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Environment Connecting Experiences

All Environment students are required to participate in at least two Connecting Experiences as part of their BDP work. Take a look at what some Environment students have done recently for their BDP Connecting Experiences, then read on for additional information and resources.

Past Connecting Experiences

Connecting Experiences Spotlight

Daniella Lewis

Major: Architecture
Type of Experience: Research, UT Micro Farm
Mentor: Stephen Ross, Architecture

Describe your research project and how you came up with the idea.
My Connecting Experience research project was based on the UT Micro Farm, an on-campus student-run farm. A class project that turned into a Green Fee proposal resulted in preliminary funding for the farm. The farm, however, was in need of more definition and leadership, as well as additional funding. I produced a project overview for the UT Micro Farm, which outlines goals and operational details. I also initiated discussions with potential partners, sought additional funding, and researched similar farms in Austin and around the U.S.

What type of skills did you gain while working on this project?
Overall, I learned quite a bit about bringing an idea to fruition. I acquired presentation and design skills by producing a cohesive yet multifaceted report. In working on this project, I also developed a greater sense of time management, through learning the process and steps that defined my explorations and output. I enjoyed, and came to value, conversing with many different people, who each offered their unique advice, experience, and expertise.

Discuss the relationship that you had with your faculty mentor and how he/she helped you with your project.
As an undergraduate student, I valued the opportunity to have a faculty mentor to interact with throughout the semester. My faculty mentor was Stephen Ross in the School of Architecture, whose classes require engagement with the local community. I conducted my research with great freedom, and sought advice from Professor Ross when faced with particular challenges. He encouraged my progress by sharing articles and initiatives that related to my work. I accompanied his class on field trips to local nonprofits and other organizations, which provided me with inspiration and renewed energy.

How did this experience connect to your BDP topic?
Farming is an environmental act. Farming methods and practices around the world directly influence environmental care or degradation with profound consequences. Modern transportation, distribution, and consumption of food further influence the environment.

In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
This connecting experience has profoundly shaped both my university experience and my future plans beyond graduation. I discovered and have started to explore my passion for food, society, and the environment. I am eager to further explore the notions of sustainability, how these notions overlap, and how they can be meaningfully developed between distinct academic disciplines.

Read about past Connecting Experiences for Environment.

Past Environment Connecting Experiences

There is no “list” of possible Connecting Experiences to choose from. Because Connecting Experiences are designed to fit your own personal interests and goals, the “list” is as long as your imagination and creativity allow. With that in mind, here are some of the internship and research experiences Environment students have had in the past. They might help you get started brainstorming what you might want to do for your Connecting Experiences.

Past Internship Placements

Past Research Projects

In the past, students have conducted research on

  • Alternative fuel policies
  • Biodesiel emissions
  • Ecology, evolution, and behavior through an REU at UC-Irvine
  • Ecosystem processes at Boggy Creek Farm
  • Ecuadorian ecosystems and environmental policy in the Galapagos Islands
  • Effects of sea urchins on seagrass beds and coral reefs in Puerto Rico
  • Endocrine disruption and personal care products (PCPs)
  • Exotic animals and effects on land and economy
  • Geochemistry of Honey Creek spring water
  • Groundwater emission models
  • Hydrologic patterns of Pastaza River in the Peruvian Amazon
  • Impact of demographic changes on Peruvian water quality and supply
  • Insect eating and the Malagasy in Madagascar
  • Community and school gardens on Austin’s east side
  • Connection with a Maymester in Costa Rica
  • Connection with a Maymester at Lizard Island, Australia
  • Oxygen isotope ratios in cave groundwater
  • Parasite populations in native and non-native fish in New Zealand
  • Phytoplankton ecology
  • Political and economic implications of use of fossil fuels vs. alternative sources
  • Pollution in the Ganges River
  • Singapore’s Green Plan for environmental sustainability
  • Sustainability and water fixtures at UT
  • Sustainable development in east Austin
  • Wildlife ecology and conservation, at the School for International Training in Tanzania
  • The School for International Training, Conservation and Development Program, in Panama
  • The School for International Training, Amazonian Resource Management and Human Ecology, in Brazil
  • Sediments from Cathedral Cave, Nevada at the UT Vertebrate Paleontology Lab
  • Trace metal analysis
  • Water, nutrient fluxes, and groundwater discharge at the Marine Science Institute
  • Water quality and scarcity issues in Lima, Peru
  • Water quality in Town Lake