"I have always like science, nature and especially animals. I started out in the School of Engineering my freshman year. When I found out the college offered a new environmental science program, I was excited because I wanted to be able to apply what I learned to real life.
"What I love about the program is that it includes a combination of various sciences. The classes offer unique knowledge and skills. I gained a better understanding of the career options how the environmental science program can be applied to so many areas.
"I was offered a full-time position upon graduation at the Bronx Zoo as a children’s zoo associate. I will get to take care of the animals and help children learn about them."
Meet an Environmental Science Major: Chris De La Bastide
“I chose Manhattan because I wanted to go to a small school, and I wanted to know my professors and know a lot of people on campus. I liked the close-knit community I found at this school.
"I started as a biology major because I love science, but I didn't know what I actually wanted to do with it — originally, I thought I would go into the medical field. Then I went to a lecture and I met Dr. Balkir, and she persuaded me to switch into environmental science. I like it because it's every science combined into one major. Right now I'm in a lot of chemistry classes — organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry — biology classes, ecology, and I took environmental science 101 last semester.
"It’s nice to know that your professors actually know your name and care about your careers and well-being. Dr. Balkir has been extremely helpful to me with everything from choosing my classes, to steering me toward research programs and internships, to helping me decide what I want to do after college. In a way, she has been a mentor to me ever since I started here and is one of my favorite professors.
"From an environmental point of view, it's kind of a big deal to be in New York City, because cities are, a lot of times, the major cause of different pollutions. In class, we do a lot of studies involving the city’s ports, the estuaries, wetlands and carbon dioxide emissions. We took a site visit to a wastewater treatment plant.
"I am in NYWEA, which is the New York Environmental Water Association. This semester, I’m part of a NYWEA environmental design competition called WEFTEC with a few of my classmates. My team is making a water filtration system. We have to basically make a system, design experiments for it, make sure it works and present it this summer in New Orleans. The winner of the competition gets prize money and your invention is actually used for applications in the real world. We're in the preliminary stages now and we're brainstorming everything. But we're definitely looking forward to that.
"You have to really like science to be an environmental science major, because it's a lot of work. But it's important to me because it's kind of my way of making a difference when I graduate. Career-wise, I want to work in site remediation, environmental remediation, cleaning oil spills or chemical spills. I really love animals, ecosystems and nature, and want to help preserve what's already there.”