August 16, 2022

Meet Victoria Hamilton from the Climate and Society Class of 2023

Meet Victoria Hamilton from the Climate and Society Class of 2023

Victoria Hamilton joins the Climate and Society Master’s program this fall. He looks forward to exploring policies and laws that protect people who are often underrepresented in the climate debate.

This fall, the Columbia School of Climate is welcoming a new class of students Master’s program in climate and society. This 12-month interdisciplinary program teaches students to understand and address the impacts of climate change and climate variability on society and the environment.

The incoming class of 2023 includes 80 students with diverse backgrounds and career paths, impressive skill sets, and great plans to help protect people and the environment.

State of the Planet will be interviewing some of these extraordinary students in the coming weeks. In the Q&A below, you can meet Victoria Hamilton, whose Indigenous heritage inspires conservation and speaks up for marginalized communities.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became interested in studying climate?

My decision to pursue environmental science and geography in college was driven by a desire to study and ultimately work in a field that aligns with my heritage. I am a proud member of the Montaukett tribe in New York. My native grandmother, Yellow Bird, taught me, Little Yellow Bird, to love nature and respect the Earth’s gifts. Growing up in a coastal town in Southern California, I was fascinated by the ocean and the natural environment around it.

However, as a local, I learned that California beaches don’t always live up to the fantasy of pristine white sand. I turned my frustration into action and in high school began working with local marine biology programs to reduce damage to our beaches. Volunteering my time to pick up trash and organizing my peers to participate in big cleanups made me feel like I was making a positive contribution. My upbringing and those experiences have strengthened my commitment to preserving the earth for future generations.

What specifically drew you to the Climate and Community program?

The Columbia School of Climate offers this unique opportunity through the combination of the Earth Institute and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. particle for direct object Network of environmental and climate justice cities Along with dedicated faculty, it can help me find a career where I can have the greatest impact in contributing to social change. Being surrounded and challenged by outstanding faculty and talented students prepares me to conduct and defend research of the highest scientific standards. Similarly, those minds challenge me to design original policy approaches to address the long-term problems of neglected communities.

How does the program align with your career goals?

When applying to graduate programs, I looked for a school where I could learn about the physical and social science behind the impending climate crisis. I was excited when I found the Climate and Society program because I knew I could get guidance on how to continue this intersectional lens into a professional career. I want to work in environmental policy and hopefully serve as a voice for marginalized communities.

What are you most excited to learn about while you’re here?

I want to address how we can create fair environmental laws for all groups of people—in particular, for those who are often underrepresented in the climate change debate. I look forward to exploring these special interests with more electives.

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