Madeleine Partch '21 (she/her/hers)

Where do you call home?

Lake Superior, St. Joe, and now Salt Lake City!

What are your majors/minors?

Environmental Studies

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Snorkeling! Exploring entirely new ecosystems that you swim through rather than walk through is truly hard to beat. 

Why did you major in Environmental Studies?

I decided to major in Environmental Studies just a few weeks before being my freshman year. I realized that I didn't want to grow up to work a desk job, and I thought being an Environmental Studies major would mean I could find a job where I got to be outside. This came true even earlier in college, where the ES labs are almost always outside! Along with studying outdoors, being an Environmental Studies major taught me about all the social justice connections to the environment, and I have found that to be a field of study that I love just as much as being outdoors.

What is your favorite Environmental Studies class and why?

My favorite Environmental Studies class is US Environmental History with Professor Derek Larson. Learning the history of the American relationship with the environment explains a lot of beliefs that we have today that influence our environmental action. The concepts are also connected to other courses such as Environmental Geography and Gender and Environment, rounding out my understanding of topics discussed in each class. 

What was the focus of your research for ENVR 320? What were your findings?

My Colloquium project was on the concept of a circular economy and what benefits it might have on the environment. I found that if we were to switch to a circular economy, we could reduce the amount of waste that is generated, lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent further contamination of our environment!

What advice do you have for first year students and majors?

If it becomes possible for you, study abroad. Even better, find a study abroad program that offers environmentally based courses. The ES Department here is amazing, but it is small and limited in the number and types of courses it can offer to students. The best thing I did was to participate in a conservation study abroad program, where I got to learn about the biology, conservation, and ecosystem functioning in an entirely different region of the planet. Taking a semester to do that immersed me in new cultures while giving me a better idea of what I want to do in the future.