Sustainable development students gain direction for the future from lunch and learn series

Cameron Stuart, News Reporter

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Internships, field experience and credit hours cloud many students’ minds, but the Department of Sustainable Development’s lunch and learn series aims to provide direction for its students.

The lunch and learn series includes four one-hour events throughout the fall semester, featuring research from sustainable development students and professors.

“It’s a way for faculty, students and the overall community to get to know the work that people are engaged in,” said Aniseh Bro, assistant professor in the sustainable development department. “It’s a great way to reach out to the wider community and get to know a wider variety of people who might be interested in some of these issues that we cover.”

Bro said the events are for all members of the community, not just those in her department.

Senior sustainable development major Patrick Ross’s lunch and learn event on Aug. 28 showcased his undergraduate field research in Madagascar.

Ross went to Madagascar in fall 2018 to conduct field research and again over the summer, from late May to August, with the Mad Dog Initiative.

The Mad Dog Initiative is a group of scientists, veterinarians and volunteers who promote wildlife conservation and health, specifically through care and management of feral dogs, according to its website.

“The field research that I do is mostly with trail cameras. We put up an array of 40-plus cameras in a grid about 6 inches above the ground, and they take pictures of everything that walks in front of them,” Ross said. “They capture what animals are in a forest.”

Ross said he hopes students took away that they should chase what they want to do and take opportunities that allow them to do something they’re passionate about.

“I’m used to presenting the findings of my research, but (the series) wanted me to tell undergrads how they could get a research opportunity,” Ross said. “It’s different for everyone. My path to my research has been super unique, and I don’t know if everyone is going to be able to follow that.”

As a new faculty member this year, Bro said the series is a good opportunity for people to get to know her and learn about her research.

Bro said working at App State is her dream job because she loves the engagement the sustainable development department has, and its drive for social justice and ethical action.

“Broadly speaking, I’m interested in understanding how people make decisions, and more specifically, I look at how they make decisions when they’re facing environmental changes associated with climate change,” Bro said.

Bro said she has mainly worked internationally, looking at how farmers respond to climate change by using quantitative and experimental methods that analyze what factors cause those responses.

Bro has worked in Central America, Eastern Africa and with the Center for Climate and Resilience Research in Chile.

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