“I found myself more interdisciplinary in my mindset, and environmental science appealed to me because it incorporated so much more than just science. It showed me how humanities and social issues tie in as well.”
— Shane Downing
The phrase “better late than never” rings especially true for Shane Downing. After nearly three years as a Biology student, Shane realized his passion for Environmental Science and became a major as a junior. “I found myself more interdisciplinary in my mindset, and environmental science appealed to me because it incorporated so much more than just science. It showed me how humanities and social issues tie in as well.”
Shane wasted no time in getting involved with all the opportunities the environmental science department has to offer. He devoted a semester to studying abroad at the James Cook University in Australia, taking classes on the Great Barrier Reef and Australian environmental foreign policy. Shane then spent a summer in Jakarta, Indonesia after being selected for the Freeman Indonesia Nonprofit Internship Program. During this time he worked in a biodiversity conservation and sustainable development NGO and studied Indonesian language and culture at the University of Indonesia. Shane also had the privilege of traveling to Bodega Bay, California to intern at the Bodega Marine Laboratory and do independent research on microfossils and ocean acidification off the California coast.
On campus, Shane has served as both a senator and president of the Allegheny Student Government. “Serving in ASG has had a major impact on me, and I feel like I have more refined communication skills and a closer connection to my peers because of it.”
Following his graduation from Allegheny, Shane plans to further his experiences abroad while helping others as a Peace Corps volunteer. As for advice for future Gators, Shane has the following to offer: “Keep a positive attitude and an open mind. Never be afraid to approach people, to meet them or to talk to them, whether they are students or even administrators. Being open to diversity and new situations is important, and it will definitely pay off in the end.”