#PROFspective: Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major Katie Elliott

Katie standing outside of the Rec Center

Today, we speak with Katie Elliot, a senior environmental and sustainability studies major from Hopewell (Mercer County), NJ, who rents an apartment off campus. Katie will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.

Name: Katie Elliott
Major: Environmental and Sustainability Studies within the School of Earth & Environment
Minor: Community and Environmental Planning within the School of Earth & Environment
Year: Senior

Hometown and County: Hopewell, NJ (Mercer County)

Off-Campus resident: Yes, I rent an apartment in Glassboro

Academic clubs: President of the American Sign Language Club, Treasurer of the GEO Club

Do you work on campus? Building Manager at the Rec and Fitness Centers, intern at the Rowan Solid Waste Lab

Do you have an off-campus job? Volunteer with Camden County Animal Shelter

Why did you choose your major? It took me a few years to figure out the best place for me — involving changing my major twice and my minor once — but I’m so happy I found the Environmental Studies program at Rowan. It’s small but that means everyone in it is really excited about environmental issues and we have great relationships with the professors. I’ve been passionate about environmental issues since I was in elementary school, so it honestly shouldn’t have taken me this long to figure out I wanted to study the environment, but here we are.

One reason why you chose Rowan? Attending Rowan started as a practical decision since it’s in-state (i.e. not that expensive), but I honestly couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I’ve grown so much and had so many amazing experiences, I’m definitely going to miss it when I leave in the spring.

My typical day as a Rowan student:

I’ve gotten lucky this semester where I don’t have too many things all on the same day, but I’m definitely all over the place over the course of the week. Tuesdays are my busiest day for sure. In the morning I have my Geographic Information Systems class where we learn about mapping and displaying geographic information in various computer programs. It’s one of the classes I struggle with the most so I really have to make sure I’m understanding the concepts since GIS is used in nearly every job related to environmental studies and planning. After that I’ll usually walk home to eat lunch and work on homework.

Around 4:30 or 5 p.m. on Tuesdays I head to the Pet Value in Sewell to clean cat cages for Camden County Animal Shelter. Lately there have been a lot of kittens and I love getting the chance to play with them for an hour as a break from the stress of school.

Later that night I’ll have an American Sign Language Club meeting at 8 p.m. These are a lot of work to prepare for because I have to make PowerPoints of signs to learn and teach them to the club. Usually we have a theme for that meeting and will play a game after learning. I’m not at all fluent in ASL but I’ve been slowly teaching myself and hope to eventually know enough to communicate easily with Deaf/Hard of Hearing people who sign.

Wednesday evenings are when I work as a Building Manager at the new fitness center on Victoria. It’s been so exciting to get to open the new building to students this year. At work I’m all over making sure everyone is safe, enforcing policies, cleaning, and helping out the main office assistant and fitness area assistant. I also work Friday afternoons and Monday mornings at the Rec Center. On Mondays I get to work at 5:30 a.m. to open the building at 6 a.m. It’s early for sure, but after my class at 9:30 a.m. I usually go home and take a well-deserved nap.

Thursdays are my favorite days in terms of classes because I have my Sustainable Cities class in the morning, and Water Resources Management in the evening. Both these classes are very specialized topics for my planning minor, and I’m really excited to focus on them this semester.

My Field Methods class meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, with Friday being longer for lab. Field Methods is another one of my favorite classes because we do a lot of field work to gather data and learn how to create environmental science experiments. It’s cool to be in a class that’s made up of entirely other Environmental Studies majors because we’re all invested in the same things and learning how to prepare for jobs in the future. After lab on Fridays I head home to eat a quick lunch and change for work, then walk to the Rec for my shift and the weekly Building Manager meeting.

I definitely have a lot going on, and no days are typical for me, but I’m lucky that I enjoy all the things I’m involved in. Since I am so busy, I really value my down time, which usually involves Netflix. My go-to show is The Office, but I’m always on the look-out for new shows to watch too. I also love living so close to the new Fitness Center because it’s so easy to fit a work out in at the end of the day, which is a great way to destress.

Story organized and photography by:
Vanessa Vause, junior public relations major and advertising minor

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Related stories:
#PROFspective: Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major Ryan Hamblin
#PROFspective: Geographic Information Systems Major Tim Lemon
Inside the New Fitness Center