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Featured Alumni/ae

Featured Alumni/ae
Bard Environmental and Urban Studies students have followed intellectual and career paths that lead them across street, the country, and the globe. Leaving Bard with an interdispiclinary liberal arts education, advanced, focused disciplinary concentrations, and a completed year-long senior project, Bard EUS alumni enter the job market with unique advantages. 

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Tom O'Dowd
Program Administrator

todowd@bard.edu

Environmental and Urban Studies Program
Bard College
PO Box 5000
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504

Grace Diliberto

2015, Focus Area: Urban Studies

Grace Diliberto

Grace’s initial attraction to the interdisciplinary nature of the EUS program inspired her to take a wide variety of classes related to the major “to see how they all connect back to each other, even if on the surface they seem to be in such entirely different realms.” She chose to focus her studies in urban studies because of an interest fostered by her upbringing in Philadelphia’s diverse and continually transforming urban landscape. At Bard, Grace became interested primarily in sustainable community development and urban agriculture, and the questions of “how and why things in America's cities came to be the way they are (and contrast this with the development of cities around the world), how cities are transforming in the modern landscape, and how urbanism and environmentalism are not opposing forces, but are complementary.” One of Grace’s favorite classes at Bard was American Urban History with Professor of History Myra Armstead. This class gave her a sense of the formation of American and international cities within the context of societal, cultural, and environmental changes. Outside of class, Grace worked with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that revitalizes the social and economic situations of Philadelphia neighborhoods, co-headed Bard’s Environmental Collective, and worked for Bard’s Office of Sustainability. Grace’s senior project, “Outside the Frame: Mapping and Urban Space in the United States, c. 1920-2014”, focused on the ways maps “have developed and been used in or by the United States, specifically government and academic institutions, in the past century to create, control, and shape urban space” to investigate what people, narratives and experiences have been “left outside of the frame of the map”. Grace was awarded the Alice P. Doyle Prize in Environmental Studies, a prize awarded annually to a graduating senior whose Senior Project highlights the social dimensions of environmental studies. 

Jackson Rollings

2015, Focus Area: Urban Studies

Jackson Rollings

Coming into Bard, Jackson Rollings knew he wanted to take classes in anthropology, history and ecology. His adviser, Susan Rogers, recommended EUS as a way to combine his interests in urban studies and written arts. His senior project, “Landscapes of Control: River Infrastructure in the Mississippi Delta", was an incorporation of both disciplines.  Jackson was awarded the Alice P. Doyle Award in Environmental Studies, an award given annually to a student who shows outstanding potential in exploring the social dimensions of environmental studies. After graduation Jackson moved to Louisiana to work for the non-profit  Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana whose mission is to "drive bold, science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration and advocacy."

Maia Gokhale

2015, Focus Area: Anthropology

Maia Gokhale

While at Bard, Maia Gokhale sought to understand the preventative measures with which developing countries are sustaining their resources in the face of overpopulation and climate change. " I love to study EUS because it provides a field where I can explore all of my curiosities surrounding the environment, from the functions of environmental processes to how these functions affect the people who experience them." Additionally, Maia is dedicated to environmental education, especially of younger generations. She hopes to foster and encourage in her students a healthy curiosity and thoughtfulness about the world around them. Outside of Bard, Maia worked as an Environmental Education Instructor at the Maria Mitchell Association, an aquarium and natural history museum in Nantucket, MA. There, she enjoyed designing curriculum and lesson plans about marine biology and the biodiversity of ocean ecosystems.  Her senior project “Damming Development: Egypt’s Aswan High Dam and the Environmental Repercussions of Hydroelectric Power” focused on a case study of Egypt to investigate the “processes of emerging economies today, and to think seriously about the costs and benefits of hydroelectric power, and other “clean” forms of energy.” She was also awarded a Senior Athletic Award for her participation in swimming and diving. 

Marina Soucy

2015, Focus Area: Urban Studies

Marina Soucy

Marina Soucy arrived at Bard convinced that she wanted to be an anthropology major, but quickly changed her mind freshman year when she took a class called, "China's Environment From A Historical Perspective", which incited her passion for environmental and urban studies. Her wide range of passions suited the interdisciplinary nature of EUS. “EUS is incredibly important. EUS on a global scale, looking past the Bard Bubble, needs people from all walks of life and skill sets to solve and trouble shoot the main environmental concerns facing our world”. Her senior project, “Building a "Good School": Architecture, Interior Design, and Effective Learning”,  goal was to understand how architecture and interior design effect academic achievement. After graduation, Marina started at the Bard’s Masters in Teaching program, focusing in the history department. "I hope to continue on and work in Environmental Education, focusing on Native American studies and primitive skills, especially if I stay in the Hudson Valley".

