- By Shari Sue Halik
Joshua Carrera spent the first years of his life in Ecuador and returned to New York City, where he was born, to attend school. Through the High School for Environmental Studies, he discovered UVM and Rubenstein. Driven by his fascination with animals, Joshua began as a wildlife major, but struggled in science courses. He ultimately found his niche, and thrived, as a natural resources major.
He spent an exciting summer as a conservation steward on a Nature Conservancy (TNC) preserve in Montana. But, some of his best experiences took him closer to home with service-learning courses and programs in conservation and sustainability in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Ecuador.
"I was able to reconnect with my roots and bring environmental knowledge to Ecuador." He learned the impact he had, especially on young people, to break the stereotype that only foreigners could be interested in conservation.
Maria Erb, assistant director of UVM’s ALANA Student Center, encouraged Joshua to become involved, wise advice for an invested student like Carrera. A tour guide and information desk assistant, he also joined social activist programs. He is proud of his Women’s Center Ally Award and his award for commitment to social justice.
His most fulfilling experience? Work study with Dave Kestenbaum, of UVM Extension. Joshua researched certification of eco-driving and created a 30-slide presentation that Dave submitted to a training company for an on-line course. "It was the most hands-on experience I had at UVM. I directly contributed to the outcome of the project." Since graduation, Joshua has continued his work with Dave Kestenbaum as the teaching assistant for the travel study course “Ecotourism in Costa Rica,” a course that he himself took as a sophomore.
Joshua received the Lola Aiken Award in Natural Resources and after graduation, traveled as a delegate to Rio+20 in Brazil, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. He is now attending graduate school at Colorado State University pursuing a Master of Science degree in Conservation Leadership. After his first year out west, he will begin his thesis work in southern Mexico that will examine the participation and engagement of local communities in a payment for ecosystem services project.