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Student Snapshot: Kendra Beaver ’20

Kendra Beaver '20

As a waste-minimization intern through Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education, Kendra Beaver ’20 has not only learned about processes for waste management and minimization at the college, but she has also helped improve them. She’s also gotten involved with Dickinson’s sustainable-fashion initiative; worked on projects on youth climate activism strategies, climate migration with the American legal system, community engagement strategies for the Carlisle Climate Action Plan and the climate impacts of recycling plastic; and analyzed plastic bag legislation in her home state.

Hometown:

Danbury, Connecticut.

Major

Environmental studies, with a political science minor.

Clubs and organizations:

Center for Sustainability Education (CSE), Environmental Studies/Environmental Science Majors Committee, Center for Sustainable Living (“The Treehouse”) and Arts Collective.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Baird Sustainability Fellow, Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, Gold Family Foundation Scholarship and Dean’s List.

Favorite book:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

On choosing a major:

I came to Dickinson knowing I wanted to study environmental science (B.S.), so I declared during my first semester here. It wasn’t until fall semester of senior year that it became clear to me that switching to environmental studies (B.A.) would best facilitate exploring my growing interests in political science, environmental policy, environmental justice and social change.

As I kid, I wanted to be

… an artist.

On choosing Dickinson:

When I was looking at colleges and universities, I realized I preferred the benefits and feel of a small(er) liberal-arts college over a large university, despite having attended a high school with more students than Dickinson. The opportunities to pursue my passion for the environment in multiple forms—academically, through work at organizations like CSE and ALLARM, and by living in the “Treehouse” or “Outhouse” [outdoor-education special interest housing]—were really exciting. Also, the interdisciplinary focus and flexibility of both Dickinson’s academic requirements and the track of the environmental studies/science major was appealing, as I knew I had interests in many other fields (which I have been glad to pursue throughout my time here!).

Little-known hobby/talent:

I really enjoy painting with watercolors!

Favorite class:  

It is very difficult to choose an absolute favorite class, but one that I took recently that really sticks out is Gender and Justice with [Instructor in Political Science] Kathryn Heard. It was a cross-listed course in three departments: political science, women’s, gender & sexuality studies and law & policy. The course discussions and readings were engaging and enlightening, and Professor Heard brought multiple perspectives to the class: those of women of color, queer women, scholars, legal professionals, historically significant figures and young women, among many others. I thoroughly enjoyed what we learned, and I left the class with a deeper understanding of how notions of gender, sex and sexuality both affect and are affected by the American legal system. Although this class contributed to my minor in political science, it also enrichened my understanding of intersectional perspectives for the issues I consider for my major.

On studying abroad:

I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, during my junior fall semester through Dickinson’s partner program with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). The absolute highlight of my experience abroad was living with a host family for the semester. I had so much fun and developed such a close relationship with them, and the cultural immersion and exchange that comes with living with a host family is hard to beat. My host family and I are still in contact regularly, and I am excited to see them when they visit America later this year!

Post-Dickinson plans:

Upon graduation from Dickinson I plan to begin working in the environmental field for a couple years, likely in government, nonprofit or NGO settings, pursuing opportunities that focus on sustainability, environmental policy, environmental justice, and/or activism/advocacy. Afterward, I hope to return to school for a master’s degree.

About my internship:

During the fall 2019 semester and the spring 2020 semester, I have been the waste minimization intern at Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education (CSE). My personal interest in reducing the waste I produce and finding exciting, empowering alternatives brought me to this position. Through CSE, I have learned a lot about the infrastructure and processes for waste management and minimization at Dickinson, and I’ve facilitated improvements to them. Particularly, I have enjoyed directing and promoting the waste-related sustainability “living laboratory,” the Free xChange, and pursuing my interest in sustainable fashion. With the connections I’ve gained and experiences I’ve had as a CSE Intern, I’ve become more aware of other sustainability initiatives happening on campus and elsewhere in the world and strategies to get people involved and informed.

About my research:

I haven’t pursued any formal research at Dickinson, but throughout many classes I’ve done, or am currently pursuing, projects on youth climate activism strategies and theories of change, mitigating and accommodating climate migration with the American legal system, community engagement strategies for the Carlisle Climate Action Plan, the climate impacts of recycling versus incinerating plastic, environmental (in)justice and inequity in my hometown, and a policy analysis of plastic bag legislation in Connecticut.

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Published May 15, 2020