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Student Spotlight

Here's a snapshot of some of our ES students! Also, check out what some of our ES alumni are up to after graduation!

Lauren Lilienthal '25

  • Major(s) : Environmental Studies
    • Concentration: Global Sustainability, Policy, & Justice
  • Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Recommended Courses: Environmental Sociology (Dr. Fuist), Psychology of Sustainability (DFemale student wearing a backpack smiling to the camera with mountainous backgroundr. Kunce)
  • On-campus involvement : President of the Student Sierra Coalition, member of the Cross Country and Track teams, Student Senate Sustainability Committee, Peace Garden
  • Off-campus involvement : Worked 2 summers as a lab assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in both the Ruminant Nutrition and Ecology lab and the Water Quality lab. Worked as an outdoor educator at the Pioneers Park Nature Center.

“The Environmental Studies department at Illinois Wesleyan allowed me to explore the different facets of Environmental Studies. I’ve spent time exploring all three concentrations offered, before deciding on Global Sustainability, Policy, and Justice. I’ve been able to take environmental classes for my major that consider a variety of different areas of study such as biology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.”

Nathalie Romero '25

  • Major(s) : Environmental Studies
    • Concentration: International Environmental Sustainability
  • Hometown : Metairie, Louisiana
  • Nathalie Romero with ocean and city landscape in backgroundRecommended Courses : Global Responses to Climate Change (Dr. Jahiel), Environmental Sociology (Dr. Fuist), Environmental Chemistry & Toxicology (Dr. Wilson), Intro to Geographic Information Systems (Dr. Wilson)
  • On-campus involvement : Public relations chair for Sierra Student Coalition, Student Senate Diversity & Inclusion Co-Commissioner, Co-President of the Spanish and Latine Student Association, Pride, Black Student Union, Deja Vu Dance Team, Women of Color
  • Off-campus involvement : Conservation Intern at Miller Park Zoo where she took care of the endangered Puerto Rican Crested Toads as well as 5 beehives, surveyed the aviary, and completed an aviary corner about the birds. Interned at the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Japan through the Freeman Asia Program where she conducted research about wind energy, photovoltaic energy, and other sustainable energy throughout the world, took part in online conferences, and surveyed a photovoltaic berry farm with other interns.

“I enjoy the diverse environmental-related course options. It helps in narrowing down on what parts of the major I prefer more. It also gives me a chance to grow on an academic, professional, and personal level.”

  George Assalley '24

  • Male college student wearing hat and overalls, with large body of water, trees, and mountains in the backgroundMajor(s) : Environmental Studies
    • Concentration: Ecology
  • Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Recommended Courses : Stream Ecology (Dr.Wilson), Principles of Ecology(Dr.Harper)
  • On-campus involvement : Conducting research with Dr. Harper examining the prevalence of bird-window collisions on campus, Sierra Student Coalition Treasurer, member of the Football team, Health and Safety for Tau Kappa Epsilon

    “I personally enjoy the relationships I have created with the other environmental studies students and professors. A tight-knit community has been created due to the collaboration of so many different projects and opportunities. This environmental studies program has a special place for me because it allows me to get out of the classroom and into the field.”

Victoria Ballesteros-Gonzalez '25

  • Major(s) : Political Science
  • Minor(s) : Environmental Studies
  • Hometown : Canary Islands, Spain
  • Recommended Courses : Global Responses to Climate Change (Dr. Jahiel), Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (Dr. Rushlow), Environment and Society (Dr. Jahiel)
  • Victoria Ballesteros-Gonzalez with flowers in backgroundOn-campus involvement : Student Senate Sustainability Commissioner, Co-Director of IWU MakerGirl Academy, Spanish Tutor for the Language Resource Center, Residential Life Advisor, Alpha Phi Omega (Service Fraternity), Model UN
  • Off-campus involvement : Marketing and Business Development Intern at Illinois Small Business Development Center of McClean County. Director- Spanish Section for Girls in Science 4 SDGs (RASIT) through which she’s been a speaker at 5+ United Nations panels on gender equality and environmental crisis. TV host, collaborator, and speaker at 10+ conferences on youth, equality, climate change, and sustainability.

    I particularly love the Environmental Studies program at IWU because of its interdisciplinary approach, which allows you to explore the connection of environmental issues with political and social dynamics through hands-on and real-world experiences. Every course within this department has been a transformative journey, where impactful community projects or research are the norm. Moreover, the close-knit community of the program fosters a collaborative and supportive learning environment, allowing you to engage closely with classmates passionate about fostering a sustainable future, as well as dedicated professors who want to support you not only in the classroom but also outside of it and in your future endeavors.


NOTE: If you are an IWU Environmental Studies alumnus, let us know what you're up to! Feel free to contact our Administrative Specialist Amy Aldeman at See what some other ES alumni are up to here.

Abigail Jahiel - Professor of Environmental and International Studies

Department - Environmental Studies