Introducing Your Newest Resource – Recent Alumni Vanessa Lamers
I would like to introduce myself! I’ve recently begun my work as an F&ES recruiter with the Admissions Office and will be one of the bloggers and travelers telling you about the wonders of F&ES and how to apply! I’ll meet many of you on the road this year (specifically those in NYC, Seattle, Denver, Charleston & Portland), but I’ll also speak with you through email, skype, and phone calls as we approach the admissions deadline!
This past May, I graduated with a Joint Degree Master of Environmental Science from F&ES and a Master of Public Health from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). I didn’t enter as Joint Degree student, in fact I didn’t know then that I would apply for an environmental science degree. I started at the Yale School of Public Health in the fall of 2010 in the Environmental Health concentration intending to study nutritional sciences and food systems. The journey I took at Yale is something I’ll write about on the blog, as the resources here are immense and it’s impossible to predict where you’ll go when given access to them. I ended up getting involved in a new and emerging topic – hydraulic fracturing – during my time, and created and implemented my own research project to look at water quality near these sites in southwestern Pennsylvania.
When I arrived, I didn’t actually intend to do “research”- I think I had a warped view of what that really meant. I had both a strong science and social science background, but I leaned more towards working with people and organizations through the lens of sociology and anthropology. The switch to research in the natural sciences terrified me, but I stepped out of my comfort zone into a whole new realm provided at F&ES. The support the school gave me, academically, financially, and socially allowed me to produce an unprecedented project that will soon be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Before coming to Yale, I worked on sustainability and environmental health initiatives at Willamette University, a small liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon. I focused on compliance issues such as water quality, green chemistry, fire safety, and student life. I worked often with the university’s food systems, who were experts in sustainability, and I assisted in revamping the sexual assault program. When I left Willamette for Yale, we had recently started our first carbon offset parking program, which was quick, easy, and simple, acquired a forest which was turned into a new farm, and been ranked a top school for Sustainability. I grew up in Oregon and attended the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) for undergrad, where I started my interest in health, education, and the environment.
After three years at Willamette, I felt I was ready to move on to the next level with graduate school. My (now) fiancé and I drove across the country and settled into East Rock, a beautiful little neighborhood named after East Rock Park where a lot of Yale graduate and professional students, staff, and faculty live. For those of you coming or applying with spouses, partners, or families in tow, I’m happy to talk more about that experience, resources at Yale, and how to make that transition. I know that when choosing a graduate school, a lot of people are thinking about more than the program!
At Yale I also participated in numerous extracurriculars (for lack of a better word), and had a series of really great jobs on the side. I participated in SIGs (student interest groups) both in and outside of F&ES and the School of Public Health, and worked for the Yale Art Gallery, the Yale Office of Sustainability, the Center for Business and the Environmental at Yale, the Berkley Fellows Program, TAed in the School of Public Health and in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and also worked briefly for the Dean of External Affairs. I was involved in the Kroon Girl Art Project (with past recruiter Emily Schosid!), the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN), the Environmental Health, CAFÉ, and EJ SIGs at F&ES, the Yale School of Public Health Student Consulting Group, the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, the Center for Industrial Ecology, and locally with the New Haven Land Trust and Slow Food Shoreline. Remember, I was here for three years!
I’ll be writing often in the F&ES blog about student life, my travels to meet prospective students, my journey at Yale, the resources you might want to know about at Yale and in New Haven, and all about how to put together a great application for the program. Feel free to email me with questions or follow me on my travels via my twitter @vlamers!
Looking forward to meeting all of you,