Wang Center on Friday to take a peek at Joy’s research!

It is students like her that make a difference. 

Joy, you are right; we don’t know where life will take us. But, it certainly seems like you are headed in a positive direction! Congratulations! #supergreenstatus for you, my friend.

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

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PS. Joy was selected as URECA’s April Researcher of the Month!

Mar 26 14

Emily Nocito: The (Green) Jersey Girl

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

It’s time yet again to highlight another Sustainability Studies Program Student of the Month!

In this edition, I’d like to draw attention to a hardworking Coastal Environmental Studies (COS) major and Ecosystems and Human Impact (EHI) minor:

Emily Nocito!

Born and raised in South Orange, today this Jersey girl can be found practicing archery (but not hunting), attending Dr. Who conventions all around the nation, and serving as the Hillel’s Women’s Wellness Coordinator, in her spare time.

Some of her study-related activities include working in Dr. Sharon Pochron’s Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab, serving on the e-board of the Friends of Fire Island National Seashore, and attending SBU Environmental Club meetings.

From a young age, Emily developed a strong love of the outdoors, often hiking with her father in her town’s nature preserve. However, it was not until she enrolled in AP Environmental Science in high school that she considered environmental science as a career path. As Emily puts it, “My AP Environmental class really opened my eyes [up] to issues that otherwise would not be on my radar.” Inspired to solve some of the issues she learned about in class–climate change, deforestation, species extinction, pollution–Emily graduated from Columbia High School in her hometown determined to make a positive impact on the Earth.

Initially at SBU, Emily enrolled as a Marine Sciences (MAR) major. Later, she changed to the Sustainability Studies Program’s COS major, desiring a major which more heavily incorporated environmental science with humanities and career leadership skills classes into the curriculum. More recently, Emily added the EHI minor, also part of the Sustainability Studies Program, so that she could learn more about the interaction and intersection of humans and the environment. Honing in on a career in restoration ecology (in particular, of the marine environment), this course of study is the perfect formula for success!

Emily finds further purpose in attending environmental events and rallies. She finds the educational aspect of such events to be one of their most important features, as they enable people who may not know much about a given issue to learn more. At such events, Emily enjoys meeting and talking to new people, which she says is pretty easy, especially because “the people [she meets] at such functions have something in common immediately: environmentalism. In fact, the diverse environment of events and rallies mirrors both her educational goal and lifestyle: to learn as much as possible in a wide variety of different areas; a philosophy she hopes to impart on others. As Emily puts it, “We can learn from one another because there are so many different faces of it: science, philosophy, law, and writing.”

In our books, this Jersey Girl has achieved #supergreenstatus!

Thank you, Emily, for making a difference.

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

 

 

Mar 21 14

So You Think You Can Learn a Language?

by creed

Everyone at some point ask themselves…I want to learn [insert desired language]!  The problem is…where do you begin?

If you’re not busy this summer, it would be a great time to start. This year, Arabic (ARB 101, ARB 211), Turkish (TRK 101), Persian (PER 101), as well as Russian (RUS 213) are being offered. These are pretty cool languages to start learning! You can find more information here: https://llrc.stonybrook.edu/language-institute. I find the Turkish poster particularly interesting: 

I am more of a European language person, and if that is the case for you, then look into these languages this summer: German (GER 101, 112), Italian (ITL 101, 201), French (FRN 101, 201), and  Spanish (SPN 111 – 321; both EU and LA Spanish!).

If you are more into learning an Asian language (by the way…Japanese is awesome!), then you can take: Chinese (CHI 101, 201).

You can even take beginner or intermediate Sign Language courses! (SLN 111 – 212) – that is pretty cool!

If you are busy or planning to relax this summer – never fear! You can always add on a language class to your course load for the Fall or Spring semester (especially if you have not completed your language requirement yet). Some languages to think about:

Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek (Modern), Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin*, Persian, Russian, Sanskrit*, Spanish, Swahili, and Turkish!

*Of course, Latin and Sanskrit will not be spoken, but they are really important languages. I took a couple years of Latin and it changed my life!

One language that has not been offered for a while is Portuguese (Brazilian or “Brasilian”), but it may be offered in the future!

Also keep in mind that there are also “Uncommonly Taught Languages” offered through Linguistics, so if you’re interested, there may be a language being taught that is not on the above list!  And for our non-native English speakers, there are always ESL and English classes available as well.

So that is my language-spiel…if you have any questions about a language, just ask me, but if you need actual guidance on what language to pick or what level, please see the appropriate department! [Note: obviously the European languages would be part of the European Language, Literature, & Culture Department, and the Asian languages would be part of the Asian & Asian-American Studies Department]

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About My Language Experience(s):

My mother is fluent in English, Tagalog, and Italian, but her native language is Tagalog (or what others incorrectly call “Filipino”), which means I hear it all the time (but I only know how to speak a few words). I grew up taking Latin and Italian in Montessori school, and I took Spanish when I went to Catholic school. For public high school, I continued on with Spanish. While in high school, I tried teaching myself Japanese and Russian, but I can only speak and understand a few words.  Next, I met my (current) boyfriend and his family speaks Portuguese (EU, not Brazilian) – it is similar to Spanish, but so much harder! I finally got to college (with intentions of taking Italian or Spanish) and I ended up taking Latin once again!  Since I loved the classics, I couldn’t wait to learn some Greek, so I spoke to a professor and I did a year-long independent study in Ancient Greek! Last summer and I took an intensive German course, then I went off to Berlin, Germany to use my language skills and I took intermediate German while I was there. Now that I am graduating in May, I am sad to leave Stony Brook, but I know that languages will still be out there for me to learn…what’s next: Norwegian!?

