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Amy K. Coplen

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Concentration:

Environment, Science, and Technology

Graduation Year:

2007

After graduating from UNM, I spent three years working in Environmental Planning at Sandia National Labs. I then earned a Masters degree in Environmental Management  from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. In the fall of 2012, I began a Ph.D. program in Urban Studies at Portland State University as a National Science Foundation ESUR-IGERT fellow.

Why did you major in American Studies?

The most interesting classes are in American Studies! American studies gave me the flexibility to draw on a variety of disciplines to explain our relationship with the environment. I was guided through basic qualitative research techniques and applied these to produce an honors thesis about a topic I was passionate about.

How has your American Studies degree helped you in your career?

While some thought I was crazy to study Chemistry and American Studies at the same time, this multidisciplinary education gave me a leg up in the job market. My experience doing independent qualitative research prepared me for graduate school and demonstrated to admissions committees that I was a capable researcher. My background in American Studies taught me to approach research from many angles and made me confident in drawing on a variety of resources from different disciplines. I carry these skills with me throughout my graduate studies.