We want to hear from our alumni! Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your news. We look forward to hearing from you!
Catching up with Lauren Jorgensen
Lauren graduated in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and community and environmental sociology, with certificates in environmental studies, food systems, and global health. For her senior thesis, she and Megan Knight (a fellow CES student!) researched rural and urban food insecurity throughout Wisconsin. They received a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support their work and had the opportunity to present their findings to Wisconsin legislators.
During her senior year, Lauren started the accelerated Master of Public Affairs program through UW’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. During grad school, she worked on projects for the Department of State, One Acre Duka Fund (an agricultural non-profit in Kenya), and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. For her project assistantship, Lauren coded an app to assist farmers and policymakers with nitrogen management decisions.
Lauren is currently a fiscal analyst for the State of Arizona’s Department of Economic Security and Department of Water Resources. In this role, she analyzes budget requests, provides counsel to agency officials, and drafts legislation to implement the state budget. She also volunteers for the Arizona Sustainability Alliance as the Priority Co-Lead for food systems projects. Setting up school gardens and helping students learn how to use food computers to create micro-climates in greenhouses beats budget analysis any day
Congratulations on all you have achieved, Lauren! Keep up the incredible work!
Catching up with Lucas Rapisarda
After graduating with degrees in Wildlife Ecology and C&E Soc, Lucas moved to the Mississippi Delta to teach High-School science. Because of his background in C&E Soc, Lucas pushed his students to look beyond the standards-based model of education and instead explore how structural forces of racism have influenced the ways in which educational success is perceived.
Lucas helped to found the Rosedale Freedom Project, a youth education non-profit that is “committed to supporting students in the development of critical consciousness and the practice of justice through community building, exploration, artistic creation, organizing, and the study of social history and grassroots democracy”. Lucas relied on the coursework from C&E Soc to inform interactions with the Rosedale Community, an area that has been marginalized by racist political policies. Lucas feels especially indebted to the valuable lessons learned in Dr. Gary Green’s, Dr. Monica White’s, and Dr. Leann Tigges. That coursework helped Lucas to better understand wealth and education gaps prevalent in the country and the rural/urban divide.
Lucas is currently in the process of applying to PhD programs for the Fall 2021 semester, with the intent of researching the intersection between race, environment, and science education. Lucas is interested in understanding whether acts of environmental racism are more prevalent in rural vs. urban communities. Lucas’ research interests and time as a teacher have largely been shaped and guided by C&E Soc principles.
A degree in C&E Soc can take you in so many different directions! Thanks for sharing where it has taken you so far, Lucas! Best of luck in future endeavors!
Catching up with Anna Walther
Anna graduated in May 2020 and is now busy pursuing a PhD in Social Work. Anna’s senior thesis analyzed low-wage workers. It was informed by the C&E Soc class Labor in Global Food Systems (C&E Soc 341, enrollment is soon, consider taking it!!). It helped to contextualize issues such as globalization, barriers to worker mobilization, and undocumented migrant labor that emerged. Additionally, Anna’s coursework with Monica White informed a research project with the Department of Civil Society & Community Studies and the Hunger Task Force. Anna was able to apply knowledge about food systems to explore school lunch shaming policies.
The sociological concepts covered in C&E Soc have greatly informed the social work scholarship Anna is currently engaged in.
It was great to hear from you, Anna! Thanks for reaching out! Good luck in your PhD program.