Yes my story sounds crazy and ridiculous, but who cares…I love languages (and you should too)!

Mar 14 14

Alex Santiago: The Eco-biz Extraordinaire

by ericarunsamerica

Hey Stony Brook!

This week I would like to feature a tenacious, hardworking–and just plain awesomeStony Brook Sustainability Studies Program alum, Alex Santiago!

An Environmental Studies (ENS) major here at the Brook, Alex declared a minor in Environmental Humanities (EHM) during her senior year, after realizing that many of the classes that she had enrolled in “for fun” would count toward the minor–classes like Dr. Heidi Hutner‘s Ecofeminism (WST/EGL 372) course. Alex quickly realized the benefits of studying the interdisciplinary curricula that is the Stony Brook University Environmental Humanities Program. She graduated last year in the spring of 2013.

I had the great privilege of taking an Environmental Humanities course (Dr. Hutner’s Ecology and Evolution in American Literature AKA SBC321–which I HIGHLY recommend!) in which Alex was a TA. Her fierce passion for the environment, creative mind, and super-motivated attitude became readily apparent after just a few class sessions. Alex was always there to help edit and refine students’ ideas or to hook us up with amazing events, people, and internship or job opportunities.

Recently, I asked Alex if she could highlight some of her experiences as an ENS major and EHM minor, and also to update us as to where she is now as a Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program graduate. Excerpts from our conversation follow.

Erica Cirino (EC): Hey Alex! First off, going back a bit, could you please share with us two highlights from the time you spent here in the Sustainability Studies Program? Let’s say…your favorite project?

Alex Santiago (AS): My favorite project had to be SBC 401: Integrative Collaborative Systems Studies at Sylvester Manor. The small capstone class acted as a consulting board to a nonprofit/community farm in Shelter Island called Sylvester Manor. Students came up with individual projects to help Sylvester Manor further their mission. I developed a market analysis of East End restaurants to determine whether they were interested in partnering with a historical farm and if their business would be interested in purchasing local and organic produce. The project allowed each student to take ownership of their work and apply their skills to an actual problem (and hopefully provide a solution!).

EC: Awesome! It must have been great to apply your passion for both business and the environment in your very own project. How about another memorable moment, please?

AS: As far as my most memorable moment goes, Attending the “Design by Nature” Sustainability Conference at the Omega Institute with Dr. Heidi Hutner’s class. The conference was incredible and students had the privilege to personally meet sustainability leaders like Josh Fox and Majora Carter– people we read about and discussed in class! The entire experience was a blessing and I’m grateful I had to opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most progressive and innovative activists/movers and shakers.

EC: An great perk to the Program! I too, so enjoy meeting the real-life environmental heroes that we learn about in the classroom. Speaking of the classroom, how have you applied what you learned in class to what you are now doing in the “real world”?

AS: At the moment, I am freelancing at four different positions in order to explore a number of my different passions and develop additional skills (while having some fun!).

Firstly, I am Events Coordinator at Green Spaces, a co-working space in NYC that is home to a number of small social enterprises and startups This opportunity allows me to interact with entrepreneurs on a daily basis and gain a better understanding of the grit, hustle and tenacity it takes to run a business.

Secondly, I am Events Coordinator of Body Local SocialsBody Local is a startup whose mission is to provide better visibility for local wellness/health resource for consumers as well as connect the NYC health and wellness community.

Third, I serve as Community and Engagement Fellow at Imperative, a career services platform that seeks to help people discover, connect and create with their professional purpose. I help create partnerships with organizations and recruit/market to new users.
Lastly, I am a Research Assistant to Dr. Malcolm Bowman and the Stony Brook Storm Surge Team, and I assist with managing database, media requests, publications and more.

EC: You are a busy lady! How do you think the EHM minor and Sustainability Studies Program, as a unique interdisciplinary program, helped  prep you for these numerous eco-biz gigs?

AG:  I believe the combination of studying the environment through both a scientific lens and artistic/social aspect allowed me to develop a very thorough, critical and empathetic understanding/perspective of today’s major environmental challenges. I believe the amalgamation of science and art provided the opportunity [for me to] develop as a stronger leader.

EC: Well-said! What are your goals for the future?

AS: Next year, I am starting a 2-year MBA in Sustainability Program at Bard College.

My dreams include:

- Start several of my own social enterprises with my best friend revolving around healthy lifestyle options
- Create a movement in University settings that allows students to gain greater access to organic produce/healthy food choices
- Travel to new countries to research nutrition, health and lifestyle (and have fun!)
-Much, much more to come that I can’t even predict!
Alex's life is all about business...and having fun!

Alex’s life is all about business…and having fun!

Alex, we are SO proud of you and cannot wait to see what is to come! 
With her business-savvy, unrelenting drive, positive attitude, practical knowledge, and love for the environment, Miss Santiago is sure to go far. I think she has achieved a very well-deserved #supergreenstatus, how about you?
Yep. Totally well-deserved.
Think green. Think smartBe Real.
See how far a degree in the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program will take YOU.
peace. love. run.
ericarunsamerica