Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies DSA Aerin Braunohler

Aerin Braunohler


Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Major: Biology
Concentration: Environmental Studies
Study Abroad: Thailand
Best Adjective to Describe You: Green!

In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
How adaptive the courses are to so many different parts of life and worldviews.

What is your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Talk to professors about what you are interested in! The best way to set up connections and do some networking to find more opportunities 🙂 Also, take classes you are interested in outside of your major or minor. You will be surprised how much is applicable.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
The world is so complex. We need multiple perspectives to look at it because of its complexity. Setting yourself up with a variety of base knowledge helps with this. It allows you to make connections you didn’t think that were initially correlated.

What has been your favorite class at K?
Intro to complex systems (PHYS-215)! I am not a physics person, but this class really helped shape my understanding of ecology and its complexity but also surprising similarities to other observed relationships between people, animals, molecules, weather patterns, etc.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
As mentioned, taking classes in which you have an interest outside your major or minor is so cool. These helped me more profoundly understand things I’m interested in.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
Being part of ECO club and working at the arb!

What is your SIP?
I am studying the effects different land management methods (mowing, grazing, and burning) have on native vs. non-native plant abundance and soil composition. I am doing this while interning with a grazing company in Kalamazoo, Tending Tilth!

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
As of now, I want to work with something in regenerative agriculture.

What is a random fun fact about you?
I am an identical twin (she also goes to K)!