January 22, 2016

Olivia Waxler, Environmental Studies ’16

It’s really important to get a well-balanced education so that you have different choices in the future.

Waxler, Olivia

Photo provided by Olivia Waxler

Having grown up in Vermont, Olivia Waxler has always been interested in environmental issues.  She feels that environmental concerns were in the forefront of Vermont communities during her childhood.  Upon arriving at Lafayette, Waxler intended to major in biology but felt she would like to focus more on aspects of sustainability and decided the environmental studies major was a better fit.

One of the most influential courses Waxler has taken is Conservation Biology.  She enjoyed the interactive nature of the lab and the fact that a majority of the labs took place outdoors.  She felt the outdoor labs strengthened the students’ connection with nature and allowed them to be a part of a solution to conservation problems.  Waxler said the lab experience was “definitely very impactful.”  Olivia also enjoyed completing the Environmental Geology course offered at the college and felt it was a great intersection between geology and environmental studies.  Waxler feels being an environmental studies major has exposed her to a variety of fields she is interested in.  “There are so many options for how to complete the major,” she explained.  Waxler was also able to fulfill requirements for the major while studying abroad in Barcelona.  As part of her study abroad program, she took a Mediterranean Oceanography course.

In addition to coursework, Waxler has also been involved in philanthropy projects and internships.  Olivia has committed a lot of her time to Relay for Life, and was in charge of donations from local venders for the event.  As part of this responsibility, she went out into the community and met with local vendors in person.  In the summer of 2014, Waxler completed an internship at Renewable Energy Vermont, a solar company.  This internship was five weeks long and provided Waxler opportunities to network as well as expand on what she’d already learned in the classroom.  In the summer of 2015, Waxler completed an internship with Green Corps.  Green Corps is a program that trains recent college graduates in environmental activism and then sends them around the country to work on environmental campaigns.  Olivia worked in the Boston office to help prepare for a fall program in that area.  As part of her internship, she was in contact with new recruits and was also in charge of social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  She also helped Green Corps find schools from which to recruit new activists.  Waxler feels the experience afforded her the opportunity to speak with people she wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.  She was also able to receive course credit for the internship and would recommend other environmental studies students take advantage of that option.

Waxler has a developing interest in environmental public relations and advertising.  She hopes to combine PR, advertising and environmental studies in her future career by handling public relations or advertising for a sustainable company or product.  Waxler will be completing an externship at a PR firm in New York City during the Spring 2016 semester. Waxler is impressed by the progress that the environmental studies program has made during her four years at Lafayette and has high hopes for the future of the program.