Majors in directed studies, agroecology
Grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Keeps busy with patchwork and sewing, gardening, rock climbing, bicycling, swimming, and beachcombing for Lake Superior agates
Q. How did you find out about EcoLeague?
A. I found out about EcoLeague before I even heard about Northland! EcoLeague is an utterly unique program in the collegiate field. The ability to attend several colleges throughout your undergrad while maintaining a cohesive degree plan is not a common situation. Having researched the possibility to attend multiple colleges, I discovered the EcoLeague program and realized that I could simultaneously attend Northland while experiencing semesters in different but complimentary locales. As a serious student with a serious case of wanderlust, I was inspired by the opportunities EcoLeague offers for travel, exploration and immersive experiential education.
Q. What is EcoLeague?
A. Education is primarily place-based, meaning that whatever you study, you are learning in the context of the world around you and the space and time you currently inhabit. It is absurd to try to study the desert when you live in the north woods. The very air you breathe is too heavily saturated with lakeside moisture to truly appreciate the feeling of dry heat and thirst. EcoLeague is an opportunity to study an entire region while living in region itself, allowing you to fully plunge in head first into the culture, community and atmosphere of a new place.
Q. You chose to attend Prescott in Arizona. Why?
A. In the study of agriculture, one realizes quickly that every piece of knowledge is entirely place-based. Studying botany from the perspective of the Great Lakes region is absolutely divergent from desert-based ecosystems. I chose to attend Prescott College to delve into the reality of growing food in the desert, and how biomes can be coaxed or coerced into sustaining massive populations of human life.
Prescott burst my bubble in the best way possible. Suddenly all of the professors, people, buildings, classes and weather patterns I had grown so accustomed to were approximately 1,900 miles away and I had to redevelop my identity as a different type of student altogether.
On my first semester there in 2013, I realized that studying agriculture from the mountainous highlands of the Sonoran Desert could be a fascinating challenge for someone so used to the fertile plains of the Great Lakes. Semester two in 2014—it’s unusual two semesters but I asked for a variance—allowed me to really delve into the wide range of experiential options Prescott College offers, bolstering my degree plan with practical, hands-on skills in addition to the academic education I received there and at Northland. It can be difficult to spread your heart across state lines, but I am honored to have left a piece of me there and carry a piece of Prescott with me forever.
Q. You seem deliberate about your decisions. Why did you choose Northland and why did you return after two semesters away?
A. When I was making monumental decisions about going to college, I initially wanted to go to a large, big name college for undergraduate and to pursue my graduate degree. I traveled northbound to visit this school as a backup choice, and fell immediately in love with the classical architecture combined with the innovative atmosphere of the school. A hidden gem of the Northwoods, Northland has all this history and presence of a state school while maintaining an aura of comfortable community life. I knew I had to return to Northland because I realized that so much of the knowledge I had gained at Prescott could be applied to my home school to enhance it educationally. Many of the classes I took, professors I respected, and people I interacted with gave me a strong desire to complete the circle, bringing my feedback home with me to enact positive change.
Q. You say you suffer from wanderlust. Where else have you traveled?
A. I traveled to California, Nevada, Wyoming, and New Mexico as part of Prescott College field courses. In the summer of 2015 I traveled the country with a mineral and gem business, accruing over 8,500 miles of travel over the course of two months as we migrated from convention to mineral show to transformational festivals selling crystals and jewelry, an experience that gave me endless geologic knowledge and business savvy. I am pursuing possibilities with the Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of Agriculture this upcoming summer with the hopes of traveling overseas to study and teach sustainable agriculture.