Environmental studies students explore careers in conservation and environmental protection at the LA Zoo
Although Los Angeles is a global biodiversity hotspot, its flora and fauna face serious threats from climate change, habitat loss, and other human-induced disturbances. As a conservation organization, the Los Angeles Zoo is leading efforts to address these challenges. In partnership with the USC Wrigley Institute, environmental studies majors Sedona Silva and Valerie Katritch participate in the Los Angeles Zoo Conservation Internship, working on research that supports efforts in the Zoo’s five-year Conservation Strategic Plan to protect California’s native wildlife.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at a typical day in their summer internship focusing on native species and ecosystems in undeveloped areas on the Zoo grounds!
Going Abroad to Find a Way Home
Picture this: you’re a USC environmental studies major with a lifelong fear of sharks and swimming in the ocean. You want to spend a semester abroad. Where do you go? The…Galápagos Islands?
If you’re Alisha Soni, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” But then again, she’s never been one to do something halfway.
Soni, who’s in her senior year as a dual environmental studies and NGOs and social change major, first became interested in sustainability as a high schooler and immediately dove headfirst into the field.
“I took an AP environmental studies class and just fell in love with it and decided to hit the ground running. The more I dove into it, the more I realized I was passionate about the environment,” she says.
After completing an internship in sustainable agriculture in her hometown of Knoxville, TN, Soni decided to look for a university with strong offerings in sustainability and the environment. Enter the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program (ENST), which is part of the Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability.
“The environmental studies program was a huge factor for me in coming to USC,” Soni says. “I could tell that it was really robust and had a lot of resources for me. I even reached out to professors and could tell that the environmental community here was strong.”
Once she arrived at USC, Soni worked to make the most of her experience, landing internships in climate justice, sustainable economics, and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) alongside her classroom studies. She also completed a Maymester in Argentina and a Julymester in Italy. Those experiences sparked her interest in spending a full semester abroad. As she began researching programs, one in particular caught her eye: 17 weeks in Ecuador with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).
From the Stage to the Lab: Savannah Masters ’24 Spotlights Ocean Microplastic Research
Although initially set on a career in acting, Savannah Masters pivoted after taking a high school environmental science class. Now at USC, she’s dedicated to research and communications efforts that address the challenges caused by climate change. Through her coursework in the USC Environmental Studies Program, she’s found exciting opportunities to work with women scientists to study microplastics in our local environment and our oceans. Outside of the classroom and lab, she leverages her creative background as the social media director of the Environmental Student Assembly and co-host of the USC student-led Eco Alarm Podcast. In the video, Savannah shares a key message: just about anyone can get involved in efforts–either big or small–that spark positive change for our planet.
Support for the Future: USC Environmental Studies alumnus works to enable cleantech entrepreneurship
With a degree from the USC Environmental Studies Program, students can tackle environmental and sustainability challenges in just about any industry. As the development manager at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Forrest Lee ’19 pairs his degrees in environmental studies and business administration to support innovative startups in Los Angeles’s growing green economy.