Last week the students completed the spring 2012 Directed Research (DR) project. It has been a very steep learning curve for every student, with many challenges and opportunities to grow. I provided them with the perspective of “connecting the dots” between science and socioeconomic values, linking the scientific process to the surrounding communities.

Below, I cite two examples of their answers to the question: “How am I going to apply the experience acquired in this course in the rest of my life?”

Quote 1: “… In the past my classes had focused on memorizing laws and regulations first, and then applying them to situations… I learned this semester to not take things at face value. This class really taught me how to think before I speak. There is a whole other layer to the world that I plan to keep my eye out for… As I head off into the real world, I hope that I will remember to look a little closer at things before I decide what they are all about….”

Quote 2: “…This class has taught me more about the challenges surrounding environmental policy making than I would have learned at home, due to being able to see the consequences of these challenges firsthand. I learned about the difficulty of teaching someone about “sustainability” in the long term, when they live day-to-day, basically as indentured servants to processing plants. I learned that implementing regulations without proper education and consultation of the people that are most affected by it will not work…”.