All Environment students are required to participate in at least two Connecting Experiences as part of their BDP work. Take a look at what some Environment students have done recently for their BDP Connecting Experiences, then read on for additional information and resources.
Type of Experience: Research, UT Micro Farm
Mentor: Stephen Ross, Architecture
Describe your research project and how you came up with the idea.
My Connecting Experience research project was based on the UT Micro Farm, an on-campus student-run farm. A class project that turned into a Green Fee proposal resulted in preliminary funding for the farm. The farm, however, was in need of more definition and leadership, as well as additional funding. I produced a project overview for the UT Micro Farm, which outlines goals and operational details. I also initiated discussions with potential partners, sought additional funding, and researched similar farms in Austin and around the U.S.
What type of skills did you gain while working on this project?
Overall, I learned quite a bit about bringing an idea to fruition. I acquired presentation and design skills by producing a cohesive yet multifaceted report. In working on this project, I also developed a greater sense of time management, through learning the process and steps that defined my explorations and output. I enjoyed, and came to value, conversing with many different people, who each offered their unique advice, experience, and expertise.
Discuss the relationship that you had with your faculty mentor and how he/she helped you with your project.
As an undergraduate student, I valued the opportunity to have a faculty mentor to interact with throughout the semester. My faculty mentor was Stephen Ross in the School of Architecture, whose classes require engagement with the local community. I conducted my research with great freedom, and sought advice from Professor Ross when faced with particular challenges. He encouraged my progress by sharing articles and initiatives that related to my work. I accompanied his class on field trips to local nonprofits and other organizations, which provided me with inspiration and renewed energy.
How did this experience connect to your BDP topic?
Farming is an environmental act. Farming methods and practices around the world directly influence environmental care or degradation with profound consequences. Modern transportation, distribution, and consumption of food further influence the environment.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
This connecting experience has profoundly shaped both my university experience and my future plans beyond graduation. I discovered and have started to explore my passion for food, society, and the environment. I am eager to further explore the notions of sustainability, how these notions overlap, and how they can be meaningfully developed between distinct academic disciplines.
There is no “list” of possible Connecting Experiences to choose from. Because Connecting Experiences are designed to fit your own personal interests and goals, the “list” is as long as your imagination and creativity allow. With that in mind, here are some of the internship and research experiences Environment students have had in the past. They might help you get started brainstorming what you might want to do for your Connecting Experiences.