What Do Our ENVS Students/Alums Do? Read Some Recent and Other Posts 

  • Robin Zeller
    Robin Zeller ’15 describes how ENVS lead to a degree in medical anthropology.
  • February 9, 2020 at 9:41am

    Urban development is a spatial problem. Therefore, we can use GIS to inform its issues. In the following report I outline the spatial analyses that build to an understanding of what parts of Seattle, WA are most suitable for urban development.

    First we need a strong understanding of San Diego’s basic geographic layout.

    This map shows the basic geographic layout of Seattle and surrounding King County, WA. As we can see, the urban areas and highways are concentrated on the western side of the region while parks are concentrated on the eastern side.

    Second, we can identify how close different regions are to highways, parks, and urban areas as well as how high the land is from sea level. These features determine land’s (property) value and are considered in urban planning so that development occurs in the most desirable spot.

    These maps show how far areas are from various features as well as the elevations throughout the region.

    The most desirable land to develop on is subjective to planners. For this case study we prefer close proximity to urban areas and highways, long distances from parks, and medium elevation. These features of proximity and elevation can be calculated using a fuzzy membership tool. This tool produces a visual representation of how desirable different areas are according to an individual specific characteristic.

    These maps show how desirable areas are to develop on based on their distance from various features as well as elevation.

    While we can determine the desirability of land based on a single feature using the fuzzy membership tool, the desirability of land to develop on is determined based on a combination of features. We can use the fuzzy overlay AND tool to produce a visualization of how land is desirable based on all the spatial preferences combined. Doing so produces a map of the most desirable places to develop land.

    This map shows which areas are most suitable to develop on in terms of all desired features: large distance from parks, small distance from urban areas and highways, and optimal elevation. This diagram reflects how the fuzzy membership and overlay tools can be used to determine the most suitable areas for development according to one preference or multiple. The diagram shows that in this case, the preferences for development is land that is far from a park, close to an urban area, close to a highway, and in middle elevation.

    What land is most suitable for developing varies through space and time. The steps this report outlines takes the planners’ preferences and analyzes San Diego’s physical features to determine what regions will be the best for development.

  • February 9, 2020 at 6:17pm

    For my final semester at Lewis & Clark I am completed an independent study on GIS in urban planning. Last semester I completed and independent study on GIS skills and applications, completing projects that strengthened my understanding of spatial data and its uses. Now, I am addressing urban planning specifically because I am interested in going into the field after I graduate.

    Lewis & College does not have urban planning classes so I am working with Dr. Jessica Kleiss to design coursework that will inform my understanding of GIS and its uses in urban planning throughout the semester. A major part of such coursework is simply consulting literature and people in the field. Therefore, I have taken the past few weeks to meet with folks at Portland’s regional planning institution, Metro, as well read _______.





  • Charlotte Copp
    ENVS alumna, Charlotte Copp ’18, explores the field of GIS.  She is currently a GIS intern for the City of Lake Oswego.
  • March 26, 2020 at 6:49pm

    “The Big One” became a news sensation and underlying threat to the citizens of Portland when this article in The New Yorker was published in 2015. I remember arriving here shortly after the summer of 2016. I didn’t hear anything about it until the end of my freshman spring semester. An opportunity was made for students across all disciplines to participate in a multi-disciplinary research team for the summer on campus. And although I did not get into the lab I continued to monitor the news pertaining to this event. Most of the stories from reputable news agencies were sensational and catastrophic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing although in hindsight I now see that this invoked fear in me.

    Another one of the projects that I have been tasked with is reading the DOGAMI report which details the impacts that Portland would face when the earthquake hits. Why is this of interest to people an environmental economic think tank? For many reasons, most of which I can’t think of but with regards to my internship the earthquake will have devastating effects on the lives of millions of people, specifically those who are low-income and people of colour who reside very close to the CEI Hub. This is where trains carrying various fossil fuels stop before being distributed around the country. When, and not if, “The Big One” hits, the CEI hub will burst into flames and engulf everything and one in its tracks.

