When Arizona State University sophomore Megan Neely first stepped onto the Tempe campus three years ago, she knew it was where she was meant to be.
“When I walked around campus and came into The College and talked to the advisers, I immediately felt at home. I felt like I was welcomed. I felt like I was wanted,” Neely said. “I'm so incredibly grateful for that experience because I’m still loving what I'm doing and where I'm going. I wake up every day so incredibly thankful and grateful that I get to go to school here.”
Neely is double majoring in earth and environmental studies, and digital audiences with a minor in sustainability. She was initially drawn to studying the environment in high school, and the School of Earth and Space Exploration’s earth and environmental studies program enticed her.
“In my senior year of high school, I was in AP earth and environmental science. We went on this trip to Treehaven in Wisconsin, and I just loved learning about the different aspects of the climate and the environment. I'd always been passionate about climate change and climate activism. I definitely knew that I wanted to learn more about it and learn how I can help and how I can use the knowledge I learn to spread awareness,” Neely said.
“The thing that sets ASU and the earth and environmental studies program apart from other programs is that you can tailor it to your interests. There are different aspects of the Earth that I like studying, and there are some that I don't really care to study. They give you so many different directions you can go. There's endless possibilities with how this major could work out.”
She added a digital audiences major from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication after discovering her passion for social media management and digital marketing when she served as a merchandise specialist for her sorority.
More recently, she’s had the opportunity to explore digital marketing more in her roles as an intern for Gold Baby, a custom apparel company, and as a marketing assistant for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Neely shared more about her Sun Devil journey.
Question: What interests you most about studying the environment?
Answer: I think the one thing that really drew me in is the urgency. I feel like not enough people care, and I want to help, not necessarily to make people care, but to show people why they should care. It's not as complex as people make it out to be sometimes. There are simple solutions, and if people knew more about those simple solutions and the small changes they can make in their lives, they can make a huge impact. … It's also the fight for future generations. I want my children to be able to experience the environment at its full capacity, not where we have melting ice caps and high extinction rates.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs or organizations? How have they shaped your experience?
A: I’m in a sorority, and that definitely helped with making friends in the pandemic, which was really nice. I'm also the director of public relations and social media for ASU’s Women’s Soccer Club. It’s helped me branch out and meet more people. I love being involved in club sports. I was briefly involved with the Women's Coalition. I was a part of their HerStory committee last year. I've never done event planning, and I got to see how much work goes into these events. I was never really involved in high school, so getting involved in college is something I'm not used to, but the more that I do it, the more grateful that I am to be involved. I've met so many people, and it's so much fun.
Q: What skills or experiences have you gained from your time in The College that will help you achieve your future goals?
A: Within The College, I have felt supported the entire way through. My adviser is an angel. She helps me out with everything and any questions that I have. She's helped me discover different aspects of the program that I wouldn't probably have realized or known about. The classes are also really detailed, and all the professors that I've had are extremely passionate about what they're teaching. I just really enjoy learning. For example, I didn't know a lot about geology or geological structures, but in going through the labs and the classes and talking to the professors and staying the entire lab, it really showed me just how much there is to learn. I get excited whenever I get to register for my courses for the next semester, because it's like, “What am I going to learn next?”
Q: Have you encountered any challenges? If so, how have you overcome them?
A: It was really hard last year when everything was online. Time management was a really big problem I had last year. But now I prefer online classes, which I never thought would happen. Now that there's a really good mix of online and in person, I've definitely been able to find a balance.
Q: What advice would you give to incoming students?
A: I think staying true to what you want to do is the most important. It’s OK to change your major. It's OK to change what you want to do several times. This is the fourth adjustment I've made to my track, and I'm still graduating on time. It's not as scary or as overbearing as it seems at first.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 10 years?
A: It's hard to say where I'll end up in 10 years; hopefully working to find ways to be more environmentally conscious and sustainable while tying in my love for marketing and digital media with that, too. There's a couple different paths I could go with this, including creating more environmentally friendly products or changing our habits of living. I hope I work for a really cool company and get to do stuff like that.
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