Meet our Liberal Studies graduates - Jesse Sanders
Individualized Major: Environmental Studies
Minor in Geography, Minor in Russian Studies, concentration in Biology
Double-majored in Anthropology
Graduation year: 2019
Next Steps: Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Kazakhstan
How did your Individualized Major through the Liberal Studies Program prepare you for your next steps after graduation?
My Individualized Major helped me develop an interdisciplinary perspective on environmental issues. I feel prepared to explore the "hard science" side of environmental fields as well as the social, cultural, and economic implications of ecological change.
Most memorable class you took as an undergrad? Why?
During my sophomore year I took "Ecology, Politics, and Culture" with Dr. Storey. Although it was technically listed as an Anthropology class, the course changed my perspective on environmental issues and vastly influenced the trajectory of my Individualized Major. It was also just super fun. I got to sit in parks and analyze viral raccoon videos. Thats everyone's idea of fun, right?
What is the most thrilling or adventurous thing you've ever done?
I hiked and free climbed Mount Olympus in Estes Park Valley. The free climbing part was an accident (apparently we attempted to summit the mountain from the wrong side). Regardless, it was terrifying in the moment and thrilling in hindsight.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you're committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
My coworker and "work mom" Rachel has been vital to my success both at work and in school. She brought me food during finals, gave me pep talks when I didn't know I needed them, and, most importantly, taught me that it is possible to enjoy life in the midst of the daily hustle. Without her, I may have never learned the importance of self-care and I probably would've starved.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Fancy cheese and cheap wine.
Advice for current Individualized Majors?
Too often in higher education students are taught that personal and professional development are separate, mutually exclusive endeavors. My interdisciplinary education helped me realize that they are not. The Individualized Major offers you the flexibility to explore classes you might not have taken otherwise--take advantage of this! In my experience, the most impactful courses may not be the ones you initially expect to advance you in your career.