Why study Environmental Studies at MC?

Are you ready to help the planet? Are you ready to learn how to make money while creating a green business? Do you see yourself studying ecology in the rainforests of Costa Rica, or rural development in Africa, or doing field work on air quality and forests in the Great Smoky Mountains? Would you like to teach environmental education to the next generation of students, or write land, air, and water or energy policy in Washington, DC? Would like to help create the next set of renewable energy projects in East Tennessee? The Environmental Studies (ENV) major provides you with a wide-ranging set of skills that prepares to you tackle planet-wide issues of sustainability, ecology, green building, environmental business practices and non-governmental advocacy of environmental issues.

The ENV Major is housed in the Social Sciences, insuring that you will gain a strong background in economics, politics, sociology and business from a North American and global perspective. The other courses in the major are in math, the humanities, education and the natural sciences, where you will gain skills in analyzing data, best practices in laboratory and field sciences, and environmental education training. As one of the only majors at MC with a required practicum, you will be expected to take your knowledge and apply it in the world beyond campus. Students have interned at any one of over 20 environmental wildlife, renewable energy, air, and water or soil organizations. ENV graduates work at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Tennessee, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in a variety of large and small businesses developing efficient, sustainable products and processes. We have ENV graduates who are practicing lawyers and ENV graduates who currently patrol and guide visitors and rangers for the US National Park Service. Come and be a part of our world.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External Relationships

Tennessee Valley Authority
Blackberry Farm
City of Maryville
Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Ijams Nature Center
Little River Watershed Association
Rocky Park Organic Farm
Liles Acres Organic Farm

Meet a current student

Rachael WeaverRachael Weaver ’19
Hometown: Ephrata, Penn.

Rachael chose to major in environmental studies at Maryville College because of her love for the outdoors and a desire to work toward solutions to some of the globe’s pressing environmental issues. While at MC, she has interned with Mountain Challenge and helped strengthen the College’s partnership with nearby Rocky Park Organic Farms. “Through this internship, I have been able to start an ongoing imperfect produce stand on campus and on Farm Day, encouraging students to learn more and partake in the growing of their own food at Rocky Park,” she said. “Through what I have learned in class and working with faculty, I already feel that I can/am making a difference in the world around me.”

Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduates

Hannah Kirby ’18
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.

Conservation has always been a passion of Hannah’s, but after enrolling at Maryville College, she realized that her interests reached further than hard science and into the realm of public policy. In her freshman year, she interned with the on-campus Environmental Initiatives Office; in her sophomore and junior years, she has interned with the City of Maryville government, studying municipalities, analyzing portions of the Greenway for better use and evaluating related policies and requirements. “Whether I end up enrolling in graduate school or working for a non-profit, I know I’ll be prepared because within the Environmental Studies program, I’m getting a taste of everything from ecology to economics,” she said.

Ben Royer ’10
Currently: Forest Consultant with the Milliken Forestry Company in Columbia, S.C.

A graduate who has hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail and paddled the length of the Mississippi River, Ben wanted a career that could be spent outdoors. He completed a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Tennessee in 2014 and went to work as a resource forester. Joining Milliken in 2016, he is now a forest consultant to both corporate and private landowners. “Maryville College introduced me to environmental management and taught me the principles and skills on which I have based a career, but most importantly, MC sent me out into the world to work on behalf of the environment,” Ben said. “Our environment is more than the nature outside our window – it is the intersection of politics, economics, society and the natural forces that act upon it. I carry that knowledge every day as I help landowners manage a sustainable resource that not only impacts their finances and personal goals but impacts our planet’s climate.”

Marissa McInnis ’04
Currently: Climate Change and Sustainability Manager, United States Department of Navy

After MC, Marissa, who double-majored in environmental studies and piano, went to work with AmeriCorps in Alaska and later, Washington, D.C. While working toward a master’s degree in environmental science from Johns Hopkins University, she began a 10-year tenure with the Environmental Protection Agency, most recently working as the first senior sustainability officer for climate preparedness for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In her current position, Marissa coordinates efforts to institutionalize the Navy’s ongoing climate change and sustainability initiatives. “Honing my camping skills, focusing on learning and performing a piano piece, writing what seemed like hundreds of essays – all of these experiences at MC gave me the confidence and the skills I needed to thrive,” she said.

Graduate School Placements

Columbia Theological Seminary
Johns Hopkins University
Syracuse University School of Law
Tennessee State University
University of Delaware
University of Michigan
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
University of West Florida