Olivia’s interest in the environment began at a very young age.  Growing up in rural upstate New York, Olivia spent her childhood playing in the woods and on the neighbors farms, always surrounded by plants and animals.  Her father introduced her to conservation biology and the scientific method, as Olivia helped him raise and breed Radiated tortoises and Bowsprit tortoises all through high school.  This allowed her to tag along on various field excursions and conferences relating to conservation, and gave her her first taste of environmental science.

Although, when Olivia came to Lafayette she kept her options for a major wide open, taking many classes in various fields spanning theoretical physics, biology, creative writing, French, and more.  But even after exploring she came back to the environment, deciding to pursue a dual degree in Environmental Science: Restoration Ecology and French Language with a minor in writing.  This blend of culture and science has allowed Olivia to travel throughout her time at Lafayette and experience various habitats and the interactions those habitats have with people across the globe.

Starting her junior year, Olivia joined dr. rothenberger’s lab family working on the vernal pools project.  after taking doc r’s “Plant Form Function and Adaptation” course her sophomore year, Olivia fell in love with botany and decided to research the flora of successful vernal pools.  In the spring of her junior year, Olivia plans to study abroad with the School for Field Studies in Bhutan, studying Himalayan Environment and Cultures in Transition and allowing her to continue her environmental research.  In her senior year, Olivia hopes to complete a thesis in her research that will allow her to tie together what she has learned in the lab and in her travels.

Olivia is leaving her options wide open for post-graduation, but she has many dreams – including pursuing her master’s degree in Botany or Global Environmental Health, possibly abroad.  Olivia would be happy to talk to any student or prospective student interested in our Environmental Science program.  You can reach her by email at steranto@lafayette.edu.