Fall 2022 Environmental Studies Community-Engaged Practicum

Through this interdisciplinary capstone experience, our senior environmental studies majors collaborate with community organizations to lend their creativity, perspectives, and research skills to addressing current environmental issues in our region and beyond.

Middlebury Contact: Kate Crawford and Diane Munroe

Broadly speaking, we are interested in a range of topics as they apply to environmental studies. Specific to this section of our interdisciplinary capstone course, we seek topics and projects related to environmental justice, environmental health disparities, and/or climate vulnerability issues in Vermont. We favor projects that integrate numerous disciplinary perspectives and methodologies and focus on translating knowledge or information across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

PhD Boston University School of Public Health
MS University of Vermont
BS University of Vermont

Kate Crawford joined the Environmental Studies Program as an Assistant Professor in July 2020. Prior to joining the Environmental Studies Program, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Epidemiology Department, in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Professor Crawford is an environmental health scientist, drawing on principles of public health and environmental science to understand connections between human health and the world around us. In addition to the community-engaged practicum she teaches Environmental Health and Navigating A Toxic World: Environmental Health in Your Daily Life. Her research focuses on how chemicals found in consumer products enter the environment and impact the health of people and wildlife. Recent and ongoing areas of research include: effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure on breastfeeding; mechanisms by which endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) interfere with metabolism; seafood consumption as a route of human exposure to environmental contaminants, and; PFAS exposure from ski and snowboard wax.

Students in the course will all have foundational environmental studies training as well as coursework relevant to their “focus” with the environmental studies major. These foci range across the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and the arts.  As senior majors, many will also be bringing relevant internship and work experience to these projects.

In addition to the learning goals of our Environmental Studies Program (http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/es/goals), specific goals for projects in this course are that they enable students to:


  • Critically engage with questions of justice and inequity;
  • Deepen their understanding of local, state, or regional environmental challenges, especially those related to environmental justice and environmental health disparities issues in Vermont;
  • Increase their comfort with and confidence in communicating environmental justice issues to a broad audience;
  •  Apply interdisciplinary thinking to their projects;
  • Develop visualization, interpretation, and reasoning skills in a spatial context;
  • Improve their ability to consider diverse perspectives and to listen to others; and
  • Strengthen their teamwork and project management skills

Community-based projects are the focus of this course and students will work on them for the entirety of our 12-week semester (mid-February to mid-May). Based on past experience, we will work collaboratively with community partners to design projects at a scope and scale appropriate to this full-semester timeline.

There are three required one-hour meetings that occur at regular intervals throughout the semester (beginning, midpoint, and near the end). You can expect that students will be in contact with you via an agreed upon mode with periodic questions in between these meetings.  Draft project documents will be shared with you for your review and feedback.  We also request that you share any relevant data or resources with students as appropriate.  Lastly, we typically work with partners to arrange for some form of final public presentation of their work.

Past projects have focused on a broad range of topics as they apply to environmental studies. Details of all past projects can be viewed here: https://sites.middlebury.edu/envs0401/project-archive/project-statement-archive/

Community Connect Form
Published On: March 18, 2021

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