Published: Dec. 31, 2019 By

Some of the 2020 Cohort

As the first semester came to a close, I was reflecting on what the past few months have meant to me and how thankful I am of the community around me. Many of us first year students made significant life changes in order to participate in this program, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve gone around and have asked first year students what their favorite part of their first semester has been thus far in MENV. Here are their responses:


Amanda Groziak, Environmental Policy

My favorite part of the Masters of the Environment program is our ability to tailor our learning experience to our specific interests. For me I am very interested in the circular economy when it comes to the fashion industry and plastic use as well as renewable energy and environmental justice. I was able to use the assignments given to me in policy classes to explore these topics further in depth as well as having so many great potential partners from local industries and governments to choose from for my large capstone project.


Andrew Primo, Environmental Policy

I don't have a formal background in policy or environmental studies, so I really appreciate the opportunity to dig deep and learn about topics that interest me and align with my future career goals. My classes have provided me opportunities to research my interests and build a good base of knowledge and experience, for my Capstone project and beyond. I've also been very excited to meet people with similar interests and goals in the program and be able to network with professionals active in the field.


Nathan Stottler, Environmental Policy

My favorite part of the MENV program so far has been the people I get to work with every day. My classmates are some of the best I’ve ever had - everyone is passionate and driven to succeed, and we all push each other to do work harder and do better. I have also really enjoyed working with the faculty here. They are thoughtful, responsive, and are always finding ways to make sure their students are engaged and getting the most out of their classes.


Andy Bingle, Renewable & Sustainable Energy

My favorite part of the semester has been having the opportunity to work with Boulder companies and organizations for class projects. For example, in our Business Fundamentals class we worked with Boulder Organic Foods to increase their landfill diversion rate. It is nice to get quickly connected with real life business experiences in the Front Range and have support from program staff.


Rebecca Pascale, Renewable & Sustainable Energy

My favorite part of the semester was being introduced to the local Switch event; an energy event similar to TEDx talks. We got to network with really impressive energy experts and learn about cutting-edge things local companies are doing. The event was really energizing and validating as it was an opportunity to talk about all of the innovative energy ideas we had been learning in class.


Rico Foucauld, Renewable & Sustainable Energy

Not only has the MENV program proven to be an interdisciplinary and hands on endeavor to address growing environmental concerns, but it has also demonstrated exemplary leadership through the faculty and partnering organizations.  As a professionally oriented program, it is essential to continually provide students with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in emergent fields. Some of my favorite moments throughout the Fall 2019 semester have involved interactions with experts in the Food System and Renewable / Sustainable Energy fields.  Whether it was through an extensive field trip to a regenerative farm or a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Flatiron facilities, every moment provided a great opportunity to engage in insightful conversations. Additionally, I find it quite rewarding to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are incredibly talented and continually challenge one another to be the best version of themselves. I am grateful to work alongside these colleagues who have also become my close friends throughout the semester.


Callie Rhodin, Sustainability Planning & Management

Over the holidays, you're always asked about how school is going. How are classes, do you like your professors, are you finding your workload difficult? You have the answers ready to go, following the outline similar to the papers you've been writing throughout the semester. 'I have been having an amazing time, the professors are great, and the workload is absolutely horrendous, but learning so much is an absolute blast'. I have to say, I have my outline for the conversation, and I answer them dutifully, but at the end of my points, I can't help but mention the people in my program. The excitement level increases, and I talk about how sweet and kind everyone is, how much fun we have together, and how the program really wouldn't be the same without them. Going through the hurdles of grad school can be a trial. You lose sleep, time, and sometimes even your sanity. Thes best part apart this semester? Definitely having amazing company on the ride. 


Sara Starr, Sustainability Planning & Management

MENV is comprised of so many different people with different backgrounds and learning about everyone and the direction they want to take moving forward has been so inspiring! The various career paths people are pursuing has allowed us to have a seat at the table in the curriculum provided and the direction of our specializations while we are in MENV. It has been a great experience being a part of these discussions and shaping the SPM specialization and MENV program, not only for our cohort, but for others to come! The voices of the cohort are what make MENV so special and impactful as a graduate program and I'm so excited to be a part of this new generation of environmentalists!


Casey McManus, Sustainable Food Systems

My favorite part of this first semester has been the applicable exposure to different aspects of the food system such as meeting farmers and founders of companies on our weekly field trips. I also value the time I get to spend with my fellow colleagues and the strong bonds I have already made. This semester has opened up new opportunities and inspirations for me and I am excited to see where the rest of the program takes me. 


Taylor Clayton, Sustainable Food Systems

My first semester as an MENV student has passed more quickly than I could have ever imagined and within these first four months I have grown immensely close to so many fellow students! As a member of the Sustainable Food Systems specialization I have treasured the deep conversations that have come through probing solutions to the biggest challenges we face within both local and international food systems. In addition to new friends and deep conversation, I feel grateful for the already abundant amount of mentorship, support, and networking opportunities I have received from MENV professors.