March 23, 2016
Grace Noyola is a senior majoring in professional writing and minoring in environmental and sustainability studies. Pictured second from the left above, she is an intern in MSU Sustainability and will graduate in May.
I came to Michigan State University with one goal: to learn how to make an impact on the environment with my writing. I wasn't sure how, but nonetheless I wanted my experience here to prepare me for a future in both the arts and the sciences. As a transfer student pursuing a career in writing and communication, already a full academic year ahead in school, I was fearful it was even possible to fulfill my hopes in only two years. Thankfully, MSU did not share my doubts.
Entering into the Professional Writing program at MSU was perhaps the best decision I ever made; from day one, my adviser helped me create a plan for joining my passions and my proficiencies by suggesting I add a minor in environmental and sustainability studies. I was quickly welcomed into the PW culture, where everyone was eager to make a difference through their writing (yes, writing) in a wide variety of industries, including the environment. The team of faculty and advisors within the program offered courses directly geared towards my communication interests, ultimately laying the groundwork for my career as a communications specialist within environmental nonprofit communities.
I have now worked at MSU Sustainability for almost a year as the communication and social media assistant, doing exactly the kind of work I envisioned for myself. Here, I've not only refined my skillset, but also worked with a motivated team who shares my passion for environmental sustainability and encourages me to push the boundaries of my work for constant improvement. This experience has not only demonstrated that writing and communication are skills with serious, applicable use after graduation, but also that the environmental field is growing and embracing every kind of professional.
In addition to advancing my academic pursuits, Sustainability helped me develop a broad network of like-minded individuals and a better understanding of the research and projects across campus that support MSU's commitment to the environment. The more I learned about the opportunities for students to co-construct real solutions for issues like pollinator decline, sustainable food systems and waste reduction, the more I understood why we commonly say, "At MSU, green is much more than a school color, it's a responsibility."
At MSU, it's never been an option to do things halfway. Each step — whether it be working towards academic success or pursuing and winning a national title with the MSU Women's Club Soccer team — came with a high expectation to push until the goal was met. At Sustainability, I've watched our team constantly work toward improving key programs, driven by MSU's evolving goals to meet higher sustainability standards. As I transition into the next stage of my professional life, I am so grateful that MSU provided me with the opportunity to pursue both my skills and my passions, and to do it in a way that sincerely prepared me for the workplace.
Reprinted with permission from MSU Sustainability