Capping Off Undergraduate Study of Community and Environmental Sociology

Like many undergraduate majors, the C&ES program requires that students nearing graduation complete some type of capstone endeavour–a service project, an internship, or an extended research paper. Some years ago, we started a tradition of having our students make presentations about their capstone undertakings in a formal departmental seminar. This past spring we had an exciting session with presentations by seven students. Faculty and graduate students constituted most of the audience for these talks and follow-up discussion was lively. We concluded the event with a reception in our department library. Our graduating seniors all expressed appreciation for the opportunity to present their work in a professional setting.

Our students’ presentations were engaging, and their post-college plans are inspirational:

  • Tamara Drossart spoke on the design and organization of sustainability web sites. She will be joining the Peace Corps in February of 2010, working on community development and environmental education in Morocco.
  • Elizabeth Gering’s presentation was about “Labor Conditions in Wisconsin’s Animal Slaughtering Industry.” Elizabeth told us that after her graduation this past May, she was looking forward to enjoying “life’s experiences outside the classroom.”
  • Cari Gilligan’s talk was entitled “Community Informatics: Techshop Partnering Students with Non-profits.” Following her graduation, Cari spent the summer working at Primrose Community Farm.
  • Erin Jobe made a presentation about changes in crop diversity in Wisconsin over the period from 1930 to the present. While at the UW, Erin played on the tennis team. She is interested in local food and community development and is interning this summer at Community GroundWorks at Troy Gardens.
  • Kelly McKeown talked about the research project she developed with the UW Memorial Union, “Sustainable University Dining Services.” Kelly plans to travel in Europe working on organic farms. Her career aspirations include working with farm to school programs, farmers’ markets, or local sourcing restaurants. She hopes to have a small farm of her own someday.
  • Allison Schiesser’s project was entitled “Exploring the E.D.G.E. in Lingira, Uganda.” Allison is very interested in sustainable agriculture and international issues.
  • Olivia Zieve’s talk title was “Immigrant Resources in the Madison Area.” She will be graduating in December. She hopes to travel, go to graduate school and pursue a career in environmental justice.

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