Brian Koch '17

Why did you choose to major in Environmental Studies?

I became an Environmental Studies major after taking my First Year Seminar class on sustainability. It opened my eyes and the semester after I changed my major.

What about your Environmental Studies degree did you find to be most valuable when preparing for post-graduation life?

How interdisciplinary the courses were. One class would be focused on reading and discussion while another would focus on research and analysis. The balance was a huge proponent for me. They're an amazing outlet and are very patient.

Briefly describe your internship experience while at CSB/SJU. Who did you intern for? What did you do while at this internship? What courses set you up to be successful in this position and what did you learn?

I interned at Minnesota Street Market Co-op in St. Joseph! I basically learned what a food and art cooperative was and how to effectively run the store. The whole thing was completely new to me- but I met a ton of amazing students and locals who made that experience a special one.

Were you involved in any activities, clubs, organizations, Alternative Break Experiences, and/or study abroad programs while enrolled at CSB/SJU? 

I was an Eco-Haus member at both Marmion and Tholl, the manager of the Saint. John's Greenhouse down on Lower Campus, and I also helped with mindful meditation club. I studied abroad with Professor Timmerman and a solid group of biology folks in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. There we studied with members of the Tiputini Biodiversity Research Station and then headed to the Galápagos Islands to work on group research. Mine specifically focused on Damselgish and their impact on algal diversity in shallow waters. 

What did you do immediately after graduation?

After graduating I headed out to Europe to volunteer for WWOOF (worldwide opportunities on organic farms). I traveled through Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. From there I hopped jobs throughout the Twin Cities- from large scale sustainable farms like Tangletown Gardens to Urban Organics, an indoor aquaponics farm. 

If it differs now, what are you currently doing?

Currently- I am working as a Senior Park Aide at Like Kiln State Park in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Don't be afraid to take chances. Enjoy life to your fullest potential. See the world! Put yourself in uncomfortable situations.

 "You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all. If you make a plan, life never works out that way." -Kang-Ho Song (Parasite, 2019)