Elizabeth Winig

2015, Focus Area: Environment & Health

Elizabeth Winig

Elizabeth Winig cultivated a passion for the Environment at a young age by spending time outdoors, and learning about new plants and bugs in order to understand what life is. After taking an environmental history and science class which solidified her interest in EUS, she wanted to learn how to support the environment that sustains her. "The natural world is wonderful to study alone, but the total human population keeps rising to 8 billion and the Earth isn’t growing in size. It seems very appropriate that the study of humans and their effect on the physical world should be its own major." Her senior project, “Lifeguarding the Hudson: Microbial Agents of Concern in Puddles, Tide Pools, and the River” looked at “determining whether or not temporary bodies of water near the Hudson River serve as incubators for river bacteria that can affect human health” by looking at tide pools, puddles and the Hudson River. She was the recipient of the Rachel Carson Prize, which honors outstanding senior projects in environmental and urban studies that reflects Carson’s determination to promote biocentric sensibility. She now works in Professor Eli Dueker’s lab.  

Natalie Cuomo

2015, Focus Area: Economics

Natalie Cuomo

Natalie Cuomo, originally from Queens, NY, focused on environmental economics, with an interest in environmental ethics and technology. Natalie first became interested in Environmental and Urban Studies when she took an introductory class with economics professor and department chair Kris Feder, who exposed her to tied social, political, and ecological issues she had previously been unaware of. Natalie’s favorite EUS class at Bard was Environmental Ethics with philosophy professor, Daniel Berthold. “I learned about various inspirational and corrupt environmental movements. I now feel more historically grounded when discussing environmental issues.” During her time at Bard, Natalie worked for Hudsonia, a non-profit organization located on campus that is dedicated to the conservation of the Hudson valley and neighboring regions, where she helped out by cataloguing specimens and conducting research.  Natalie also worked on the Bard Farm to produce fresh, local food for campus dining services, working to ensure the students’ access to food produced by sustainable practices. Outside of class, Natalie spent a summer working on a farm that inspired her to explore a variety of agricultural practices and assess their effects on the environment. These interests can be seen in her senior project: “ Pediatric Obesity and Tactics of Resistance: Educating Consumers on the Dangers of Industrially Processed Foods” which examined the effects of industrial food processing on pediatric obesity, the lack of unbiased nutrition information in the US, and the effectiveness of schoolyard gardening programs on children’s diet. 

Tom Danz

2015, Focus Area: Social Sciences

Tom Danz

Tom came to Bard intending to study law but became interested in exploring the ways in which humans structure their developments in relation to the environment.   His work at Bard focused on the various ways humanity can sustain itself through responsible stewardship practices in farming, fishing, and hunting by taking a variety of classes environmental science, history, ethics, and architecture. "What I like most about Bard's EUS program is its flexibility. I love that the EUS program accommodates such a wide range of interests and this diversity, reflected in class discussions, has broadened my overall perspective." Tom was both a student and teacher of wilderness education, studying Native American traditions and practices, involving fire making, shelter building, and food hunting/ gathering. He spent a summer getting involved with local food production by working at Taft Farms, a 200 acre IPM farm in Great Barrington, MA, where he learned about farming techniques, agricultural marketing, and was exposed to the intricacies of the American industrial food system which led him to his interest in farming practices and philosophies. Tom was also the proud founder and owner of a small portabella and button mushroom growing operation that he started in order to learn about mushroom cultivation and to "experience first-hand the way small growers fit into our food system." His senior project was titled “White-tailed Deer in the Hudson Valley: Our Role in Overpopulation and Forest Damage”. 

