Major: Environmental Studies
College of Social Sciences
Why did you choose your major?
I chose my major of environmental studies after being introduced to conservation efforts in high school and exploring it by getting involved with the environmental club there named SPARE (Students Promoting Awareness of Recycling and the Environment). I had so much fun participating in that organization and learning how to better Earth's current conditions that it inspired me to continue in college.
What does receiving this particular award mean to you?
Receiving the Dean's Scholar award is significant to me because I've maintained a consistent GPA despite the difficulties I've faced academically.
Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.
One person who has had a significant influence on my life has been my mom, as she has always been supportive of my endeavors and gives advice that I carry with me dealing with challenges in my life. If I were to pick a faculty member who has contributed to my academic success, I would say there has not been only one. Gary Klee is high on the list, as he made learning photography, a difficult and unfamiliar topic, fun for me. His attitude toward it further cemented for me that a positive attitude and enjoying what you do is valuable.
Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.
The experience of my beginning nature photography course last semester helped and continues to help me recognize the beauty of the natural world -- and also helped me see some of the ways we humans have shaped it for better or worse. For the most part, the experience has been therapeutic and refreshing, and renews my resolve to continue my studies. The whole experience of learning an initially unfamiliar topic -- and succeeding in improving, while finding an artistic outlet -- has been very rewarding.
What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?
My advice: Make sure that they are passionate about what they are studying, but also realize that it has limitations and that good study habits are a must. Also, I would say to them that they are not alone in their academic journey. Professors are there to help, provided that students ask. As hard as it is to ask for help, it really does help. Additionally, it is important to prioritize personal wellbeing and not be too hard on oneself in the process of meeting and setting goals.
What makes you a Spartan?
What makes me a Spartan is not just being a student here. It is taking full advantage of the knowledge I am learning in my classes and applying it to efforts outside the classroom and being open to new approaches. Ultimately, for me, being a Spartan is using my time attending SJSU to the fullest and improving personal growth so that I may be able to help toward a cause in which I strongly believe.
Nominated by Professor Jeanine Pfeiffer, Humanities and Environmental Studies Departments
“Amanda did meticulous, high-caliber work in my ENVS 10 class.”