    This is a reality we cannot escape. However, the city can take measures to ensure that the community is resilient. There are two earthquakes that are expected to happen: The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the 6.8 Portland Hills fault earthquake. The latter will be more devastating due to its epicentre being close to the city. Both will result in a loss of life, damage of property and habitat and cost billions of dollars in repairs. However, if the city of Portland earnestly begins its preparation now by implementing and enforcing various policies that protect people, mandating that building codes are able to withstand the impact, the casualties will not be as great.

    After reading the DOGAMI report I feel more empowered to move forward to prepare myself for this event. And as I continue working, I hope to help build a campaign that raises awareness and mobilises the community to act now.

    The post ’cause you make my earfquake: Uncovering the facts of the DOGAMI report appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • Environmental Studies and Economics major Aaron Fellows ’16 talks about his summer internship with the International Economic Development Council.
  • Emma Redfoot (’13) describes her indirect path toward studying nuclear engineering after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • May 10, 2020 at 10:23pm

    In past ENVS courses, we were often asked to imagine what a situated research project would look like using the hourglass model. We were asked to do parts of the hourglass and ponder what we would do if we had the time and resources to complete the project. However, we never actually conducted the project. Until now. 

    My capstone was the first time I had the space to put my all into a project of my interest and work through the entire hourglass. It took about six months of inquiry, research, and edits to produce a thesis that reflects the full hourglass of my research. Now that I am on the other side I am both proud of what I accomplished but underwhelmed because I know there is so much work to do beyond the hourglass just to answer my specific focus question, how will Portland, OR’s Residential Infill Program (RIP) impact affordable housing in East Portland? While I stand behind the argument in my thesis, I know that to fully understand this question and my broader framing question would take more research throughout the years to see how the RIP develops and what outside factors also may influence housing affordability in this region.

    This project taught me how to complete a larger research paper using the hourglass model instead of just making a plan for the work I would do. However, I am feeling a similar way to how I felt when we completed those theoretical hourglass projects in past ENVS classes: unsure how meaningful my work is. It is meaningful to me because I completed a piece of work I am proud of, a piece that goes more in-depth than anything I have written before, a piece that shows I have grown as a writer, researcher, and analyst.

    However, I am not sure this translates to meaning in the context of my framing and focus question. I guess that is commonplace for an undergraduate thesis, I’m not trying to get published here. But, to some extent, I thought I would, for the first time, make an argument that would not have a “but” at the end. I thought my argument could stand without a qualifier that if I only had more time or could research this for longer my work would hold more meaning. I guess academics are always faced with this issue, though. At some point, you have to stop cooking and put what you have on the table. Maybe the biggest lesson I learned throughout this process, albeit something I learned while writing this post, is that there will always be more to research, work, and discovery to be done and part of writing an in-depth research paper, especially using the hourglass model, is accepting that and still working to understand your topic with the resources you have.

  • Keith Morency (’16) highlights the various jobs that led him to work for a community solar team in Boston, MA, after graduating from the Environmental Studies program at Lewis & Clark College.
  • March 28, 2020 at 5:37pm

    One of the biggest criticisms of NGOs and nonprofits I have been exposed to throughout my college career has been related to their need for investment. Businesses, organisations, institutions and corporations need money to run. We all know this is the case but the thing that makes it supposedly wrong is the fact that funders often give their money to projects they think are necessary for the community or their portfolio. In other words investors give money to projects that will benefit them. This is a truth and fact that can’t be disputed. But it’s also one that trickles down to the individual level. How many people have or will buy a food, service or product that won’t benefit them or someone they love or agree with?

    Many NGOs and nonprofits rely on grants from investors in order to be able to function and keep staff on board. Some of these organisations need more money than others, and once they’ve gained enough trust from funders then they will enter partnerships with their investors, meaning they won’t need to write grants every year because they have signed multi-year contracts with their investors. This give them enough time to focus on a variety of projects without worrying about how they will pay all the people who are part of their team.

    It’s currently grant season. Nonprofits and NGOs around the world are working on funding proposals for the next fiscal year. They are taking stock of what they’ve done and thinking of what they would like to do with regards to future projects. If you’re reapplying for funding from past investors this means you have to show what you did with the money they gave you so that they can give you more to support your next or a different endeavour. Before starting my work at CSE I used to be under the impression that writing to appeal to investors was equivalent to selling your soul to the devil because you would have to do what he said. But now I am more fully aware of the parametres of the world we live in. NGOs and nonprofits propose ideas that they are passionate about and have interest in. These ideas may even be tangential to their initial vision but sometimes they come at the problem from a different angle and help solve it.

