The Naturalist's Quest

Emily Bowie '14

Photo courtesy of Emily Bowie '14.

Emily Bowie ’14

As a Baird Sustainability Fellow and environmental-science major, Emily Bowie ’14 is an impassioned advocate of local-food production and community building, and she works hard to effect positive change. She also harvests crops and conducts sustainability research at the College Farm and supports student-led initiatives through the Idea Fund, which she helped found during her first year on campus. Away from campus, Emily has researched wildlife ecology in Tanzania and interviewed delegates and participants at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in South Africa.

Emily Bowie

Photo courtesy of Emily Bowie '14.


Environmental science.

Clubs and organizations:

Idea Fund (co-founder, executive director and public-relations director), Baird Sustainability Fellow, Dickinson College Farm (view Emily’s video about the farm), Center for Sustainable Living (Treehouse) resident, EarthNOW, Student Sustainability Symposium and Dickinson Saves.

Favorite books:

The Poisonwood Bible and Born to Run.

On choosing Dickinson:

I visited Dickinson on a whim and took a tour in the rain. In the end it was the energetic and innovative feel of campus [that won me over]—I wanted to be a part of a culture dedicated to positive change.

Favorite places on campus:

The Treehouse and the Idea Fund office.

Research and study abroad:

I studied wildlife ecology and the socioeconomic effects of conservation efforts in the Manyara region of Tanzania in summer 2013 and completed a semesterlong program researching the science and global politics of climate change in East Africa in 2011. I also interviewed participants and delegates at the United Nations’ 17th Conference of the Parties in South Africa.

Favorite professor:

This is impossible to answer; the faculty at Dickinson is phenomenal. I have a network of advisors and friends among the staff and faculty that I will remain in touch with for years to come.

Most important thing I’ve learned (so far):

Although academics and extracurriculars are important, it is even more important to take care of yourself and to reflect on everything that you are experiencing.


Idea Fund (summer-program coordinator), Center for Sustainability Education (created database of United Nations conference interviews).

Post-Dickinson plans:

As a farm apprentice at Dickinson’s College Farm, I will manage student workers and will be responsible for general farm work as well as livestock management.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

... a naturalist. When I was 10 years old, a family member gave me a book called The Guide to Being a Naturalist. I don't think I fully understood what “naturalist” meant, but for years I was determined to become one. I can't exactly say I have failed.

Advice to first-years:

Don't hesitate. Your first year is the most important year, so try everything, meet everyone. You'll find (or maybe even make) a place here—you just have to claim it.

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Published May 14, 2014