Student profile: Patrick Lynch

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On July 25, 2023

Roughly one year ago, I made the decision to switch majors from computer science to the brand-new environmental science program. This decision wasn’t made lightly, and I want to tell you all why I’m so glad I made the switch.

Patrick Lynch. Photo submitted.

One of the things that drew me to environmental science is its innovative approach to creating a pathway to the degree. This program doesn’t just force students into a focus area while leaving others out; it offers an interdisciplinary perspective that allows us to understand the complex interplay of ecological, social, and economic factors. Students can craft a schedule of classes that interest them so they can explore interests in topics all across the field rather than be forced to choose early on what they want to specialize in.

Another benefit of the program is its relatively small size which allows students to make better connections with their professors and has fostered a tight community. Environmental science students are all excited to learn and more than willing to help each other out. That being said, it’s my hope that the program will continue to grow and get more resources so that more students can have the opportunities and experiences that I have had.

What truly sets this program apart for me are the hands-on fieldwork opportunities. It’s one thing to learn about environmental science in the classroom, but being able to apply that knowledge in real-world settings is a game changer. Last year, I embarked on a life-changing study abroad trip to Ecuador as part of this program. It was an eye-opening experience that exposed me to the rich biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest, the traditional ecological knowledge of the people who live there, and the critical importance of fighting to save this precious ecosystem. I had the chance to get my hands dirty (literally), collect data, and work alongside passionate professors and fellow students who share my enthusiasm for conservation.

I invite you all to join me in celebrating the opportunities and growth that the environmental science program has had and continues to offer. For our alumni, I hope my story serves as a testament to the program’s transformative power. For prospective students, I encourage you to seriously consider this new program and become part of a community dedicated to making a difference in the world.

Patrick Lynch

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