The Department of Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the 2019 Lester Scholarship has been awarded to Maya Bradford (C’20). The Lester Scholarship recognizes outstanding academic achievement in environmental science and leadership in the department.
During her first year at Emory, Maya was keen to blend her twin passions – creative writing and environmental science. Finding inspiration in the natural world took root on a 22-day Outward Bound trip in the mountains of North Carolina and continued to grow when she began courses at Emory. In the fall of 2017 Maya enrolled in ENVS 222: Evolution of the Earth with Professor Martin and she experienced what could only be described as a seismic shift in her academic path. Maya captures her experience in ENVS 222 with an eloquence born from her love of creative writing: “I saw with sudden clarity my understanding of the universe. Rock, which underlies all things, was the most fundamental entity. Nothing was more important than the physical earth. My place in it, a human, participating in the top 0.004% of the 4.6-billion-year history witnessed only by rock, was small. The rocks could speak. I wanted to listen. I decided to become a geologist.”
Shifting her courses from creative writing to calculus and physics, Maya is fully engaged in advancing her study of geology. Immersed in independent research projects with both, Professor Hall and Professor Martin, Maya is deepening her understanding of the physical earth. This summer, Maya will continue volunteering at Fernbank Museum and adding to her paleoart collection through a sculpture class at Emory, then spend a month in Wyoming taking a geology field course with the University of Michigan. Next year, Maya will continue her independent research project under Dr. Martin and complete her senior thesis. She also plans to present an exhibition of her body of work as a geologically-minded visual artist and poet.
Our most sincere congratulations to Maya – we are so proud that she calls the Department of Environmental Sciences home.