Ginny Hanusik

2014, Focus Area: Architecture & Urban Studies

Ginny Hanusik

Ginny Hanusik is a native of the Hudson Valley. After transferring to Bard at the beginning of her sophomore year, Ginny decided to pursue the interests she had developed while working with Clearwater (starting in 2009) by taking classes in EUS. Her interest in environmental and urban issues led her to become a volunteer with the New Orleans Project, a TLS project at Bard. As part of her involvement in the project, she traveled to New Orleans and worked for the Broadmoor Development Corporation as an intern responsible for surveying properties in a neighborhood that suffered damage under Katrina. Her experience in New Orleans "resulted in a life-changing experience that confirmed my course of study at school and ultimately my desired career path ... This was my first exposure to the world of urban planning, community development, and architecture." Ginny throughout her time at Bard became the program director for the New Orleans Exchange Program, worked at various non-profits such as Hudson River Housing, and participated in environmental conservation projects such as the Fallkill Creek Planning Project. Ginny's senior project, “Reimagining the Urban Landscape After Destruction: Narratives of Rebuilding in Atlanta and New Orleans” combined her interests in photography, the natural environment, and urban studies: "Through classes at Bard I developed an interest in photography and am interested in exploring the relationships between land, the built environment, and identity. This work has awarded me the opportunity to explore my senior project in an artistic way as I traveled throughout the South this past January with the help of the Andrew Mellon Foundation." She was awarded the Robert Koblitz Human Rights Award, an award established in 1987 by Bard alumnai/ae who are former students of Robert Koblitz, professor emirtus of political studies, in his name and honor, and given annually to members of the Bard community whose work demonstrates an understanding of and commitment to democracy. As well as, the I. Brewster Terry III Memorial Scholarship,  awarded to students in the Upper College whose commitment to liberal learning manifests itself in distinguished work in both the classroom and the College community. And the Hayden E. Walling '39 Memorial Scholarship. She most recently won the Geoffrey H. Bruce Fellowship at Arcosanti to continue working on her photographic projects. You can check out some of her work here:  http://www.virginiahanusik.com/. Most recently, Ginny became the Programs and Outreach Coordinator at Propeller, a non-profit that assists environmental and social projects get off the ground in New Orleans. Here is a link to their website: http://gopropeller.org/. Ginny was recently featured in a Fast Company article about Propeller and their work to improve NOLA's relationship with water!

Inés Chapela

2014, Focus Area: Anthropology

Inés Chapela
Inés, originally from Berkely, CA,  first became interested in EUS after taking an introductory course in geography her freshman year. The class exposed her to the methods used to study the way in which human populations move through and interact with manmade and natural spaces. She began to think more seriously about humanity's relationship to the environment. Another influential course was called "Raised By Wolves" which explored animal symbolism. These interests are reflected in her senior project, “?”,  which explores cultural representations of animals and human-animal interactions. "I'm super excited about animals. What they eat, where they sleep, what they look like, etc. I think animals are fascinating and the question of human animal interactions and relationships is vital particularly today when we are really pushing the Earth and its resources to such a brutal extent." Outside of Bard, Inés had a four year internship at The Greenhorns, a grassroots non-profit based out of the Hudson Valley which promotes and supports young farmers. "It's really exciting work," she says, "to be coordinating events and working with very sparkly, curious people!"  

Logan Hollarsmith

2014, Focus Area: Anthropology

Logan Hollarsmith

Logan’s major interests lie in the social sciences, history, anthropology, and urban theory. He loved the interdisciplinary nature of EUS which allowed him to take a broad range of courses in his interests such as the ecological history of the earth, the cultural politics of animals and the history of capitalism. Though the courses vary greatly in subject matter and method of study, Logan says, they are all related under "the broad umbrella" of Environmental and Urban Studies. And that's what he loves about the major: Majors have the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects that all gear towards understanding human and environmental ecology. "What systems brought us to this place and what does it mean to be an environmentalist today? An environmentalist ought to understand the complexity of the earth's systems and how they interact: communications, histories, anthropological cultures. I look at every course I take through the lens of EUS. In a way, everyone is an environmentalist. [Environmentalism,] it's a practice of love." His layered interests can be seen in his senior projects: “Not My Backyard: An Alternative Look at Property Justice and Anarchist Resistance to Gentrification” Logan was also an avid biker. He ran the Bard Bike Co-Op, a service that uses parts from discarded or used bikes to build and fashion new bikes. Logan believed it provided students with a place to build some practical skills and do some hands on work outside of their more academic, writing and reading intensive classes. The co-op also encourages students to use their bikes as their main form of transport on and off campus. During Hurricane Sandy Logan delivered relief items to victims on his bike. During a summer, he rode his bike across the country from Bard's campus to his native town of San Francisco, California, conducting interviews along the way on American governance, citizens' roles in their community and the natural environment, and the economic situation. He says he discovered that "everyone I talked to pretty much said that people just need to help each other forward."

