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Sam Halloran talks about third year

A day in the life

Sam Halloran talks about third year

Sam Halloran_environmental science_37217 (2)

All the profs I’ve dealt with are really approachable—they just want you to be as excited about their specific subject, like ethics, as they are. I’ve had a really good experience with the profs here.

Getting different perspectives on the environment

From London, Ontario, Sam Halloran originally planned to major in Chemistry or Biology. But then she took the Introduction to Environmental Science class: “I really, really liked it,” she says. “It wasn’t horrible to study for the exams—usually, I find studying tortuous. But I really enjoyed it. And because of that, I ended up doing a lot better in the class. So, I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this.’”

The program is interdisciplinary, “like an environmental science program should be,” says Sam. “It’s not just biology or just chemistry—it incorporates everything. And all of the classes have a different perspective. I never would have taken a philosophy class if it wasn’t required—but I absolutely loved it. And it gave me a new perspective on environmental issues.”

In that philosophy class, Environmental Ethics, Sam says “We read about Leopold’s Land Ethic, deep ecology, and ecofeminism—which I’d never heard of in my life,” she smiles. “It was cool getting those different perspectives.”

Her favourite topic was deep ecology. “The founder, Arne Næss, really devoted his whole life to it,” she marvels. At the same time, Sam adds, she was taking an economics class. “There was such a huge contrast between the values of economics and those of deep ecology, especially at first. Eventually, though, you see a resolution between the two views.”

And she also really enjoyed a class offered through the Biology Department. “Diversity of Life is so interesting,” says Sam, eyes wide. “It’s fascinating to see how some animals are so well adapted to their environments that they haven’t changed in a million years—and how brief our time on Earth has been in comparison. Things like that definitely tie into Environmental Science,” she adds. “We’ll need to figure out ways to adapt to the effects of climate change.”

Next year, she’ll take the honours class and work on a research project related to ecology. And after she graduates? “Right now, my intention is to go to veterinary college. And with this degree, I’m getting the science requirements I need to do that,” she says. “But if don’t get in, I like the idea of working for the government in some capacity—there, you can find ways to reach out to the public and create change. But that’s plan b.”