Libby Ames ('19)

How did you end up deciding on an ES major? What were your plans coming into college and how have they evloved since?

I came into college undecided on my major. My FYS topic was “Anthropology and Climate Change,” where we focused on how different communities around the world are affected by climate change and how they are mitigating these effects. I realized right away that it was an issue that I was genuinely interested in learning more about it. My goal coming into college was to find something that I was passionate about, and I have found that in studying environmental issues.

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?

I am a part of the Peer Resource Program (PRP), where I coordinated College Bound this past year. Over the summer, I lived at St. John’s and worked with the Outdoor University and ran the OLC.

Have you participated in any study abroad, ABE, or off campus learning experiences? How were they beneficial to your major? 

I am currently studying abroad in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for the semester. This is a really appropriate time to visit South Africa as an ES major because they are currently facing one of the worst droughts in their history and Cape Town has announced that they have a little over a month before their reservoirs run completely dry. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind here that this is due to climate change and there are signs on every street corner and billboard promoting ways to cut water usage. I took Environmental Geography (ENVR 310) this past semester, where we talked about these exact issues in other places around the world and the solutions and challenges presented by a lack of water. Coming from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, it is an eye-opening experience to see the direct, life threatening effects that climate change poses on marginalized communities.

What do you plan on doing with an ES major?

I am not 100% sure what I want to do post-graduation, but my dream job would combine my ES major and sociology minor to help marginalized communities deal with the effects of climate change in their area and find solutions to adapt to their changing environment. 

Do you have any advice for current or future Environmental Studies majors?

Find an area of study you are passionate about and really devote yourself to it. Educate those around you on how they can have a positive impact on the environment, from bringing reusable bags to the grocery store to shutting off the water while shampooing in the shower. One person alone can’t make a change, but together we can make a difference.