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Juliana Prendergast

Juliana, smiling, sitting on the grass in front of the Manor House on a sunny day.

*Student-supplied profile photo due to COVID-19. Thank you, Juliana!

Juliana Prendergast

Class Year: 2020
Hometown:
 
Skaneateles, New York
Major: Environmental Studies
Minor: Classics
Extracurriculars: Dance X/Y, LCDC, Admissions tour guide

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Beautiful, unique, joyful

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The Lewis & Clark campus was so different from any other campus I visited, in both location and feel of the school. I couldn’t get over how tall the trees were and how green the campus was. There was no turning back!

In what ways did you change as a result of your ENVS major?

Coming into the program, I believed that there was only one “right” way to accomplish environmental goals. I quickly learned that it is not that simple to truly address the root of environmental issues. Throughout the last four years, my classes, professors, and experiences in the ENVS program have helped me learn how to address multiple sides of environmental issues and understand multiple viewpoints.

“Throughout the last four years, my classes, professors, and experiences in the ENVS program have helped me learn how to address multiple sides of environmental issues and understand multiple viewpoints.”

What were the biggest challenges to you in ENVS that ultimately were worth the effort you put into them?

In my sophomore year at L&C, I was a leader of ENVX: Environmental Studies Symposium. I had no idea how to organize a symposium, let alone one as unique and far-reaching as ENVX. There was definitely a learning curve, but it was extremely worth it at the end. That year, our Keynote event was in downtown Portland. Seeing both the L&C and Portland communities engage with each other at an event I helped to plan was very rewarding.

How did you weave your experiences outside ENVS (e.g., an overseas program, an internship, a course in another department) into your ENVS major?

In addition to majoring in ENVS, I am also a classics minor. While the two may seem mutually exclusive, there have been many skills that I have gotten from classics that have also helped me in ENVS. My classics courses emphasized close reading to understand what the author was trying to accomplish. There was never a time when we took the words at face value. We had discussions at length about the social, economic, and political issues that the society we were reading about was facing in that moment. When I would read and research for ENVS, this practice helped me think about the time, place, and events in which those books and articles were written.

What is one thing you’re proud of in your ENVS capstone you just completed, and where do you think it may take you in future?

The capstone I just completed was a fairly large undertaking so, in some ways, I am just proud to have it finished. It was a hard project, and an intricate problem. My thesis advisor, Professor Jim Proctor, would often remind me that it was better to address an interesting, difficult question than play it safe. I was happy how the whole thing came together in the end and proud of how I was able to connect all the parts of my thesis to create a coherent argument.

Bringing this all together: how does the phrase Environment Across Boundaries apply to your own experiences in ENVS, and what will you carry forward from these experiences as you take next steps in your life?

Most projects I completed for the ENVS program dealt with politics and environmental law and policy. Through the work I have done, many boundaries were crossed—whether it was political lines, geographical boundaries, or boundaries of scale (local vs. global perspectives). When I was starting my ENVS journey, I mostly just wanted to show that one side was better than the other. Over time, I realized that one can learn so much more from understanding and learning about multiple sides then taking a unilateral approach.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is wherever my friends are—whether it was in one of our rooms, walking to class, or meeting at the library to study.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

Portland has amazing food—especially the food carts!

Where do you find community on campus?

The dance community on campus is very special. I’ve met and made friends with so many people through dance, and it is definitely the thing I am going to miss most about L&C.

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