Julie Cantor feels that growing up in San Mateo County, California allowed her to develop a respect for the environment at a young age. As part of the municipality’s waste program, everyone is given composting containers to put in with their garden scraps. With composting and recycling practices part of her daily routine, Cantor feels she developed a particular respect for the environment and wilderness. During her first semester at Lafayette, Julie completed the EVST 100 Introduction to the Environment course and found that the topics covered in the course spoke to her interests. This course became the foundation for her student career at Lafayette.
In particular, Julie finds the interdisciplinary nature of the environmental studies major to be crucial. Environmental studies majors have the opportunity to meet faculty members and students from other areas of the college including history, engineering, policy studies and geology. “There are so many avenues for opportunity because [the major] is so wide reaching and broad,” Cantor explained. During her time at Lafayette, Cantor has taken advantage of several opportunities including volunteering and studying abroad.
Julie participates as a volunteer at the Nurture Nature Center in downtown Easton. This work involves developing programming for the center, such as scheduling talks about the center’s “Science on a Sphere” display along with projects for local children and college students. Julie’s volunteer group for the center includes fellow environmental studies senior, Emily Lindahl and two Lafayette underclassmen. “It’s cool that they are really interested in these topics, too,” Cantor said of her younger, fellow volunteers. Julie also completed an environmentally focused summer internship as a Sustainability Data Analyst at Sustainable San Mateo County, a small non-profit organization. In this role, she analyzed state and county data and compiled information for members of the community who are interested in sustainability. The information she compiled included ridership of public transportation, availability of low income housing, and the number of LEED certified buildings in the area, among other things. The experience gave Cantor insight into what it is like to work for a non-profit organization.
Another unique experience for Cantor was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, DIS. While in Copenhagen, Cantor took a class called Renewable Energy Systems. As part of the class, they visited and scaled a wind turbine and learned about Denmark’s approach to renewable energy. Cantor found it interesting to compare how different countries relate to the environment. She described the experience as “enlightening and awe inspiring.”
After studying abroad, Julie feels she returned to Lafayette with a new outlook and feels everything she’s learned is coming together in her senior year. Julie has strong interests in environmental policy and sustainable design and hopes to pursue a career in one of those areas after graduation. She is also excited about Lafayette’s new Director of Sustainability, and looking forward to seeing Lafayette develop as a sustainable campus.