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.
While at Rollins, I participated in four travel abroad opportunities within the Sustainable Development minor and one trip to Portland, Oregon. Since graduating in 2003 from the Environmental Studies program, with a minor in sustainable Development, I went into the environmental consulting business and concentrated my work efforts on gopher 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 towards my Master's degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Devlepment at UW-Madison. From there I will be continuing on to pursue my Ph.D in Wildlife Ecology. Once I graduate I plan to teach and to put my research efforts toward wildlife conservation issues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and began fall '08.