Michael Mastry, Class of 2009
While at Rollins, I studied Environmental Studies and Theatre Arts and participated in trips and study abroad opportunities in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. After graduating from Rollins, I went to Haifa, Israel to serve at the Baha’i World Centre. I work in the Gardens department and am responsible for coordinating a group of gardeners from literally around the world (Cameroon, Soloman Islands, Australia, Israel, Kenya, Seychelles, and the U.S. to name a few). My crew is responsible maintaining the beauty and sacredness of indoor office gardens and outdoor formal gardens. Going to Rollins has really prepared me to work in this capacity. When I started serving at the World Centre, I simply served in the role of a gardener, but Rollins and especially the major in Environmental Studies helped me to take on a more supervisory role. The major has helped me understand the underlying concepts and principles at the heart of biological systems and landscape design as well as the ideas that shape our conceptions of the world. Far from being an object upon which my world works, I can easily see myself as a subject, a protagonist in building a prosperous and sustainable world.
Angelo Villagomez, class of 2004
I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now if it wasn't for my time at Rollins. In my senior year I was recruited during an Eco Rollins meeting by the League of Conservation Voters, who hired me right after graduation to be a volunteer organizer during the 2004 Presidential Election. After the election I came back to work with LCV on Water Quality and Drilling in the Gulf issues. In 2006, I returned to my island home of Saipan in Micronesia to work on a Coral Reef Outreach Project, which combined elements of my Environmental Studies education and my professional experience in community organizing. My work contributed to the creation of an island wide environmental coalition called Beautify CNMI (www.beautifycnmi.com). We've been very successful. The local paper named us the 2006 Person of the Year and we've won Environmental awards from the EPA and USDA. Now I'm the Executive Director of a small local non-profit called MINA dedicated to protecting our natural resources. MINA is the Chamorro word for "resource" and stands for Mariana Island Nature Alliance (www.minapacific.org). We have big plans for MINA and I continue to lead tree plantings, beach cleanups, and other volunteer activities with the Beautify CNMI coalition on the weekends.
Steffenie Widows, class of 2003
Since graduating in 2003 from the Environmental Studies Program, with a minor in sustainable Development, I have managed to keep traveling. While at Rollins I participated in four travel abroad o within the Sustainable Development minor and one trip to Portland, Oregon. From my first trip to Costa Rica to my most recent tri to Ecuador, my love for traveling keeps growing. Aside from traveling the world, I am also working on my career. After graduating from Rollins I went into the environmental consulting business and concentrated my work efforts on gopher tortoise protection and relocation. In my short time working as a consultant I was able to relocate over 300 tortoises from permitted development sites. Since leaving the consulting business I have focused my time on grad school. currently, I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and am working toward my Master's degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at UW-Madison. From there I will be continuing on to pursue my PhD in Wildlife Ecology. Wile at UW I am teaching a zoology lab on animal biology. Once I graduate I plan to continue teaching and to put my research efforts toward wildlife conservation issues. My time at Rollins, from my days as a recycling coordinator to my many classes with Lee, Barry and Bruce has definitely given me the foothold I needed to become the environmentalist that I am today.
Emily Stallings, class of 2004
My time at Rollins and in the Environmental Studies program gave me the well-rounded base from which I decided to start building my career as amn urban planner, seeing it as a way to link the natural and built environment. After graduation, I took a job as an environmental planner with an engineering firm, and following that, was a planner with the City of Clermont. My background from the Environmental Studies Department allowed me to communicate effectively with both clients and regulatory agencies on ecological issues related to urban development. With a few years of work experience under my belt, I decided it was time to pursue my master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and graduated from the graduate program at the University of Florida in December, 2009. Often, ecologists, developers, and city planners all speak different languages. Between my work experience, academic studies, and environmental background, I feel I am able to provide that integral link between professions to promote the benefits of 'green' development and ecologically conscious regional planning. My experience at Rollins - academic experience, study abroad opportunities (including the once-in-a-lifetime Costa Rica trip), and support of the Environmental Studies Department set me in motion for a life of pursuing and doing what I care about, traveling, and a belief that it is not naive to think I can help change the world around me.
Tyler Kartzinel, class of 2007
I departed Rollins in 2007 with a Presidential Fellowship to earn a PhD in Ecology at UGA’s Odum School of Ecology (the brand new and first School of Ecology in the world!). Here, I will start a career using molecular techniques to study ecology as it has naturally evolved as well as how human developments, such as rapid climate change and habitat destruction, may impact it. Although this career is new, the seeds were planted through many great experiences as an ES major at Rollins. Swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos, romping through the cloud forest of Costa Rica to conduct an honors thesis, and working with supportive staff members to spark a solar power revolution at Rollins are a few memories that continue to inspire me.
