Opening New Doors

kirsten walsh

Kirsten Walsh ’17 

A service trip to Zambia inspired Kirsten Walsh ’17 to study international environmental issues. A year later, she was running in an ultra-marathon to help raise funds for clean-water programs in Ethiopia and traveling to Rwanda to teach English to officers in the Rwandan Defense Force. Learn more about this environmental-science major and ROTC member, from the trip that started it all to her thoughts on letting go, and discover her study-abroad blog.


Environmental science.

Clubs and organizations:

Army ROTC, Liberty Cap Society (tour guide) and The Peddler (barista).


Alpha Lambda Delta.

On choosing a major:

In 2012 I took a service trip to Zambia, [where I worked to] help provide access to clean drinking water. I have been interested in international environmental issues ever since. Environmental science at Dickinson is such an interdisciplinary subject; I really enjoy [learning about] different perspectives on managing natural resources.

On choosing Dickinson:

I chose to attend Dickinson because here, I’m able to pursue all of my interests and I am not defined by just one thing. Initially, I was drawn to Dickinson because of its field hockey and Army ROTC programs, but since my first year, I’ve discovered a love for my classes, Peddler coffee and exploring the Carlisle area.

Favorite book:

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Favorite movies:

Love Actually ... Notting Hill ... anything British!

Proudest accomplishment:

Having the opportunity to run an ultra-marathon with my friend Daren Wendell to raise money for clean-water projects in Ethiopia. Daren had been running across the U.S. for his campaign, so my 28.5 miles was just a drop in the bucket for him!

As a kid, I wanted to be …

When I was in elementary school, my dad was stationed in Hawaii, so naturally, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer.

Post-Dickinson plans:

After graduation, I hope to commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. I’d love to incorporate my science degree and be stationed somewhere overseas!

Little-known hobby:

I’m a pretty avid painter/doodler/crafter. I love making artwork for my friends.

In a perfect world …

… everyone would have the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. Also, there would be an abundance of dark chocolate and coconut water.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

It’s OK to move on. This past fall I had an untimely back injury that required me to stop playing field hockey. Though it was a difficult decision, my experience with it was unforgettable, and leaving the team opened many new doors, including running an ultra-marathon and the opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen.

What I did this summer:

Last June I traveled to Rwanda through the Army ROTC Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program. My team taught English to their officers in the Rwandan Defense Force. I was the team’s Public Affairs Officer and documented our team’s mission with photography and several articles.


What I'm doing now:


This semester I am studying abroad in Denmark through the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS). I was selected to represent the Environmental Science of the Arctic Program as an official student-blogger for the semester, and my blog is featured on DIS’s website for prospective students, study abroad advisors, etc.

Learn more








Published September 24, 2015