Annika Leiby advanced her interest in the environment by taking an AP environmental course and being a member of the environmental club at her high school. The environmental club took trips to places like the Chesapeake Bay, which allowed her to learn more about environmental topics and concerns. Leiby then decided to enroll at Lafayette with the environmental science major in mind. After taking EVST 100 Introduction to the Environment and GEOL 110 Environmental Geology, she settled on a double major in environmental studies and geology.

Photo provided by Annika Leiby

Leiby has had several unique experiences while at Lafayette, academically and through activities. Annika studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through a DIS program with a core course of Sustainability in Northern Europe. “It was interesting to be able to take a sustainability class and be able to see what some of the sustainable countries are doing and bring that information back and compare it to the US,” she noted. For this reason, she feels her time abroad was her most transformative experience while a student at Lafayette. Adjusting to a different culture can be challenging but rewarding. Some environmental examples include the popularity of public transportation and biking as opposed to taking a taxi or an uber and recycling plastic in exchange for money. In addition to studying abroad, Leiby is also a member of the geology club and the captain and co-president of the women’s club soccer team.

During her summers off from school, Annika completed environmentally related employment. She interned at the Maryland Sierra Club Chapter as a stewardship coordinator, outings coordinator and front desk associate. Her work included using the chapter’s website and calendar tools to post event and outing information and boost participation as well as helping to organize outings that allow members of the community to experience the beauty of nature and learn about protecting it. At the end of the internship, she attended the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council Conference. “It was interesting to see professionals in the field talk about their work and also to see how conferences work and be able to partake in one,” Leiby explained. Leiby also spent a summer working for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNPPC) as a manager at a splash park and mini-golf facility. She gained management experience that involved holding other employees accountable for their responsibilities and had an integral role in the overall operations of the parks.

Leiby would advise future environmental studies students to take a few classes that directly pertain to their interests and then decide if it is a topic they want to pursue. She also suggests using the resources available, such as program faculty, for help in incorporating environmental interests into their curriculum at Lafayette.

After graduation, Annika would like to obtain a master’s degree. She is considering pursuing a degree in either geographic information systems or environmental studies with a concentration in water.