In Their Words: Josephine Lesage

josephine-lesage-mmk.jpgName: Josephine (Josie) Lesage

Department: Environmental Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? The 2018-2019 Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award

What year do you expect to graduate? 2019

Where do you call home? Santa Barbara, California

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? The faculty in the Environmental Studies department, and my advisor (Karen Holl) made Santa Cruz an easy decision for my PhD. Hiking through the spectacular campus didn’t hurt, either!

What is your field of focus? I am in Environmental Studies, and study the factors influencing coastal prairie communities in California.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? Upon completion of my degree, I hope to eventually obtain a position as a university professor, and use inquiry-based learning and science practices to teach ecology and environmental studies.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? I distinctly remember walking along the ecotone from chaparral to woodland in upper campus and thinking that how amazing it was that the campus had an outdoor laboratory just steps from the lab and office space. Every time I take a walk through the campus natural reserve, it’s a great opportunity to meditate and generate questions about the patterns in our environment.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Find out what you are passionate about, and find a way to study it. UCSC has faculty across campus who can guide you in many different fields and different types of research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that are broader than a traditional disciplinary box.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life/research? I strongly believe that teaching and learning are lifelong processes, and it feels incredible to be recognized with the MMK award for pedagogical growth I've achieved over the past few years – and I am inspired to continue learning about effective teaching.

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