My entire life I have questioned everything, always that annoying kid who wouldn't accept a simple "because" for an answer. I have always wondered why we do the things we do. Whether it's why people stuff their animals from hunting and hang them on their walls, to why we have to dress nice for church if God loves us for who we are. Whenever I've asked these questions, I have always received stern looks from my elders that were intended to discourage me from being skeptical about the way things are. This constant skepticism and desire to understand how the world works has caused me to love reading books. Being inside someone's head, seeing how they see the world, and feeling/understanding things from their perspective/situation has always been my passion. My favorite book I've read, I read in high school. It was "Into the Wild," by Jon Krakauer.
"Into the Wild," inspired me to get involved in environmental issues, politics, and economics, specifically inequality economics. I realized how important it is to protect the environment because it provides the answers and peace people are looking for, and the provides the only remains of the pure plants and animals in the natural world, untouched by man's toxic touch. Naturally, this caused me to see the relationship between the environment, politics, and economics. My desire to protect the environment needed me to pay attention to the policies in politics which decide what land is protected, which in turn needed me to pay attention to the economics involved in deciding what policies are worth putting into place. Since economics seems to be the root of the solution, it has been my focus to study. Showing ways to increase economic development is the easiest and most effective way to get people to actually listen to what you have to say and get them to want to do what you want them to do.
I am so lucky to have my interests and passions overlap with my research this summer. I deeply care about the people and environment in Menomonie, WI, so trying to find a solution for the water quality of Lake Menomin while improving the local economy is an absolute dream come true for me because it helps my friends, family, and environment for future generations.