We only have one Earth, and Grace Watylyk plans on doing everything she can to help sustain it.
"I am passionate about environmental studies because there are so many issues within the field that need to be addressed, from waste generation to water scarcity to habitat destruction," she said. "If we don't have a safe, clean place to live, we are all in big trouble."
Grace, who came to CMU from Illinois, is pairing her environmental studies major with an outdoor and environmental education minor to best equip her to take on the world's environmental issues.
"I hope to improve the state of the environment and help educate others to do so. I want to be proud of my career and the work I do," she said.
The environmental studies program at CMU gives her the tools to do that, she said.
"I like that it covers a broad range of topics," she said of her major. "I have taken courses in biology, chemistry, geology, political science, economics and other topics to get a full understanding of all the different areas involved."
And CMU provides the opportunities for her to be in the field and gain valuable work experience to develop professionally.
"Last fall I attended a Project Wild workshop. Through completing this workshop, I received environmental education materials that I can use to create programs for K-12 students," she said. "The faculty at CMU works to provide professional development opportunities and encourages students to take advantage of them."
Grace is secretary of Student Environmental Alliance and Take Back the Tap, a member of Robinson and Barnes Hall council, and is involved with student advocates for vegetarianism and veganism. She also is a sustainability expert for her residence hall community.
"This has given me the opportunity to work with hall council to inform residents about sustainability in the residence halls and ways they can get involved on campus," she said. "These experiences have provided me with valuable skills in collaborating with others to make an impact."
Grace is still navigating the options available to her after earning her degree. She knows one thing: she wants to make a difference.
"I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I want to find a career that I love and excites me to go to work every day," she said.