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GCHS Alum Serves on Sustainability Panel at National Academy of Sciences

Michelle Velez, now a Villanova University senior, was the only undergraduate to serve on the panel.

Villanova University senior Michelle Velez.
Villanova University senior Michelle Velez.
Garden City High School alum Michelle Velez, now a Villanova University senior, recently served as the only undergraduate on a sustainability panel at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Other panelists included faculty from Wellesley College, Xavier University and Shippensburg University.

Velez, an environmental science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, spoke of how classes addressing sustainability across many disciplines at Villanova have shaped her undergraduate experience.

Villanova offers numerous academic programs that provide an emphasis on sustainability, including a master's degree in sustainable engineering; bachelor's degrees in environmental science, environmental studies and environmental biology/ecology; and undergraduate minors in environmental studies and sustainability studies.

The Sept. 19 event was part of the Sustainability Improves Student Learning (SISL) Convocation, supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Chara Armon, a Lawrence C. Gallen fellow in the Humanities at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recommended Velez to the panel's organizer, Dr. Debra Rowe.

Velez was selected to speak on the panel entitled "Faculty and Student Perspectives: How does learning in the context of sustainability contribute to student learning outcomes? What does it look like in the classroom?"

During her studies at Villanova, Velez has taken core classes such as "Food, Sustainability and Place" and "Growing into Justice through Agriculture." She has also participated in several seminars, including "The Environment and Human Health" and the Augustine and Culture Seminar's (ACS) Environmental Learning Community.

Velez discussed not only her coursework experiences at Villanova, but her recent involvement studying organic agriculture in Panama and her leadership on campus in relation to the Villanova Community Garden student organization, the President's Environmental Sustainability Committee and Villanova's chapter of Citizen's Climate Lobby.

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