Environmental Studies student Sarah Kraus has been selected to attend the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative; a research program at Columbia University that employs historical analysis to confront present and future problems in world politics. The program involves the collaboration between invited experts in the problem field, undergraduate and graduate students, and mid-career professionals to conduct in research, study, and collaborative writing on the critical issue at hand. This summer’s research program is focusing on the history of climate change and the future of global governance.
Currently a junior in the Environmental Studies Program and double majoring in East Asian Language and Culture, Sarah is also the President of the student organization, Environs. She was inspired to apply for the Hertog Initiative by a friend, a graduate student in Religious Studies who had attended a Hertog Global Strategy Initiative the previous summer. On their recommendation, Sarah applied in early March and was granted acceptance in the program a few weeks later.
This program will also benefit Sarah’s current research within the Environmental Studies Program. This semester, she has been actively involved in an independent research project emphasizing the comparative analysis of urban and rural eco-villages and their proximity to dominant culture. She eventually settled on this research topic by asking herself what questions she had and what she would be interested in finding the answer to. “It’s a long process of figuring out what you’re interested in and what your questions are”, says Kraus, “It doesn’t just happen, it is a process.”
Sarah believes that her involvement in the Hertog Initiative will benefit her in all aspects of her life beyond the confines of a classroom setting. “It is a great way to learn how to collaborate with diverse groups of people, learn the research process and what goes into that” says Kraus. The topic matter is also of interest to her, “climate change is a relevant problem in the governmental context.” After her undergraduate education is complete, Sarah plans to attend an Urban Planning program, “I want to be involved in urban design and urban planning at some point in the future and this program will help me accomplish that goal.”
Networking with important and influential speakers, such as Bill McKibben also drew her to the program. “It is important to network”, says Kraus, “at KU, networking has helped me get to know faculty members, providing another outlet to getting to explore different ways of thinking.” For student either interested in research or confused on how to begin the process, Sarah has this advice. “It is important to pay attention, read, and learn as much as you can and be exposed to different ways of thinking to figure out what you’re really passionate about. When you figure out what you’re passionate about, the opportunities will present themselves.”