Biodiversity, Science, and Art: Powerful Themes at this Spring’s SUST Student Symposium at Roosevelt

Last Wednesday, 23 April 2014, three undergraduate students in Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program shared their recent internship and research experiences in an exciting and thought-provoking symposium attended by RU students, faculty, and staff. Two unifying themes of all the presentations were the promotion of knowledge about biodiversity (and its conservation) as well as the integration of science and art in the service of advancing sustainability and promoting environmental literacy.

MaryBeth Radeck

MaryBeth Radeck

MaryBeth Radeck led off the afternoon’s proceedings by discussing her work throughout 2013 as an environmental sustainability associate at RU’s Schaumburg Campus in 2013 and her stewardship of the university’s 2-year-old community garden. A longtime marketing and communications professional, Radeck also earned a Certificate in Landscape Design from Northwestern University. She presented maps, photographs, and posters she produced to document the sustainable redevelopment of the Schaumburg Campus.

As if that wasn’t enough, for her SUST 395 Internship this spring 2014 semester, she researched and developed a framework for a Roosevelt University comprehensive sustainability plan — a natural outgrowth of the university’s recent greening of its campus, physical operations, and curriculum. [pdf of presentation]

Colleen Dennis

Colleen Dennis

Colleen Dennis next discussed her ongoing work (since Fall 2013) as an intern in the Botany Department of the Field Museum of Natural History, where she has diligently worked on photographing and digitizing the immense catalog of South American flowering plants housed in the world-renowned herbarium of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Colleen’s presentation (see this pdf of her slideshow) stressed not just the scientific context and value of this work in making the FMNH’s botany collection more readily available to worldwide scientists, but also the vital role that photography plays in this process of archiving historical scientific information on plant diversity and conservation. Colleen also wrote for the SUST blog this spring about her scientific internship experience during the spring 2014 semester, and we hope to feature more of her essays in coming months.

Jordan Ewbank

Jordan Ewbank

Rounding out our presenters was junior SUST major Jordan Ewbank, who has been working with a team of SUST students and recent graduates under the guidance of Adjunct Professor Michele Hoffman Trotter on her exciting ocean biodiversity film project, Microcosm. Jordan showed an exciting preview of the film and described the team’s work on social media promotion, researching and seeking funding support for filming, and planning special fundraising and promotional events, such as the one at Columbia College last October.

Microcosm is a prime example of how film can use scientifically-informed narrative, exposition, and beautiful photography to advance public understanding of marine biodiversity as well as the immense challenges posed by climate change, pollution, and acidification to oceanic sustainability.

Congrats to these three SUST 395 Internship students for a great round of public presentations! We’re proud here in the College of Professional Studies that their work was a featured event during Roosevelt’s Earth Week in 2014.

MaryBeth, Jordan, and Colleen

MaryBeth, Jordan, and Colleen after their presentations

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