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Santa Cruz, CA
What has been your favorite class at COA?
I enjoyed Agroecology very much because of the varieties of things that we did. We would go on field trips to farms, work in small groups to develop ideas, and we also did independent work to further our learning. My favorite small group project was developing criteria for a ranking system on one aspect of sustainability. I was in the group thinking about ecological sustainability on the farm.
What classes have you taken at COA?
Gardens and Greenhouses
Jazz, Rock, and Blues
Social Science Research Methods
Probability and Statistics
Agriculture and Biotechnology
Our Daily Bread: Following Grains through the Food System
Contemporary Social Movement Strategies
What was your favorite project at COA?
In the Agroecology course I took in Fall 2009 we did this project called a Farm Sustainability Analysis. We had to take five or six farms that we’d been to or read about, come up detailed sustainability criteria in four categories: economic, agronomic, ecological and social sustainability, and then rank each farm on each of the criteria. Then we had to write a paper justifying our rankings and talking about our perception of sustainability. I liked it because it resulted in a real, concrete idea of what a sustainable farm looks like, and also because it really made me think about my definition of sustainability.
What is your dream occupation?
After my internship this past summer, where I was researching ecological pest management techniques, I realized that doing research is something I really enjoy. When I learn something new about how an ecological process works, I can apply it to a whole-systems view of a sustainable farm, or any particular ecosystem, and even though I may have figured out just one small piece of the puzzle, every piece counts. My plan after COA is to go to grad school and get a masters in one of these puzzle pieces. I’m not sure yet if it will be in Entomology, or soil science, or agronomy in general, or what, but that is what I want to do.
At the same time, I’m really passionate about the social sides of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Another career path I’ve though a lot about is becoming a teacher and creating programs which teach people about sustainable agriculture and empower people to create positive change in their food system.
Do you work on or off campus? If yes, where?
I’ve worked for the Admissions Office since I started at COA. I like it because I really enjoy meeting prospective students and sharing with them the reasons why I love COA.
What country or state would you like to visit? Where would you love to live?
I really want to spend more time travelling in Europe, to experience the history there and be immersed in the culture. I’ve always wanted to go to South America, too. I would love to have the good fortune to be able to travel around the world. In the US, I would really like to spend more time in the Southwest, and in the mountains. One of my favorite places on the earth is Yosemite and the rest of the Sierra’s. I grew up on the coast of California so I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get to the mountains with relative ease and for this I am so grateful! The beauty and immensity there is unmatched. I think that I will end up going back to the West coast to live. Maybe not right away, but I can feel that I will always be drawn back there.
What is happiness to you?
Happiness is being empowered, inspired, and at peace with myself. I create my own happiness internally, but I also rely on the people I am close to as a source of happy energy. I am at my best when I am with my closest friends and family.
Have you had an internship? If so, doing what? Where?
This past summer I was living in Goldsboro, North Carolina and interning at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). CEFS is a joint project between NCSU and the NC Dept of Agriculture. There were eleven other interns, and we all had different research projects mentored by NCSU faculty. I was researching ecological pest management strategies.
What are your ideas for your senior project?
I have only put a little thought into my senior project, as I am a junior right now, but I have thought both about carrying out a research project here or elsewhere, or I have also thought about creating an educational program or something else along those lines.
What is your favorite food to eat? To cook?
There is nothing better, in my opinion, than a really good burrito. I also love making salads with weird combinations of ingredients, and I love to bake.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing school work?
I like to read, make things with my hands, talk to my friends, watch a movie, go for a walk, take a nap in the sun, etc…
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Why did you choose to come to COA?
I chose to come here because I wanted to live in a place that was really different than where I grew up. When I visited this school, I fell in love and didn’t want to leave. I also thought at the time that Human Ecology was a really important lens through which to look at the world, and I knew that I could really apply myself to studying that discipline. Several years later, I still see Human Ecology as a really important way to think about agriculture, which is what I study.
What do you like to study?
Plants, food, bugs, food systems, social change, agroecology…
Who is your hero today?
What do people say is your most marked characteristic?
That I am a good listener.