Lukas, Class of 2016, Germany

In one or two words, what’s your main passion within EES?

Sustainable Systems, Urban and Environmental Planning

Why did you choose to major in Earth & Environmental Sciences?

I am interested in sustainable solutions to urban and environmental planning problems. Soon I realized that I first need to understand our environment from a scientific perspective before I can help design sustainable solutions for some of the environmental challenges we face today.

What are your goals with EES as your major?

Some day I would like to work in a planning related field. Either for a city, a consulting NGO or a private bureau. In fall, I will intern with an environmental planning bureau in Freiburg. We will see where this will take me next. I will probably apply for a graduate program in planning.

Where did you go for your stay abroad? And how did this help you supplement your EES studies?

During my third year of LAS I went to Portland State University (PSU) in Oregon in the US. The College of Urban and Public Affairs at PSU offers a wide array of urban and environmental planning related courses. The university also closely collaborates with the city on its sustainability challenges. Working on a couple of such projects, for instance the restoration of urban floodplains, was a unique opportunity to get practical insights into a planner’s work. Overall, Portland has a very sensitive and progressive mind-set when it comes to environmentally sustainable urban development. This stay had a huge impact on my personal interests within sustainable development and I can only recommend going there 🙂

How did you choose your Electives? In relation to your major?

The freedom we enjoy in our Electives section made the science major so appealing to me. In contrast to conventional science programs, I could apply my scientific foundation to other fields of study and pursue my personal interests. Most of my Electives I spent on issues of sustainable development, some in economics (e.g. sustainable natural resource management), some in political science (e.g. localism: a strategy for sustainability?, green economics & sustainable development revisited), and some in sociology (e.g. environmental sociology). In addition to that, I also took some more specialized science courses (e.g. urban environmental issues, advanced GIS courses). I also enjoyed taking a couple of philosophy courses at the university of Freiburg just for fun.

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