Alumna pursues international environmental law degree in England
For as long as Rebecca Geraci ’13 of Ulster Park, N.Y., can remember, she’s been interested in the environment. So, she began her freshman year at MCLA as an environmental studies major. A year later, she decided to pursue a degree in political science, as well.
Now she’s in England at the University of Kent, earning her master’s degree in international environmental law.
“Both the environment and politics are two areas that are constantly on the news and ever-changing,” Geraci explained. “This is what I thoroughly enjoy about these fields.”
In addition to being a place she’d always wanted to visit, the United Kingdom is a major player in the creation and implementation of environmental law, Geraci said. “Here, I am able to witness firsthand what the forefront of environmental policy is and how it effects everyone around it.”
The University of Kent’s environmental and international environmental law programs are the oldest and most extensive programs in all of Europe. What’s more, “I am able to learn from many people who are involved heavily in European environmental law, and have the ability to study the country that leads the environmental crusade.”
This will be important, as Geraci plans to spend her career working with developing nations to promote and implement environmental quality standards.
During her time at MCLA, she worked with several other students to create a plan regarding water quality testing in the Hoosic River watersheds. This project inspired her to a more in-depth study of water quality.
At the University of Kent, a public research university, she hopes continue to explore that area, as well as other prominent issues plaguing developing nations.
Life in England is very different from life in America, according to Geraci, who studies at the university’s Canterbury campus.
“Aside from the obvious differences of the time change and accents, people in England do not rush through their daily lives, like many Americans. They really take the phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ seriously here. People will sit and chat with strangers for hours. It is a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the American mindset,” she said.
The town is one of the most popular among tourists to England.
“Canterbury has great historical significance with the Canterbury Cathedral located in the center of town. The Cathedral became the head church for the Anglican Community and the Church of England during the reign of King Henry the Eighth,” Geraci explained. “The town holds deeply onto the historical heritage by maintaining the Tudor-era architecture in a number of the buildings.”
At MCLA, Geraci was a founding member of the Environuts club, and served as its president and vice president. Her other activities included the Lead Academy, and serving as a resident advisor and a student ambassador for Admissions, which helped her to become a stronger leader.
“MCLA was the perfect fit for me. It was a small school that had a good environmental studies program. That, with the liberal arts touch, allowed me to look at issues with a critical eye,” Geraci said.
“Any university can provide you with an education, but the full college experience is so much more than that. Aside from a sound education, MCLA provides you with a sense of community and a chance to get involved. It allows you to make a name for yourself through many different outlets and once-in-a-life time experiences. You aren’t known as a number but as the person that you are and who you will become.”