Here at L&C, the Environmental Studies Program stays as hip as possible to current trends in academia, which has meant putting a particular emphasis on developing and honing digital scholarship skills. That is to say, we are encouraged to display our work on websites that we create in ways that are both accessible and engaging to the public. Over their four years, students construct sites where they accumulate research projects and papers, document their concentration, thesis, class portfolios, and posts about any sort of work they are doing or musings they are having. In theory, they do all of this in a way you all would want to look at. Three ENVS seniors from the class of 2017 who do particularly good jobs of this are AnaCapri Mauro, Sara Goldstein, and Frances Swanson.
AnaCapri has focused her studies on natural disaster management, planning, and risk perception, specifically in areas threatened by geophysical hazards. This was not always her interest, though, when she came into the program, she was looking for science, not planning and policy, and her transformation as an environmental studies student is well documented on her site. On the page for her first ENVS course (160), she writes that she noticed all of the “objects and concepts I thought to be simple or true being torn apart.” From then until now, AnaCapri’s site displays her thoughts and work from all of the ENVS classes she has taken. From an interest in science, to medicine, to risk perception and disaster management, “The sometimes overwhelming, but usually rewarding, flexibility of the ENVS Program allowed [her] to turn an irrational childhood fear of volcanoes into a slightly unhealthy academic obsession with them.” AnaCapri’s colorfully effervescent site full of wildflowers and mountains documents this progression and much more in a professional, compact, and pleasant way.
In addition to documenting the exciting, if at times turbulent, changes that the ENVS Program facilitates, DS sites can help students to find employment. Senior, Frances Swanson, says that her site helped her get a post-grad internship because “they loved that I had so much experience writing with a variety of voices, because sometimes I publish just a casual blog post and sometimes I post my more formal, finished work.” When she was asked for a writing sample she was able to send them to her site to browse four years of diverse, thorough scholarship as well as steps from her process. In this way, our sites function as thought or idea banks, and besides showing them to potential employers, we can use them for our own inspiration. Frances mentions the importance of her site in that it allows her to use her past work from a variety of classes to inspire her current thesis work.
Sara Goldstein’s site exemplifies all of these qualities, all the while accompanied by a psychedelic, negative background that contributes an edgy feel to the domain. In addition to documenting six different classes and an independent study, you can find eight of her projects, six research papers, and a plethora of information about her concentration and thesis. Anthroposcenic, her site, is a living portfolio of Sara’s time as an ENVS major. But the site goes beyond that. We can find more than just polished pieces on her site, there are posts and information documenting fine procedural details of each of her projects, as well as her thoughts and experiences from her time as a student and as a major.
The term “digital scholarship” is an amorphous one, and it means something a little different to everyone who utilizes it. For some, it is merely a forum for submitting class work. For others, it is a blog to publicly work through emotions and thoughts. But for all ENVS majors, the DS multisite is a powerful tool to connect students to each other and to the greater online community. It is a space where students can display their professional-quality, academic works on an accessible and engaging medium. In turn, this can aid students as they look beyond college toward employment, in addition to supplying them with an ever growing and adapting vehicle to document their experience as a student of higher education.