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Each month, the Environmental Sciences Academic Program highlights a current student who represent the diverse and involved student population within the program. This month, August, the spotlight focuses on, Mary Summers Rogers.

Name: Mary Summers Rogers

Focal Area: Urban Sustainability

Year: Senior

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

1. What lead you to select Environmental Sciences at NC State?

My freshman year I attended a showcase of the environmentally focused majors and programs offered at State, where I spoke to Greg Wilson and ES student ambassadors. I really enjoyed speaking to them about the program and hearing about the students’ experiences. Environmental Sciences just felt like the right choice to me, I knew I would be happy and successful in the curriculum and I was excited by all the possibilities and academic exploration I would be able to do through the general ES courses and elective options.

 2. What is your favorite aspect about the Environmental Science program?

I really enjoy the flexibility offered by the program’s structure. I’ve always known that I’ve had a passion for nature and the environment but the ability to chose my electives, as well as the broad topics covered in the ES courses allowed my to explore and pinpoint my passions. I love that I am able to take the classes that I want to take and that interest me; it has given me the opportunity to really enjoy learning and to figure out what kind of career I want to have. I think it’s really helpful for the learning process to have options and not be totally tied down to a single curriculum path.

3. What has been your favorite course at NC State?

Last fall, I took Conservation of Natural Resources  (FW 221) as well as Urban and Community Forestry (FOR 220) and absolutely loved both classes. The teachers were really passionate and wanted their students to learn, succeed and get the most out of the classes. Beyond the awesome professors, I also loved the curriculum. I learned a lot more about the relationships humans have with the natural world, and how these relationships have the potential to impact sustainability efforts.  Both classes incorporated the 3 components of sustainability into the curriculum, which is important to effective teaching about sustainability, and helped give us a more complete viewpoint of the topics.

4. How did you select your focal area?

One of the biggest takeaways I’ve gotten from my classes is that the future of sustainability and society’s efforts against climate change is geographically concentrated in urban cores and population centers. For me, urban sustainability in development is a critical issue, and the fact that it affects the majority of the world’s population living in cities makes it high impact. I like that an urban-based focal area gives me more choices in the specific career I can chose, and that I’ll be able to collaborate and work with others.

5. What is something you wish someone had told you when you were a freshman?

Get involved freshman year instead of putting it off. I was worried about having too many commitments freshman year, so I didn’t really look into opportunities with student organizations or leadership positions. The first three years of college have flown by and though I’ve found ways to get involved (and still am finding ways), I wish I had done so earlier on. I’m glad I was able to focus on my academics freshman year, but I think being involved would’ve only added to my college experience.

6. What is your favorite thing to do outside the classroom?

I really like art, both observing and creating, although I have more appreciation for art than I do talent. I do enjoy doodling, drawing, and painting, but I also love art museums and public art. I think creative expression is vitally important to human nature, and I love seeing all the ways in which people chose to express themselves artistically. I find myself infatuated at colorful and unique works and the unconventional way artists look at the world around us.