In the fifth installment of our "Humans of MENV" article series, we feature stories from three students who share what brought them to the MENV program and highlight their favorite parts of living in Boulder.
Libby Geboy, Sustainable Food Systems
"Anyone who knows me knows that I talk and think about food and wine all the time. With an undergrad in botany and environmental studies, food has always been a passion but not the focus of my studies. I started a masters program in gastronomy before COVID, but didn't finish it, so I found the ideal program within MENV to complete my studies. I want to make a positive impact on our local food system, and I think that MENV will give me the tools to do so.
The students of MENV and the farmers and producers that I've met so far in Boulder (and Colorado as a whole) made the transition moving to Boulder easy. This is a town and program full of passionate people, and I look forward to learning more from everyone. This is the biggest, most permanent-feeling move from my home state of Wisconsin, and it's starting to feel like home.
I have been a climber for a few years, but I haven't had a ton of outdoor climbing experience. The accessibility of Boulder Canyon, Clear Creek, and the Flatirons is incredible. Being on top of the Flatirons is one of the most breathtaking views around here, and the journey to the top is always incredible and super fun. Looking at the exposed rock from a distance, it's amazing to think that you can stand on top of them."
Ana Pau Gavaldón, Renewable and Sustainable Energy
"I studied law in Mexico and throughout my last job, I started working with different energy projects. The experience working in this field interested me, but I realized I wanted to be the person executing these projects, not the lawyer behind them. I also began to develop an awareness around the amount of waste and disposing of single use plastics that was occurring throughout my community. Only 17% of the entire Mexican population has an education, but everything seems to be disposable and caring for the environment is not visible throughout that percent of the population. I have found that it is extremely expensive to live a sustainable life and by shifting career paths, I hope to build a more conscious and aware community for the less fortunate. Making sustainability more accessible is a definite goal and hope for the future.
I moved here from Mexico City and Boulder is a lot smaller, and is the smallest town I have ever lived in. But I love that you can see the mountains everywhere and it's definitely a super outdoorsy place. The transition of moving to Boulder has definitely been a cultural shock. Despite there being a lack of diversity present, I have found it easy to build community here. Everyone is extremely friendly and inclusive. The quality of living here in Boulder is something I have never experienced before. Being able to walk and bike everywhere is something that I appreciate every day, especially coming from a completely different environment.
My favorite part of Boulder is hiking! Going on any hike here is perfect. I also enjoy other outdoor activities, such as camping, biking, kayaking, and am definitely looking forward to the upcoming ski season."
Claudia Hall, Urban Resilience and Sustainability
"While getting my undergraduate degree in Finance from CU, I pursued a certificate in Social Responsibility and Ethics which gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about how innovative business solutions can solve social, environmental, and economic problems. That experience helped me realize what my true passions were, and that I wanted to work towards a more impactful career. An old co-worker of mine graduated from MENV in 2020 and recommended that I look into the program, particularly the Urban Resilience and Sustainability specialization, since it seemed to fit the bill for what I was interested in. I considered furthering my education at several different graduate programs across the country, but ultimately I felt that the MENV program was the best place for me to diversify my skill set and get the education and experience I was looking for, given the academic and professional learning opportunities it offered.
Although I first moved to Boulder from San Diego back in 2017, transitioning from being an undergraduate student at CU to a graduate student has been challenging yet incredibly special, and has allowed me to get to know the city from a new perspective, and experience it from a new phase of my life and academic career. While I’ve never gotten used to the cold weather and snow, I feel very fortunate that Boulder has been the background of my adulthood and that I’ve gotten to grow up in a place that has so much to offer.
My favorite part of Boulder is that there are opportunities to find your community everywhere. In my time here I have been a part of numerous communities in and outside of the university, and it’s comforting to be in a city that has a place for you, no matter who you are or what your interests are. Putting yourself out there in a new city can be hard, but in my experience, asking the person next to you at orientation or in class if they want to join you for a hike in North Boulder or a stroll around Pearl Street can lead to great friendships and connections to communities that will make help make this place feel like home, no matter where you’re coming from."