ASU grad earns dual degrees, driven by desire to protect the environment

Alexandra Kepler smiling and sitting outside on a concrete curb.

Alexandra Kepler.


Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

Alexandra Kepler will graduate this May from ASU, earning dual degrees in earth and environmental studies from the School of Earth and Space Exploration and transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o studies with a concentration in U.S. and Mexican regional immigration policy and economy from the School of Transborder Studies.

Growing up in San Diego, Kepler had experienced several droughts and wanted to find a way to protect and save the environment. 

“I decided that the best way would be to become an environmental lawyer, and obtaining an environmental studies degree would make me more valuable as I would better understand the environmental impact of future decisions,” said Kepler.

Her decision to attend ASU was based on the wide range of extracurriculars, classes, minors, majors and opportunities that allow for every individual to find what they are truly passionate about.  

When she arrived at ASU, Kepler wasn’t afraid to explore her options, because she wanted to see what might spark her interest. From thinking about taking a class or joining a club, she would try it. Kepler says she put herself out there to make something great happen and realized she could combine her passions.

“The prelaw track is what really pushed me to consider ASU. There are so many prelaw options including a prelaw cohort to prepare for the LSAT and law school applications, there are prelaw clubs that are geared towards creating a community,” said Kepler. 

After graduation, Kepler plans to start working in the legal field before pursuing a Juris Doctorate.

Kepler shared a few thoughts about her time here at ASU. 

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: What changed my perspective about my degree was realizing how versatile it is. To some degree, every industry is influenced by the environment, including, but not limited to, the immigration system, businesses and construction. This really helped me continue to pursue this degree because I realized I can help others with the knowledge I have gained throughout the program. More specifically, I realized I could combine my interests in immigration and the environment as environmental changes, in some cases, cause migration.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I think all my professors taught me different important lessons. Every professor has a different way of teaching, some focus strictly on academia, and others pull in personal experiences to make the material more relatable. I think every professor taught me something important in their own way that pertained to different topics, both academic and personal. If I was given a specific topic about a lesson I learned, I would be able to identify the professor(s) immediately. But I really think each professor taught me something different.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: Anywhere outside when it is not too hot. It’s a great way to enjoy the weather, get some sun and get some work done. Most of the time we are inside and there are only so many days when the Arizona weather is perfect. So why not study outside on the grass or at a table and enjoy it before the long summer weather?

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If someone gave me $40 million I would try to find a solution to the lack of fresh water in the world. Many of the devices and work that have been started focus on creating something for the country the work started in. I would use it to find a solution to the lack of fresh water in other countries that really need it. In the U.S. we have good freshwater supplies but we just overconsume, so the solution to the U.S. problem is simple. Other countries do not have the same luxury. They are using contaminated water for their everyday needs so they need the help more than we do.

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