    Funding money isn’t always a fair game. But beggars choose the streets they reside using very good reasoning.

    The post Beggars can’t be choosers appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • Kori Groenveld
    ENVS alumna, Kori Groenveld ’18, describes how her path at LC lead her to a career in the energy industry.  She is working as a Program Administrator at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
  • Kyle Tibbett (’15) talks about his life after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and taking a position in fisheries management in Idaho.
  • May 10, 2020 at 10:23pm

    When I began the capstone process I was enamored by the question of equity. Throughout the past four years wealth inequality, resource exploitation, and houselessness have been at the forefront of my mind as I became more aware of my own privilege, the faults of capitalism, and the reality of the place I now call home. However, until my capstone I was caught up in the big questions, how did the system get this way?, what role do we play?, will I be the change I want to see? My capstone would ask me to think smaller in order to think harder. 

    It was difficult for me to boil down my anger and curiosity about the reality of inequity into an answerable question. Before we began our actual capstone course when we still were working with the theory behind our proposed topics I held to the idea of equitable urban development because it was a concrete aspect of my widespread concern for the history and trajectory of inequality in our world today (Figure 1). This was the groundwork for my framing question how can a city develop equitably? However, I still did not know what the specifics of equitable development would look like. Our capstone seminar would soon force me to learn those specifics. 

    In our capstone seminar, I could no longer hide behind buzzwords and my questioning of those buzzwords with more niche buzzwords. I can only imagine how tired my classmates were of the phrase “Smart Growth”. I was forced to look at a measure of equity in development, and a policy meant to bring equity in those terms, and a location in order to use the sinched middle of the hourglass to make a statement on equitable urban development in a situated context. Things fell into place from here. 

    Choosing housing affordability as my measure, East Portland, OR as my situated context, and Portland’s residential infill project as my policy I was able to communicate the goal of my study more thoughtfully. Before choosing my situated context I was intimidated by the actual assessment of equity in any location. I felt the idea was too complex for me to understand beyond general ideas of gentrification. However, things fell into place by following the hourglass model and I know I can speak (and write) about what equitable urban development actually means, at least in the case of housing affordability in East Portland. As you can see, it takes a lot of baby steps to take a baby step.  

  • Laura Schroeder (’14) describes her year as a Fulbright scholar in Colombia after having taken courses in environmental studies and graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology.
  • May 4, 2020 at 2:30pm

    Reflecting on the past year and my journey through this internship and my overall experience in the ENVS Department at Lewis and Clark, I realise that by combining these two worlds I have been more appreciative of the classes I have taken. One of the key themes of my time at LC has been “building bridges”. Although a somewhat cliche concept, bridges have and will always be a universal symbol of progress and transformation. They allow people to traverse difficult terrain and connect two separate land masses. For this last post I was going to think about what kind of an environmental organisation I would build if I had the opportunity. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that this is a task that would require many years of experience and reflection on my behalf. And since this is also my last post related to college I have decided it would be best to reflect on three themes that I have observed in the last two semester through my internship.

    #1 The process is important.

    Both a lesson I have learned in the workplace and at school I have seen that the process is important. Whether this be completing a paper or voting in a groundbreaking ordinance, outcomes are only the tip of the iceberg. Many pages have had to be read and other battles have been won and lost before a great success. The outcome will match the input.

    #2 Zooming in & out.

    Throughout my time in the ENVS program I have been shown how issues of scale are pertinent to any achievement. This can be linked to changes and transformation and the extent to which it will be radical or incremental. Being a part of CSE has shown me that eradicating the use of fossil fuels in Oregon will not be something that can be achieved overnight. Instead the law requires different hoops to be jumped before it is official, especially when coming to environmental issues. Renewable energy will not be adopted within a week. A lot of thinking, planning and implementation needs to undertaken before a solar station is built. The greatest lesson I take from this is that in trying to fight for our future and also the wellbeing of the planet we must be realistic.

    #3 The future and cohesion.

