#PROFspective: Senior Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major Taylor Melillo

Taylor Melillo in front of a sunset on the water.

Today we speak with Taylor Melillo, a senior Environmental and Sustainability Studies major within the School of Earth and Enviroment. She also has three minors in Geographical Information Science, Sustainable Built Environments, and Community & Environmental Planning at Rowan. Taylor is from Brick, NJ (Ocean County) and has lived on campus all four years. Taylor will be the first person in her immediate family to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree. Taylor will share with us 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.

How have you gotten involved at Rowan? I played club volleyball my Headshot of Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major Taylor Melillo freshman and sophomore year, and became a member of the RowanGeo Club. After playing volleyball I also became an active member of Unified Sports. I then joined Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed national service fraternity, my sophomore year. I even held an e-board position within this organization! 

What inspired you to choose your major? I chose to be an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major due to the hardships and damage I witnessed my hometown endure during Hurricane Sandy. I was a freshman in high school when Hurricane Sandy struck us. It was life-changing and devastating to see my whole area become destroyed. It was when I saw the cleanup and restoration process that I started focusing on learning about the environment and how I can help out in anyway possible.

What would you share with a future student interested in your major?  To a future student interested in Environmental and Sustainability Studies: All I can say is, you’re in good hands. You will learn a new way of thinking and be able to speak your mind and opinions about topics you care about. The professors within the department are extremely helpful, accommodating and knowledgeable. You will get to know each and every one of them pretty well! They will most definitely push you to learn new material, as well as focus on your future endeavors. 

Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major Taylor Melillo poses in her Alpha Phi Omega shirt.

How does your field impact the world? What impact would you like to have on the world in your field? With my degree I want to be able to say I am I helping the world in a positive way, while doing what I love. I just want to feel as though I am giving back to the planet. I want to help clean up the damage humans have already done while also helping to prevent further damage. I am also a big beach girl!!

Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a Rowan professor in which you felt like you were working with a visionary in your field. With the department being rather small, you will get to know almost every professor within four years. One professor that has helped me endlessly was Professor Federman. Whether it was on a club hike, a lecture in one of the three classes I had with him, or just venting about my future, he was always ready to help in any way possible. I struggled a bit with what I wanted to do with my life and what career path I wanted to take, being that I’m very indecisive, just as everyone is at this time in their lives. I had moments of wanting to be a pharmacist, a dentist, or even an FBI agent. But, confiding with him throughout my four years made me realize that I needed to do what made me happy and that was something within the environmental field. Overall you will have the support and guidance you need at Rowan and I am proud to end these last four years strong and as a Prof!

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Story by:

Rachel Rumsby, freshman communication studies and public relations double major