Environmental Studies at UVM

Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom '19

Areas of Interest: 

ENVS major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with a concentration in Food, Land, Community and Education

UVM College/School: College of Agriculture and Life Science
ENVS Concentration: Food, Land, Community and Education
Hometown: Guilford, Vermont
E-mail: ggaspero@uvm.edu

Why did you choose to come to UVM and major in ENVS?

I chose to stay in my home state and study at UVM because there’s no better place to learn about the land and human relationships while simultaneously enjoying all Vermont has to offer. I love the Green Mountain State with my whole maple syrup-soaked heart, but I certainly look forward to exploring different nooks of the planet too, and I think that desire steered me toward ENVS. This major at UVM is broad but totally personalizable, and a springboard for exploration of many sorts. There’s tons of room (and encouragement) to take your education into your own hands and that’s just the sort of education I value the most.

How are you pursuing your degree by way of high-impact learning activities?

Last summer, I lived and worked in a small, farm-surrounded city in Gujarat, India for three months. I was interning for a local NGO called Nanubhai Education Foundation, which is focused on providing college scholarships to girls from farming families. My main job was to gather social media and fundraising material, but because of the small-scale nature of the organization, I got a taste for all aspects of the non-profit work. This gave me a lens for a type of learning that I couldn’t get here in Vermont.

Additionally, I work for UVM BORED - UVM’s super awesome student-run online events calendar! This is improving my writing and communication skills while also exercising my creativity muscles. I’m hoping to employ all these aspects in my future as an environmental studies graduate.

I’m on the UVM Stands steering committee and helped to organize a pro-environment rally on Inauguration Day in January. My involvement with UVM Stands is a great way for me to advocate for the things I believe in as well as take initiative. I think these are essential to my post-college toolbox for staying motivated.
And now I’m a peer mentor!

What are your plans for your future beyond college, personally and professionally?

I’m a Chinese minor, so I hope to live and work in China sometime after graduation to become fluent. I’m also a Green Building and Community Design minor, so I hope to use my hands-on skills in designing and building pieces of my home, wherever it may be. I plan on spending time in Norway, where I was born and where my family still lives. Perhaps I’ll pursue a graduate degree in Norway - but I’m not ready to decide that yet. I would like to find work as an educator, probably in an environmental field. Other than that, I’m just working toward an excitingly vague future filled with lots of pancakes, metaphorical and literal sunshine, trees, happy dogs and a constant supply of newfound passions to get riled up about.