Lauren Van Dyk

Position: 
Graduate Student

Graduation Date:

Dec, 2009

Degree Received:

Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture (BS)

After graduating, I:

Moved back to the Philadelphia suburbs to enter the workforce. After a short stint at a start-up company that failed, I started to eagerly pursue further education and a career in the field of planning and agriculture with a foundation in sustainability. I've spent many, many hours volunteering with my county planning commission and other land use and agriculture-related organizations, and I'm currently looking to move forward with my career in land use and food systems planning.

My current situation is:

I'm finishing up my master's degree in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University, where I'm focusing on sustainable land use patterns and food systems planning. I've spent the last two years working on a 360-acre sustainable farm outside of Philadelphia where we raise heritage breed animals on pasture. We have a custom butcher shop, a small market that sources local food products, and a successful farm-to-table cafe. I'm currently looking for job openings in the Asheville area - I've always wanted to move back to the Southern Appalachians!

My proudest achievements since graduation:

I'm proud to be finishing up my master's degree, and I'm very proud of the networking and volunteering that I've done in my field. I've completed continuing education courses related to land use planning and I continue to soak up as much knowledge as I can!

Lessons Learned:

Current SD students should really take full advantage of what Appalachian has to offer. They are truly ahead of the game in terms of sustainability education, and they have incredible resources and opportunities that you will not find elsewhere. I would also tell students to continue to pursue their passion for sustainability - it can be a difficult field to get into, but it's a worthwhile one and the work is incredibly satisfying!

Would you say your SD degree prepared you for life after college? Why or why not?:

My SD degree exposed me to several different aspects of sustainability - a concept which can be applied to most any field. Getting exposure to so many different disciplines within that realm helped me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. The coursework and hands-on experiences that I had at Appalachian also gave me the right tools to live a healthy, proactive and conscious life as an adult. I continue to sing the praises of the SD department at Appalachian, and my time spent with that work and those professors has truly changed my life for the better.

Additional comments:

I can't speak more highly of the SD department. As a student who saw it finally become its own accredited department offering both a BA and a BS, it has really been a pleasure to see how things have continued to evolve since graduation. The lessons I learned and friendships that I made during my time there are things that I carry with me everyday, and I love to tell other people about the incredible experience that I had with SD at Appalachian. I can't say that I have a single regret about choosing Appalachian or about my degree and coursework. Keep it up - you all are doing great things!

Contact information:

laurenv87@verizon.net

Quote: 

"My SD degree exposed me to several different aspects of sustainability - a concept which can be applied to most any field. Getting exposure to so many different disciplines within that realm helped me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. The coursework and hands-on experiences that I had at Appalachian also gave me the right tools to live a healthy, proactive and conscious life as an adult. I continue to sing the praises of the SD department at Appalachian, and my time spent with that work and those professors has truly changed my life for the better.

I can't speak more highly of the SD department. As a student who saw it finally become its own accredited department offering both a BA and a BS, it has really been a pleasure to see how things have continued to evolve since graduation. The lessons I learned and friendships that I made during my time there are things that I carry with me everyday, and I love to tell other people about the incredible experience that I had with SD at Appalachian. I can't say that I have a single regret about choosing Appalachian or about my degree and coursework. Keep it up - you all are doing great things!"

Contact

Dr. Richard Rheingans, Chair
Sustainable Development Department
Living Learning Center
828-262-7248
rheingansrd@appstate.edu

Sandy Wilson
Administrative Assistant
828-262-6926
wilsonsm@appstate.edu

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