Alumni

Alumni Profiles

Catherine May

Costa Rica Spring '13

Catherine May

About

My entire career path was influenced by living and learning in Costa Rica. Furthermore, the deep relationships and network I built have been invaluable.

 
SFS PROGRAM: Sustainable Development Studies | Costa Rica | Spring 2013
HOME SCHOOL WHILE AT SFS: Cornell University
CURRENT POSITION: Marc Lindenberg Endowed Fellow at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington
 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OR MOST STRIKING SFS MEMORY?
The week spent doing Directed Research was one of the most influential weeks of my life. I was on the natural resources team, and my particular project was on functional diversity metrics applied to carbon sequestration in forest fragments. The research itself was fascinating and had direct application to conservation of old-growth forest fragments. More so, the time spent working with a dedicated team collecting data confirmed that I wanted to be involved in research. I learned so much from my team members, and it was an extremely creative and inspiring experience to work with people who shared my passions.
 
LOOKING BACK, WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM YOUR TIME AT SFS?
The gains are both professional and personal. My entire career path was influenced by living and learning in Costa Rica. Furthermore, the deep relationships and network I built have been invaluable. I still keep in touch with the other students in my program, and I’m always so inspired to hear what they’re accomplishing.
 
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PROSPECTIVE SFS STUDENT?
Ask questions. Build relationships with your fellow students, because they’re going to end up being a source of both personal and professional inspiration for you. Try to engage with the community of your program and understand different points of view.
 
RECOMMEND A GREAT BOOK OR FILM THAT HAD AN INFLUENCE ON HOW YOU VIEW THE ENVIRONMENT.
I think Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is a classic. It catalyzed the environmental movement in 1960’s, and has a lot of direct implications for society currently approaches environmental conservation issues.
 
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS DURING YOUR SFS PROGRAM?
The campus in Costa Rica had a mango orchard, where a friend and I would frequently go. If you climbed the trees, you could get this view of the mountains nearby and sometimes see wildlife (if you were lucky). We spent a lot of time in those trees taking in the view and talking about whatever we had learned about that day.
 

January 2018