I have exciting news to share. I mentioned in a previous post that I had applied to graduate programs which blend the environmental and social sciences. I have now heard back from both universities.
To my relief I was accepted to both the University of Michigan’s Behavior, Education, and Communication program and Humboldt State University’s Environment and Community program (E&C). This was a pleasant surprise, especially since I have been told the University of Michigan is highly selective.
While both programs appear excellent, I have decided to go with Humboldt State University (HSU). The main reason for this is their emphasis on social justice. Dr. J. Mark Baker, the Coordinator for the E&C program, includes these lines in his biography:
I have also sought to advance, through both teaching and research, the idea that community well-being and environmental sustainability are interdependent concepts. I am particularly interested in issues of equity, justice, collective action, community formation, and political authority as they bear upon environment-community relationships.
This resonates with me, because for me conservation is not just about the welfare of wildlife. It is about improving prospects for both animals and the people they live with. The recent surge of hatred in the United States, largely (but not solely) inspired by Donald Trump, has also shown me that I cannot focus only on biodiversity. To seek to better the future of wildlife without also standing up for my fellow humans would be the gravest of betrayals.
Politics aside, there is much to do to prepare for my upcoming transition. I must secure housing, find funding, and sort out the logistics of moving across the country. I am also still interested in recruiting a second author for The Jaguar and its Allies. Ideally this would be a cohort of mine who possesses a more solid base in biology and/or ecology than myself. Not only would this allow us to maintain this blog without becoming overwhelmed, but we could each focus on our respective specialties.
I am quite pleased with the way my journey is progressing. In a few months I will take the next steps towards forging a career in conservation psychology.