UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Isabella Briseño, an environmental resource management major, already has built an impressive resume for a future career in environmental policy.
In her second year at Penn State, she participates in the Student Sustainability Advisory Council, the Eco-Action Club and Environmental Justice Leaders, while also conducting research that promotes ocean conservation.
The Salem County, New Jersey, native said she chose the College of Agricultural Sciences because the environmental resource management major perfectly fits with her desire to understand the relationship between agricultural production and the environment.
“In high school, I became passionate about water quality and the conservation of aquatic species,” said Briseño. “I wanted a broad foundation in environmental issues to relate it to economics and policy to make a positive difference.”
Briseño started to make her mark by joining the Penn State Eco-Action Club and being selected for the Student Sustainability Advisory Council. Both organizations’ mission statements involve educating and building a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
“I wanted to make an impact on campus around sustainability,” she said. “Because of my role in these instrumental organizations, I have met many other like-minded people who want sustainability changes at Penn State and to make it an even greener campus.”
The Student Sustainability Advisory Council works alongside the Penn State Sustainability Institute to help improve the University’s ecological footprint with students. Currently, Briseño and her team are promoting sustainability curriculum reform, such as developing a sustainability general education class and a sustainability school. They plan to present their proposal to University leadership at a meeting in December.
Briseño also appreciates the hands-on opportunities and supportive community that the college provides. “My major does a great job of blending environmental policy and economic issues,” she said. “It is important to have a foundation in all of those disciplines when you work in environmental policy, which I hope to do.”
Tammy Shannon, Briseño’s academic adviser for the ERM major, admires her passion for sustainability and environmental issues. “Bella is an outstanding student who unites people around sustainability and natural-resources issues to make a positive impact,” said Shannon.
While volunteering at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in 2019, Briseño took water samples of nearby waterways to aid in research about the effects of pollutants on temperature, pH and other water-quality factors.