    The environmental movements I have studied and also witnessed have transformed over the past decades. Being a young woman of colour in a space where people who resemble me have been historically excluded I am reminded that change is happening and its happening fast. And it’s important to fight toward the same goals and make sure the voices of the most vulnerable are heard. Intersectionality allows people to come together to move forward. Having many voices that speak to an issue will make sure that it is fully faced and no one gets left behind.

    As I cross into the next stage of my life I will continue to reflect on the lessons I have learned through college and in the jobs I will have in the future. These two chapters of my life will forever be in conversation with each other and this is only the beginning of that dialogue.

    The post Building bridges appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • Liz Fehrenbach
    Liz Fehrenbach ’05 describes how her work in ENVS turned her on to a nursing degree.
  • Eva Ramey (’15), a Biology major and Environmental Studies minor at Lewis & Clark College, describes how her international research unfolded, beginning with her study abroad experience in Tanzania.
  • Gabby Francolla
    Gabriella Francolla ’18 majored in ENVS. She describes her path after graduating from Lewis & Clark, where she has had the opportunity to engage with diverse populations while working as an educator.  Next year she will begin working as an Environmental Educator Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mexico.
  • Rachael Lipinski (’09), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, writes about her time working as an environmental attorney.
  • April 3, 2020 at 9:28pm

    Despite the challenges of the recent weeks, life goes on. And although everything appears to have slowed down, people are still moving. Not all people but most. I have been fortunate that CSE has had a work from home policy for many years but I am getting tired of spending most of my day on the computer. There are many moments I cherish on my way to and from work or school. I like taking the ten minute walk to my classes from my apartment. I like exercising my legs during that time and seeing other students travelling between classes. I liked sitting at the desk and staring at the doors in the Hatch, in solidarity with other workers in the co-working space. I liked using my bus passes and rushing to see whether or not there was money left on my card. A small time gambler. I enjoyed watching the transition from winter to spring happen and seeing more people on the bus to work. The world has changed but many companies are still working- from home of course. Except those in the service industry and that of non-essentials.

    Being able to work from home, I now have to manage my time since I spend all 24 hours in the same location. Something that is both a blessing and a curse. My sense of time is changing.

    CSE continues to operate amidst these changes. But like many organisations we are tasked with a difficult job amidst the crisis. We have to be ever more strategic with regards to our work and messaging. We have to change the way we communicate our vision and also how we communicate with our supporters. Environmental activism, just like other sectors has to change the way it does things during this time. It’s important for us to remain true to our successes and ongoing battles and also remain hopeful and supportive of our funders and audience. We are currently grappling with this reality and its ties to our environmental problems. This situation has showed that we have been interacting and engaging with the earth is destructive way. The pictures of the Venice canals prove that. The job of various environmentally focused organisations is to use this time to strengthen our messages and show our communities what can be done better in the future. This situation brings forth opportunities for improvement after reflection.

    The post The show must go on: 6 feet apart of course appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • Aly Robinson (’11) writes about her work in environmental education and public health after graduating from Lewis & Clark College’s Environmental Studies Program.
  • Erin Scheibe (’15) writes about her experiences pursuing a career in nursing after graduating from the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College.
  • Julia Benford '17
    Julia Benford (’17), a graduate of the  Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, reflects on how critical thinking and inquiry skills she gained through ENVS course studies are especially useful when teaching environmental education at Tualatin Hills Nature Center.
  • May 4, 2020 at 2:30pm

    CSE is a small organisation with 6 full time workers. It relies on being apart of many coalitions that help us fight different aspects of the same problem. Unlike bigger product corporations most nonprofits look for ways to tackle the everyday problems of people and the environment.

    One of the things I have been struck by since joining CSE is seeing the importance of networks and coalitions. All nonprofits exist to serve a specific function or purpose. This can range from those that were started by a student who saw a need in their community and decided to fulfil that, all the way to a think tank that seeks to influence specific policy within a city. CSE is one of the latter.

    Despite having a smaller staff, CSE leverages its network that consists of numerous allies and memberships in other coalitions in order to come at an issue from a wholistic perspective. I have observed how small nonprofits come together and have different goals and purposes, but work together in order to influence an issue or organisation to make a difference for themselves and their communities.