Lia Soorenian

2014, Focus Area: Urban Planning

Lia Soorenian

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Lia was attracted the interdisciplinary nature of EUS when she first signed up for a class within the department. In her time at Bard she took classes on GIS software, Urban & Ecological Economics and the design/construction of 'green' student media space while concentrating in Urban Planning. Extracurricularly, she participated in student athletics as a tennis player. She was a member of Bard's Environmental Collective, which allowed her to participate in an environmental conference called PowerShift in Washington DC. Her sophomore year work on Professor Gidon Eshel's greenhouse was published in the Bard Science Journal and as a result, she presented on green building practices at a sustainability conference in the University at Albany SUNY. Lia also won a Bard Mellon Grant Student Travel Award and Bard Center for Civic Engagement Community Action Grant to research projects in sustainability in Armenia. Her senior project, “Navigating Yerevan's Kond: Democratizing Urban Planning” looked at urban planning in the Kond district in the capital city of Armenia.  During her final year at Bard she started a Trustee Leader Scholar Project called BardBuilds which connects Bard students from a variety of disciplines who are interested in Urban Planning and Architecture to local organizations and professionals in the field including the City of Kingston's Planning Office and Bard's own administration. Lia also recently won a Davis Projects for Peace Award which allowed her to continue her work on sustainability in Armenia. "I believe urban planning is about the space in between buildings and it’s what we do with alleyways, sidewalks, streets and plazas, that makes our city thrive. We, the people, have the tools to make the human experience sustainable, safe, significant, and most importantly, beautiful”. Most recently Lia was admitted to Columbia's urban planning graduate program with a fellowship.


Jennifer Gillen

2014, Focus Area: Ecology/Conservation

Jennifer Gillen

Jennifer reflected the interdisciplinary nature of EUS in her hopes to “integrate knowledge about conservation, wildlife biology, economics, and urban development to become a naturalist and ecologist who understands that the urban and “natural” world are not inherently separate. The preservation of biodiversity is dependent not only on biological knowledge, but also on economic policies, urban sprawl, land development, state and federal laws, and so much more.” During her time at Bard she volunteered and worked with Hudsonia, a non-profit ecological research organization. She conducted research with Erik Kiviat on the potential fracking effects on biodiversity, their paper was published in the journal Environmental Practice. She also worked with Erik Kiviat on a study looking at the state-threatened Blandings turtle. She volunteered with Bard’s ongoing conservation projects such as glass eel monitoring and salamander migration. Outside of Bard, Jennifer interned at the Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station, doing research with fern biologist and Colgate professor Eddie Watkins and designing a research project to compare the physiology of ferns to understory angiosperms. She also worked with the director of conservation and research Dawn O’Neal on the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program. Their findings were compiled with those across the nation to help better analyze the effectiveness of bird conservation efforts and to monitor bird populations. Her senior project, “ Can Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) Reduce the Abundance of Blacklegged Ticks (Ixodes scapularis)?” , investigated “the red-backed salamander’s ability to reduce blacklegged tick abundance in order to decrease human disease risk.” She was awarded the George I. Alden Scholarship, An endowed scholarship providing annual support to deserving students.

Rachel Hyman 

2012, Focus Area: Environmental Education

Rachel Hyman 

Rachel Hyman was inspired to pursue environmental studies and education after taking Bill Maple's Field Study of Natural History course. "Romping through the Tivoli Bays, I experienced firsthand the joys of place-based learning in Bill's field study ecology course. I wanted to share that experience with children." As a result, during her junior year at Bard, she started the Young Naturalists Initiative, an environmental education outreach program designed to get kids from Kingston out to the public lands around the Hudson Valley region. Her senior project was called “In the Company of Bees: Gleanings from the Hive”. She was awarded the Alice P. Doyle Award in Environmental Studies, an award given annually to a student who shows outstanding potential in the field of environmental studies, particularly in exploring the social dimensions of environmental issues. Upon graduating, she moved to Utah to work as a Park Ranger with Arches National Park's Canyon Country Outdoor Education Program- where she taught curriculum-based science education to elementary students in San Juan County, UT. In addition to her work as a park ranger at Canyonlands, she has worked with the US Geological Survey on their ongoing biological soil crust study, as a sea kayaking guide in Washington, and as an environmental educator in the Bay Area. She recently began a Masters program in Developmental Clinical Psychology at Columbia University. "My interest and work in the field of environmental education has evolved. As a clinical psychologist, I want to be an ally for children as they play and learn in physically and emotionally stimulating and challenging environments."