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

Photo of Hannah ShinallHannah Shinall ’20
Hometown: Cartersville, Ga.

Nature has always been a place of comfort for Hannah, but growing up near a large city, she realizes the importance of advocating for and protecting it. Touring MC as a prospective student, she fell in love with the area and the focus on outdoor education. She hopes to work with AmeriCorps after graduation and then pursue a job in the public health sector. “The MC curriculum has given me the opportunity to explore ecosystems in different regions of the United States, as well as international regions,” she said. “I have interned with an environmental health department and am currently an intern with Keep Blount Beautiful, where I am honored to have the opportunity to teach children how to protect our environment.”

Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduates

Photo of Shannon WoolfolkShannon Woolfolk ’12

Currently: Cartographic Technician at Yellowstone National Park

Shannon’s job supports climate change research in Yellowstone National Park and includes GIS support and collecting, managing and reviewing meteorological, sound, and visual data from digital logging stations that helps
park scientists understand how the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is changing. “The liberal arts education I gained at Maryville College has been so helpful in the interdisciplinary work of the National Park Service,” she said. “The environmental studies major is, of course, directly relevant, but my core classes and electives have also played a huge role in my success. The leadership and outdoor skills I honed by working at Mountain Challenge have allowed me to be confident leading myself and others into the unforgiving Yellowstone wilderness.”

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