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I recently returned to school for the Portland Community College (PCC) GIS certificate program. My experience with the Lewis & Clark Environmental Studies Program was extremely critical to my success with GIS. The program at PCC focuses on spatial analysis, but the Environmental Studies core courses that I took at Lewis & Clark prepared me to understand how scientific knowledge, theory, and praxis work together to explore complex problems and solutions.
Lessons from the Environmental Studies Program not only inform my critical thinking skills and perspective, but I keep revisiting readings and labs that inform work I am doing now. To name some specific examples of how Environmental Studies classes have informed my current projects, I recently have done two projects where I made reference to old notes of mine from core classes.
I am currently working with a member of the community on a project where I am mapping Oregon campaign finance, and a lab from Environmental Analysis [ENVS 220] where we used Gephi has assisted me in conceptualizing the project in terms of social networks.
Another project with the Center of the Study and Preservation of Palestine examines economy, spatial, and geographic characteristics of Palestinian villages to determine which areas should be prioritized for underground greywater cistern installation. This project is situated in an area with extreme geopolitical unrest. My experience doing projects in Willapa Bay and Roseburg, Oregon for Environmental Studies helped me prepare for the nuances of place that are important to consider when studying a project.
Not only has my ENVS career prepared me to pursue further academic interests, but it has helped me weigh costs and benefits in my own life while also taking into consideration all the shades of grey in between. I am grateful for the perspective that this program gave me, and after taking a few steps back I felt it all settle and helped me ask questions, consider the whole story, and become a more confident participant in groups.
I just was accepted this week at Portland State University for my Master’s in Urban Planning and Regional Studies Fall 2021. The Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark has been paramount to my journey getting to this point and I am grateful for my four years at Lewis & Clark.