Nikki Rise

Originally from Kirkland, Washington, and a graduate of Seattle Preparatory School, I am currently a Senior at the University of Washington. My declared major is Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management, or ESRM, and I am also pursuing a minor in Quantitative Science. My specific interests within Environmental Science are marine biology and conservation, as well as renewable energy and renewable resource sciences.  My hope is to take my degree in Environmental Science and go into the fields of sustainable business and renewable energy. With a Quantitative Science minor, I hope to gain a broader understanding of statistics and quantitative analysis, and be able to merge that knowledge with my knowledge of environmental science to become a more successful sustainable businessperson. At the UW, I am also a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, where I served for a time as our Green Greek Representative, working with other members of the Greek community to improve our community’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Me at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy this summer

Earlier this summer, I was lucky enough to travel to Europe on a month-long backpacking trip with a close friend. Over the course of about 33 days, we visited various parts of Greece, Italy, and Spain. This was my first time traveling any great distance without my family, and I learned quite a lot both about myself and about the differences in cultures around the world. During this time, I was able to visit numerous sites of cultural and historical significance, enjoy delicious food, and truly immerse myself in a new way of life. My time traveling in these places helped me prepare a great deal for this study abroad trip in New Zealand.

As my first true study abroad experience, I am very excited for our trip in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This will be my first time taking a college course about indigenous peoples, and I am interested to learn how issues of sovereignty, representation, and environment affect indigenous communities. I am especially eager to hear from Māori leaders and community members about how climate change has been affecting their ways of life, and listen to their fears or hopes for the future regarding the environment. I am also very excited to experience the cultural traditions of the Māori people, especially through art, religion, and storytelling. At the end of this trip, I hope to truly understand the struggles of the Māori peoples and connect with their communities to help bring the issues they face to light and address the challenges they face today, as well as for the future.

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