Hometown: Medford, Minn.
Major/minor: Political science/biology and environmental studies
Why he chose Beloit: Beloit was the last school I visited. I came for a day tour, and the campus was beautiful and the student body was unique from the other schools I visited. They seemed quirky and super friendly. I felt at home. It just felt right.
The benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone: When I first came to Beloit, I wanted to study molecular biology. I was sure that I wanted to work in a lab and do that for the rest of my life. But then I decided to break out from my comfort zone and take other kinds of classes. I absolutely loved political science−I thought it was so interesting. And I studied sustainable environmental policy in Denmark last semester. Now that’s really what I want to do with my life. Taking various classes and experiential learning have really shifted my focus.
On how life changes after you study abroad: I studied abroad in Denmark. The program was about sustainability in Europe, and we were looking at Denmark and Germany in particular and seeing how they’ve implemented environmentally sustainable policies. It was really great seeing actual environmental politics in action and working with them, going to the parliaments, and meeting with the legislators. Also, taking what I learned in Beloit in the classroom setting and applying that to the real world has been really interesting. It was great to have that hands-on experience and see a different culture.
How he got to spend a week in South Korea: The summer before I came to Beloit I studied in Beijing, China and worked at a university in a lab there for two months. Then I came to Beloit, and I wanted to go back to Asia but not to China because I wanted to experience a different culture. The Office of International Education told me about this great program where you can go to Korea for a week. It’s completely paid for by CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange). I applied, and I got in. I went to South Korea with another Beloiter, and we stayed in Seoul and met Korean university students. We met students from all across the United States, and that was a great way to see the world. Learning about South Korean/North Korean relations really helped spark my interest in politics. It was great being able to experience Asia and Europe and the United States and have this wider swath of experience.
How he practices the liberal arts: The liberal arts in practice means taking what you learn in the classroom and applying it to something physical or using it outside the classroom. What I’ve been doing this semester, with a few other students, is creating a campus garden. I’ve been applying some of the knowledge I learned in Denmark, but also from classes here. I’ve been working with food service and the administration to really try and make a change on campus−something that will last even after I graduate.
Why he started a garden on campus: While I was studying abroad, I went to Berlin and visited this massive urban garden in downtown. It was so beautiful. As part of my end-of-the-semester project, I made a plan on how to start a campus garden. I thought it would be great to make a garden here at Beloit where you could pick your food in the morning, give it to the dining hall, and eat it in the night. Another intern and I will be staying here over the summer to manage the garden. We’ll start growing produce and selling it right away, but we also want to try and do some more long-term planning, figuring out how to integrate the garden into the college curriculum and making it more of a self-sustaining project.