    Other larger organisations may even buy into to the work of nonprofits and support them through grants and consultation opportunities to help impact their customers and communities. One of the key take aways from my experience at CSE is seeing that you don’t need 100 people working for you to make huge difference in your community. Often times, nonprofits are zoomed into issues and aren’t able to cater to the needs of everyone. By being cognoscenti of this, CSE and other nonprofits are able to identify their purpose and goals and those of others in order to pool their resources and make a bigger and longer lasting impact in policy changes.

    The post You can’t do it all: Why coalitions are crucial to organisations and campaigns appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • May 10, 2020 at 10:23pm

    For the past couple of years I have been especially interested in urban planning and community development and worked to integrate those fields into my academic studies. My thesis is driven by these interests.

    As I discuss in my post on the journey to my thesis topic, I began with the large question of urban equitable development as I was intrigued by how global cities are developing and how they can develop with less harm to their physical environment, marginalized communities, and their own future. Researching this topic with a planning lense meant looking at development through land-use, economic, and social reforms such as housing policies. Therefore, I chose to look at the impact of one of Portland, OR’s initiatives to develop equitably, the Residential Infill Project (RIP). RIP’s relationship to equitable urban development is depicted by the chart below.

    Exposure to the policies, concepts, and actors around this project as well as the project itself will help me better understand the work I would like to go into after graduation. Lewis & Clark does not have urban planning courses so I felt this thesis would be a good way to explore fundamental urban planning concepts using tools and skills I already have. 

    Of course, the likelihood of getting a job right out of college in the planning world is made difficult by the current COVID-19 pandemic, I am hopeful that if/when I step into the professional planning world these fundamental urban planning concepts will serve as the foundation for the rest of my learning in the field. Overall, doing this thesis has introduced me to parts of urban planning that I would not have been introduced to if I had not chosen this topic. 

    Beyond the professional implications of my thesis, my work has taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a thinker, writer, and data analyst. Completing this thesis has shown me how much I depend on interest and passion to get me through challenging projects. It is difficult for me to complete my work if I am not excited or interested in the subject at that moment. However, finding something that does excite me is a strength of mine. Therefore, I have learned how to find a small piece of interest or enthusiasm for my work whenever I am feeling unmotivated. This is a skill that will help me in life far beyond graduation. 

    I believe that my passion for equitable urban development as well as my enthusiasm for the small aspects of planning concepts, both of which is responsible for the eventual completion of my thesis, will allow me to enter the planning world in some respect. Whether it be just a cheerleader on the sideline, a student at the feet of a mentor, or a worker in the field I see myself becoming an active participant in urban planning after my thesis is completed.

  • Rebecca Kidder (’16), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, describes her time working as a reading tutor in a kindergarten classroom in Minneapolis.
  • March 28, 2020 at 6:37pm

    The posts I have written so far reflect my efforts to remain present amidst the chaos around me. Since the second week of school, I have been following WHOs covid-19 tracking page. As I continued to experience the first few weeks of my final semester, the Hubei province in China quarantined 40 million people. I watched countries begin lock-downs and students transition to online classes. I followed Reddit pages where people around the world discussed the changes and how they were effecting them. And then it happened here. The last 10 days of school have been some of the most hectic I have experienced in all my academic life. And I have cried whilst writing essays half an hour before turning them in. Everyday I have received an email from professors and administrators telling us how everything will change moving forward. The campus is empty. We have to stay 6 feet apart in all public spaces. We have to stay indoors.

    This may seem like a dream for some college students. Online classes mean we can just hop out of bed and go to class. But one of the reasons people pay thousands of dollars to go to school is because of the face to face interaction.

    I’m not afraid of the changes. I welcome them with open arms. After all there isn’t much we can do to combat the virus. We’re on its time now. Not ours. After rushing through my undergraduate degree I can stop, breath and look at the world around me. How do I want to contribute towards its successes? What changes would I like to see? What kind of company do I want to work for? Instead of thinking of where I am I can think about where I want to be and let that guide my decisions. This is a time to be strategic and move forward. It’s also a time to use the critical thinking skills we’ve learned to dictate how we interact with the media and news.

    For now I will work from home and see how everything unfolds.

    P.S- This post is about my experiences during my internship and also not about them. This week was difficult to get through because of all the changes and although I completed most of my work I turned panic into productivity. I had to keep moving forward. We have no choice. The year will still end.

