senior spotlight: meera nemali ’24

What are your majors?
I am an environmental studies and anthropology major.

Tell us about your capstone project!
I did my capstone paper last semester through an anthropology class called From Metropolis to Megalopolis (ANTH249). I wrote my capstone about how urban planning and city infrastructure can worsen environmental disasters and the ways in which we can sustainably plan our cities in the future. I don’t really know if there’s a way to prevent these disasters, but there are ways to prevent further damage in cities.  

What inspired you to write your capstone?
It was in this anthropology and urban theory class, and I really didn’t know much about urban theory or urban planning. As the course went on, and I was working more closely with the professor who was also my advisor, I feel like the idea just came through: How cities are planned and how it really affects social and economic and racial status.Combining it with environmental studies just made a lot of sense.  

Why did you decide to be an environmental studies major and what have you gained from it? 
Starting way back, in my senior year of high school, I took an AP Environmental Science class, which I was really interested in. So, it was kind of on my radar going into college. But I think environmental studies was more appealing to me than environmental science because you are able to do a linked major. I just found it super interesting that you have to do environmental studies with another major as your focus. I appreciate how flexible it is and how there’s so many crosslistings with classes. I think it’s such a great major, too, and the professors too.

What was your favorite class at Wes?
In my freshman year, I really liked Geobiology (E&ES233), which was cross listed with environmental studies and counted for a science credit for environmental studies. I had never studied rocks and ice and fossils before. It was my second semester of freshman year, so I was really new to the school, and being able to have that kind of intense curriculum where I was focusing on science, but also on how it affects sociological and present day issues, was really interesting. 

As you are ending your time here, what advice would you give to students who are considering the environmental studies linked major?
That’s such a good question. Because the major is flexible in a lot of ways, I think it’s really important to take advantage of that flexibility and take advantage of all the professors who are in the environmental studies program and also in other departments. Just take advantage of the resources in the major.

Are you planning on using anything you’ve learned from the environmental studies major into your post-grad plans?
I think my capstone, honestly, is something that I’d want to continue after college. Doing research on how we can sustainably plan cities is something that I’m really interested in now and maybe something I would want to pursue in grad school in a few years.