Environmental Studies majors and minors have the chance to extend their learning outside the classroom by participating in research, internships, and study abroad.
Eco-Action Student Group
Holy Cross students, including many involved in Eco-Action, marched to Worcester City Hall during the Youth Global Climate Strike in September 2019.
Eco-Action is a student environmental concerns organization at Holy Cross. The group grows campus consciousness of humans’ relationship to the environment by organizing education, service, and action opportunities in the community.
Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao (2002-2019)
As a step to address systemic racial oppression and violence in our country, the Environmental Studies Program announces the inaugural Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao Prize for work that addresses environmental racism and justice. The Prize is named for Political Science Professor Maria Rodrigues’ late son Jairam, an activist at heart, who had worked toward environmental justice from an early age. He had planned to pursue Environmental Studies in college.
This Prize will be awarded annually for the best paper, project, or presentation that addresses environmental racism and justice written by a student, as an individual or in collaboration with others, at the College. The competition is open to all students regardless of major. All submissions should be received by March 31, 2023. Work will be judged by a selection committee comprised of Environmental Studies faculty and the winner(s) will be announced in May. In addition to the recognition of winning the award, the winner will receive $500. Questions should be sent to RaoPrize@holycross.edu.
On behalf of the selection committee,
Professors Daina Cheyenne Harvey, Christopher Staysniak and P.J. Torres
Environmental Studies students can work with local environmental nonprofit agencies, such as:
- Blackstone River Coalition
- Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Center
- EcoTarium ecology museum
- Greater Worcester Land Trust
- Regional Environmental Council
This work can take many forms. Internships through the College's Academic Internship Program can be arranged. Volunteer opportunities, summer internships, as well as work-study jobs, are also available at these locations. To find out more, visit the websites of these organizations to determine what is of interest and then make arrangements by sending an email to the Environmental Studies director.
The Center for Career Development can assist in finding summer internships.
Students are encouraged to participate in research opportunities either on campus under the mentorship of a faculty member or off campus.
Holy Cross sponsors robust summer research opportunities. Learn more on the Weiss Summer Research Program website.
Visit the following websites to explore summer research and other academic opportunities pertaining to Environmental Studies in various areas around the globe:
- Harvard Forest Undergraduate Student Opportunities
- Polaris Project: Undergraduate Research in the Siberian Arctic
- Olympic National Park Summer Employment
Fall and Spring Semester Local Research Opportunities
MassDEP Semester Internship Program
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection offers exciting opportunities year-round for individuals who are interested in working and using their skills in the environmental field. Interns are provided with education, training, hands-on experience, supervision, and networking opportunities, utilizing modern technology and information systems during their internships.
Internships are conducted in supervised settings and are available in MassDEP's various bureaus, departments and regional offices. For more information, visit the MassDEP Internship webpage.
Student Research Example
Erin Dennehy ’19, an environmental studies and sociology double major, spent the summer of 2018 at Holy Cross studying sustainability in higher education through the Weiss Summer Research Program.
Her independent research project focused on the instrumentality of college sustainability assessments and the state of sustainability in higher education. As part of her summer research project, Erin conducted a literature review, analyzed over 300 sustainability assessments, and directed a national survey of campus-based sustainability professionals.
In summer 2019, Erin continued that research, through a second Weiss Summer Research Fellowship. This was also a continuation of her honors thesis (2018-19) as well. Erin's second summer of research focused on in-depth interviews with sustainability professionals. She conducted, transcribed and analyzed 25 interviews in an attempt to identify common obstacles sustainability practitioners faced in pursuit of the eco-campus.
You can focus on environmental change through public policy legislation, the market, the arts, journalism, or advertising at one of our Semester Away Programs in Washington, D.C., or New York City.
Erin Kinney '20, an environmental studies minor, received recognition in the 2019 Study Abroad Photo Contest for this award she took at Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
Studying abroad is the most impactful way to expand your knowledge of environmental science, policy, and culture to a global scale. As a result, many Environmental Studies students choose to conduct research and fieldwork through a semester abroad experience with one of our three ecologically oriented partner programs: School for Field Studies, Organization for Tropical Studies, or SEA Semester.
All provide rigorous and exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that students should carefully consider. These offer programs in Australia and New Zealand, Costa Rica, Kenya and Tanzania, Cambodia, Panama and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and elsewhere. Studies range from coral reef and wildlife conservation to land aridity and water scarcity; all include integrated coursework and field research.
These are accredited, one-semester study abroad experiences that carry four courses worth of college credit. Ordinarily, Environmental Studies majors can count up to three courses from one semester in these programs toward their Environmental Studies major and up to four courses for a full year; Environmental Studies minors can count up to two courses for one semester and three courses for a full year.
Students may also identify courses in study abroad programs that are appropriate for the Environmental Studies major or minor. Consider too the Maymester, which occasionally offers courses that can be used for Environmental Studies credit, such as Rome: Sediments to Pediments: The Urban Geology of Rome. Learn more about study abroad.
If you are interested in studying abroad, please see the Environmental Studies Program’s study abroad advisor to discuss your options. All courses must be approved ahead of time.
Jill Spirk ’21, an environmental studies major and art history minor, scuba dives in Turks and Caicos Islands, School for Field Studies.