When Berkana McDowell ’23 decided to double major at Chapman, combining environmental science and policy with peace studies, “it seemed like the most intuitive thing I’d ever done,” she said.
“I framed my peace studies experience to focus on social justice, which is directly applicable to the environmental movement and applying ways to change systems.”
McDowell took it a step further, developing a minor in studio art that tapped her passion for painting and her skills as a muralist.
“Everything felt very connected,” she said.
Everywhere McDowell has gone, she has strengthened communities at Chapman, whether performing with the Floor 13 hip-hop dance team, collaborating on a communication toolkit in response to a coastal oil spill, counseling student colleagues as a peer advisor or interviewing prospective students as an Admission fellow.
“Berkana is an example of the true renaissance scholar that Chapman strives to produce,” said Assistant Professor Richelle Tanner, co-director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program. “Her research in my lab explored how strategic use of environmental psychology improves environmental literacy in minoritized populations. Berkana has been a fierce advocate for environmental justice in the ES&P core curriculum.”
This fall, McDowell will continue her academic journey at Yale University, where she’ll pursue a master’s degree in environmental management.