When Terese Schomogyi ’20 sought out a topic for her Glynn honors thesis and capstone, she wanted to bring together her Political Science major and her minors in Peace Studies and Sustainability to inform the intellectual framework, but also have room to be creative. Environmental peacebuilding turned out to be an ideal field in this regard, and Terese’s explorations led her to a focus on transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) or peace parks.
"One of the things that makes Terese's project so unique is her ability to bridge several different literatures in order to develop an original assessment of transboundary protected areas,” commented Dr. Susan Pratt-Rosato, Associate Teaching Professor of Political Science and Terese’s advisor on the project. “Drawing on scholarship in political science, peace studies, and environmental sustainability, Terese was able to not only evaluate the effectiveness of three existing TBPAs, but also to use that analysis to propose criteria for the creation of a new, environmentally sustainable, and peace-building TBPA.”
For Terese, her academic pursuits are the culmination of a lifelong love of nature: “I am from the Pacific Northwest, and my love for the landscapes, natural resources, and cultures of this area have fueled my passions for environmental conservation and climate justice.”
The Minor in Sustainability Capstone Project is an opportunity for students to deeply explore their interests. “As a humanities student, the sustainability minor has been a valuable way for me to break out of my disciplines in politics and peacebuilding and learn about the science behind global environmental change and climate adaptation strategies,” said Therese. “Good climate policy and activism won’t happen without solid foundations in scientific phenomena, so I’ve appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the minor.”
In addition to her written analysis of case studies from around the world and her proposal for a future transboundary protected area on the U.S.-Mexico border, Terese shared some of her results through a presentation at the Kellogg Human Development Conference in February. “This is the type of intellectual achievement that we aspire to for our students,” added Dr. Pratt-Rosato. “Terese has made a significant and original contribution to our understanding of environmental peacebuilding."
As for the future? Terese plans to return to the Pacific Northwest for post-graduate service. Terese hopes this will involve environmental justice initiatives, continuing the heart of her work: “my desire to reconnect humans with Earth.