Student Spotlight June/July 2019

    Emily Goldstein




    Emily Goldstein began her academic career at UofL in pursuit of a BA in Anthropology. In May 2019 she recieved her Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on Sustainability. Emily has studied climate change, urban agriculture and food justice. The goals of her studies focus not only on helping the planet, but helping other people.





    1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    I am a Louisville native and went to the University of Louisville as an undergraduate. When I found out that UofL had a new Master’s degree in sustainability, I knew it was the perfect graduate program for me.

    2. Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    My research on collaboration and resource sharing in Louisville community gardens was borne out of an interest in urban agriculture and how people in Louisville use community gardens. My background with sustainability was focused on climate change, and after coursework at UofL I also became interested in how urban agriculture and food justice play a part in sustainability. It isn’t just about helping the planet – it is about helping people, too.

    3. How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to a friend or family member unfamiliar with your field?

    Sustainability is built on three pillars: Social, Environmental, and Economic. It is an area of study that looks at the complex nature of how humans interact with the environment, and how to address problems within these interactions. All three pillars must be addressed in order to be sustainable.

    4. What made you go into this field of study?

    Sustainability is a perfect intersection of my interests. I have a great love for the natural world and for diverse cultures. Ever since I became an Arctic Ambassador for Polar Bears International and visited the arctic four times to study polar bears, I have been trying to make a difference in my community to stop climate change. This goal has evolved throughout my education, especially after obtaining a degree in anthropology. I want to make a difference in the world, and sustainability is an ideal field that will allow me to include my overlapping interests.

    5. Awards and Publications:

    Arctic Ambassador for Polar Bears International, 2007-current; 2012 WLKY Bell Award Winner for community volunteerism; Women Leading Kentucky Achievement Award, 2011; Nicodemus Wilderness Project National Award, 2011; Outstanding Graduate in Urban and Public Affairs, University of Louisville, 2019.

    6. Long term goals/ aspirations:

    My long-term goal is to open a sustainable tea shop. That means sustainably-sourced tea, workers paid a living wage, among other things. I would like to grow some of the plants and tea myself and to have apiaries for honey. I want it to be a community-oriented, educational environment where people can learn how to be sustainable in their daily lives.

    7. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

    I am most proud of completing my thesis. It is very surreal to me that it is complete. Months of research and writing have paid off.

    8. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

    The greatest challenge is probably time management. Especially during thesis research and writing, it is easy to procrastinate or not manage time well because you likely will not be doing other coursework. It feels as though you have plenty of time, but this is not true – work on your thesis every day, even if it is just an hour. Every little bit of work you put in helps reduce the workload towards the end of your thesis deadlines.

    9. Family life:

    I have two inspiring parents and an awesome big sister who have helped guide me and inspire me all my life. I have a garter snake and three rescued cats who keep me busy and entertained!

    Fun Facts
    A talent you have always wanted: To draw/paint! I've always liked art but have never gotten proficient at it. I admire artists very much.
    Favorite book: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
    Favorite quote: "Keep your faith. Travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you. Constantly." Thirteenth Doctor, Doctor Who
    Role Model: Robert and Carolyn Buchanan. they helped establish Polar Bears International and have opened so many doors for me. 
    Favorite Vacation Destination: Vancouver, British columbia. I always feel at home when I visit there between the wildlife and the diverse cultures.
    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Ideally, I would be traveling the world! Realistically, I would be working as a naturalist or a similar job at a park, forest, or zoo.