Sarah Kraus downplays her three years in the Navy when she’s among her fellow University Honors Program students, but her military training has combined with her academics to give her a rather unique set of interests.
Sarah, originally from Dallas, Texas, is a junior majoring in environmental studies and East Asian language and culture – primarily Chinese language. Her credits and proficiency in Chinese began with her military training, and her research about climate change and the environment came to fruition thanks to financial support from the Honors Program.
“Doing research really helps you guide your own passion with academics. I find the Honors Program to be very flexible. I can make my own schedule and forge my own path,” she says.
The Honors Opportunity Fund provided funding for Sarah to travel for two firsthand research experiences, one in Cleveland and one in New York.
She went to Cleveland to study its eco-village, which is run by a community development corporation. She gathered data that she is incorporating into research about sustainability and capitalism, in a collaborative effort with Dr. Chris Brown of environmental studies. She says she has learned from the data, as well as the research project itself.
“You really can’t go into a research project assuming you know what’s going to happen. You have to figure out how to work around unexpected results and challenges you never expect,” Sarah says.
In New York, Sarah attended the Global Strategy Initiative conference about the history of climate change. Climate change experts spoke about climate modeling, and then Sarah and the other participants had the opportunity to network with the experts.
She says she also has benefited from her Honors classes and classmates.
“My classes that are Honors definitely are different – the discussions are much more in-depth,” she says. “People in the classes are more passionate about learning. Everyone makes their own way in the Honors Program, so even if they are not doing something with that particular subject, they are interested in learning and being involved with it.”
She credits her eco-village research with sparking her interest in sustainability, and she is considering attending graduate school for urban planning and design.