2014, Focus Area: Architecture & Urban Studies
Ginny Hanusik is a native of the Hudson Valley Region. 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 enivronmental and urban issues lead 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. According to Ginny, 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." Since then, Ginny has become 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 like the Fallkill Creek Planning Project. Ginny's senior project 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 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/
2014, Focus Area: Anthropology
Inés comes to Bard from Berkely, CA. She 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 favorite courses of Inés's was called "Raised By Wolves" which explored animal symbolism. As a result she is currently writing her senior project on cultural representations of animals and human-animal interactions. Extracurricularly, Inés has 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!" Continuing to talk about her senior project work she says, "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."
2014, Focus Area: Ecology/Conservation
Two summers ago, I interned at the Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station as an Odum intern. I did research with fern biologist and Colgate professor Eddie Watkins and three other interns. After learning about fern reproduction and physiology, we designed a research project to compare the physiology of ferns to understory angiosperms. We collected data on photosynthetic rates (using a machine called a LI-COR), root and leaf mass, the number of stomata, and mineral composition. We compared these data of three ferns with three analogous understory angiosperm plants.
I also worked with the director of conservation and research Dawn O’Neal on the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program. Every two weeks, we would go out by the lake around 5am to set up mist nets and wait for the birds. After birds flew into the nets, we would untangle them and document the species of bird, sex, length, and wing length, and then set the birds free. These data were compiled with those across the nation to help better analyze the effectiveness of bird conservation efforts and to monitor bird populations.
At Bard, I have volunteered and worked at Hudsonia, a non-profit ecological research organization. I first did research on the potential fracking effects on biodiversity, and I published a paper on this research with Dr. Erik Kiviat in the journal Environmental Practice. This past summer, I worked with Erik Kiviat and an intern studying the state-threatened Blanding’s turtle. I have also volunteered with many Bard-affiliated ecological programs, like glass eel monitoring and helping salamanders migrate across roads. As an EUS major, I want 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.
2014, Focus Area: Urban Planning
Lia Soornian is currently a senior at Bard College concentrating in Urban Planning. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Lia was attracted the the interdisciplinary nature of EUS when she first signed up for a class within the department. Since then she's taken classes on GIS software, Urban & Ecological Economics and the design/construction of 'green' student media space. Extracurricularly she has been 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. Last Winter, Lia won a Bard Mellon Grant Student Travel Award and Bard Center for Civic Engagement Community Action Grant to research projects in sustainability in Armenia. During her final year at Bard she has 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 aDavis Projects For Peace Prize which will allow her to continue her work on sustainability in Armenia. "I believe urban planning is about the space inbetween buildings," says Lia. "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.
2014, Focus Area: Anthropology
Logan is completing his senior year at Bard College. His major interests lie in the social sciences, history, anthropology, and urban theory. This year, he has elected to take courses that explore 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: Because the EUS program is interdisciplinary, 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."
Logan runs the Bard Bike Co-Op, a service that uses parts from discarded or used bikes to build and fashion new bikes. Logan believes it provides 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. Recently, Logan delivered relief items to victims of hurricane Sandy on his bike. Last summer, he rode his bike across the country from Bard's campus to his native town of San Francisco, California, taking 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."
Rachel Hyman, an EUS student of the class of 2012 was inspired to pursue a career in the environmentally related field after taking Bill Maple's Field Study of Natural History course. She said, "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, which is an environmental education outreach program designed to get kids from Kingston out to the public lands around the Hudson Valley region. Upon graduating, she moved to Utah to work as a Park Ranger with Arches National Park's Canyon Country Outdoor Education Program- where she currently works to teach 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. In terms of her future plans, she will begin a Masters program in Developmental Clinical Psycology at Columbia University. She says, "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."