Devin Chapman, class of 2003
One of the many concepts that I took from my educational experience is summed up well by Paul Hawken in his book The Ecology of Commerce, basically stating that through business the world can be saved. I have been doing real estate appraisal for the last 2 1/2 years. I believe that change occurs by understanding a problem, infiltrating the mechanisms and systems that are set up surrounding said problem, and making the necessary changes. Real Estate appraisal has the potential of being a powerful tool in the professional world. As an appraiser, one of my goals is to help with the implementation of green lending practices and the true "valuation" of sustainable home designs. Architects, builders, mortgage lenders, and appraisers all speak slightly different languages, and the concept of "green design" is a foreign tongue to nearly all of them. I would like to help bridge the gap so that when people apply for loans they are fully aware that there are reduced interest rates available for the implementation of different aspects of "green design" into a building project (which has been on the federal books since the 1980's). I would also like to include a full appraisal analysis of the true value that things like passive solar design, reclaimed materials and insulation add to a home. I would also like to do appraisals of land that might be considered for conservation, including full contingent valuations of the ecosystem services that a particular area could offer.
Matt Honea, class of 2003
Rollins College and particularly Environmental Studies was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I made lifelong friends and earned a degree that has been valuable from a self-fulfillment standpoint, and through the introduction of Planning, Rollins E.S. steered me toward a rewarding career. After Rollins (following a few years of taking it easy, working as a SCUBA Dive Guide, and to borrow from the great Bruce Stephenson, enjoying being 'an international man of leisure') I moved to Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design, where I earned a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning. I fell in love with Philly and chose to contribute by working to promote economic development at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a private, not-for-profit, quasi-governmental organization whose primary goal is to create and retain jobs in the City.
The best environmentalists are those that don't have to worry about how they are going to put food on the table, and the best people to promote being green are those that love what they do.
Sandra Padilla, Class of 2002
The Environmental Studies Program at Rollins was a fantastic foundation for my future academic work and life in general. After graduating from Rollins, I headed West as an Americorps Vista Volunteer for a year in Berkeley, California. I was placed as a program coordinator with a non-profit organization that provided technical assistance to immigrants and refugees who wanted to start local micro-businesses. Living in such a healthy and progressive urban environment fed my fascination for the many opportunities for low-impact living that dense cities allow for. After my Americorps year, I found my dream job at a non-profit working on regional policy and grassroots campaigns that advocate for a sustainable and socially just San Francisco Bay Area. In the Fall of 2008, I began working on a Master's Degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT's) Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Amanda Freeman, class of 2005
My experience as an Environmental Studies major at Rollins College was invaluable. The professors were challenging, available, and interactive and the field studies gave me experience that I will remember and value far into my future. Additionally, Eco Rollins and the Recycling Program allowed me to further apply my knowledge and see change within the campus. The department and a Rollins education provided a wonderful foundation for my future not only professionally, but also personally and is something I will use now and into my future.
I am currently enrolled at The George Washington University studying for my Master's in Community Counseling and while this is not directly related to my Environmental background at Rollins, I am finding my ability to think critically and with an open mind has translated well into this field.
Lauren Greenbaum, class of 2002
I am currently studying at University of Sydney getting my masters in Development Studies (current socio-political anthropology). My master is basically looking at what development is, how people view development, looking at it from an international view. It draws on classes from Anthropology, economics, linguistics, peace keeping, political science, and sociology. By studying ES, it's helped me to be more aware how politics, economics, sociology is involved in development and protecting the environment, trying help people understand sustainable development.
Peter Sullivan, class of 2003
This Rollins ES student relocated to Seattle, WA, to connect with NW roots and scope out careers in the environmental field. After a stint in outdoor education and some unrelated unemployment, I pursued a graduate degree in urban planning at the University of Washington (photo shows UW life on the houseboat, Portage Bay). Attending a big public research institution in a dense metropolitan area blew my mind post-Rollins - classes under the tree of knowledge are pedagogical gifts. Several work/life transitions later, the courses, internships, outings with the ES family, and other extra-curricular shenanigans remain relevant to what I do and where I want to go. The biggest challenge is following a path where I can still play in the dirt while supporting loved ones.
Morgan Bourdat, class of 2004
Attending such a small school like Rollins and being a part of an even smaller program allowed me to explore many different avenues of environmental policy and participate in alternative activities which helped me grow intellectually and personally. Many of the experiences I had in Costa Rica and working on my senior project lead me to an job in Urban and Regional Planning because I wanted to encourage smart growth and sustainable development in Central Florida. Unfortunately, I felt that many of my clients did not want to incorporate their developments into the environment but remove all elements of the environment for their development. After seeing how many of the land development laws allowed for the subversion of our natural resources I decided to get a law degree and focus my studies on natural resource and land use law at Florida State University. During my three years at FSU, I did volunteer work for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Audubon of Florida, and 1,000 Friends of Florida. I also completed an internship with the Seminole County Attorneys office, where I learned a great deal about land use amendments and eminent domain proceedings. When I graduated from FSU in 2008, I received a Certificate in Natural Resource and Land Use law along with my JD, which required additional studies ecosystem management, coastal and water law, and land use regulations. After passing the bar, I spent a year working as an assistant City attorney for several Central Florida City. The passion for the environment I developed at Rollins drives me every day to encourage smart growth and stewardship.
Ben Prince, class of 2003
Since graduating from Rollins I have had the opportunity to travel widely including hiking the Appalachian Trail, Central America, and South East Asia. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, and worked on community development and education in a rural village. In between I have worked in environmental education through organizations like Northwest Youth Corps. I entered the University of Texas graduate program of Environmental Planning in fall '08.