In 2016 I received a Bachelor’s degree in English from IU-Southeast. I decided to take the writing skills I had developed and explore the social sciences. My interest in the machinations of culture led me to the University of Louisville Anthropology department, where I focused my Master’s work on issues of sustainability and the environment. I wanted to understand how various cultures conceive of the human relationship to the environment, why so many societies function unsustainably, and what impact sustainability efforts might have upon socio-cultural systems.
During my time here, I became involved in two pertinent research projects. The first was to explore cooperative grocery stores from a social sciences perspective to contribute to efforts to start such an operation in Louisville. The second was a follow-up on a project from a political ecology class exploring students’ changing conceptions of nature and the environment.
I was interested, too, in taking active part in sustainability work beyond the academics. I had previously performed some volunteer work through the WWOOF program, connecting volunteers to organic farms. My university studies in sustainability led me to the Citizen Forester program at Louisville Grows, a nonprofit organization supporting urban agriculture, urban forestry, and environmental education. Citizen Foresters are specially trained to lead teams of volunteers for tree planting events. I concluded my academic career with an internship at Louisville Grows, helping with their various operations and programs.
The internship transitioned into a full-time fund development position at Louisville Grows through the Americorps Vista program. This position ends in June 2019 after which I intend to continue work pertaining to sustainability and environmentalism. The ideal is to take a position conceived by Louisville Grows in conjunction with Limbwalker Tree Service as an urban arborist apprentice. This opportunity largely depends on pending grant applications, so its feasibility remains to be seen. Meanwhile, while the completion of this position is a little ways off, I keep my eyes open for potential future opportunities.