Class of 2016
Environmental Studies & Sustainability|French
Kirby Clark is a double major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and French at Drew. Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Kirby is in her junior year. Outside of participating in Drew’s first Communications and Media Semester she also plans on traveling abroad to France this summer to study the language and culture. She is also a two sport athlete in Field Hockey and Tennis and a contributing member of The Acorn and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
What brought you to Drew and what are you involved in on and off campus?
The town of Madison was actually a major selling point for me when I toured Drew while in high school. I had always wanted to go to school in a suburban town with a main street where you can shop and dine. Madison is a beautiful town and I enjoy being able to spend time in an area that has an entirely different culture and speed of life than the “suburbs” I am from in DC. Another selling point that brought me to Drew was the strong academic programs available for students in the sciences. I began as a neuroscience major and originally envisioned myself working in a lab or pursuing some type of medical career, but I am thankful that Drew provided the opportunity for me to experience many other academic fields so that I could discover what my interests actually were. In addition, I looked at Drew for its reputable field hockey program.
I am very involved on campus, which I love. I cannot imagine being at school and not having ways of being engaged in campus life. I am a member of the field hockey and women’s tennis teams, the secretary of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and the Sports Editor at the Acorn, our student newspaper. I also work in the Center for Academic Excellence as a peer subject and writing tutor.
Which class or classes have had the greatest impact on your thoughts,
opinions, and experiences as a Drew student?
One class that really stands out to me is Environment, Society, and Sustainability, which is a core program requirement for one of my majors. I changed my major about a year and a half ago to study Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS), instead of Neuroscience and I can confidently say I have never looked back. This course is taught by Professor Fred Curtis, who focuses his research in the area of environmental economics. In this course, I was exposed to an entirely different perspective on sustainability and the environment, which really confirmed to my passion for sustainability related issues in the world. Professor Curtis does an excellent job at combining the more science-based aspects of the ESS major with the more humanities and cultural-based aspects. This course really sparked my interest in the need for greater sustainability education, particularly in how members of society can become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives, without turning themselves into a total tree hugger. He has such a broad wealth of knowledge in the field and his course really forced me to think critically about sustainability and issues of over consumption. He is an extremely engaging professor who really made me enjoy being in class and his passion for the subject is infectious.
What prompted you to apply to Drew’s first media and communications
semester? Did any previous experience or course in particular lead to
I think Professor Curtis’ Environment, Society, and Sustainability course really made me recognize how interested I am in helping society to become more aware of environmental issues, things that are being done to address these issues, and how society can become more engaged in the green revolution. I think that this semester looked really interesting to me because of how it could serve as an asset to me as I (hopefully) pursue a career in advertising of green products and helping society to become more aware of what they can do to make their lifestyle more environmentally conscious.
How did you decide your major/minor and what career plans do you have
for your future?
I actually started out as Neuroscience major, with a French minor, which lasted me about a year. I was in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the Fall of my sophomore year when I realized this was not the major for me. I really didn’t enjoy the subject and being a lab looking at cells and bacteria became really uninteresting to me. Around the same time, my (now) advisor in French convinced me that it was “so easy” to be a French double major and about an hour later I was a major and no longer a minor. I wasn’t ready to leave behind the world of science and settled upon becoming an Environmental Studies and Sustainability major. This is really a great mix of humanities and science and is a really relevant field to major issues that face today’s society. I love the field and I also love that there is always something new to learn because the field is rapidly growing and changing. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in advertising of sustainable and green products or writing about sustainable living. My career aspirations are actually rapidly changing, especially as I become exposed to more career fields within the realm of media and communications through the New York Semester on Media and Communications.
What is your favorite part about taking classes in New York City
compared to taking one on campus?
I absolutely love being able to spend time in New York City. I don’t know if I would ever want to live in such a fast-paced environment, but I am having a lot of fun learning to navigate the city and the subway. I think I’ve reached the point where I no longer look like a tourist on the street because I walk out of Penn Station in the mornings and do not need to look at a map in order to get to class. My mom spent a lot of time in New York City when she was younger and she can still navigate it so well. I hope this program will allow me to be the same way. Its also just really fun to spend time off-campus in a different place. One of the best things about New York City is the endless supply of great food! I am such a foodie and I am absolutely loving having the opportunity to try new places, especially all of the places to get fresh donuts, which is a major weakness for me!
What made you choose a liberal arts education?
I’m not sure I was heart-set on a liberal arts education when I was looking at colleges in high school, but now that I am three years into a liberal arts education, I am so glad that I chose this academic path! Although I am a science major, I am also majoring in French, which has allowed me to partake in a wide variety of coursework in many subject areas. In addition, I have found that the liberal arts education really encourages you to take classes in other subject areas, which is great. I love writing and have actually taken a couple of writing-focused English and humanities courses that are unrelated to either of my majors. Being at a liberal arts school has allowed me to become proficient in a multitude of subject areas and a versatile student, which will serve me well in the future.
Information compiled by Jacqueline LaBrutto