    The post A moment in history. appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • Michaela Koke (’16) describes her work with the Merck Family Fund and her first year after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology.
  • Darya Watnick (’13), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, describes her time spent working in Israel for three years after graduating and returning to work as a Jewish Engagement Manager in the U.S.
  • Osamu Kumasaka
    ENVS alumnus Osamu Kumasaka ’16, describes his path to working in environmental conflict resolution.  He is a Junior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute in Boston, MA.
  • Hanah Goldov (’13), ENVS major at Lewis & Clark College, describes how her interest in  intentional spaces and environmental design began in her undergraduate work and will continue as she enters a Master’s Program in Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley fall of 2018.
  • Julia Huggins BA '13 at the Lynn Canal, Alaska.
    Julia Huggins BA ’13 has been awarded the Vanier Scholarship to continue her PhD in biogeochemistry at the University of British Columbia, where she is the chief scientist of the oceanography research program. The scholarship will fund her research on oxygen loss in the oceans and the environmental impact of marine microorganisms.
  • Katherine Jernigan working with students in a school garden in Chicago.
    Katherine Jernigan, BA ’15, works with school children in Chicago and found a way to combine her loves of the outdoors and cooking.
  • April 11, 2020 at 6:24pm

    Campaign (n) : work in an organized and active way toward a particular goal, typically a political or social one.

    Activism (n) : the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

    As clearly illustrated by the definitions, activism and campaigning go hand in hand. A campaign cannot reach its goal without the work of activists keeping the fire going. One of the things I have realised about campaigning and activism is that they would not be possible without ideas and visions. This is one of the things I think sets apart the work of CSE from other environmental economics think tanks. They think and do. This is something that I would also attribute its successes to. They propose and implement and change their strategies accordingly. Being the one to dictate your own visions makes strategising easier because you are experiencing the challenges and realities of your situation first hand.

    After finishing my research on the DOGAMI report I have had to brainstorm ways it could be applicable to our work. The two main campaign I saw it could be plugged into are the ones regarding the impacts of the earthquake on the CEI Hub. And the other focuses in on fighting against Zenith. Environmental Studies is about building bridges across boundaries. This also includes expanding on the scope of issues in ones work. Earthquakes come with many risks and any person in any field can show how they would impact them, their product and work. This is because natural disasters affect everyone. No exceptions.

    In developing a campaign I have had to ask myself the following questions:

    • What am I trying to achieve? What are my goals?
    • Who am I speaking to?
    • How can I effectively get my message across to a wide audience?
    • What steps do I have to take to get there? with regards to communicating with my intended audience? Creating visuals and other supporting materials and documents?
    • Who can I work with?
    • Who has already done this?
    • How much time do I have?
    • What changes do I foresee? How will I adapt my strategy as the campaign unfolds?
    • How will I communicate my message?
    • When do we stop?

    These are some of the few questions that I have begun to ask myself as I work on developing a campaign about the DOGAMI report. Campaigns are like chess. You have to wait your turn and also anticipate that of your opponents. Moving forward I will study other effective environmental campaigns so that I can ensure the one we build is successful.

    The post How to build an effective campaign appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • March 26, 2020 at 6:49pm

    This post consists of reflections on critical thinking and is inspired by my findings after reading the DOGAMI report.

    After reading the DOGAMI report I finally and fully grasped the concept of the importance of critical thinking and skepticism. These are also skills that a Liberal Arts education prides itself on giving students. Although throughout my life I have been told “Do not believe everything you read or hear” this message has only resonated a with me a handful of times. Some of these times being in the Era of Fake News and when exploring conspiracy theories. But many times I have been reminded that all truths were once conspiracies.

    Before I read the DOGAMI report I was afraid and paralysed by the fear of the imminent earthquake. This was a result on consuming news articles from sources around the country. Although I think articles can be helpful I also think that news organisations are not partial and may shape the truth to fit their agenda. This is why I think it is important to read the reports for ourselves and then seek understanding through other people. This way we are informed before being influenced and able to exercise skepticism.

    Critical thinking is defined as: “the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence”. I think the word evaluate is key in this description as individuals need to make their own decisions regarding their personal stances. All individuals are able to do so unless they are impaired for a due to a variety of circumstantial factors.

