Designing and creating a scholarly website is a skill that environmental studies majors are taught during their second semester in the program. It can be tedious and difficult to constantly work on and baby the site to meet professional expectations. Three ENVS class of 2017 seniors, Marielle Bossio, Perri Pond, and Kara Sherer, have gone the extra mile with producing and updating their sites to show that they are constantly working out ideas from classes and fleshing out the processes of their thesis. On top of their excellent design skills, they are three students with well-thought-out and clear writing capabilities.
Marielle Bossio’s site, Exploring Environment, is put together well and navigates smoothly. She adds new posts almost weekly which keep her readers informed. They also show that she is always thinking about her specific area of interest, which is art in the Anthropocene, and that she remains engaged during her years at Lewis & Clark. This interest has been with Marielle for several years and it shows on her site and in her posts. When creating her concentration two years ago, she had the same interests and has been consistently developing them throughout her studies at Lewis & Clark. Marielle’s capstone focuses on the Anthropocene specifically by asking, “What are some of the key characteristics of the Anthropocene, and how are they being represented or seen in art? During the time of the human, how do artists think about human relationships to and with non-humans, and what form of artistic expression do they choose?”
This capstone is situated rather broadly, in ‘art’. The artists whom I have chosen to look at are all renowned to a certain degree, showing in important galleries/museums and featured on prominent art news outlets. The work that I look at is the result of a sustained practice and can be classified as ‘influential’ as opposed to a more commercial art. Additionally, this situated context and capstone understand influential art as a research practice, though often more open-ended in its results than a scientific research practice.
I have loved having a site! That being said, my most frustrating moments have been in getting the different pages to look how I would like them… many are still not exactly as I would like. However, my most proud moment with this site is when I learned a very basic amount of CSS coding to remove a gradient background that had been set as a default in the theme that I chose. If I had more time I would have played with this more, and added more features that were not immediately available. Also, I was once contacted by someone from Southern Oregon about a post that I had made, and it felt scary but really cool to know that other people actually are seeing and reading what I am writing! -Marielle Bossio ’17
Perri’s site, Ponderings, is a great example of scholarly work throughout the years as an ENVS major. From her first semester with the ENVS Program all the way to her final semester at Lewis & Clark, Perri has been actively working on her site and consistently illustrating her ideas in posts. Since she wrote her concentration, two years ago, she has focused her original area of interest on a specific place. Perri’s concentration looked into how the American West’s geomorphology has shaped the history of land use and how Anthropogenic practices impact the landscape. After a year and a half of pondering and researching her interests, she has shaped her concentration into a focused capstone project. She is researching how collaborative approaches might be a way to resolve public land management. At the essence of the ENVS Program is the idea of wicked problems, which involves multiple stakeholders and often times do not have silver-bullet-solutions. Because of this, solutions to these problems tend to be labeled “clumsy.” Perri has incorporated the theoretical framework of wicked problems and clumsy solutions into the foundation of her thesis. This framework surrounds the hourglass approach that ENVS students use in their research. Perri starts at the top of the hourglass looking at sustainable development, as well as diminishing and conserving natural resources, then zooms into the collaborative decision making in the Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC), and finishes by zooming back out to look at environmental communication and clumsy solutions as a whole. Perri’s methodology includes interviewing the TAC, an assembly of stakeholders invested in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to assess how effectively the TAC addressed and reconciled opposing interests.
I think menus make DS sites way more navigable. I have one for every class and project and sometimes even submenus. -Perri Pond ’17
From the moment the first page loads, Kara Sherer’s site, Concurrence, is stunning, well thought out, and exceeds most professional standards in website design. When looked at in depth, her ideas within her posts are clear, concise, and interesting. Kara’s epicenter is natural disasters. She notes that with climate change accelerating, natural disasters may be more likely to occur. Since Portland is threatened by the Cascadia Earthquake, Kara is interested in encouraging neighbors to help other neighbors. She is exclusively looking at the app Nextdoor, which is a private social network for your neighborhood. Can Nextdoor bring people together before the earthquake hits? As Kara writes in her thesis, she “administered a survey via Nextdoor as well as performed qualitative analysis on posts with high levels of activity to determine whether this online community was trust-building or trust-eroding, inclusive or exclusive and if it fulfilled the eight criteria for being a third space.” To motivate her thesis, Kara asks, “To what extent can trusted organizations enhance the resilience of community networks before a crisis occurs? What kinds of interactions are taking place between neighbors, and are they helpful or harmful in facilitating connection?” Her post Netiquette: a Few First Drafts displays beautiful infographics that communicate the Cascadia Earthquake basics, the importance of getting to know your neighbor and internet etiquette or Netiquette: how to thrive online. The skill of designing infographics comes through in her thesis poster draft which is both informative and easy to look at.
I love having a website! It’s definitely sparked my interest in design and digital communication. I like looking through themes and widgets to see what I can add and how to customize it.Photography is one of my hobbies, so I use my site as a way to use my photos for something as well. I also like being able to look back on posts that I wrote in previous classes because sometimes they are very helpful later on.I think the biggest challenge of having a site is initially setting it up. Figuring out what you want is one thing, but the (at times) counter intuitive WordPress dashboard can be really frustrating. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and also playing around with different settings and buttons sometimes leads to success. -Kara Scherer ’17
Kara, Perri, and Marielle are great examples of scholarly websites that are filled with quality in their posts, pages, concentrations, and thesis. These three seniors act as a template for compelling research ideas, posts that communicate their ideas clearly, and bold websites that display their thoughts throughout the years.