In 2017, I began my academic journey majoring in Political Science and International Affairs at Florida State University. Throughout this time, I learned how ingrained politics is in every aspect of our society and how important it is to get involved in civic duties such as voting and researching legislation on major social and fiscal issues. A significant part of politics involves the country’s history as well, which was required curriculum taught by several courses including American History, Protests in America, European History, and International Affairs. These courses taught critical material about the oppression and discrimination that has shaped the legislation still in existence today targeting all minority groups living in the U.S. These courses helped to dismantle unconscious biases and stereotypes that help us become more educated voters in the future. My courses also focused on the processes of the U.S. government system, as well as how the U.S. interacts with other countries and global entities. This is especially important when it comes to global issues where it is crucial for all states, countries, and territories to work together. In this day and age, one of the most pressing and time-sensitive issues of all is climate change.
In 2021, I decided to take my political science background and apply it to a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida. Above all, I realized that my passion has always been to protect and conserve the planet’s biodiversity and natural ecosystems. I knew how much policy determined either the protection or destruction of the environment, and I made it my goal to use my background to be on the side of preservation and restoration. Since then, I have begun my third semester of graduate school and have learned about environmental policy, conservation in urban environments, geology, remote sensing, and environmental ethics and philosophy.
This summer, I also had the opportunity to spend two months working with the Student Conservation Association in Yellowstone National Park. During my time there, I volunteered alongside a National Park Service conservation crew replacing a bridge with sustainable materials. The purpose of this is to ensure that people can appreciate nature in a safe way for both themselves and the wildlife and minimize impacts to areas outside of the trails. I plan to continue pursuing these opportunities that expand my knowledge on best practices for environmental policy and learning first-hand from the most experienced people in the field. These experiences have only augmented my appreciation for this field, and I hope to build a career in conservation in Florida upon graduation next May.