Dec 18, 2018

Emily DaltonEmily Dalton, Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Policy ’17, is currently one of fifteen in the inaugural class of the Masters of Public Health at Cornell University. As a graduate student, Emily keeps busy but still finds the time to prepare for the LEED Green Associate Exam.

While at St. Edward’s, Emily conducted two federally funded research projects through the Ronald E. McNair Program and the Interdisciplinary Scholars Program. With a STEM and policy background, Emily aims to use the foundations of behavioral and social sciences to bridge the gap between research and implementation, especially in regards to environmental health.

We caught up with her just as she found out she was accepted into the American Journal of Public Health's 2019 Student Think Tank!

What inspired you to study Environmental Science and Policy?

Like most students, I struggled to pick a major because everyone ingrains in you that your future is dependent on your degree (not true!). I actually remained undeclared as long as possible, and initially chose communications despite my parent's suggestions that I major in environmental science. 

However, I needed to take a science course because I had taken every other general education class (ha). I selected an intro environmental science class because my mentor Dr. Cotter is involved in that department and my instructor at the time Professor Wasserman led the course, and for once, I seemed to excel at something! Long Story Short: My Parents Were Right (As Usual).

Ultimately, I am so glad I selected Environmental Science and Policy! The equal STEM and Policy background it offers, a BS from the school of Behavioral Social Sciences, as well as, how relatively new the discipline is in comparison to others. Additionally, the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies can lead you anywhere, the subject itself overlaps with so many fields and degrees. If I had to choose again, I would still do it.

How has your time at St. Edward’s University helped you succeed at Cornell, your internships, and beyond?

St. Edward’s honestly transformed my mindset towards the future and my capability. I graduated bottom 25% of a 1,000 people in high school with all Cs. Suddenly, I arrived at a campus full of people that believed in my abilities and were willing to take a chance on me. I thrived my first year at St. Ed's - my GPA was around a 3.9.

Ultimately, Being accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program proved to be a huge turning point for me. I had (mistakenly) thought only “smart” people could conduct research. Now, I’ve been published twice. Never limit yourself.

As for Cornell and my experiences during my time here, I actually think every day about how lucky I was to attend St. Edward’s. With my liberal arts background, I can provide insight into issues that no one in the room would have even considered as well as teach myself skills like web development and design. I left undergrad equipped with the knowledge of the contemporary issues we face today and a dialectic mindset that enables me to approach a topic free of mental barriers that disciplines often create. The education St. Edward’s provided me allows me to do applied research that resonates and explore the world of trend forecasting.

Beyond? Scary question to ask a second-year master’s student! Yet, I’m certain St. Edward’s will play an integral role in the opportunities that arise, it got me this far!

Can you tell us more about a project you’re working on?

As a graduate student, I’m always juggling multiple projects. However, I am currently working for the Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management for the Business of Food Program and coordinating with the marketing department for the upcoming redesign of their webpage, as well as developing techniques to increase faculty/student engagement.

On a side note, two (personal) passion projects I have been working on include:

  1. My research on the increasing obsolescence of consumer electronics and the supply chain management of the waste generated by it. I just presented my research in Detroit at the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies!
  2. I finally finished developing my interactive webpage! Finding a balance between being professional but also your genuine self is complicated online. However, I decided to stay true to my roots and kept it weird!

Any advice for current students?

Please- take advantage of everything St. Edward’s provides! I miss free printing so much.

Honestly, though, I do urge all students to take a moment and evaluate the wealth of resources surrounding them. If something sounds “unobtainable” or you think you aren’t good enough for an opportunity. Stop. Then Apply.

The campus is so equitable and open to new perspectives which allowed me to thrive!

Go to the writing lab - maybe they’ll say your paper is perfect. Talk to your professors - most are cool people! Finally, ask for help when you need it, the support network is there. You can design your future at St. Edward’s, so take control!

Keep up with Emily at her website or find her on LinkedIn.