Master of Environmental Studies

Student Profile

Sam Wilson, Class of 2014, Sustainable Development and Transportation

Where are you from?Image of MES student Sam Wilson
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.

What drew you to the MES degree at Evergreen?
Perhaps the most influential factor was the freedom the program gives to students in their research. More so than any of the other graduate programs I considered, MES encourages students to pursue thesis projects that they are passionate about. Second would have to be the location. The Pacific Northwest is a hot spot for sustainability innovation; be it through conservation, policy, or technology, it's happening here. 

What do you hope to gain from the program?
As I work on my thesis project, I hope to continue to grow intellectually, develop and expand social capital, and become a sustainability professional able to effectively challenge paradigms.

What was your previous education and work experience prior to entering MES?
I obtained my B.A. in Urban Environmental Studies with a focus in Public Policy at Birmingham-Southern College a few years back. Much of my academic career at BSC was devoted towards understanding the sustainability and social justice aspects surrounding the crumbling public transit system in Birmingham. Throughout college I was very active in campus sustainability initiatives and co-founded the school's first organic community garden. Outside of school, I worked with a number of diverse businesses and organizations including large construction companies (LEED and community gardens), small environmental advocacy non-profits, a political campaign, and the service industry. 

What are your areas of interest in MES?
I'm interested in studying sustainable development, environmental policy and regional transportation in Central Puget Sound. 

What activities do you enjoy outside of school and work?
Some of my most favorite things in life include cooking, flipping through and collecting vinyl, playing music, backpacking, fishing, cycling, and enjoying good beer with friends. 

What is your “dream occupation”? What do you see yourself doing after earning your MES degree?
My dream occupation would be one that is fulfilling, exciting, makes a positive difference in the world, and allows for a comfortable lifestyle. After MES, I would like to either work on Seattle's emerging regional light rail system or with the Governor's climate change task force.  

Who has been an inspirational individual in your life?
My parents and sister have been a huge inspiration to me and have always encouraged me to strive to be the person I intend to be. As far as famous people go, I have always looked up to Ralph Nader, Alice Waters, Neil Young, and Fred Rogers, all of whom remind me of my grandmother. 

And anything super interesting you think prospective and currents students should know about you!
I've traveled more than most people that I know, but until last year never lived more than three miles away from where I was born.