    Critical thinking is becoming an important skill in the 21st century where information is abundant but can also be flawed. I think this is a skill that should be highlighted, at all scholarly and non-academic levels and places so that people are able to feel empowered by their own choices, allowing them to move forward.

    The post Exercising skepticism: Critical thinking 101 appeared first on Dintho tša lefase.

  • May 10, 2020 at 10:23pm

    My capstone is the result of various skills and concepts I have learned throughout my ENVS education. From the flow of the thesis to my methods of research and data analysis, the major’s courses equipped me with the toolkit to complete the capstone. 

    Hourglass Model 

    In Environmental Analysis we were introduced to the hourglass model for Situated Research (pictured below). This model has been a central component to all of our ENVS work since then and provided the outline I follow in my capstone. We spent a substantial amount of time in ENVS on understanding this model for research, which gave me a sturdy foundation to base my capstone research on. 

    Data Analytics

    In Environmental Analysis we also had a lab in which we built our data analysis toolkit. In this lab we learned how to conduct qualitative, quantitative, and spatial data analysis. I used each of these types of data analysis in my capstone and the toolkit I created helped me create my GIS maps, conduct t-tests, and analyze policies. 

    Map from my capstone on Housing Affordability overtime in East Portland.

    Critical Thinking 

    Teaching critical thinking is the Liberal Art’s brand. However, the ENVS major taught me not only how to analyze and examine issues to form judgments, but also how to take my judgments and put it in the context of the world I live in and then from there determine the change I want to see and how to actualize that vision using practical tools. This project demanded not only a judgment on affordable housing and its ability to create equitable development but also a thoughtful consideration of real-world contexts in which this question exists. 


    My capstone research included many meetings with knowledgable people on the subject matter. My thesis also includes many diagrams and communication tools that convey some of the most important information throughout my work. Both of these aspects of the capstone have been informed by the Environmental Engagement I took my Junior year course. Through my engagement project and work on the ENVX symposium, both of which were part of the course, I learned how to effectively conduct informational meetings and create a network for my research. I also learned how to convey my work to my projected audience in a meaningful way, using accessible language, visuals, and approachable concepts. 

    Overall, the ENVS major has trained me well for me capstone by providing a strong balance of independence and guidance throughout the major. I believe that the agency and counsel I experienced through my undergraduate career is well reflected in my culminating project.  

  • Eva Johnson (’15) describes her trajectory after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • Megan Coggeshall (’12) tells the story of how she ended up as a data analyst in global health research after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and French Studies.
  • Jules Bailey and colleagues at OBRC
    ENVS Alumnus, Jules Bailey ’01, keeps Oregon’s bottle deposit and return program successful and relevant.  He is the Chief Stewardship Officer for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.
  • April 17, 2020 at 12:52am

    One of the things I am grateful for in my internship is being able to be on the inside and outside of the working world at the same time. Although working part-time and being a student has its challenges it has shown me how to think and work critically between the two worlds. I am afforded the opportunity to study my experiences and also criticise them from an experiential perspective. Working at CSE has allowed me to apply the skills I have learned at school in the real world.

    I remember speaking with someone who said that everything they learned throughout college didn’t help them in the workplace. And although this can be true to a certain extent, I think we sometimes are taught to look for the same scenario and think that is when we will be able to use those skills. And what I am beginning to learn in the workplace is that skills from school are often translated in the workplace. You don’t always have to match a circle to a circle, sometimes you match a circle to an oval and do a little more work to refine the shape.

    After being gradually given more responsibility at the organisation of my work I have also been able to apply more of the skills I’ve learned at school to the work I am doing. I have been able to use my research skills and the curiosity I have been growing to diligently and deeply dig for data on the web using a variety of resources. I will be using my ArcGIS skills to create a story map for the DOGAMI report website and our work and I have also been given admin privileges to the organisations’ sites to help monitor and maintain it. These skills are those I have learned during my degree. I am now using them and will be expanding on them at work and when I graduate. I am also able to see what work environments need and how I can fill various gaps.

    The liberal arts has given me more than critical thinking skills. It has also given me an eye for opportunity and shown me how to be solution-oriented.

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