Environmental Studies at UVM

Madeline Murray-Clasen '18

Areas of Interest: 

ENVS major in the College of Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Sustainability Studies

UVM College/School: College of Arts and Sciences
ENVS Concentration: Sustainability Studies
Hometown: Montpelier, Vermont
E-mail: mmurrayc@uvm.edu

Go here to see Madeline's Major plan.

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

I grew up in Vermont’s capital “city” and upon high school graduation, realized I needed a break from my home state but was not interested in leaving Vermont for my entire undergraduate experience. After taking a gap year, I enthusiastically returned to Vermont and UVM where I am now a student in the Honors College and an ENVS major with a political science minor.

My decision to choose UVM and the Environmental Program can ultimately be attributed to my upbringing in Vermont, during which my parents and the Montpelier Public Schools enriched my understanding of and interest in the environment, climate change, sustainability, and the importance of community.  The Environmental Program has provided me with the opportunity to continue exploring these interests within an interdisciplinary framework and has served as a wonderful, supportive community.

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

Currently, I am taking two service/experiential learning courses, POLS230 Vermont Legislative Research Shop and ENVS295 Energy Law and Climate Change for which I am writing research reports for state legislators and committees and working on a research project with Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment.

Additionally, I am taking ENVS201 Research Methods and am preparing to write my thesis proposal in advance of my senior thesis capstone. My hope is for my thesis to focus on the intersection of my academic and personal interests: sustainability, renewable energies, local and state governance, and Vermont communities.

For several summers I worked in the Governor’s Office under the Shumlin administration as a constituent correspondent and staff assistant, which relates to my political science minor and interest in governance. Additionally, during the summer of 2016 I worked as the Business Media and Communications Intern for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation where I developed web content and grant resources for their grant applicants and recipients. 

During my Fall 2016 semester I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark where I participated in the DIS Sustainable Development in Northern Europe program. There, I took classes that focused on waste management, renewable energy systems, and sustainable design and development (and Danish ☺) with a northern European perspective. As an ENVS major, having the opportunity to experience Danish culture was inspiring, from riding my bike every day to class and through the city, to visiting the island Ærø, which is home to one of the world’s largest solar thermal systems.

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

What a question! As of now, I have no concrete plans. Ideally, I hope to pursue work that will make me happy and is related to community and sustainable development and then see where that takes me. At some point I would like to pursue a graduate degree, but in the meantime I plan to dedicate more time to reading for pleasure and eating as much delicious, local food as possible.