Sulley Schuster

UO freshman talks academics, extracurricular activities, and all things environmental

By UO Student Lili Wagner

Freshman Sulley Schuster pursues an
environmental studies degree at the University
of Oregon, thanks in part to the UOAA Hawaii
Ducks Duane Cargill Memorial Scholarship.

From the coastal lands bordering the Pacific Ocean, through the rainy Willamette Valley, over the rugged Cascade Mountain Range, and through the dry high desert of Central and Eastern Oregon, our state boasts of dramatically distinct climates and a reputation as environmentally conscious and progressive—so where better to pursue a degree in environmental studies?

Recipient of the UOAA Hawaii Ducks Duane Cargill Memorial Scholarship Sulley Schuster thought just that.

“I knew I wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest and I got a lot of scholarships from the university. The environmental studies program is great, and the study abroad program is too,” the freshman hailing from Kona, Hawaii said of her decision to come to Oregon.

“I love being outdoors, so I knew I wanted to study the environment to do something where I wouldn’t have to sit in the office all day,” she continued. “I was deciding between environmental science and environmental studies. I came in, took a few introductory classes, and decided I wanted to pursue environmental studies, which focuses more on the humanities, and possibly go into management or public planning and policy.”

Schuster has enjoyed her courses so far in environmental studies and geography, the latter of which she plans on pursuing as a second major or minor. “I was geeking out just talking about the seasons and volcanoes. I feel like such a nerd but I’m excited about it!

“I’m also in a geology freshmen seminar, which I’m really excited about because we get to go on a couple of field trips and camping trips to the Columbia Gorge and other places.”

Though she has not yet set her sights on a specific career, Schuster is interested in continuing her education through graduate school, after which she plans on pursuing environmental planning and policy, studying environmental law, or working for the Forest Service.

In addition to her curricular activities, Schuster makes time for undertakings outside of the classroom.

“Right now I’m playing club water polo, which is really fun,” she said. “We actually just won the regional area so we get to go to the national tournament in Vermont. I’m a freshman and I’m on the A team, which is super exciting.

“I am working for an environmental Magazine called Envision. That’s been really fun. I’m a weekly news writer. I used to want to be a journalist because I really like reading and writing. I joined that magazine because I took a Freshmen Interest Group (FIG), which combined environmental studies and journalism. My FIG leader worked for Envision and really encouraged me to write for them. I was published online, which is great!”

Schuster also volunteers with River Spies, an environmental education program at Edison Elementary School.

“Deb Rosenthal, who was a field biologist for ten years, came up with an after school program when her child was in elementary school,” Schuster said. “It’s basically K-5 kids going out and taking water quality data and researching organism surveys.”

In the classroom, in the pool, at local elementary schools, and throughout the epic wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Schuster can be found actively involved and engaged with her community and environment.